Horse riding for kids in Geneva (and around)

Horse riding for kids in Geneva (and around)

I probably don’t need to explain to anybody reading this, how fun horse-riding can be. These gentle (yet sometimes stubborn) creatures teach patience, empathy, discipline, and give an opportunity for physical activity all at the same time.

Question about horse-riding is one of the most commonly sent my way, so I thought I should finally put online all the places I know about. Some of them we tested ourselves, others were recommended by our friends, or on Parentville’s Facebook group.

Here are your horse riding classes for kids in Geneva:

1. Poney Club Echevenex (France).

2. La Belle Ferme in Gex (France).

3. Centre Equestre, Plan-les- Ouates.

4. Manege d’Onex, in (surprise, surprise) Onex.

5. Ferme la Gavotte (Bernex).

6. Ranch Blackyland (Bernex).

7. Manege Machefer, Versoix.

8. La Pallanterie, in Vésenaz.

9. Manège de Vandoeuvres, in (tatadam) Vandoeuvres.

10. La Chaumaz in Russin.

11. Poney Club de la Gambade, Laconnex.

12. There is also a Manege in Meyrin, but their website was not working when this article was written.

Music classes in Geneva for kids

Music classes in Geneva for kids

Whether for general musical initiation, to learn how to play an instrument, or see how operas are working, Geneva has everything for your kids. Here’s your list of music classes in Geneva for kids:

SINGING

I found 4 theatre places where kids learn about staging and singing.

Catalyse in Eaux-Vives. 

Academie de Comedie Musicale Geneve in Les Acacias.

Simply Theater in Versoix and Petit Lancy.

Espace Opera in Eaux Vives. https://espace-opera.ch/

Also:

Conservatoire Populaire, Ecole des Musiques Actuelles, Conservatoire de Musique de Geneve.

INSTRUMENTS

Drums lessons in Chêne-Bougeries by Drum.ch.

Conservatoire Populaire in various locations (various instruments).

Ecole des Musiques Actuelles in Les Acacias.

Academie de Musique de Geneve, in Eaux Vives.

Institut Jacques Dalcroze, in Eaux Vive (piano).

Conservatoire de Musique de Geneve, in various locations.

Espace Musical in Eaux-Vives.

Ecole de Musique Suzuki, in Onex and Eaux-Vives.

Ecole de Musique et FunPhare, in Vernier.

Do you know other places not listed above, worth sharing with other families? Let me know either in the comments below or via email.

Fabriq’expo at Exploracentre

Fabriq’expo at Exploracentre

Exploracentre is a fab place close to Plainpalais (I wrote about them before, click here).

It’s a really fun place with interactive exhibitions, workshops, and soon a Wednesday ExploraClub.

Now, before we go any further. Exploracentre lowered the tickets price. It’s now 10 CHF per person, much more affordable – and as you’re about to find out, the new expo is also much better than the first one!

FABRIQ’EXPO

The brand new expo of Exploracentre, Fabriq’Expo, unites science and technology, resulting in a mix of a laboratory and DIY space.

When you enter, you’ll instantly see a giant black circle thingy (that I forgot the name for). It’s a bowl shape thing with a hole in a centre. Your job here is to throw in some wooden marbles and see how their speed changes depending on how far they are from the hole. It’s simply a recreation of a solar system, marbles being the planets, and the hole representing the sun. It’s hypnotizing!

MODULES

The whole expo is made of several modules – working stations. Each one has a different theme, for example:

  • Chain reaction (super playful),
  • Robotics,
  • Objects under the magnifying glass (repair, assemble, disassemble, and design your own!),
  • Engineers in question (this stand works against discrimination in the world of science),
  • Design (imagine, draw, invent)

TECH EVOLUTION

Has your child ever seen a cassette? Or the old-school computer disk? One of the stands offers children to meet these bizarre objects and figure out their purpose. On the other side there are models of the telephones from different times. Kids can try and use an old phone with a ring-dial to see, how in the past, ringing someone ment using a ring dial, not only causing the phone to make the ringing sound. They can also match the phones with wallpaper designs from different decades.

SHOP

Exploracentre also opened a gift shop with a vast variety of science-themed toys. Be sure to check it out!

It’s a really fun and highly interactive (in an almost screen-free way) play area! It is designed in a way to also make the parents into a playful mood! #parentvillerecommended

USEFUL INFO

Exploracentre (website)
Rue des Bains 33
1205 Geneva

Accessible with prams and wheelchairs (including an adapted toilet). Changing table in the restroom.

In summer open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am till 6 pm.

Entry: 10 CHF (free for kids under 3)

Home in Balance – Geneva’s smartest organizer

Home in Balance – Geneva’s smartest organizer

or about how finally I can dance in my basement

Things I had in my basement… a bag with 3 rocks, and a pot with dry soil, wires to who knows what, chargers to prehistoric phones, boxes of appliances we do not have anymore, clothes I forgot I had. But also good things, I finally found my business cards (in a random bag filled with stuff from my old car). How’s your basement?

No matter how hard I try, sooner or later the clutter is accumulating. I got good at hiding it though – especially in the garage and in the basement. It is quite simple: gather all the random useless objects, put them in a bag/box and off to the « cave ». Close the door, and forget. It seemed perfect, until I had to get the suitcases out of the basement… It took time and bruises to get them out.

COLLAB EXPLAINED

Then I remembered about a friend, who started an uncluttering service called Home in Balance and we made a deal – she would help me unclutter the basement and garage, and if I am happy with the process and the result, I will use Parentville to promote her. And here we are.

SWISS ORGANIZERS

Inga, a member of Swiss-Apo (Swiss Association of Professional Organizers – yes! It is a thing!). A few years ago, she launched her business called Home in Balance. She helps people unclutter and organise their space in a practical way. Check Inga’s Instagram profile!

Her ability to know which box should go where, and which cabinet should stand in the corner and which shouldn’t, is impressive. She is full of positive energy, fresh perspective, and ideas!

ORGANISED UNCLUTTERING

Inga came in the morning, full of positive energy. She was very fast to get things out of the basement, give me tasks, and setting the rules: things for charity on the left, items for the decheterie on the right, give me back what stays etc.

The process was super fast, super smooth. The speed of it didn’t give me much time ponder on every single item. The question was simple: leave it or get rid off it? No sentiments, practicality. Well, with several exceptions.

GET IT DONE

Of course, for everyone, this will be a different process, and Inga knows it. She did not influence or question my decisions. She knows it is a very personal subject.

At the same time I was grateful it was not a Marie Kondo style uncluttering. I don’t want to say hello, goodbye, or thank you to my belongings. I don’t want to create a massive pile of clothes that would just overwhelm me. It was about getting it done. This is why Inga was just perfect for the job.

BYE BYE CLUTTER

She packed all the things for the charity into the car (it filled the whole car, every corner, every hole), and drove it to CSP in Meyrin. I hope many of these items, in perfect condition, will find new homes.

ROCK’N’ROLL

And now, I cannot only go into my basement but I even also dance inside!

KIDS ROOM

Next on my list is Zofia’s room. We declutter her room at least once a year. She needs to be involved in the process, so it takes a full day of playtime…

I asked Inga for some advice on how to limit the creation of the clutter in her room – you can find it at the bottom of the post, click on the images to enlarge/download.

ACCROBRANCHE aka Tree Top Adventure Parks in Geneva

ACCROBRANCHE aka Tree Top Adventure Parks in Geneva

Accrobranche (aka tree top adventures) is a great activity for kids and whole families. Depending on the age (or the height) of your child different options are available.

How does it work?

First you (or your child) gets into a special harness that will keep them safely attached to the trail. Then they can enjoy the trail up above the ground filled with zip lines and obstacles. Depending on the parc and the age of your child the trails are on different heights. It really is safe, so nothing to be afraid of, except if you’re like me and the idea of being anywhere above the ground scares the life out of you.

Some parcs with children trails only allow kids to enjoy it with an accompanying adult beside them. For me, that’s a no go, but fortunately I learnt that it’s worth calling the place before hand and reserve the staff member to accompany my daughter. In many parcs kids 6+ (or taller than X) can enjoy even more trails – with an accompanying adult.

There are also 2 parc in the area with treetop fun without obstacle trails, but with giant trampolines!

They are all listed below. Choose a place and go!

PARC AVENTURE (EVAUX, GENEVA)

This is the only parc located in Geneva – in the great parc of Evaux (Onex). There are two trails for kids aged 3-6, and one other for 4-6 year olds. They are low enough to let you accompany your child from the ground, standing next to them and helping out if needed. It’s really perfect for the tree top initiation! Four more are availble to those after 6th birthday with an accompanying adult, or alone if they’re at least 7 years old. There are even more optopns for those ge 10+.

Parc Aventure (Signal de Bougy, VD)

Here you can choose between 16 courses! 5 of them are destined for kids aged 4-7, all equipped with zip lines. These trails are higher above the ground than in Geneva, but kids can go alone no problem. When in trouble, just call the staff and they will help or even climb up if needed!

JURAVENTURE (Col de la Faucille, France)

Juraventure is more than just a tree top parc. There’s mini golf, paintball, and donkeys, but for the sake of this list I’ll focus only on accrobranche. According to their website, the “The Kids, juniors and adult courses are unlimited!”. The parc is designed in a way that all too difficult steps can be avoided to enjoy the rest of the course. For the Mini trail the minimum height is 100 cm, and for the junior trail it’s 120 cm. I wrote about other activities on La Faucille in summer here.

Forestland (Divonne, France)

Forestland in Divonne is another place that offers not only Accrobranche but much more. Yet again, in this list I will focus on accrobranche only. There are 6 courses in Forestland: one for 3+ (max heigh 120 cm), two for 7+ (min height 120 cm), and three more for those taller than 140 cm. A great excuse to visit Divonne with kids!

TACTIQ AVENTURE (Cruseilles, France)

Parcours Decouverte “Enfant” – for kids of the minimum age of 4 and minimum height of 1.m. Parcours Decouverte “Junior” – minimum age 7, minimum height 120 cm.

Other accrobranche parcs to try:

  • Accro’Aventures in Reigner (France): for kids as small as 1m  but kids younger than 5 and below 11cm of height needs a parent to accompany them up in the trees.
  • Parcours Aventure in Sciez (France): min age is 5 here, and minimum height 110cm, adult must climb too.

TRAMPOLINE PARCS

In the tree-top trampoline parcs  (fr. parcabout) you’ll need no harrness , and will not be challenged by obstacles. Instead, you’ll enjoy something that I would describe as a walk (or jumping) on the clouds! It’s absolutely marvelous, fun, amusing, relaxing, and extraordinary!

Two principal places to enjoy this activity are:

  • Filenvol (close to Saleve), no minimum age. Kids under 5 can enjoy a separate section. All kids can go to the main one with an accompanying adult. As of the age of  8 they can enjoy the place on their own. No sandals, bear feet allowed.
  • Gaia Loisirs (in the French Jura). I found no information about minimum age, but it is strictly advised to wear long trousers, and long-sleeve tops, as well as full shoes (no sandals).
Will you try a tree adventure? Which one?
Col de la Faucille in summer

Col de la Faucille in summer

Col de la Faucille in summer is even more fun than in winter! It offers so many activities that could easily fill the whole weekend. And if we add some other fun places from Gex, we’d have the whole week of adventures!

JURAVENTURE

Accrobranche (and more!) at Juraventure! This obstacle trail is adapted to kids as little as 1 metre of height. The trails for kids are really great, while those for adults seem to be awesomely challenging! Juraventure also has mini golf, donkey rides, carriage rides, and paintball. It is conveniently located just next to the parking (well enough separated to be safe). You can check out their whole offer on this website.

Luge d’été

Eng. summer sledge aka rail toboggan. It is a combination of a roller coaster and sledging. Each sledge goes separately on special rails. They are very simple to use – one stick serves to both break and accelerate. All the way down you can control the speed and go really slowly, really fast, or something in between. You cannot stop though, as it is dangerous for others and yourself. You have to keep the distance of 25 metres from the cart in front. Ignore the grumps who will criticize you for going too slow but don’t be ashamed to yell at those who come too close to your cart. Kids under 5 are not allowed to join the fun. From the age of 5 they can enjoy the sledge with an adult, from the age of 11 they can go down alone. Both me and Z were deadly scared on the first run, had fun on the second go, and pure joy on every next ride!

The top

Get to the top with the telecabine (gondola lift) – accessible with strollers, bikes, and wheelchairs. The trip is short, with a taste of spectacular view waiting for you at the top – beautiful Jura mountain chain on one side, and amazing alpine panorama on the other side with the lake, Geneva, and Jet d’Eau underneath. For many kids, the trip with telecabine will be an adventure on its own! There’s a restaurant on the top, so grab an ice cream and walk back down (20-30 minutes walk). For opening hours and prices check here.

HIKING

If you’d like to prepare your kids for some serious alpine hiking, or simply get them started, Jura is perfect: hikes are rather easy, with great views and sometimes even animal guests, or raspberry tasting. You can, for example, go up with telecabine and walk down choosing from 3 different routes (20 mins, 40 mins, 60 mins). Check this website for more details.

Qimmiq Aventure

How about summer with sled dogs? CanniRando is walking the dog in the mountains (for around 2h), but it is the dog guiding you, not the other way around. CaniCross (around 1h) is the same but much faster, for more sporty folks. Or maybe you’d rather try a CanniTrotinettee (a scooter pulled by a dog)? All this to find in Mijoux (a village down from the Faucille)!

 

More in the neighbourhood

A 20 minutes drive without leaving the mountains, and you’re in Lemoura, where Gaia Loisir offers a bare feet trail, pony rides, trees-trampoline park, and more. Also relatively close: Espaces des Mondes Polaires (a museum and an all year ice rink). There is also a great firemen museum in Gex, as well as the famous Belle Ferme (poneys, horses).

 

 

A SLEEPOVER

If you fancy staying in Jura overnight (great solution to hot Geneva nights), there is what to choose from: campsites, hotels, (la Couronne, La Mainaz, and more) chalets, giant balloon-like tents, and more! And I’m serious about the balloon-like tents. For all kinds of accommodation in this Jura station, check out their website.

Now that you know the la Faucille mountain top a little bit better, will you make it there this summer?

For more ideas of fun summer activities with kids, why not trying the Staycation Guide by Parentville?

Heatwave in Geneva with kids

Heatwave in Geneva with kids

The heatwave is here. Again. MeteoSuisse heatwave alert is clear: stay away from the sun, if possible do not stay outdoors between 11am and 4pm, hats, uv creams, light clothing. They are right. But in many homes the temperature during the heatwaves is unbearable – how to survive with kids?

Parentville to the rescue! – yet again with a list of places that can offer both fun and fresh temperatures.

(more…)

Gifts for teachers, Geneva.

Gifts for teachers, Geneva.

Giving gifts at the end of the year is not, to my knowledge, a tradition in Switzerland. Most of the Swiss parents I know, don’t practice it. If they decide to offer a thank you/goodbye something for the teacher, it is usually a kid’s drawing or cookies. But. I don’t know every Swiss parent in Geneva and have seen people coming with flowers or small gift to jardin d’enfants, creche, and the school.

It simply means that if you or your child would like to reward or thank their teacher, the possibility is coming soon!  With the heat that is in the forecast for the next week, nobody will be offended if your child’s gift for the teacher is bought rather than home-made.

This brings us to the selection of locally made/locally designed products, perfect for the end of the school year.

 

Click on the picture to find out more about each idea.

 

At Zhandumaya.com, we offer 100% natural Geneva cosmetics and zero waste accessories.

At Les Batoilles we offer sustainable and social solutions like pretty reusable fruit and vegetable bags or solid soap bags!

The perfect nod to offer teachers before leaving to bask in the sun!

Flower notebooks with matching mirrors by Groseille.

Groen Labo solid shampoo, including Monoi for the summer.

The balm to love by Gaïndness, A care for the lips with enveloping fragrance.

I am an illustrator and I have created my brand for several years: you can find notebooks, greeting cards, tote bags, kits, kitchen towels as well as clothes and framed illustrations.

A zero waste shop with several products that could fit the end-of-the-year theme.

The Ykar Project  socks in a nice zero plastic packaging. The teachers and the extracurricular educators have loved the bike model, surf division — free delivery at the Artemix Design shop in Eaux-Vives.

The too beautiful candles at L’Atelier de Yaël.

Notebooks A4, A6 and sets of pencils!  -50% (on the whole site besides jewelry and accessories) with the code BYEBYE.

Reusable packaging made of organic cotton and beeswax. All handmade in Gruyère.
Reusable and washable.

Sport gourds in stainless steel (brand Pura). The best for small and big.

Before packing, there are still the last homework, the end of the year shows and of course the little attention to thank mistress / nanny / tennis teacher this beautiful year with Royaume Melazic!

Summer in Geneva with kids & the Staycation Guide

Summer in Geneva with kids & the Staycation Guide

How long are you planning to stay in Geneva with kids this summer? No matter if it’s a week or 8, the Staycation Guide by Parentville is coming to save the day again!

Since its first edition in 2017, it has been one of the best-received summer helpers for both local families, and those who come here for holidays. Questions about the new editions start arriving in early May!

What is the Staycation Guide

Staycation Guide is simply a downloadable PDF in which each page is devoted to one day of 57 summer days (Geneva summer school holidays to be precise). On each page, you will find: an outing idea (mostly in the city, but it can also be a day trip in the region). This idea is accompanied by all useful info, including an interactive map. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find alternative propositions and a link to this exact day’s events on Parentville’s events calendar.

It all started in 2017, and despite the common myth of Geneva being boring, each year enough of new places are found and introduced to the guide, so that they can genuinely be called new editions. This is how version 2018 came to be. The 2019 edition has even more new stuff than the previous one!

How to use the Staycation Guide

There are two ways to use the Guide. Some families follow the propositions day by day (as an author of the guide I have to salute them as I would never have the energy to do everything from the guide in one summer). Others use it mostly as an inspiration and will visit the place proposed on July 5th, on August 17th. In case a place recommended in the guide is open only on specific dates, it is marked in the guide – no worries of going somewhere to face the closed doors.

The only part of the guide valid only for the date it is placed in is the link to Parentville’s calendar – the page on August 4th will send you to August 4th events in the calendar.

The guide starts with a brief “how to use” it part, that explains three icons used in the guide. Easy-peasy.

Also, everything you think should be a link – is linked, so you can always easily access more information about the outing.

Where to get the Staycation Guide

The Guide is available here, to everyone for a modest price of 5 CHF.

Only those who subscribed to Parentville’s newsletter till July 1st, received the guide for free. Even if you missed that chance, subscribe now anyway, to never miss it again!

I will be very grateful to everyone who receives or purchases the Guide for not forwarding it to friends, but rather directing them to this website. I hope you’ll understand (loyalty, copyrights, and all that in play).

 

TESTIMONIALS

Here’s what has been told about the previous editions of the Staycation Guide (2017, 2018):

 

Thank you very much for all these research you are doing and gently sharing for the kiddos!

I love to test new places and try to talk about it a little bit in a far less efficient way you are! Just wanted to say that it is really appreciated! Congrats!

Julie

THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!! I would like to nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize because of the anxiety you have resolved in my household for this summer. This is clearly a contribution towards world peace. Congratulations!!!

PP

Your Staycation guide is so lovely! Have been reading and writing down some of the tips this morning. Such a great work!

S.

Pentecote family time in Geneva

Pentecote family time in Geneva

Rainy long weekend, damn it. Don’t fancy sitting at home with the kids? Need to get out? Parentville to the rescue!

For Sunday propositions head over to the “Rainy Sunday in Geneva” article, by clicking the button below. For even more options, and Monday-Pentecote specials, scroll down.

RAINY PENTECOTE OPTIONS

IN GENEVA

1. Vivarium in Meyrin (confirmed personally by yours truly).

2. Musee d’Histoire des Sciences with their super fun, interactive and bilingual exhibition “Roulez les Mecaniques”. (nothing on the website suggests it could be closed on Whit Monday).

3. Yatouland in Accassias awaits you from noon till 5pm (confirmed personally by yours truly).

4. Other indoor playgrounds:

– L’Ile de Tortuga (Annemasse),

– Vitam Ludic’C L’Aventure Annemasse,

– JayLand (Gland,).

5. WIth umbrellas and boots only: DinoWorld in Versoix.

6. Swimming Pools: Bain de Cressy (warm water), Bain Bleu (warm water), Vitam Parc (normal and warm water).

7. Bowling at Balexert or LaPraille (even small kids can enjoy by pushing a ball off the slide, assure the barriers are up). We tested bowling at Balexert – the kid’s menu is nice and includes veggies, the service is good/nice, and everything is new and fresh (including the shoes).

8. Cinema! Currently many children’s or family movies on the big screens in the cinemas. Some in Pathe Balexert, even more in Arena La Praille, and also in other smaller cinemas in the city.

 

 

RAINY PENTECOTE OPTIONS

AROUND GENEVA

1. Indoor playgrounds: L’Ile de Tortuga (Annemasse), Vitam Ludic’C L’Aventure Annemasse, JayLand (Gland).

2. With umbrellas and boots only: DinoWorld in Versoix.

3. Taste the insects at the “A Table exhibition” in the Chateau du Pringins (exceptional Monday opening if I understand their website correctly).

4. Aquatis (details here).

5. Papiliorama (more about it in this article or book tickets directly here).

6. Mines de Sel de Bex (a truly fantastic place, check and book here).

7. Maison Cailler (chocolate factory in Gruyere, details here).