Moms-friendly French course with Spell

Moms-friendly French course with Spell

The first thing you need to know before reading this article is that I worked for Spell Languages for a year in the past and witnessed how amazing this school is no matter which teacher takes the class, no matter what age kids are, and no matter which language they are learning.

ABOUT SPONSORED ARTICLES

So yes, this is a sponsored article, one of those that pay my bills, but as always on Parentville, even a paid article appears here only because I believe the service or the product is worth sharing with you. As a result, every month, I turn down several paid collaborations. Either the brand does not meet my values, or I don’t think it will be useful for you.

Back to the topic.

Back in the past, I thought the one thing that was missing at Spell was the parent-child classes. But what I had in mind were lessons for kids. The idea could have not been realized back then. Now that Kasia, the founder of Spell Languages, is a fresh mom, she understood my idea and, as usual with her, took it to another level!

As a result, Spell now offers French classes for adults with kids!

MOMS WITH KIDS

Let me explain. You take your baby or your toddler, and without needing to find a creche, a nanny, or booking the grandma, you can go and learn French!

I participated in one of these classes the other day. It was wonderful! All adults and kids sitting on a colourful flow, pillows available, toys and children’s books in the middle. The teacher started revising passé composé and l’imparfait (blah), the moment she would see kids needing more attention she would switch to a kid-friendly activity – a song. Not any song though, but one that would be fun for kids, and bring new vocab to parents. A perfect mix!

Parents will also learn to read, acquire new vocab through children’s’ books that they will be asked to read to their children.

It is just fantastic! I remember advising some of my friends to start learning French via simple kiddy songs and books. They’re simple yet rich in new words, and you can find a children’s book probably for all grammar problems!

This is how the lessons go. Moms are learning, kids playing, walking/crawling around the room, bubbling with one another. Worksheets are involved, and occasionally some voluntary homework.

The end of the lesson takes the form of a casual conversation.

FLEXIBILITY IS KEY

There is one more important thing for moms/dads/nannies in this course. Lessons happen three times a week, but it is totally up to you how often you will come. You purchase a “pass” that will be valid for a certain amount of time (a month – 110 CHF, a trimester – 320 CHF, a semester – 420 CHF) and within that time you come to as many lessons as you’d like! You can join once a week for a while, then come three times a week, then change again. Alternatively, you can purchase 1 lesson at a time (for 25 CHF).

It takes so much stress away! You are not obliged to come, and will not lose the money if your baby was up all night and you can barely think in your native tongue, not to mention a foreign one. Your toddler gets sick; it’s still ok – stay in, take care of yourself and your kids and come back when you’re all in good shape again!

Current groups work up from the intermediate levels, but a beginner’s French group will start soon as well.

THE STAFF

The staff is gentle, helpful, used to working with small munchkins so they will never be disturbed with a child crying, singing, or making a mess. They will even assure your kid is safe and sound while it’s your turn to solve a grammar exercise.

LOCATION

The Spell Language centre is located in Geneva Old Town, at the Place de Bourg de Four. It is an old building without a lift or a place to leave the prams downstairs, but do not worry! A smiling Spell employee will come down to you and take your pram up and then down again. No hustle.

This is how it is at Spell: smiles, help, flexibility, and a solution to every problem small and big.

I wholeheartedly urge you to try these classes and be better prepared for when your child starts school or any form of a French-speaking social life. That is not even to be able to talk to the teachers and other parents but to avoid not understanding your kids talking about you their friends… (they will turn into teenagers sooner than you expect).  😉

Petit Marché, second-hand shopping made easy

Petit Marché, second-hand shopping made easy

When Anna moved to Switzerland with her two kids, she started searching for what she knew from Denmark – an easy way to buy and sell children’s second-hand clothes, toys, and gear, in other words, an app.

Searching

She found many ways to do it, but none of them seemed really easy. Facebook groups are difficult places to browse what we really need, posts get lost in overly long feeds, scheduling payments, appointments and reserving items can become a hustle. There are some websites out there, but not many people know about them, so the offer they propose is limited. She wanted a nice, easy to use app aimed at local families.

The solution

When she realised nothing like that existed here, she decided to try and do it. As a result, you can now download (iOS only for now) a beautifully designed app – Petit Marché, designed for the Geneva region families.

As it is designed by a Dane, it is as Hygge as an app can be. Nice, clean, friendly, easy to use.

Not only do we need to get rid of our kids’ too small clothes as no basement can hold it all forever, but we can also save money and our planet by buying second hand. Anna knows buying second-hand doesn’t seem the safe/cool way of shopping for everyone. That is why she created an app that answers all these doubts.

Buying & Selling

Within the app, you can browse through categories, buy and sell. The app solves many problems with already existing second-hand-shopping solutions. For example, once you find what you want you can click on “buy now” – the money on your credit card will be blocked but not yet transferred to the seller, it will only happen once you receive the item. You can also contact the seller directly to schedule other forms of payments.

Quality & Pricing

The app assures the high quality and reasonable prices of items being sold there, as Anna goes through every new selling post to approve it. This way you won’t waste time on going through worn off low-quality t-shirts put out there for a price of almost new.

Conciergerie

If you’re faced with Marie-Kondo-style pile of clothes to get rid off and don’t have the time/energy to photograph it all and manage the selling process, Anna can do it for you within the “Conciergerie” service! She will pick up the items, photograph them, put online with descriptions, meet up with buyers and coordinate every details od the selling process (commission: 25%).

Security

To assure people buying and selling within the app are serious and real, we all have to put in our banking details (IBAN) and the credit card number to start. Financial transactions are carried out by a professional payment provider securing the data and against fraud, so using the app is safe for everyone. If you only want to browse, no problem you can do it. Paying directly within the app though will financially support the app to grow further and assure even better service in the future with a tiny percentage of the sale going to the app’s owner.

I would be really grateful if you could spend a few minutes to download the app and check it out! Let me know what you think afterwards!

(And in any case – see you at the Petit Marché! I’ll be soon selling there Z’s clothes (sizes 5-6 years old) and looking for spring/summer clothes in sizes 6-7/122.)

This weekend in Geneva

This weekend in Geneva

When you guys tell me this website could serve you better, I always do everything I can to meet your needs. This is why Parentville is now equipped with an events calendar – perfect for planning weekends, Wednesdays, and all other days of the week.

You can search via dates, locations, and categories (including ages of children). There is one particular category with charity events and occasional categories such as “Easter camps” for example.

The calendar shows one-off, ponctual activities, festivals, and workshops.

If you hear about any event not included in the calendar, or are hosting one – let me know! I will happily include it (and yes, it is absolutely free).

Zero waste parenting in Geneva

Zero waste parenting in Geneva

In this Zero-waste-series I will share with you projects, ideas, and places, that can help you create a green and healthy planet for all of our kids. This time I’ll focus on all-about-kids zero waste solution.

 

One of our goals as a family this year is to decrease the amount of waste we produce. We start by decluttering, being more detailed recyclers, and more conscious consumers.

The more we’re into it, the more I see how in our busy lives there is hardly any place for making own granola, dishwashing powder, jams, and buying food only on farmers’ markets and in “en vrac”(eng. in bulks) shops. In response to that, I did what I love doing – I researched and put together a list of more or less simple solutions. I genuinely believe every small step matters.

The zero-waste journey’s goal is not to become 100% zero waste in a month or even a year. Each family can find its own pace, compromises. There are things each one of us can easily let go (like plastic straws, plastic food foil) because replacements are affordable, easy, and nice.

CLOTHES

The smaller the kid, the more clothes they need (at least what many of us are told at the beginning of parenthood) and the faster they grow out of them. We buy, use, dump/sell/donate. Constantly.
Solutions: buying second hand (Kidsadress or a new app Petit Marche) and renting (Les P’tits Louent or Biboutic).

DIAPERS

Back to crap… Kids, diapers, waste. Nappies from supermarkets are easy to get, easy to put, and easy to dispose of. But they also take ages to decompose. What if I told you there are (almost as easy) solutions that are planet-friendly at the same time?
Solution: Reusable diapers. Definitely not for me but maybe for you? It’s just an option, check it out and then decide. Who knows, maybe you won’t be grossed out and find it practical. Reusable diapers are better looking and easier to use than 40 years ago. In Geneva, there’s even a company that can deliver a clean, fresh set of 35 nappies to your home every week (Eco-couches).

TOYS

How many toys do kids play with? And how many do they own? Toys take a lot of space, become dull too quickly, and cost a fortune. In Geneva, there is a way to have toys, change them as often as one likes, and save money at the same time.
Solution: it’s called a ludotheque. You can read about it in this short article on Parentville. It costs 30 CHF a year to be enrolled and borrow toys. Nice?

Baby BOX instead of a cradle

Yes, there is even a solution to replace cradle in a zero waste friendly way. Let’s face it; cradles take space, are not used for a long time, to then retake a lot of space in the basement. How about an easily transportable “cradle”, that can later become storage for baby’s firsts, or toys?

Solution: Baby box, the Scandinavian style but in Switzerland. It’s called Baby Nids, and it is lovely.

BOOKS

This one is pretty obvious, but damn so easy to forget: good old libraries. Even small libraries in the region have a selection of books in languages other than French. It is mostly: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese. If you find a Polish section, please let me know!

OTHER

What if in the end we still end up having quite a lot in the recycling bin? It can all be used for bricolage, DIY and fun for kids (e.g. bowling with pet bottles). The master of that art is Recrecrea, organising kids workshops across the canton, mainly in La Julienne, Mamma Lisa de Puplinge, and Bibi Cafe.

How to not the waste in the house is the key! Start with decreasing your interest in leaflets or business cards (grab a photo of them with your phone), don’t accept free crap, samples, kinder egg toys. Think about if you need all the newspapers and magazines. Every item for each you no-thank-you is a win!

In the future articles from this series, I will try to tackle food, shopping, bathroom, kitchen, and other areas of our daily lives. Stay tuned!

February agenda for families in Geneva

February agenda for families in Geneva

The mountains are currently the main direction for many people, but if you need suggestions to what to do when you stay in Geneva, voila! Here I am with plenty of ideas.

 

I know that this super long article is not very easy to read, but rest assured a solution is on its way!

 

If you need a super short version, it is available on ThingsToDoInGeneva.ch.

 

This time the agenda is divided into highlights, libraries, museum exhibitions, theater shows, and February camps.

HIGHLIGHTS

31.01 – 03.02
ART GENEVE
Palexpo

No age limits. Entry fee (details here).

Artgenève is an art expo that has been taking place in Palexpo for several years now. It is a chance to visit local and international galleries in one place. Both public and private collections have their place. Every year there is also a children’s area where they are invited to play and create.

1-23.02
ANTIGEL
Various locations

The annual Antigel festival does not aim at kids, but here a selection of events and shows that might suit your family or older kids.

“Feu Au Lac” a possibility to visit the plage des Eaux-Vives before it opens for the public in summer. The visitors will receive torches that will create a show of lights. Might be difficult with prams, but overall sound like a nice family outing! 2.02, 17h30.

“Le Corridor” – a basement of a school transformed into a world of David Lynch or Stanley Kubrick, so definitely for older children or those fearless. 20-23.02, 19h&21h.

“Hocus Pocus” – a dance show of thousand and one full adventures, twists and surprises. A show for the whole family, though it starts at 8 pm. 11-12.02, 20h.

24.01-15.02
EXPOSITION MONDES VIRTUELS
La Julienne   

Free entry, minimum age: 7. Details here.      

Two installations in augmented reality for young audiences (from 7 years old). The first is “Ko’Ko’s Curse”, an interactive ecological tale co-produced by the RTS. The second one is Adventures-Mat, a play mat to discover the human body.

These installations are accessible by using applications for smartphones and tablets.

Opening hours: Mon-Wed 9h-19h, Thu-Fri 9h-20h.

2.02-3.02       
MUSEE VR DU GIFF
La Julienne   

Minimum age: 12, free entry. More info here.

The first weekend of February, the VR (Virtual Reality) Museum of GIFF (Geneva International Film Festival) will be moved to La julienne. The program includes works in virtual reality that reproduce famous paintings realised by contemporary artists. The opportunity to immerse in paintings by Hodler, Vallotton or Böcklin.

Opening hours: Saturday 11h-19h, Sunday 11h-18h.

3.02, SUNDAY
DANSE EN FAMILLE
Maison de Quartier de Carouge

For ages 2-4, fee: 5 CHF, reservation required. More info here.

The + Dense association invites you to experience an approach to contemporary dance through Danse en famille workshops. Guided by two dancers-teachers, they offer the opportunity to explore the different paths of the dance world.

Touching, carrying, hugging, dancing and laughing in an artistic setting, under the direction of professionals, are all actions that create new links between the child and the adult.

Reservations at : culture@carouge.ch or 022 307 89 08.

3.02, SUNDAY
GRAND BAZAR
Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève

No age limits, no entrance fee.

Every first Sunday of the month MEG becomes a place filled with activities for kids of all ages. There is a baby bazar for those aged 0-2, guided tours for families, music activities, and more.

14h-17h Make your pair of poï-toa before and dance to improve reflex, flexibility and coordination (places limited, no reservations, free).

Starting at 15h, every 30 minutes till 17h, a baby Bazar will take place thanks to Espace Musical. Each session lasts 20 minutes and is destined to families with kids between 0 and two years of age (places limited, no reservations, free).

At 15h and 16h an exploration of the exhibition in a very playful way will wait for all kids age 2 and more (places limited, no reservations, free).

More info about these activities and even more taking place that day at MEG’s website.

3.02, SUNDAY
FESTIVAL DES ENFANTS
Saint Cergue

No age limits.

A ski festival for kids with fun activities including fun with sledge dogs and Ecole Suisse de Ski. The main event of the day is a slalom for kids attending classes 1P-6P. You can enrol via this document.  The festival will take over the whole village of Saint-Cergue, the slopes, the ice rink. It all starts at 13h30. More information here.

3.02, SUNDAY
PETITS RENDEZ-VOUS, « SAVOIR FAIRE ET DÉFAIRE »
MAMCO

Ages: 5-10, free. More info on Mamco’s website.

Guided visits for kids in MAMCO are worth your time! They’re funny, playful, and educative. Each tour lasts 45 minutes, is held in English and French. Children must be accompanied by an adult during the activity.

Also on that day, a workshop for kids age 7+ will be held from 15h till 17h, in French. For this workshop, please book your place at visites@mamco.ch, as the number of participants is limited.

6.02, WEDNESDAY
ATELIER PHILO FOR KIDS
STUDIO SOHAM

Alexandra Célérault, an author of the philosophical children’s book “Je Suis Une etoile et Toi Aussi”, hosts regular workshops for kids and families. This one is in the form of a debate on topics chosen by children themselves. It is designed to help kids be more conscious, active, and respectful human beings, learn to listen to others’ points of view. They will work on critical thinking, tolerance, and benevolence.

For children aged 4-7, the workshop will start 14h30, last 45 minutes and cost 20 CHF. For older ones between 8 and 12 years old, it will start at 15h30, last one hours, and cost 30 CHF.

For bookings and more details, please check on this website.

6.02, WEDNESDAY
TROI PETIT COCHONS
THONEX

Free entrance, minimum age: 4.

A well-known tale about three little pigs and the wolf as a theatre show is awaiting you in Carouge. Inscenization created by Théâtre Couleurs d’Ombres. One house builds with straws, the other with wood and the third one with bricks. Then the wolf comes… it ends happily (at least for the pigs). You can find out more here.

9.02, SATURDAY
THE LAUNCH OF PETIT FAVORITE
LIBRAIRIE DE L’ÎLE

Free entrance. No age limit for the event. 3+ for the workshop.

Petit Favorite is the new Swiss fashion brand for the whole family! Created by a lovely “Genevoise”, Julie Parenthoux, the brand will soon offer clothes for moms, dads, kids, but first – the socks! Soft, nice, and with a neat print! The event will start at 14h and go on till 18h. Some workshops will be waiting for you (though better to reserve your spot now at julie@petit-favorite.com): silkscreen printing on tote bags, cupcakes decorations (for 3+).

More details about the brand here, about the event here.

9.02, SATURDAY
STORY TIME
PAYOT, RIVE GAUCHE

Free entrance, no age limit.

Once a month, on Saturday, Payot organises an English story time for kids! It is held in the English section on the first floor (where you can also find “ABC Geneva”). The February session will include timeless classics like Gruffalo, The Little Mole, and the Hungry Caterpillar. It starts at 10h30 and lasts 1 hour. You can read more or less the same info here 😉

10.02, SUNDAY
MOVIE: MON VOISINE TOTORO
MEG

Minimum age: 4, free entrance, adult’s presence required, no reservation, a limited number of places. More info here.

Mei and Satsuki move to the countryside with their head-in-the-clouds father and their sick mother. To be cured she needs to get away from the stress of the city. Arriving in their house on the edge of a vast forest, they discover the existence of mysterious creatures. The girls develop an unusual, unique friendship with these supernatural beings! A heartwarming beautiful children’s movie.

10.02, SUNDAY
ATELIER DECOUVERTE
ESPACE COLIBRI

9h-12h, for 5-10-year-olds (no parents’ participation), 50 CHF

Espace Colibri has a special place in our hearts; we adore their workshops be it painting, yoga, music, or school support. The educators working in Espace Colibri are amazing, passionate, and with heads full of ideas.

Improvisation, movement, dance, singing, listening and percussion are at the rendezvous to explore the different facets of a sound universe. The opportunity to practice music in a group and in a fun way without any prerequisites. More information and enrollments here (be sure to check their other courses!).

12.02, TUESDAY
SWISS FOOD ACADEMY WORKSHOP
ESPACE 99

An occasion to create a healthy relationship with everything kitchen-related. Swiss Food Academy hosts many workshops across the canton, including these in Charmille. Each time a different activity with a different theme awaits little cooks and gourmands. If Charmille is not convenient for you, check Swiss Food Academy’s website for workshops in other areas. Enrollments: contact@swissfoodacademy.ch.

14.02, THURSDAY
LIRE AVEC SON BEBE
Bibliothèque du Saint Jean

For babies and toddlers (ages 0-2), free participation, enrollments required.

A great program by the city libraries! You come with your kids to enjoy books and reading in an intimate setting of a library. Librarians will accompany you in the discovery of children’s literature, present their favourites and offer you personalised advice. And don’t worry if you don’t speak French, many picture books await you there too! More information here. For enrollments call 022 418 92 02 or email: saintjean-jeunes.bmu@ville-ge.ch.

14.02, THURSDAY
VALENTINE’S DINNER FOR FAMILIES
Bibi Cafe

No age limits, reservation required.

Bibi Cafe came up with a brilliant idea! A Valentine’s dinner for parents and kids with a special menu, and a nanny to make the kids busy! Reserve a table asap as all events like that in Bibi Cafe get sold out fast. For more information about the dinner check this Facebook event, for more information about Bibi click here. Psst: “ABC Geneva” is available there too!

23-24.02, WEEKEND
MUSEOMIX & AMUSEN EXPOSITION
La Julienne

No age limits, free entrance.

AMusEn is an association that aims to build a children’s museum in Geneva. Over the February school-break, together with Museomix, they organise a bilingual camp for kids 8+, during which they will ask kids to imagine a museum of their dreams. Based on the dreams children will be building prototypes of their ideas, using traditional materials and modern technology. After the camp, all the prototypes will be exposed in La Julienne! #parentvillerecommended.

OTHER EVENTS:

1-3.02, Disney sur Glace (details)

 

2.02, 10h & 14h; workshop for kids ages 5-7 at Ariana Museum (details)

2.02, 10h30 for ages 4-6. La Petite Lanterne at Pathe Balexert. Details.

 

6.02, 16h; Atelier Bricks for kidz in Bibi Café (details).

6.02, 15h, for ages 6-10 activities at MAH (details)

6.02; 16h15; activities for ages 2-4 and 5-10 at MAMCO (details)

 

8.02, 10h30; activities for ages 3-5 at MAH (details).

 

9.02, 10h, 11h30, 15h; workshop for ages 2-5 at Ariana Museum (details)

 

10.02, 15h30; activities for ages 6+ at MAH (details)

10.02, 14h; activities at MEG for ages 8+ (details)

 

13.02, 15h, activities for ages 6-10 at MAH (details)

13.02, 10h30, 14h30, 15h30; activities for ages 3-5 at MAH (details)

13.02, 11h30; music activities for ages 0-2 at MEG (details)

 

15.02 10h; Comment booster le système immunitaire de votre enfant en hiver at Bibi Café (details)

15.02, 18h-20h; Disco enfants, ice rink Carouge (details)

 

16.02, Disco sur Glace, Vernets (details)

 

17.02; 10h; yoga for kids at MEG by Espace Colibri (details)

 

20.02, 15h; activities for ages 5+ at MEG (details)

 

24.02; 11h; Visites dansées for ages 3-5 at MEG (details)

24.02, 11 h& 14h & 17h, Petit Ours Brun, Theatre du Leman. (details)

 

27.02, 10h30; activities for ages 3-5 at MAH (details)

27.02, 15h; activities for ages 6-10 at MAH (details)

MUSEUM EXPOSITIONS

This month be sure to visit:

Roulez les Mecaniques -> details.

Tender is the night, bilingual -> details.

Faites comme chez nous -> bilingual details.

Expolarcentre (and their workshops not listed above) -> details.

Ariana Museum is always a good choice as is MAH, MEG, MAMCO, Centre d’Art Contemporain – their kid’s activities are all listed above.

LIBRARIES

2.02, 14h; Bibliothèque de la Cité, Couleurs d’hiver (details)

2.02, 11h; Bibliothèque de la Cité, Lire et relire (details)

6.02, from 10h; Bibliothèque de Paquis, Lire avec son Bebe (details)

6.02, 15h30; Espace le 4e, Scratch (details)

9.02, 15h; Bibliothèque Eaux-Vives, L’invitée du mois : Fanny Dreyer (details)

9.02, 15h; Bibliothèque de Saint-Jean, Tâne petit âne en chemin (details)

9.02, 17h15; Bibliothèque Servette; Le Dernier Loup (details)

9.02, 17h15; Bibliothèque Servette, L’incroyable voyage (details)

12.02, 16h40; Bibliothèque de la Cité, Les nids d’oiseaux (details)

13.02, 14h30; Bibliothèque Servette, Couleurs nature (details)

13.02, 15h; Espace le 4e, jeux video (details)

16.02, 14h; Bibliotheque Servette, Les mains dans la terre (details)

20.02, 15h; Bibliothèque Jonction, La vie fascinante des animaux (details)

20.02, 10h30; Bibliothèque de Saint-Jean, Prête-moi ton oreille (details)

26.02, 17h; Bibliothèque Jonction, 30 minutes numériques (details)

THEATER

2-3.02, 7+, Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève, Tropinzuste (details)

2.02, 15h, Plan les Ouates, “Au Royaume de Zombly” for ages 4+, free entry, reservations needed. (details here)

3.02, 10.02, 17.02, Théâtre AmStramGram, 4+, “La Brioche des Mioches” (details)

6-17.02, Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève, 4+, “La Fille, la sorciere, et le fer a bricelets” (details)

6-10.02, Simply Theater, 3+, Storyteller Storyteller (details).

8-10.02, Théâtre AmStramGram, 9+, “Les Tactiques du Tic Tac” (details).

FEBRUARY CAMPS

Museomix and AMusEn (in Plan les Outaes, for kids age 8-12) – details.

Gymboree Geneva – details.

Bricks for Kidz – details.

Future Kids – details.

Espace Colibri – details.

Spell Languages – details.

Gymboree Geneva

Gymboree Geneva

Photo credits: Gymboree Geneva. (all pictures in this article).

A few weeks ago I was invited with Z to visit a familiar place that we had not been to in a while, a place beloved by us both; Gymboree Geneva. As soon as we entered, the familiar smell of babies and sounds of happiness brought back my memories of joy and exhaustion from the first years of motherhood.

Our story

Back then, when Z was little, my French was limited by a massive lack of confidence, and I did not know many other local parents, so when a friend told me about a play centre for English-speakers I didn’t think twice. Z was eight months old, and with each passing month I felt more lonely and addicted to my phone (and the mom-friends I chatted to within it). To cut a long story short, Gymboree Geneva ended my misery. I met my best friend in Gymboree, Z met her best friend there as well, and we learnt songs that we still sing today!

Gymboree Geneva

Located in Grand-Saconnex, Gymboree is a large soft-space area with many fun obstacle courses for babies and toddlers. It also offers several types of classes, including sensory, music, art, play&learn, for a multitude of ages, and there is a free COFFEE MACHINE!

And that is not all – there is also a preschool, the possibility to organise a birthday party within its soft, colourful interior, and countless occasions to hug a giant plush clown called Gymbo. Oh, and my first children’s book “ABC Geneva” is available in the little Gymboree boutique!

Gymbo himself

If, at first, you feel like it sounds a little bit like joining a sect who pray to a colourful clown, don’t worry, you’re probably not the only one (at least I hope I was not the only one!). Sitting in a circle each week with Gymbo sat front and centre, singing songs about him and to him, and then taking turns to kiss him might sound disturbing at first. Don’t worry though; it will pass, and soon you will be thankful for meeting Gymbo, his role in making your kid happy, and for a bigger circle of friends who will love to chat about diapers, sleepless nights, and developmental milestones.

It’s funny, now that I have written this it does feels even more like a sect, but a pretty damn good one: Gymbo the clown – The Savior of Parents.

PLAY GYM

What I love most about Gymboree is that even if you enrol only for one class per week, you still have access to the play area during the “free-play” hours called “Play Gym” (which is offered 2-3 times a week). This alone is brilliant during wet and cold months, or when you just need your child to let off some energy while you have a well-deserved (and still hot) coffee or tea.

I remember times when my new parent-friends and I, after a sleepless night, would take turns to keep an eye on the kids while some others chilled with one eye closed in the corner, fuelled by coffee and biscuits. It became our refuge, almost like Starbucks has done for a teenager eager to get out of the house.

The village

Gymboree definitely helped me create my own village (and I am sure we all agree that it takes a village to raise a kid, or us parents go nuts!). It was there that I met women without whom Parentville would never have come to life. It also helped me to speak English with ease, a bonus that we were not aware of, not we did we expect.

YOUR SOCKS

So, if you have a child or children to care for and are looking for a place to have both a coffee and an enclosed play area for the kids, Gymboree is THE place.  

There is just one thing left to do: put on your socks. Yes, socks! – Because you can only enter the soft-space with socks on. Learn from my mistake, and make sure you have socks on both feet, preferably the same pair, and without holes. Although Gymboree has thought of that and has some spares readily available for those days when even getting two socks on your own feet seems like a challenge.

If you would like to know more about Gymboree or my experience there let me know in the comments, send me an email or even a pigeon will work (just let me know what I need to feed it, and if it, too requires socks).

FEBRUARY CAMP WITH MUSEOMIX AND AMUSEN

FEBRUARY CAMP WITH MUSEOMIX AND AMUSEN

This one is for all of you looking for a February camp and those who wish a kids museum existed in Geneva!

Wouldn’t it be nice if kids were more involved in the creation of places destined for them? If we let them talk, be part of the decision process, not only will the world become more kid-friendly but more importantly we will raise a generation of responsible, innovative young people that know they’re voices matters!

Since Z was born, Geneva has been becoming more and more kid-friendly. So many places and initiatives have been started or launched! Among them the absolute best – AMusEn!

http://amusen.ch/en/AMusEn – Association pour un Musee des Enfants dans la region genevoise (Association for a Children’s Museum in the Geneva area).

AMusEn will be a museum for kids that will be created in Plan-les-Ouates. The founders have been inspired by kids museums already existing in the world. While travelling with their children, they discovered great places and started to think of creating something similar in the Geneva region. Thanks to their hard work, it will soon become a reality!

Amusen will be focused on kids, created with kids in mind. The title of the permanent exposition will be “Switzerland – a Country of Diversity”. It will address topics such as environment, economy, history, sport, arts, politics, demography, and more.

I am sure it will be a great place to prepare us for the Swiss nationality test 😉

THE CAMP

To be sure the museum will be a place kids like, AMusEn partnered up with MeseoMix to organise a brilliant “hackathon” winter camp for children aged 8-12. Special offers await families in a more difficult financial situation, so please do contact them if you need help – they are welcoming all kids no matter the economic status of the family.

During this camp, kids will imagine and create prototypes of games and installation they would like to see in a museum of their dreams. They will be using traditional materials (paper, scissors, glue, video) and modern technologies (animations, robotics, programming).

But it is not only art and hard-skills that will be the focus of this camp. Collaboration, problem-solving, co-creation, and innovation are the soft-skills they will work on as well.

After these five creative days, their prototypes will become an exposition opened to the public for a weekend in La Julienne.

DETAILS

 

FOR WHO:

Children from 8 to 12 years old (few months difference is ok)

 

WHERE:

Salle communale de Plan-les-Ouates

3, Route des Chevaliers-de-Malte

1228 Plan-les-Ouates

 

WHEN

18-22 February, 8h00-18h15 (activities from 9h00 till 17h00)

 

COST

380 CHF per child (10% off for 2 kids, 15% off for 3 kids).

Lunch, and 2 snack times included.

!!! If you are in a difficult financial situation please contact Jehanne Zaki (+41 76 388 80 39), to find out about special reductions Amusen and MuseoMix can offer your family.

 

LINKS

About the camp: click here.

AMusEn: click here.

MuseoMix: click here.

Christmas gifts from Geneva

Christmas gifts from Geneva

Is there any better period of the year to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses?

For the past few months, I have discovered many great projects started by women from our region. I can’t keep them to myself anymore!

This Christmas list includes presents mostly for children, but you will also find ideas to please other members of your family!

Socks for the whole family! Created by a Belgian mama in Geneva! Parentville family personally tested the socks: approved by Z, Daddy P, and myself. They are warm; they are comfy; they are soft. You can purchase them online here or for example in Bibi Cafe in Meyrin. An important notice: you won’t find any plastic in your parcel!

Created by the peaceful family, Bizzy is a beautifully designed, and a handy gadget with a meaning. It has been created for kids: to limit the screen time, teach about savings, and get families closer together. But at Parentville we are testing Bizzy not only with Z. Mommy O. also needs to work on screen time limits, though I do it another way around. Instead of using the coins to allow myself screen-time, I use them to set up off-screen moments – until it buzzes I do not look at no screens. So far, we’re happy (and spend more meaningful time together).

BOOKS

Something for everyone! This year was massive for local books! Three guides appeared on the market and they are all about Geneva: one for gourmands (“Aimer Genève“), one for kids (“ABC Geneva“), one for parents (Genève en famille).

We are making small steps towards a more eco-friendly home: more recycling, thoughtful shopping, all that stuff. On that planet-saving journey, I stumbled upon the Spirited Child, an eco-friendly online shop run by a mom in Zurich. So yes, not exactly from the region, but still close. I ordered BeesWax wraps and am so thrilled with them! No more foil. They are reusable, cute, and smell great! You can also find many other sustainable home products, including toys on spiritedchild.ch.

Magali aka Groseille is a local artist, who creates the most beautiful drawings inspired by nature and flowers (on tote bags, pocket mirrors, badges, etc.). She is also the author of the “Les Petasses” – a calendar with a provocative name (“petasse” means “bitch”) filled with charming drawings of women.

Many children, though especially those 3k/immigrants/expat children do not see their families a lot, other than on the screen on the phone (and thank godness for this valuable screen time!). This is why Monika has created My Tiny Prints, where you can order board books and a wooden memory game with photographs of your relatives in them. We can’t wait to finally choose pictures for the memory game for Z. I will keep you posted.

We had a pleasure to play one of the Escape Game Kit’s sets recently, and we had a blast. I bet someone more artsy-craftsy and creative could turn the whole house into a play area. I did the minimum, but still, Z was crazy excited to solve the puzzle and all the riddles. You need a printer, scissors, and glue, plus  40-60 minutes to prepare the game. It’s not another box, not another toy, it’s an experience you can enjoy as a family, or a cool activity for a playdate or birthday party. Check them out here. PS: by the end of 2019 all games should be translated to English.

Maria created this Montessori-inspired collection that can please babies, older kids, parents, and midwives. Her creations are cute and filled with love. Objects that will awake baby’s senses, objects to help older kids be autonomous, or hand-made breastfeeding covers for those who need them. #parentvillerecommended. You can find all Maria’s creations on her website and on Instagram.

LE PETIT CARIBOU

Le Petit Caribou (eng. little reindeer) is an exceptional shop with thoughtfully selected toys. No matter on what you decide, it will be a good choice. You can also experience a private shopping service with them – they come to your house to asses which toys and games will match your kids taste the most. In other words, it can be fun family time with a person who knows more about the toys than the kids themselves!

 

CULLY CULLY

A local brand of pins, tote bags, but also colouring posters, stickers passports, and travel maps are known under the brand of “mylittleswitzerland”. Some of the sets are accompanied by one of the best brands of crayons worldwide, that happen to come from Geneva – Caran d’Ache. It can make for a beautiful Christmas present, as well as entertainment for your end-of-the-year trip. Discover here.

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.

Staycation Guide 2019

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