Christmas in Geneva and around

Christmas in Geneva and around

You can find plenty of Christmas shows, workshops and other events in Parentville’s December 2018 agenda. In this article, I will share some other Christmas attractions worth your time.

IN GENEVA

Noël aux Bastions
The first edition of an adorable Christmas market in the centre of Geneva – in the Parc des Bastions. Yurts and chalets, shops and services, food and ice skating. There is one yurt with lids activities every day, and one other with punctual activities (you can check them here).
Noël a Carouge

 

When Ville de Carouge is organizing a festival, it is always a must-visit event. So much will be going on, I have to send you to a detailed pdf, but if you need any help decoding it, let me know in the comments!
Geneva Lux
One of the yearly events for which I love this canton so much! Geneva Lux is a festival of light always happening at the end of the year (and slightly in the beginning of the year). It is a part if the Christmas deck but it is not Christmas-themed. Local and international artists make all the installations that please eyes of passersby no matter how strong the bise. Check the program here.
Lancy en Lumiere
Some ”communes” never accept staying behind. One of them is Lancy with its festival of light that transformed urban space into an art space. You can find the whole program here.

AROUND GENEVA

Hameau du Pere Noël
Santa’s village 20 minutes drive from Geneva is every child’s delight. Far from being tacky, it is a fairytale land of Santa, his brother Père Foutard and his sister Mère Noël. The level of detail of the decorations is impressive. Watch closely, and you will find some tongue-in-cheek elements. You can visit Santa’s house and those of his relatives. You can visit the land of dummy’s and donate yours (for each dummy Santa will bring a meal to a child in Cambodia). There is also the Elves’ garden, Santa’s sledge, a story time, a but to write letters (and receive a reply). All can be fueled by crepes sold indoor and outside.
On weekends a nearby farm is opened for business with animals and local produce!
Schilliger garden centre

Every December this high-end green shop transforms into a Christmas land. This year’s Christmas market has the circus as a theme, and it is magnificent. The decorations are wonderful; you can order a personalised Christmas-tree ball, and meet some animals. Important notice: opened on Sundays till December 16! Be sure to check the list of kids activities planned for Sunday 16th in Gland, but also the animal farm visiting the Schilliger in Plan-Les-Ouates
Marche de Noel Montreux
The most renown Christmas market of the region is in Montreux. So renown you should avoid going there over the weekend, and if you can’t help yourself take the train. Beautifully decorated, with tons of attractions (including a flying Santa sledge, and Chateau du Chillon special time), is one of those events one should visit at least one time over a stay in Switzerland. The Family of 5 prepared an excellent article about this event, so I’ll let you discover their photos and experience here.
Rochers-de-Naye Santa village:
Because we’re already in Montreux, how about a mounting train up right the Rochers-des-Naye to the Santa’s house in a cave? Fun waiting for kids there includes a treasure hunt and a diploma hand signed by Santa. More about this Golden Pass trip here.

A BONUS:

Here’s a link to a crazy list of all Christmas markets in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Click here and knock yourself out!

My Little Room for Christmas

My Little Room for Christmas

It starts to feel a lot like Christmas! Recently, Z. has received a cute gift from MyLittleRoom.ch (precisely, this advent calendar). It’s an online shop with kids’ room decorations, thoughtful toys, and useful yet beautifully designed everyday objects for you and your children. After receiving the gift, I browsed their shop and found so many things worth sharing with you!

So, if you’re still on a hunt for a Christmas gift for children in your entourage, spend a few minutes discovering what Z. and I recommend from MyLittleRoom.ch.

This is a sponsored article, written in collaboration with MyLittleRoom.ch, but rest assured it is here only because I find it worth sharing. I recommend these items honestly. You will never see here worthless paid content that I don’t stand by.

You’ll find many fabric-tipis on MyLittleRoom’s website, but the cardboard one caught my eye. I have tried to build one using old boxes several times, but my DIY skills are far away from reaching a satisfactory level. If only I knew about this cute cardboard house back then! You can build it together, paint it together, and have hours of fun!

DOLLHOUSES

Two dollhouses caught my eye instantly. One that I would love to have as a deco on my shelf, and that every modern doll would dream of having. The other presents many possibilities to play with for all kids who need a house for their toys, animals, or other figurines. The last one comes in two sizes. And once they grow out of playing with it, it will make for a lovely shelf.

A perfect gift for all those kids who stop to stare at each construction site. Now they can have a crane to play-pretend all sorts of situations they imagine the crane is for: building a house, filling a ship with containers, moving their toys from one point to another.

With that set you will be freed from being a patient, now all your kid needs is their plush toys becoming slightly ill. It’s a cute wooden set, that even contains x-ray photographs, making the game so much more real!

If you haven’t heard about the Wobbel before, you have just found the perfect gift! It can be used in so many different ways – it’s hard to list them all here. It will surely make your kids’ bodies and imaginations move! A perfect item for the season that makes us stay indoors more than we’d like to.

FOR BABIES

We couldn’t decide between many brilliant toys MyLittleRoom offers for babies. In the end, we chose one modern design, and one classic no child should be deprived of.

Memory used to be Z.’s favourite game so that I can swear by the game with all my heart. WIth time kids get so good at it, it is hard to win the game with them. This wooden set is so pleasing to the eye; it is hard to resist! There are 16 pairs included, but you can start with as little as 3 or 4 at the beginning, and then slowly add more. It trains patience and visual memory while offering real fun at the same time.

Another game on the list, this time for a bit older kids (10+). Like every game done by Helvetiq, it is beautifully designed and fun. With this game, the whole family can learn about Switzerland by answering questions. We will get one ourselves once Z. is a bit older.

THE GLOBES

For small children, a traditional globe can quickly become boring, but these paper globes are interactive toys. Kids can play with them, colour them, and discover the world like kids should – while playing! There are two of them that I find interesting: this one and that one.

Tricoting

I am not sure how about you, but here Z has been crazy about making clothes and accessories for herself and her toy-friends. It is one of the activities she can dive into. I have been looking for a while for tricot sets adapted to her age, and voila! Here it is! There is also another set that you can discover here.

Letters to Santa the Swiss way

Letters to Santa the Swiss way

Who wouldn’t want to receive an answer to their letters to Santa? Every year thousands of children on both hemispheres write letters of wishes to Santa in hope, not only to get the gifts but also to hear back from the old man. Then, the parents already busy by all-month Christmas preparations try to answer these letters in at least slightly creative way.

But not in Switzerland.

Abroad versus Switzerland

Parents in Switzerland do not have to burn the margins of the page or try to learn how to write with a feather. They don’t need to attach the ready answer to their kids’ letters like in the US (seriously, what is the point?), or pay someone to reply. Parents in Switzerland enjoy their fondue while the letter is being answered by Swiss Post.

The most amazeballs Post Service on the planet issued 19,448 replies in 2017. It’s pretty impressive, especially for a small country of milk and chocolate.

Swiss Post Santa Op

It’s not a new invention, or a scam powered by some high-tech Replies-From-Santa Generator. The Swiss Post has been on this secret mission for over 60 years now and has been very serious about keeping it mysterious.

All we know is that all the letters addressed to Santa in any way are directed to the Christmas branch in Chiasso (yes, the Swiss Post has a Christmas branch, but it will be moved next year to a more modern location), where several employees answer all of the most important letters of the year.

How does it work?

Let your kid write the letter, or write it together. Remember to include your postal address, so that Santa knows where to send his reply. Then, put it in the envelope and address it to Santa. You can make up an address, not include one, your choice.

You can write a letter in English, French, German, or Italian.

As the Swiss Info reports, children do not only wish for objects, “they also long for a more peaceful and fair world, and a home environment where siblings or parents don’t argue or fight”.

Answers

Every letter sent to Santa: without any address, or with an imaginary address is answered unless the sender didn’t include his/her address. Though even then those super cool postal angels will try and track down the kid. Unfortunately, it is not always possible, and this is why ‘only’ 96% of 20,188 received a response in 2017.

Now that the whole letters to Santa operation is so easy-peasy and, at least when done for the first time, way more exciting than any Elf on the shelf, help your child write a letter! Deadline: December 30.

More details: www.post.ch

Bonus

In 2017 the Swiss Post started creating and posting Chhristmas stories (also in English!) – you can check them out here on soundcloud.

Escalade family activities 2018

Escalade family activities 2018

Escalade is full of fun! It’s a very festive period that puts Christmas on the side for a bit. Thank you, Geneva, for this diversified last month of the year. Even though December is cold and can be windy, people will go out to run, to watch parades, and drink the “vin chaud”.

There is fun for kids and whole families too!

December 1&2
Course de l’Escalade

The registration to this running event is closed, but do not hesitate to come and cheer for all those running up and down Geneva hills in the cold winter weather. More info on escalade.ch.

December 5, 15h
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (MAH)
For 6-10 year olds

“It was dark and frosty night in 1602 when the Savoyards attacked Geneva and tried to scale the city walls with ladders…” – to hear the rest of the story (in French) visit MAH on December 5. Children will be welcomed by the Mère Royaume, who will show them the Escalade ladders and other war “souvenirs”. Also, grab the MAH visitors’ discovery guide available free at the welcome desk – it will take you from MAH to the Maison Tavel.

December 5
Eaux Vives Municipal Library
For kids age 5+

Have you already noticed that libraries offer lots of fun for kids throughout the year? On December 5th, the Eaux Vives library will host the Mere Royaume herself . An occasion for children age 5+, to discover the origins of Escalade and its traditions.Travel in time back to 1602 with Mère Royaume to discover the origin of the Escalade and its traditions. After the “official” part, kids will smash the marmite and fill tummies with chocolate and marzipan! Free entrance.

December 7,8,9
Old Town

“La Compagnie 1602” is a group of volunteer actors, who reconstruct the daily life of Geneva from the past Escalade days. It is a historical procession with soldiers, horse riders, historical characters parade through the centre of the city.

December 8
Torch Parade

It is a beautiful and mesmerising parade in the Old Town Geneva. It will start at 19h45 at Rue de l’Evêché 1. Candles will be on sale at that address from 18h30, for all those willing to participate. More information on the Compagnie 1602 website.

December 8, 14h30
Bibliotheque Municipal la Cité
For kids aged 8-12

“Les Enfants de l’Escalade” is a book by Olivier May that will soon be published by Editions Auzou. The author will be waiting for the kids in the Bibliotheque de la Cité to talk about Escalade and his book – the first children’s fiction book about the Escalade.

December 8, 15h30
International Museum of the Reformation (MIR)

A museum experience in the dark! If you and your kids are not afraid of the dark, be sure to visit the Museum of the Reformation for a visit with a flashlight! First, listen to a story about the days of Escalade at the beginning of the 17th century. Then, grab your torch and discover the artefacts from 1602. Entrance: 6 CHF. Prior reservation advised. More information about the MIR here.

December 8&9
Passage de Monetier
Once a year event!

Passage de Monetier opens for public only once a year – on Escalade. This super-narrow path from the 5th century was part of the whole network of “secret” passages created to evacuate the city if needed but also used by soldiers of Escalade to get to their battle stations quickly. I can’t stress it enough… the passage is very narrow, so narrow that at times you will have to go sideways. It is only opened during Escalade, and it is a one-way path. Entrance is situated on Rue du Perron 19.

December 9, 17h
THE parade

Around 800 volunteers on horse and foot will take part in this yearly parade. It will start at 5 pm in the Parc des Bastions. The parade is accompanied by other events; you can check them all on the website of the Compagnie 1602.

December 12, 14h00
Martel

Patisserie Martel invites you to take part in breaking the marmite together with their Chocolatier (the person specialised in making chocolate treats). The marmite will be not so easy to crack as it will weight 6,5 kg! Of course, the youngest and the oldest in the room will have the honour to start, and everyone will be able to taste the marmite. More information here.

December 15, 20h
Escalade soup
Maison de Quartier de Saint-Jean

The Escalade vegetable soup is served outdoors across the city this time of the year. Many “Maisons de quartier” will organise their events, for example, Maison de Quartier de Saint-Jean will be celebrating on the 15th with a costume pageant and a free soup for everyone! Be sure to check your local school and your local Maison du Quartier for the events in your neighbourhood.

December in Geneva with kids

December in Geneva with kids

Once again Parentville is here to prove that there is no such thing as a dull period in Geneva. Never. December is almost all about Christmas, but I am sure you will find other themes if Christmas is not your holiday.

Grab a cuppa or a glass of wine before reading below, as this might be the longest article ever published on this website. Though I can assure you, it is worth your time!

FYI: all the theatres’ shows are listed at the bottom of the page (in an attempt to create some kind of order in this crazy month).

November 16 – December 2
Filmar

A 20th cinematic odyssey in Latin America will be happening again in Geneva! A special program, FILMARcito, will be offered to young viewers and families. Be sure to check their website soon – the detailed program is available here.

November 29 – January 13
Geneva Lux

Adorable thing about December in Geneva is that apart of some Christmas decorations, the city is decorated with Christmas-unrelated colourful illuminated works of art. This outdoor exposition is called Geneva Lux. Each piece of art is created especially for this occasion. They are placed in different parts of the city of Geneva. How about a treasure hunt to find them all? More info here.

December 1-3
Nordic Christmas Brunch & DIY
For mums & children aged 0-3
HYGGE – DESIGN ENFANTS/ATELIER DIY
3 Rue des Rois
Geneva

You are invited to experience the real Nordic Christmas magic together with Nordic Taste and HYGGE! You are welcome to bring your baby or small child along and join us for a wonderful Nordic brunch. While you are eating and enjoying our brunch, you can have fun with our DIY workshop decorating Christmas cookies made by Nordic Taste, and at the same time learn how to make beautiful Nordic Christmas decorations. Kids can participate in the workshop or if you prefer they can play in a cosy playing area with the beautiful Nordic children’s products by HYGGE. You can choose between 2 days and 5 time slots: Saturday, Dec 1, 10h-12h; Sunday Dec 2, 10h-12h & 13h-15h; Monday Dec 3, 10h-12h & 13h-15h. To book your spot email at info@nordictaste.ch. The cost of the brunch and a workshop together is 65 CHF. More information on Nordic Taste’s website.

Weekend, December 1-2
Batiment du Force Motrice
The birthday of the Orchestre Suisse Romande (OSR)

A weekend full of musical pleasures for young and not so young will be organised in BFM. Concerts for little munchkins, bigger kids, musical instruments to try out, DIY workshops, and much more. Not to miss, #parentvillerecommended! For the whole program, please download this pdf.

December 1, 10-13h
Clothes library

Place du Rondeau 4 (1er étage)
1227 Carouge.

Vet’Lok is a library that rents children’s clothes. Check out their event on December 1st or December 15th in Carouge and decide whether you would like to become a member of this planet-friendly and family-friendly association. The membership is 30CHF for six months (or 60 for a year) and lets you 15 pieces of clothing as often as you like. It’s like being able to dress your kid in new outfits every week, or every day if you wish. Just brilliant! Check out their event either on Facebook or on their website.

December 1
La Librerit
1 bis Place du marché
1227 Carouge

A great occasion to visit this lovely bookshop in Carouge, that very often hosts activities for children. On December 1 all kids aged 7+ are invited to come and create their advent calendar. It will start at 15h30 and last till 17h. Number of places is limited, please reserve your spot with the host. More info here.

December 1, 10h & 11h
Bibi Café
Creative workshop with Recrécréa

Bibi Café is not only the most kid-friendly cafe (and lunch place) in the region, it is also a place offering workshops and activities for kids, and sometimes moms.

On December 1 Bibi Café will host Recrécréa with a creative upcycling workshop. At 10 am kids aged 2-5 are invited to take part with an accompanying adult for 25 CHF. Later at 11 am it’s time for 4-8-year-olds (20 CHF workshop only, 27 CHF (a drink, a meal, and a cookie included). More info here.

December 1-24
Carouge
Noel a Carouge

Hard to describe in few sentences as the city of Carouge planned so many small and big things for the Christmas period! The advent calendar, carriage rides, big carousel, ice skating rink, pony rides, the Christmas market (December 7-9), workshops for kids, theatre shows, concerts, and much much more. You will find some of these events mentioned separately, but if you would like to consult the whole program download the pdf here.

Sunday, December 2, anytime between 14h and 17h
MEG
Grand-Bazar: Amulettes et talismans, 2+

Successful exams, finding love, winning football, protecting yourself from the flu or attracting luck? This Grand Bazaar is dedicated to protective and lucky charms! In Africa, regardless of religious affiliation, amulets are worn to protect against diseases and evil spirits, or to attract success and luck. Come and make your object of protection and choose what power it will be endowed! More info here.

Sunday, December 2, 15h, 15h30, 16h, 16h30, 17h
MEG
Grand-Bazar: Le Baby Bazar, 0-2-year-olds

Babies are active in the Grand Bazaar! The Espace Musical, a specialised music school, takes up residence in the Atelier du MEG. The 0-2 year-olds and the adults who accompany them will explore different sound worlds, thanks to instruments from all over the world adapted to tiny hands! Each session lasts 20 minutes. More info here.

December 2-19
Various locations
Black Movie Festival, age: 4+

Grand Cinema for the little ones is the autumn edition of the annual Black Movie, which usually takes place in January. It is addressed to children aged 4+. To end the year smoothly, it is the snow that will be celebrated in this pre-winter selection of enchanting and hilarious short movies. What are the films about? A tale of a baby hedgehog who faces all the dangers to find his family, an icy marathon at the North Pole; and Father Frimas, an old man with magical powers who watches over the spirit of Christmas. More info here.

Sunday, December 2; 16h
Fondation Baur
“Fabriquer ton dragon chinois” kids workshop, 6+

A guided visit for kids aged 6+ in the Chinese section of Fondation Baur. First children will be taken to see the dragons in the museum’s rooms discover their meaning and secrets. After that, they will be invited to create a dragon of their dreams! The whole workshop will last 1h30; participation cost is 20 CHF per child (free for accompanying adult). Please register in advance at mediation@fondationbaur.ch. More details here.

Monday, December 3, 14h
Bibi Café
Duplo workshop

Parent-child workshop for 3-5 years old with Bricks 4 Kidz® from 14h to 15h at the Bibi Café. Come and build a Bricks 4 Kidz® model with DUPLO® bricks as a family! More about Bricks 4 Kidz Geneva Rive Droite here.

Wednesday, December 5, 14h
Musee de Carouge
A kids workshop

As a part of the “Christa de Carouge” exposition, the Museum of Carouge proposes a children’s workshop. Led by Atelier Nolita, children will play with the graphic lines of the Christa de Carouge’s clothes. It will start with discovering the exhibition, after which aspiring artists aged 4-12 will create textile objects themselves. More info here.

Wednesday, December 5, 15h.
MEG
Meet the Birdwife: An object, a sound, a story
For kids 6+ with an accompanying adult.

Every first Wednesday of the month, the MEG invites you to discover the treasures of the Museum, from its exhibitions to its library. This month, explore the magico-religious universe of Africa by listening to the story of Hatiam and Kalita. Divination, sorcery, amulets, will invite you the enchanting and musical world presented in the exhibition “Afrique. Les religions de l’extase”. More details here.

Wednesday, December 5, 16h15
MAMCO
Fun for kids

For little ones aged 2-4 (with an accompanying adult) an artistic awakening course entitled “Mirror, tell me”. It will be held in French and last 20 minutes. For older children aged 5-10 Mamco prepared an interactive guided tour entitled ”Dans ma maison je mets…”. Accompanying adult is required, the tour will last 45 minutes. To know more what’s happening in MAMCO at the moment click here.

Wednesday, December 5, 15h
MAH
Pétards et chocolats: guided visit

Musée d’Arts et d’Histoire de Genève has a famous and rich program of activities for kids of different ages. This time, this interactive guided tour will take kids ages 6-10, to discover… what do you think looking at the title? Free, without registration. Here’s your link.

Wednesday, December 5, 15h30
Centre d’Art Contemporain
Akademinis

Families are invited on a journey through each of the Centre’s exhibition, with visits punctuated by creative and original activities. Activity is free but requires a reservation by phone (022 329 18 42) or email publics@centre.ch. And here’s their website.

December 6-19
Lancy en lumières

Each year three places in the city of Lancy are selected to participate in this end-of-the-year light show. This year it will be the Skateplaza (interactive installation), Salle communale du Petit Lancy, and Eglise du Christ-roi (a mapping show). Also to see: Place des Ormeau Ar-Lancy. Urban space taken over by digital art designers turns everyday places into means of expression. Nothing left to do but take a walk around Lancy to discover the beauty of light, your kids will love it (even more if you stop for a hot chocolate). More details here.

Thursday, December 6, 10 am
Bibi Cafe
Creative workshop (for adults)

Jessica from “Mères-Veilleuses” will host a workshop during each you can create your Christmas wreath made of felt and eucalyptus. A perfect event for moms of small babies, that look for a fun, socializing event that can be attended with a child. To register please use this link.

December 6-9
Concours Hippique International de Genève
Palexpo

Calling all the parents of horse passionate children! Created in 1926, the Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI) is one of the world’s most prestigious equestrian competitions and it is happening again in Palexpo! Kids enjoy watching the show, taking a stroll down to the stables, or simply looking at the all equestrian accessories sold at the venue. On Saturday the 8th, at 11:45 pony initiations will take place in the attractions area. More information on CHI official website.

Thursday, December 6
Saint Nicolas Day

Gymboree Geneva
Rue Sonnex 23
Grand Saconnex

On this Thursday Gymboree is opened to all kids aged 6 months to 5 years, and their parents, for free. Come and discover the playful world of Gymbo the clown, the great soft play area with obstacle courses, and more. Here’s the plan: 14h-15h & 15h50-17h00 – open PlayGym, 15h-15h45 – Family Play&Learn class, 16h15-17h00 – Family music class. Oh! And if you sign up for Gymboree fun on that day, the registration fee is 0 CHF. Gymboree is mine and Z favourite place for babies and tots in Geneva, #parentvillerecommended, #approvedbyZ. More about Gymboree Geneva here.

December 6 – 31
Park Bastion
Noël aux Bastions, age: 0-100

A real Christmas market in Geneva this year is looking great: street food, fondue chalet, carrousels,  face painting, ice skating, carriage rides, and… a kids chalet with bricolages, workshops, and special fun on will be open every day at market hours. The little visitors can dive into DIY projects, play or just read Christmas stories in a comfortable and well-heated yurt. All the special activities are listed below in this agenda. You can also consult all the program here.

December 6 & 7
Christmas Market
TotUp Creche
Avenue des Morgines 12
1213 Geneva

TotUP and Geneve Business Center are happy to invite you to a Christmas market on December 6th and 7th, 2018!
A wonderful opportunity to find gifts for the whole family! More than 20 stands and 40 brands will be waiting for you. A bonus: foie gras and vin chaud. Find out more on Facebook.

Friday, December 7
Jonction
Organized by MEG

The grand parade of Father Fouettard and Chauchevieille celebrates its 40th anniversary this year! Go to Parc Gourgas to form the procession that will cross the district of La Jonction and make a festive stopover at the MEG, before returning to the park for a pleasant dinner. More information on the Museum’s website.

December 8
La Fanfare Magique
Concert for families
Salle Frank Martin, Geneva

The 6th season of Geneva Camerata is filled with magic, and so is this concert. Once upon a time, there was a fabulous fanfare that could, by playing a few musical notes, transform disasters into funny, joyful and crazy events … But where do these mysterious musicians come from and how did they receive their magical powers? Come and find out, and already pencil in the next dates: February 2, and March 23rd. Book your tickets here.

December 8-9, 14h, 16h
Parc des Bastions
Swiss Food Academy

At 14h kids will decorate their Christmas trees with… flavours! At 16h it will be a story time accompanied by a healthy Christmas snack (so that you don’t feel guilty to snack on chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate for the rest of your visit to Bastions). To book your place, please contact the Academy at contact@swissfoodacademy.ch.

Saturday, December 8, 9:30 am – 11:30 am.
Bibi Cafe
Bricks 4 Kidz Workshop

Bibi Cafe and Bricks 4 Kidz got together to offer you a chance of kids-free Christmas shopping. While you help Santa prepare, your kids will construct motorised models and will not even notice the time pass. Cost: 45 CHF. The registration link is here.

Wednesday, December 12, 14h
MEG
The blind workshop, for 6+ and an adult

Discover the exhibition “Afrique. Les religions de l’extase” by soliciting your different senses, before participating in a blind workshop. In a tactile approach, realise your box of memories, inspired by the reliquaries of Gabon to approach death otherwise. Price: 8-12 CHF. Book your place online here or directly at the museum.

Wednesday, December 12, 14h & 18h
Noël aux Bastions
Gingerbread workshop

The famous Cuppin’s offers a workshop to decorate little gingerbread men with your children.

Wednesday, December 12, 15h
MAH
Pétards et chocolats: guided visit

Musée d’Arts et d’Histoire de Genève has a famous and rich program of activities for kids of different ages. This time, this interactive guided tour will take kids ages 6-10, to discover… what do you think looking at the title? Free, without registration.

Thursday, December 13, 14h-16h
Afternoon drop-in
Cabinet d’Accueil Perinatal

Ana (child psychiatrist) and Laetitia (mid-wife and osteopath) will be there to answer all your questions about child development, breastfeeding, sleep, and your health. Come and chat with them (in French, Portuguese or English) and with other new parents. Scales for baby available. Play area for babies and small children. More information www.caperinatal.net

Friday, December 14
MAH
Visite à petits pas: Is the museum a zoo?

A guided visit at the Musée d’Arts et d’Histoire de Genève for children aged 3-5, accompanied by an adult. It will last 30 mins, is free of charge, and no reservation is required.

Friday, December 14, 14h.
Balade avec bébé
For new parents with their babies and parents-to-be

Once a month, Catherine will lead you on a gentle walk through the streets and parks of Geneva (with a visit to a playground if there are small children with us), finishing at a café. The walk is a chance to meet other parents, to chat about life in Geneva and life as a parent. The participation fee is 5 CHF PER YEAR (nope, no mistakes there). More details here.

Wednesday, December 15, 14h-17h
Noel aux Bastions
Stamps with Godzilab, 4+

Creative mini-workshop for the family: children from 4 years old accompanied by an adult. A fun workshop to realise from A to Z your personalised stamps. On your marks? Make, ink and dab!

Saturday, December 15
Bibi Cafe
Christmas market

Again, Bibi Café! I told you it’s a fantastic place with a rich program! On Saturday 15th come to enjoy the Christmas market and discover local books (“ABC Geneva” included!), clothes, bijou, food, and more! Between 2 pm and 3 pm Santa will visit Bibi to chat with your kids and take pics. The market will start at 15h and last till 19h. Come and say hi!

Saturday, December 15, 16h & 18h
Noël aux Bastions
Gingerbread workshop

The famous Cuppin’s offers a workshop to decorate little gingerbread men with your children. Fee: 4 CHF.

Saturday & Sunday, December 15-16, 14h
Noel aux Bastions
Swiss Food Academy workshop

Mini chefs workshop with a special recipe for energy balls. Places are limited: first come, first served.

Saturday, December 15, 16h30
Place Molard
Candles by Caritas Suisse

Tens of thousands of candles will be lit in solidarity with people living in poverty. The event will happen across all Switzerland. In Geneva, it will take place at Place du Molard.

Saturday, December 15, 12h45-14h45
Noël aux Bastions
Meeting with Santa

What a chance to meet Santa in person! Do not miss the opportunity to meet him with your children during his walk in the Market and his visit to the children’s Yurt.

Saturday, December 15, 16h
Maison de Quartier Le Spot
île MaZik

ZikiZik on his island MaZik, it’s magic! Fun songs and catchy music for the whole family. For dad and mom, granny and grandpa, uncle and aunty. But also for the nanny, cousins and neighbours. A dynamic, poetic and playful, and a little crazy universe, where even vegetables have their time on the scene! Staring the actress-singer Ziki and her musicians. Registration is obligatory, phone only: 022 348 96 78.

December 16
Creative upcycling workshop by Espace Colibri and Recrecrea, 6+
Un R de Famille
Rue Goetz-Monin 10, 1205 Genève

In collaboration with Récrécréa, Espace Colibri invites you to a creative workshop that combines DIY, eco-friendly practice and re-use. This workshop is an opportunity to highlight the interest of recycling and an open mind on the second life of an object. Through the journey between manipulation and creativity, the child will stimulate his sensory faculties and his imagination. Each child will be able to realize his work from materials resulting from the recovery. The activity is destined for kids aged 6+. More information on Facebook.

Sunday, December 16, 13h & 16h-18h
Noel aux Bastions
Les comptes du «SACRÉ PÈRE NOËL!», 4+

Storyteller Caroline Langendorf presents her show “Sacred Santa! “. Little stories of 20 minutes at once funny, surprising and original.

Sunday, December 16, 15h30
Centre d’Art Contemporain
Akademinis

Families are invited on a journey through each of the Centre’s exhibition, with visits punctuated by creative and original activities. Activity is free but requires reservation, on Friday the latest,  by phone (022 329 18 42) or email publics@centre.ch.

Sunday, December 16, 14h
MEG
Tunique Magique, 6+

What is the meaning of clothes, and t-shirts in particular? They cover our bodies, but they also protect us and identify us. Brands, logos or colourful patterns? Tie or crest of superheroes? Turtleneck or V-neck? Discover the objects of protection presented in the exhibition “Afrique. Les religions de l’extase” with your kids. After the visit, you will participate in a workshop to create your own protective dress/shirt/top. Price 8-12 CHF. Please make the reservation in advance either on the Museum’s website or directly at the MEG’s ticket office.

Monday, Decembre 17, 13h30-15.30
Babytalk
Breastfeeding support group (in English)

The topic for this week will be Christmas and other end-of-year festivities. Will you be going “home” for the holidays, or will the family be coming to visit? What are you most looking forward to? What are you dreading? Can you have a glass of champagne to bring in the new year? How will you deal with “helpful” suggestions about why the baby is crying? How will your baby cope with being passed from one loving relative to another? Find out more here.

Wednesday, December 19, 15h
MAH
Les Batailles de Hodler

Musée d’Arts et d’Histoire de Genève has a famous and rich program of activities for kids of different ages. This time, this interactive guided tour will take kids ages 6-10, to discover Ferdinand Hodler’s art. Free, without registration.

Wednesday, December 19, 15h30
Centre d’Art Contemporain
Akademinis

Families are invited on a journey through each of the Centre’s exhibition, with visits punctuated by creative and original activities. Activity is free but requires reservation, by phone (022 329 18 42) or email publics@centre.ch.

Saturday, December 22, 13h & 16h-18h
Noël aux Bastions
Les comptes du «SACRÉ PÈRE NOËL!», 4+

Storyteller Caroline Langendorf presents her show “Sacred Santa! “. Short stories of 20 minutes at once funny, surprising and original.

Sunday, December 23, 14h30-16h30
Noel aux Bastions
Meeting with Santa

What a chance to meet Santa in person! Do not miss the opportunity to meet him with your children during his walk in the Market and his visit to the children’s Yurt.

Sunday, December 23, 13h & 14h30
Noel aux Bastions
Mrs Potter And The Snow, 3+

Have you ever wondered where the snow comes from? Come to listen to the enchanted story of “Mrs Potter and the Snow” read in English by Fariza Ahmadova. For adults and children from 3 years old.

Thursday, December 27, 14h-17h
Noël aux Bastions
Stamps with Godzilab, 4+

Creative mini-workshop for the family: children from 4 years old accompanied by an adult. A fun workshop to realize from A to Z your personalized stamps. On your marks? Make, ink and dab!

THEATRE SHOWS

Till December 2, and from December 27 till January 5, 2019
ZOT COMPAGNIE
Casse-Noisette

Older Clara tells the story of an adventure she experienced on Christmas Eve as a child. Her grandfather gave offered her a beautiful toy: a nutcracker. Fritz, hes turbulent little brother, immediately took the nutcracker and broke it. Clara very sad had fallen asleep and had embarked on an incredible journey seating on the living room carpet, that turned out to be a flying carpet. Here’s the Zot’s website where you can find out about timings, prices, and book your tickets.

December 1, 20h
Salle du Lignon
Spring – Gandini Juggling, 8+

For this new creation, Sean Gandini collaborates with the contemporary choreographer Alexander Whitley. SPRING is an adventurous and kaleidoscopic production, which addresses the reflection of the choreographic act. The approaches to juggling and modern dance will come close to each other, to complement each other and to dialogue: one aerial and elusive, the other earthly and anchored in the ground. Here’s the link to the show’s website.

December 1-2
Theatre AmStramGram
We are Monchini, 7+

Shihya Peng was born in Taiwan but lives in Paris. Marco di Nardo was born in Naples but lives in Berlin. How to meet when we have good reasons to avoid each other? How to get along when the ramparts are high? Which language to choose? What to do in the face of clutter caused by cultural stereotypes?

Here, bodies have their irony, their desire for joy, sometimes their melancholy. Shihya Peng and Marco Di Nardo tend their bodies, like two distorting mirrors, where one discovers oneself more than one recognises oneself. They wear, fly, fall, do not support each other, then get up and walk together.

For show’s hours, prices, and more details, please visit AmStramGram’s website.

December 5-23
Theatre des Marionettes Geneve
La Poupée Cassée
des 4 ans

This show tells a story about a little Mexican girl, who grew up to be internationally famous – Frida Kahlo. Lively, curious and a little daring, Frida loves to climb trees and play acrobats with her capuchin monkey. Lulled by the laughter, the cries of birds and the murmur of water, the little Mexican lives a carefree and happy childhood in the lush garden of Casa Azul. A perfect idyll, if she did not feel the pain always more insistent in the right leg caused by Polio and a bus accident. For more details visit the Theater’s website.

December 8, 20h
Salle du Lignon,
Petites Histoires.com, 8+

Directed by Kader Attou, one of the essential figures of French hip-hop, Petites histoires.com mixes performance, emotion and music in a new and unexpected way. For Petites histoires.com, Kader Attou imagines a show composed of many small pieces. Some tell stories, others are more abstract. The things of life, as well as the news, have always nourished the work of the choreographer. Moving from one story to another, jumping from cock to donkey, mixing performance, emotion, musicality in a rather burlesque show! More details here.

December 9
Theatre le Caveau
Les Contes Spontanes, 5+

This show is different each time, because the story depends on the public. As the actors come on stage they have nothing to tell, they need the audience to make the story, and so it is the children who decide on the characters, an era, a place, the emotions, and more. The actors create a unique show filled with laughter, sharing, and complicity. The stories that emerge are accompanied by original music. More details here.

till December 11
Simply Theater
The Snow Queen

When it’s getting too cold, wet, and dark to spend time with kids outdoors, the theatre is always a good choice. Each year the Simply Theater prepares a seasonal show, and we are safe to say that this year’s winter season this year will begin in this English-speaking theatre in Versoix with their winter musical show – “The Snow Queen”. This adaptation of timeless classic Hans Christian Andersen’s story will transfer children into the enchanted world. More info here.

Till December 16
Théâtre Töpffer
Hansel and Gretel

Adaptation of a popular fairytale for the whole family. It is played in the Théâtre Töpffer on Wednesdays at 15h, and on weekends at 15h30. The production will be shown two time on Sunday December 16 (at 14h and 17h). Book your tickets by calling 0227035125 or 0792192071.

Till December 19
Théâtre de Gaspard, av. des Tilleuls 21.
Christmas show

Theatre de Gaspard invites all kids aged 4+ for a series of 2 puppet shows. They are played every Wednesday at 4pm and every Sunday at 11am and 4pm. Till December 9 enjoy the show entitled “Nigg Nogg. Celui qui vient de loin”. From December 12 till 19, a different show will be served on the scene, about Christmas this time: “Noel. L’histoire de Noel”. Entry: 5 CHf for kids, 10 for adults. A bit more about the show here.

Why many parents in Geneva choose public schools?

Why many parents in Geneva choose public schools?

Why anyone would consider public schools in Geneva as the right choice for their children?

Many private schools in Geneva offer fabulous programs, with a rich program of high-quality after-school activities, trips to fascinating places, and individualised care.

Of course, international schools are probably best for those kids who change countries every couple of years. The international system will make it easier for them to continue wherever they go. But even for those coming here for just a year or two, the answer is not always straightforward.

For many families, this choice does not exist due to budget limits. Many dream they could place their children in one of many excellent private schools but can’t afford it without going on a 100% potato diet for life.

So why is it that so many parents in choose public schools in Geneva, even though they don’t have to?

I didn’t want to guess, so I asked the parents on 2 of Parentville’s Facebook groups precisely that. I received an overwhelming amount of private messages, and here’s a roundup of what they said (in random order).

Integration

While many private schools teach children about local history, traditions, and culture, integration means more. It means knowing locals. Public school offers precisely that. It gives parents the opportunity to meet other local parents, and kids to meet their neighbors, as they will always attend the school close to their home. It is the best integration process according to many, and it’s free.

Diversity

One of the parents wrote: “I want my children to learn in a truly diverse environment, not in a bubble (as this is how I see most private schools, especially in rich Switzerland). One of my challenges as a parent is to make them aware that an average human on this planet lives in completely different conditions than they are. I want them to know that they are lucky to be born here and to have everything they could dream of. I want them to appreciate that, and at the same time to do whatever they can to help those in a less fortunate situation.”

Quality

Public schools in Geneva are good. Period. They are not great, not Swedish, not perfect – but which school is? Public schools in Geneva are simply good. Many parents refuse to pay high allowances for primary school, and instead, prefer to save that money for the university, or sabbatical year, or invest in great after-school activities. Many expats are terrified upon finding out that kids here do not learn how to write and read till they are 6-7 years old. But this has proven to be nothing but beneficial (LINK) for children (and the same has been done for years in many north and east-European countries). Here’s how Switzerland is doing in Pisa.

Social life

Children attend schools on a straightforward rule: the closest school to home. It means more probability that the way to school will be easy so that kids can try to walk on their own rather sooner than later. It also means they will meet tons of friends from their neighbourhood at the school. And that translates into hours of fun after school, on weekends, and even over the summer! At a very early age, they can become members of the local community and bring whole families closer. Strictly connected to point no 2 (integration).

Practicalities

School being close to home means drop offs and collection are easy. It also means neighbours can help each other out when needed! And have I mentioned making friends in the hood?

Language

No language course can never teach you a language like life can. Teachers will teach them the official language, but their friends will show them the customs, the nuances, the kiddy slang, the teen slang. It all will make them native speakers in a very natural way.

Higher education

Some of the parents participating in my research pointed out that not all private schools offer diplomas allowing them to attend Swiss universities, or even the vocational training program (which in Switzerland is quite amazing!). It does not mean it is impossible for them to get to local schools, it is just more complicated. Public schools graduates apparently have easier access to local universities, and at the same time can apply for abroad programs no problem. I haven’t personally checked that information. If you have any input on that, I will highly appreciate!

It is by no means an article pointing out which school is better. Private schools have plenty of advantages! Just sometimes they are presented to incoming expats as the only right decision. There is no right or wrong here. Each system has different strengths.

A big thank you to all those who participated via comments, email, and private messages! It was fantastic to meet you virtually and hear your point of view!

Please, do not hesitate to comment/msg/email with your thoughts, no matter what they are!

Other articles you might be interested in:
November in Geneva with kids (2018)

November in Geneva with kids (2018)

Once again Parentville is here to prove that there is no such thing as a dull period in this region! Never. Make yourself a cuppa of something warm before you start reading about this year’s extremely family friendly November in Geneva.

When I say Geneva, I mean the canton, not the only the city. There’s plenty going on in Thonex, Meyrin, Vernier, and other municipalities of the canton. They are all easily accessible with public transport – even the “campagne genevoise”.

For a detailed list of each weekend’s family-friendly activities, head over to Instagram and follow Parentville! The weekend activities are posted every Friday in the Instagram stories.

@Parentvillegva

SOUND AND LIGHT SHOW
Till November 21
Park Bastion
For ages: 0-100

We can’t wait for this event! On the occasion of 18th Wright Colloquium, the Wright Foundation will organise a magnificent mapping spectacle – a sound and light show.

The scene will take the form of the facade of the Uni Bastion central, the oldest building of UNIGE in Parc Bastions. The theme of this year’s edition is gravity and universal attraction.

3 weeks, 3 shows a day, the first one at 18h – long enough before bedtime to let the kids enjoy it too. I assure you this is an unforgettable experience for them. They can watch a mesmerising show, dance to the music and stock up on new images to fuel their imagination.

Find out more about this event by visiting the website of the 18th Wright Colloquium.

The History of Science Museum
till September 15 2019

A new exhibition in the Science History Museum was launched in October. It is all about machines that help us carry weight. Come and find out how they differ, how they work, and how to put them in use. The devices presented are those used to carry specific weights. Don’t miss this possibility to come and try lifting some of these weights to find out how simple machines work.

Also, don’t forget to note down the 3 dates of exhibition-related kids workshops: November 21, and February 13. If you can’t make it on these dates, the Science History Museum organises kids activities almost every Wednesday. It can make for a beautiful day with a walk by the lake, activities in the museum, and picnic in the park – or is this a bit too ambitious?

FYI: the museum is not very accessible with strollers/wheelchairs: there are steps, and no lift to take you up to the first floor.

The Art of The Brick
Till January 6
Palexpo

You still have several months to visit the Lego sculptures exhibition in Palexpo, and get inspired for life. Just remember that with Halloween, Escalade, and Christmas, time will fly fast and before you know it all Lego will be packed and on the plane back to the US. Oh! Did I mention Bricks 4 Kidz is hosting Lego workshops in Palexpo? Yep! 1h workshop will be available on the following days at 14h30 and 16h: November 4, 11, 17, 18. More details about the workshops here.

AUTOMNALES
November 2-11
Palexpo

Like every year in November, Automnales in Palexpo is where you can go to stay dry, warm, and have some fun. A fall festival of Geneva has plenty of fun waiting for the kids: from a “school on the farm”, through the inflatable playground, laser games, escape games, all to the Wednesday the 7th of November with a introduction to scrabble, and some organizational tips for kids. Also not to forget the accompanying International Dogs competition and Cat World Cup, that all kids will love!

My tip: check the parallel expos to find an event crafted for your family: dogs, cats, Japan, dance, lake, or mountains. Absolutely #parentvillerecommended !

ARIANA MUSEUM OF CERAMICS
November 3
Musee Ariana
For ages 2-4

When a museum of ceramics host activities for kids aged 2-4, I’m instantly intrigued. Small kids and porcelain sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Enrol your child to one of the 3 sessions in the Ariana Museum this month and see for yourself!

This month kids will explore optical illusions (fr. trompe-l’oeil) while discovering fruits and vegetables in the museum’s collection. They will also have the chance to create their own optical illusions!
Reservation required.

MOUSTACHE – THEATRE SHOW
November 3-4
Salle du Lignon

The city of Vernier is becoming more and more famous for its rich cultural program, including the offer for children. In November kids are invited to discover the world of moustaches through a puppet show! A world where houses, trees, pebbles, clouds, stars, birds, dads, moms, grandpas, grannies, Marcel’s little sister, Archibald’s cat and even the sleeping princesses have whiskers that grow! One character doesn’t have it though, he runs and tries to catch one. In other words, it is a show about identity and differences. For children aged 5+ and their families. You can find the hours, prices, and more details about this show on this website.

CAT WORLD CUP
November 3-4
Palexpo

Are you a cat person? A unique Cat World Cup will be taking place in Palexpo during the Automnales. This Autumn Swiss World Cup was created on the occasion of the 85 years of the Cat Club Geneva. Many activities await cat lovers: cage decorating, presentations of breeds, games around the cat universe, and guided tours.

LES CONTES SPONTANES
November 4
Theatre le Caveau
For ages 5+

This show is different each time because the story depends on the public. As the actors come on stage they have nothing to tell, they need the audience to make the story, and so it is the children who decide on the characters, an era, a place, the emotions, and more.

The actors create a unique show filled with laughter, sharing, and cooperation. The stories that emerge are accompanied by original music. For more details check out the show’s website.

EXPAT EXPO
November 4
Starling Hotel

Although it is not a kid-oriented event, it is an interesting expo for the English-speaking (not necessarily native) community in Geneva. Parents can discover businesses, projects, and brands created by fellow expats, and kids can enjoy bouncy castles, face painting, and balloon sculptures. Whole families can also enjoy the live shows prepared for the expo, including Bollywood dance. You can find info about all the stands, and accompanying events on the Expat Expo official website.

UN R DE FAMILLE
November 4
Family Brunch and a Pop-up dressing

A Sunday brunch hosted by the best family friendly restaurant in the city, where kids will play under a watchful eye of a nanny. The brunch will consist of a buffet filled with fresh, local, and seasonal produce. Un R de Famille is well known for its good quality cuisine. Kids up to the age of 2 don’t pay, and those aged between 2 and 14 pay 2 chf per year of age. Cost for adults is 35 chf. Reservation is required (by phone only: 022 328 22 23). A bit more details can be found on Facebook’s event page.

The restaurant is fully accessible to people with reduced mobility, but it is better to inform the restaurant when you will arrive, so they can prepare the ramp.

ICE SKATING FEAST
November 4
Vernets, Vergers

Ice skating feast is coming up, so sharpen your blades, get your warm clothes out of the basement, and have some sliding fun! It’s the best winter sport that you can always practice without leaving the city, and this event is great to start the adventure!

People of ages and levels will have the ability to try out figure skating, ice hockey, and other activities! You can also just watch demonstrations of various ice sports. A DJ will be there throughout the day to assure the festive atmosphere.

The Festival will take place at both Vernets, and Vergers skating rinks. For more details click here.

BLACK MOVIE – GRAND CINEMA FOR THE LITTLE ONES
November 7-20
Various locations
Ages 4+

To cultivate one’s dreams and overcome one’s fears is Black movies Automnales’ mantra for November. Grand Cinema for the little ones is the autumn edition of the annual Black Movie, which usually takes place in January. It is addressed to children aged 4+. Throughout four months, 19 short films from 15 countries will be presented during projections in different locations, including Grütli, Grand-Lancy, Meyrin, Bernex, Onex, Plan-les-Ouates, and Chêne-Bourg.

Each month the films will be exploring a different theme, in November: soil. 6 short films from the Czech Republic, Japan, Iran, India, and France telling stories about digging up bones, planting candy in hope to see a tree emerge, and more.

CHRISTA DE CAROUGE
Wednesday, November 7 14h
Musée de Carouge
Ages 4-11

As a part of the “Christa de Carouge” exposition, the Museum of Carouge proposes a children’s workshop. Led by Atelier Nolita, children will play with the graphic lines of the Christa de Carouge’s clothes. It will start with discovering the exhibition, after which aspiring artists aged 4-12 will create textile objects themselves.

PAS DE CHATON, DANCE
Thursday, November 8
Pas de Chaton, Plainpalais
Ages 3-5

How about a free dance session for your little one? Pas de Chaton, a new dance school for kids, will be hosting an open day, during which kids aged 3-5 will be able to try their courses. Participation is free, but donations are welcome (they will all go the Association Dansehabile). The courses aim to develop the rhythm, coordination, and corporal expression of the child. These courses prepare the children for the technical learning of classical and modern dance that they can start at the age of 6 (the school also offers classes for those aged 6+).

Dance Games Course for 3-4-year-olds will start at 17h15 and last 45 minutes. The Pre-dance course for 4-5-year-olds will begin at 18h15 and also last 45 minutes. More details on Facebook.

For a detailed list of each weekend’s family-friendly activities, head over to Instagram and follow Parentville! The weekend activities are posted every Friday in the Instagram stories.

@Parentvillegva

THE NIGHT OF THE TALE
(La Nuit du Conte)
November 9
Various locations

The storytelling night on an autumn evening, cuddling with parents while listening to the tale – it seems like a perfect night for me! This event was created back in 1995, and since then traditionally takes place on the second Friday of November in all Switzerland. The goal is simple: to promote reading on a daily basis by bringing children and adults together around the pleasure of storytelling. In Geneva, storytelling event will take place in Ferme Sarasin (Grand-Saconnex), the Natural History Museum, Maison de Quartier in Carouge, Maison Verte & Quartier in Grottes, Maison Onésienne, Foyer Béthel, Résidence Butini, and Crèche Rondin-Picotin.

The entry is free of charge. You can find the whole program here.

GENEVA DOG SHOW
November 9-11
Palexpo

Are you a dog person? If yes, around 5000 dogs of 250 breeds and 27 countries will be waiting for you in Palexpo! The Geneva Dog Show is a competition with many categories. Check the program, but if you want to go just for the sake of the dogs’ cuteness, it doesn’t matter which day and what time you’ll get there. More activities will, of course, be happening on the weekend, including kids/parents workshop on Sunday at 11h (biting accidents prevention).

AUTUMN BOOK SALE
November 9-11
The Library in English

The traditional autumn book sale will take place in November! This is an must-attend event for all those looking for books in English for their kids, and themselves. On the sale: second-hand books, CDs, DVDs, and games.  At the Sale there are thousands of second-hand English-language books – adult, junior, fiction and non-fiction. Also available: children’s books in French and other languages! The tea-room will be opened during the sale, so you can enjoy your new book quickly with a cuppa tea.

EXPLORACENTRE – THE GRAND OPENING
November 10
Ages 3+

A new, absolutely fabulous place is opening up in Geneva! Destined for kids aged 3+, Exploracentre is a perfect mix of a museum, play centre, and a science paradise. Unlike in a museum, everything can be touched, as in a play centre everything is playful, and as in science paradise, it is all about science. It is Parentville’s top pick for this month and months to follow!

FAMILY-FRIENDLY SHOPPING BRUNCH
November 10-11
Mes Pulls Font La Manche
Café les Volontaires

Mes Pulls Font La Manche proves that shopping, brunch, and kids can go all together hand in hand! It’s a travelling vide-dressing accompanied by drinks and food. On November 11th it will also be partnered up with a tasty brunch made with love with seasonal produce, and a nanny to entertain your kids. Hundreds of clothes, a “you set the price” corner, many creators. All this in a lovely Café les Volontaires. You can find all about this event here.

LES CREATIVES
November 13-25
Various locations

The 14th edition of this national festival of women and feminism is looking absolutely brilliant! For 13 days many events will take place across the canton, including 3 events for the young public.You can find the program here, or read forward about the events for young audiences. On Sunday November 18 at 11h and 15h, a spectacle in the Manège d’Onex. On Saturday 24 at 11h, kids aged 6+ are invited to very feminine stories by Vi Indigaïa in Café Nénuphar in Vernier (storytime will be followed by brunch!). On November 25 the famous Bulle d’Aire will take over with two activities: sound painting at 9h30, and Music box at 10h30.

HÄNSEL AND GRETEL
November 14
Maison de Quartiers de Chêne-Bourg

Famine reigns in the country and misery hardens hearts. Hänsel and Gretel are abandoned in the depths of the forest and discover a curious little gingerbread house. They nibble with delight, unaware that it belongs to a terrible witch, who eats children…

This traditional tale belongs to our cultural heritage and is rich in a multitude of teachings. Embellished with simple, sober and colorful decorations for the best effect, it will speak to both the small and big! More info on ColorMyGeneva.

FILMAR
November 16 – December 2

A 20th cinematic odyssey in Latin America will be happening again in Geneva! A special program, FILMARcito, will be offered to young viewers and families. Be sure to check their website soon – the detailed program will be announced on October 30 on this website.

For a detailed list of each weekend’s family-friendly activities, head over to Instagram and follow Parentville! The weekend activities are posted every Friday in the Instagram stories.

@Parentvillegva

LA FABRIQUE DU MONDE
November 17
Forum Meyrin
Workshop for ages 8+

An ongoing exhibition “La Fabrique du Monde” proposes somewhat topographic activities for children aged 8+ around the sculpture “L’Enfance de plie” – a landscape work placed in front of the “l’école des Boudines.

The workshop for children will start with the tour of the exhibition and then move outside to the “L’enfance du pli”. Children will make a map of an imaginary landscape. While the world is all about 3D, the activities will help kids transform 3D into 2D.

On other days, everybody is invited to come and explore this intriguing landscape-piece-of-art, to run on the curves, and see how they play synchronously with the surrounding mountains.

OSR FAMILY-FRIENFLY CONCERT
November 17
Victoria Hall

It is never to early to introduce children to the beautiful interiors of the Victoria Hall, and the wonders of classical music. Orchestre de Suisse Romande invites families to a 1h concert of melodies by Bartók, Stravinski, and Ravel. You won’t have to stress too much about your children’s childhood behavior, as this event is for them! You can find all needed info here.

DISCO ON ICE
November 17
Vernets

Ice skating again. This time it’s ice skating rink in Vernets, with a disco starting at 19h30. Ice skating fun accompanied by a dj and games of light. More details here.

DANCE WORKSHOP
November 18
Maison des Compagnies, Meyrin

How about a dancing Sunday morning with your little ones? A fun workshop that allows exploration, creation and improvisation. Guided by two dancers-pedagogues, step by step, the adult-child duos freely explore different body languages, letting their imagination and their senses run wild. A truly unique experience! Just beware prior registration is needed! You can find out all about it here.

 

PETITS CHANTEURS À LA GUEULE DE BOIS
November 21
Salle des Fêtes de Thônex

A big charity show “Chansons douces ou autres vers d’oreille” (eng. “Sweet songs or other ear worms”) needs your attendance! This annual show organized by the association “Un Enfant Un Cadeau” aims to bring christmas joy to disadvantaged children with your help. Come as a family and instead of a ticket, present a new and unwrapped gift at the entrance. It will later be offered to child in need. More about this project here.

FATHER AND CHILD WORKSHOP
November 24
TotUp

The founder of TotUp creche was very quick to respond to a need of activities for fathers and their children. Most places are usually filled with women and their kids, where dads can feel awkward. TotUp has started organizing The 3h workshop includes sport activities, cooking class, and a lunch, and a small-talk time. More info on TotUp’s website.

THE SNOW QUEEN
November 24 – December 7
Simply Theater

When it’s getting too cold, wet, and dark to spend time with kids outdoors, the theatre is always a good choice. Each year the Simply Theater prepares a seasonal show, and we are safe to say that this year’s winter season this year will begin in this English-speaking theatre in Versoix with their winter musical show – “The Snow Queen”. This adaptation of timeless classic Hans Christian Andersen’s story will transfer children into the enchanted world. Please visit the Theatre’s website for show timings, ticket info, and to reserve your seat online.

WINTER MARKET
November 25
Ecolint –  La Grande Boissière

The traditional Ecolint Winter Market will take place this year in the La Grande Boissière and its Art Center. A great occasion to start collecting Christmas gifts, and get into the seasonal spirit around the various stands, activities for the whole family (DIY, competitions, electronic games), and by supporting charities chosen by the school through various student art projects. Students of the school will also provide musical entertainment, while food stands will be there to fill your tummies. All the raised funds will go to the Parent Teachers Association Fund and school-supported charities. I have no idea where I found that info, no mention on Ecolint’s website just yet.

LIVRES-MOI TES HISTOIRES
November 25
Theatre le Caveau
For ages 5+

The title of the show in eng is “Bring Me Your Stories”, and it is literally what it is all about! Bring your picture books, drop them on the scene, and the actor will improvise the stories based on the pictures! This impro shows are funny, touching, and surprising for both children and adults. It’s a brilliant way to transmit the love for theater to the kids! The show is amusing, comical, and absolutely interactive!

For a detailed list of each weekend’s family-friendly activities, head over to Instagram and follow Parentville! The weekend activities are posted every Friday in the Instagram stories.

@Parentvillegva

Halloween activities for kids in Geneva

Halloween activities for kids in Geneva

Good news! There are so many Halloween activities for kids and families this year that it was impossible to put them all in one time, on one page.

The initial list by Parentville has been posted already on Things To Do in Geneva. Don’t you know that website? Well, now you do, and so you won’t miss a thing ever.

Parentville and Things To do in Geneva are on the same mission – to prove that Geneva is everything but boring, so hold on tight!

Here are the Halloween activities for kids in Geneva and around
(that are not on the list over at TTD in Geneva)
I wish you all a spooky time!

October 12-31
Swiss Vapeur Parc, Port-Valais (Valais)

If you’ve never been to the Swiss Vapeur Parc, this is the occasion you cannot possibly miss. And if you have already visited this fun park, it is the great occasion to go back! On the occasion of Halloween the park is decorated with 2500 pumpkins, and other spooky elements, the staff is wearing costumes, and the whole atmosphere is Halloween-y enough for the bigger kids, but not scary enough for the small ones!

Check out the prices, and book your tickets on their website.

October 20 – November 4
Parc Dino, France

A long-ish drive from Geneva, Dino Parc in the French Jura will celebrate Halloween for several days. Many activities, contests, and plenty of scary decorations! Check out more details here.

October 27
Kids Fun Parc, Etoy (Vaud)

A magic show on Saturday at 15h and 17h. Apart from that games, activities, balloons. Few more details on the parc’s website.

October 28
Musée du Fer et du Chemin de Fer, Vallorbe (Vaud)
(eng. Iron and Railway Museum)

The Halloween party in the heart of the old forges of Vallorbe! Step back 300 years and discover the Great Forges as you’ve never seen before. With a torch in hand, follow the illuminated path and meet the craftsmen of the past!
A true Halloween day (and evening) with workshops, activities, and a fondue to enjoy with friends! Please check this link for details regarding prices and registration.

October 30
Swiss Food Academy, Charmille

A fun, creative culinary workshop for children under a thoughtful eye of Wendy De Marbeson, VivaVeg’s chef. During this workshop kids will decorate pumpkins and create one deliciously spooky recipe. Swiss Food Academy’s workshops are always #parentvillerecommended! Price: 10,- per child (including the “goûter”). For more information click here. For registration please contact Swiss Food Academy via contact@swissfoodacademy.ch .

October 31
C L’Aventure, Annemasse (France)

A special Halloween evening with music and dance, as well as a costume contest! For more details please visit their website.

October 31
L’Ile de Tortuga, Annemasse (France)

A Halloween special evening from 19h00. The park will of course be decorated accordingly to the scary occasion. Come with your costumes, enjoy the buffet, and some special entertainments and shows created for this evening. Reservation are required either on site or by phone +33.4.50.92.66.04.More details: click here.

October 31
Jayland, Gland (Vaud)

This indoor play center also organizes a Halloween event, at 16h on October 31. On the agenda: the best costume contest. Many special games and activities will be prepared for this event. Please remember to make a reservation! For the details regarding prices and reservations, please visit Jayland’s website.

November 2
Prevessin (France)

Just across the border, in Prevessins-Moens a fun Halloween evening will take place in the Salle Gaston Laverriere. It will start at 18h30 and last till midnight. Many activities, games, and of course a halloween costume contest are planned. Buvette (drinks) and snacks will be served on the site. Prices? Kids 3 EUR, adults 5 EUR.

November 3
Fête de la Courge
Association le Terreau, Quai de Seujet 32, Geneva

A fest destined to the families of the St.-Gervais-Voltaire-Seujet district. On the agenda: bricolage, pumpkin sculptures, and of course costumes! A pumpkin soup will be made and served during the evening. More details here.

November 3
Kids Club, Coppet

A Halloween party designed for the kids by the entertainment professionals! Various games, DIY projects, and also snacks will be waiting for the little ones. The number of places is limited, so please book our place asap. For more information please visit Kids Club website.

November 4
Hotel d’Angletterre

Halloween Afternoon Tea (from 15h till 18h) in this hotel is becoming an urban tradition in Geneva. While adults enjoy the menu of their choice (Traditional Afternoon Tea, Champagne Afternoon Tea, or Brunch), children will be delighted to enjoy all the spooky fun the hotel had prepared for them: trick-or-treating, themed activities, and more.

For prices and reservations please visit the hotel’s website.

October school break in Geneva 2018

October school break in Geneva 2018

Did you know that the commonly used name for the October school break is “vacances de patates”? In the past, October school break was needed, so that families could all work in the field to gather the potatoes and other veggies of the season. Now, that most families don’t work in the fields, what should we do without the potatoes to gather? Read below.

Musee d’Art et d’Histoire de Geneve (aka MAH)

6th year in a row Mah organised a series of activities for children aged 3+ during the holidays. You can find the detailed program by clicking here.

The History of Science Museum

A new exhibition in the Science History Museum is launching this October. It is all about machines that help us carry weight. Come and find out how they differ, how they work, and how to put them in use. The machines presented are those used to carry certain weights. Don’t miss this possibility to come and try lifting some of these weights to find out how simple machines work. Check it out here.

The Natural History Museum

What are the common points between bats and glow worms? Find out during a Wednesday workshop for ages 6+ (the youngest will have to be accompanied), that will run from 14h till 17h. An afternoon dedicated to the fascinating world of these animals of the night! From 6 years old. Check out more details here.

Ice skating

The season is opened! You can now skate in Meyrin, Vernets, and Sous-Moulin. The ice skating rink in Charmille will open on October 23. Also Balexert will have an ice skating rink this year. Click on the name of each rink (“patinoire”) to check the opening hours.

Maison de la créativité

The most amazing kids area for all those between 0 and 6 years old, will open its doors during the October school break every day from 14h30 till 17h30. You can check all the details on their website here. #parentvillerecommended

Cats in the library

Launched in 2017 by the Lausanne festival BDFIL, the exhibition “Chats” is a tribute to Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), a Swiss artist whose illustrations are well known, notably the famous Chat Noir.
To enrich your visit, the Bibliothèque de la Cité offers a playful guide for digital tablets (available on site) where the black cat with big eyes of the poster will walk you through the exhibition to introduce young audiences to the history of Steinlen and artists who have been inspired. The exhibition will run till January 27, 2019. More details here.

Théâtre des Marionnettes
October 23 to 28

Shakespeare for babies! All thanks to Agnès Limbos who offers three works of the great writer in English for children aged 1+: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Midsummer-night’s Dream.The understanding of the language is not necessary to appreciate this show full of humor and mischief. Info and reservations on the website of the Théâtre des Marionnettes.

Decorating Carouge for Christmas

Come help cut, glue, build and assemble the decorations that will bring Christmas joy to the streets of Vieux-Carouge during the Christmas festivities. Enroll by sending an email to info@interetsdecarouge.ch. The workshops will take place somewhere in Carouge (no info on the website but you can ask via the email). They will run from October 22nd til the 26th, from 14h till 18h and from 19h till 22h.

Bibi Café

A great treat from the Bibi Café (the only truly family friendly cafe in the region) and its partners! They all invite you to discover different workshops, ateliers, and courses for kids, completely for free. Just bear in mind that the regular hot menu will not be available at that period, other propositions will be put in place. No need to register, no need to purchase a ticket. Just come, grab a coffee, and enjoy! #parentvillerecommended
Wednesday, October 25:
– 10h Bricolage with Récrécréa.
– 14h30 A workshop during which children will discover the book “Un dimanche avec Miki” under the thoughtful eye of Vanoa from Les mots de mon histoire.
Saturday, October 27
10h30 Alexandra Célérault, the author of the children’s book “Je Suis une Etoile et Toi Aussi“, will be hosting an activity focused around her book.

Weekend activities on Instagram

Each Friday, I post plenty of propositions for weekend activities on Instagram. You can find them in the Instagram stories for the first 24h, and the whole weekend in the highlight entitled “Weekend plans”.
Kid friendly October in Geneva, 2018

Kid friendly October in Geneva, 2018

I am happy to announce the tenth month of 2018 at a “kid friendly October”! Lots of Lego®, theater shows, movies, and other fun for the whole family. Save this link to your home screen now, and have info on the go wherever you go. Easy, right?

Oh! And please let me know in the comments, if you would like a monthly recap like that every month!

Just remember some of these events require a ticket, or a reservation, as the number of places is limited.

For a detailed list of each weekend’s family-friendly activities, head over to Instagram and follow Parentville! The weekend activities are posted every Friday in the Instagram stories.

@Parentvillegva

“☞” – book in advance
“♥”  – #parentvillerecommended.

TOP PICKS:

The Art of the brick.
October 4, 2018 – January 6, 2019
An exhibition in Palexpo, presenting extraordinary bricks (Lego®) sculptures. Tons of activities, for big and small, will accompany this event. Bricks4Kidz will be there too, with fun Lego® activities for kids! For the full program click here.

Le Petit Black Movie
(September)October – December 2018
Throughout autumn 2018, The Black Movie Festival prepared 19 short movies around four different subjects: one theme per month. October’s theme is “Air”. 4 short films will be played on each date. You can choose between several locations and times: here’s the program of the Petit Black Movie 2018.

♥☞ Rallye du Chocolat
October 6
The biggest chocolate adventure of the year! Book your chocolate passport online, choose your route (“parcours”), visit local manufacturers, taste some chocolate, and take part in a lottery. You can book you passport online, or buy on the day of the event in the Salle communale de Plainpalais. All the details on the website of the Salon des Chocolatiers.

Planète Santé and Hôpital de Nounours
October 4-7, Palexpo
Again Palexpo, but this time we;re talking health 101. Lots of conferences (including ones for pregnant women, parents of small and teenagers). The best thing about Planete Sante is that it will also host the famous, one and only Hopital des Nounours! We don’t need to wait till spring this year. Check the whole program by clicking here.

10e Festival Suisse de Cirque de Jeunesse
October 5-7, Meyrin
Festival Suisse de Cirque de Jeunesse. In other words a festival of kids’ circuses. Don’t miss it! Check out the whole program here. 

Prenez Place !
October 13-14, 10h-18h, link here.
Over 260 interactive games in the city! All installations were made with recovered materials, in other words they were upcycled, by a Catalan artist Joan Rovira. This interactive exhibition will be spread around the city: Jonction (Plaine de Plainpalais, “Gargot de bicyclettes”), Plainpalais (Rue Jean-Violette, “L’autre vie des objets”), Servette (Avenue Wendt, “L’arbre à jeux, l’araignée, le papillon et le poulpe), Saint-Jean (Rue du Beulet, “Gargot de sculptures”), Paquis (Quai Wilson hauteur Bains des Pâquis, “Les grand imaginaires”), Eaux-Vives (Quai Gustav-Ador en face du jet d’eau, “Gargot de musclette”), Centre Ville (Place du Rhône, “Duo ≠ Duel”).

W. Femmes sculptées
October 13-14, La Julienne, Plan les Ouates.
Sculptures, movement, miming, video and live music portray. A show, and workshops for kids aged 5+. Both require a separate enrollment. You can book your place on this website.

Marche de L’Espoire
October 14, 11h – 17h30, for details click here.
For 25 years, Terre des Hommes Suisse has organised a charity walk “Le Marche de l’Espoire” along Quai du Mont-Blanc. It is “the greatest solidarity event of this kind in Switzerland”, with around 5k children with their families participating every year. Before the walk every participant has to look for financial support to contribute a certain sum for each kilometer walked. The money is later used It is used to “finance development programmes that help improve the living conditions of underprivileged children and their families in a specific region of the world”.

THEATER SHOWS

AmStramGram Theater.
☞   4-10 October: “Non, Je veux pas”, for ages 2+.
☞ ♥ 20 October, for ages 10+: “La nuit au Theatre”. Come with your sleeping bag and spend the night in the theater! A night full of surprises awaits!

Simply Theater
October 6-14
☞ ♥ Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found. Book your tickets here.
An adaptation of one of the best books for kids we have ever come across. An must-see in October, obligatory!

Theatre de Marionnettes
October 3-14
☞ “Eclipse”, a show for kids aged 2+, combining black light, shadows, puppets, and music to create an outer-space atmosphere. More details (in French) here.

ZOT Compagnie
September 29 – October 28, Carouge
☞ “Hippolyte veut la lune”, for kids of all ages. Find out more details about the show and book your tickets by clicking here.

Theatre Topffer
September 30 – October 21
☞ “Farinet ou le faux monnayeur Valaisan”. Here’s your link with details (you can only pay with cash in the theater).

For a detailed list of each weekend’s family-friendly activities, head over to Instagram and follow Parentville! The weekend activities are posted every Friday in the Instagram stories.

@Parentvillegva

OTHER EVENTS, for you to check

CasaKids
October 2-4
A big sale of 2nd hand, high quality kids clothes (0-14 yo), including the likes of Jacadi, Tartine et chocolat, Ralph Lauren, Moncler, etc. It will take place in the Salle Centrale de la Madelaine (Rue de la Madelaine 10, 1204 Geneva).

Zoo La Garenne
Story time. Dates, and timings on lagarenne.ch.

Cinema Bio
Carouge
Le Vent Dans Les Roseaux,  62 minutes, for kids aged 5+.
Eliette, an eight-year-old girl, lives in a country where the king has banned music. A troubadour from the East has his instruments confiscated. Together they will lead the people to free themselves from tyranny. Here’s your link to Cinema Bio.

Museums
There are several museums in the city offering activities on Wednesdays and on Weekends. Check their websites for exact dates and timings. Museums to check: Ariana, MAH, Mamco, MEG, Centre d’Art Contemporaine, Natural History Museum.

For a detailed list of each weekend’s family-friendly activities, head over to Instagram and follow Parentville! The weekend activities are posted every Friday in the Instagram stories.

@Parentvillegva