February holidays

February holidays

Schools off, jardins d’enfants off, tpg on the holiday schedule. For those of you not going away, I prepared some ideas for the week of 18th February. It includes camps, activities, and day trips.

LAST-MINUTE CAMPS IDEAS

Spell Languages – adventurous language camps! English camp under the themes of Ice Age, Winter Olympics, or Minecraft.

Museomix – kids will imagine and create prototypes of what they would love to see and do in a museum. You can read more about this camp here on Parentville, or here on Museomix’s website.

Bricks 4 Kidz – a week (or a few days) with Lego. For Rive Droite check here, for Rive Gauche check here.

Future Kids – STEM holiday week for kids aged 5 – 12 (different age groups). The best news! To get more girls into STEM, Future Kids offers 50% discount for them!

Gymboree – if you’re looking for a camp for a 3 years, you have just found it! Gymboree Geneva is well known for it’s high quality child care and fun activities over all school holidays! You can enroll for 1 to 5 days. This is a half day camp: from 8h30/9h00 till 12h00.

ACTIVITIES (NOT CAMPS)

Maison de la Creativité – the best place in Geneva for kids aged 0-6 will be opened every afternoon from 14h30 till 17h30 during the February holidays. On top of dad grandparents who will take care of their grandchildren during the holidays can also come in the mornings of 19th and 21st February (from 9h30 till 12h00).

Bibi Café – the right place for every day (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). On February 20th an activity for kids and accompanying adults to create necklaces together.

Exploracentre – a vast choice of workshops is waiting for kids as young as 4! Check their website and reserve your place asap!

You will soon be able to find more events, workshops, and fun activities in our brand new events calendar. It is not yet perfect, we’re working on the design and functionality as we speak, but it’s there! Click the button below to open events in the new window.

PS: If you are an organizer of workshops, courses, or events for families and children, and you would like your events to be included in the calendar, please let us know! It’s free!

DAY TRIPS

By clicking on each place/list you will open a more detailed article about it:

Winter warm-up places with Papiliorama, and warm pools!

Sledging nearby, including La Givrine that you can get to without a car.

Espace des Mondes Polaires

 

Ariana Museum trusting your kids with porcelaine.

Ariana Museum trusting your kids with porcelaine.

What is one of the most common things we keep away from young kids? All things fragile, including glass and porcelain, of course!

This is one of the reasons many children love Ariana Museum – the Geneva museum of ceramics. Located in a lovely park, just next to the UN’s Pregny Gate, Ariana is one of the most kid-friendly museums in Geneva.

The inside of the building is beautiful. The ground floor and most of the first floor are devoted to the permanent exhibition. Before exploring it, head over to the kid’s area on the ground floor and choose an activity worksheet adapted to your kid’s age. With that in hand, this trip will be playful! No rush, you can still play in the kid’s area with games and puzzles on the wall or the cups, plates, and glasses hidden in the drawers. You can learn how to set the table or play-pretend you’re in a restaurant.

Either way, knock yourselves out!

Each month Ariana organizes activities (workshops, guided tours etc.) for two age groups: 2-4 and 5-7. You can find out more about them here. Book your place even months in advance to assure getting a spot.

Where?
Avenue de la Paix 10
CH-1202 Geneva (open map)

Kid friendly?
Mostly yes. No breastfeeding space, but changing table available. Games for kids are a big plus as are the worksheets.
The only problem you might have are the entry stairs and no solution to take the pram up there (unless the guard will let you use the disabled access through the basement). The easiest is to leave the pram behind.

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).

STEM in Geneva for kids

STEM in Geneva for kids

STEM for kids in Geneva? Where to go? Where to enrol?

So far on Parentville, we covered theatres, playgroups, dance classes, language course, and even sledging. We talked about museums (here and here). Now is the time for science, technology, engineering, and maths – STEM.

Some say STEM is the future (that is unless we drown in the sea of plastic waste). Are there any jobs that don’t require any use of technology, even such a tiny device as a smartphone? This will probably develop further, with professions of the future not even existing just yet. At the same time, we know that kids learn best while playing. Is there any place in Geneva that combines both?

Where in Geneva can kids feed their natural curiosity, where can they acquire STEAM skills and knowledge? In several places!

PLACES IN GENEVA

Cern

Well, hello!? Aren’t we living in the canton that hosts one of the most important scientific organisations in the world? Do not hesitate to take your kids to the Globe of Science and Innovation, or to the Microcosm exhibition. The exhibitions are not designed with kids in mind, but they are still worth your time! Cern has also created a trail around the LHC (the Large Hadron Collider), recommended for kids aged 8+: the Passport to the Big Bang. For smaller kids “ABC Geneva” explains the goal of this organization in a simple way.

Exploracentre

Opened in November 2018, it is the first science centre in the canton explicitly designed for children! You can choose between the interactive exhibition, workshops, birthday parties. Click/tap here to read Parentville’s article about this place.

Musee d’Histoire Des Sciences

The Science History Museum presents objects and methods scientists have used. A lot of things to manipulate, touch, and look through. Be sure to check their current temporary exhibition, as well as Wednesday’s workshops! For more details visit the Museum’s website.

Maison de la Créativité

STEM cannot exist without creativity. We usually relate creativity to artists of all sorts, but scientists are one of the most creative creatures as well! Maison de la Créativité invites kids up to age 6 to enjoy many creative activities indoor and outdoor in a wonderful garden.

Bricks 4 Kidz centre

Pencil it in: March 6, 2019! It is the date of the opening of the Bricks 4 Kidz Centre in the Quartier de la Chapelle in Lancy. It will propose many types of lego-based activities, such as after-school on school days, on Wednesdays, and free access on Saturday morning.

 

COURSES, WORKSHOPS, ACTIVITIES

IT STEP ACADEMY – programming, coding, building animations and games, workshops for parents (on internet security for example), and more. For kids aged 8+. A super cool place in Nations. Visit their website for more details.  #parentvillerecommended.

FUTURE KIDS – robotics, electronics, coding, creation of games, Minecraft, and more. They offer weekly courses, camps, birthday parties, and occasional workshops. They offer courses in Rive, Collange-Bellrive, Petit-Lancy, and Servette. Read more about them here.

BRICKS 4 KIDZ – there are two Bricks 4 Kidz companies in Geneva, one on Rive Gauche, and one on Rive Droite. They offer hours and hours of creative Lego fun, for beginners and more advanced builders. In their offer, you can find workshops, weekly courses, camps, birthday parties. #Z.approved, #parentvillerecommended

ADDICTLAB – They offer various STEM activities throughout Geneva, and opened a LabSpace in Espace Candide in Ferney Voltaire. You can also ask them to offer animations on birthday parties. Visit their website for more details.

KNOCK ON WOOD – working with wood is as much filled with STEM as using Lego, or even more. Though the mission behind this project is different (“to promote manual fabrication, repurposing unwanted furniture or recycle old wood in the Geneva area by giving you the knowledge, space and tools to create your own masterpieces”), I believe building with wood means measurements, planning, geometry, in other words, it is filled with mathematics. More about this brilliant project here.

OUTSIDE GENEVA

A little trip to somewhere maximum 1h drive away? Here are my propositions of STEM destinations:

Espace des Innovations, in Lausanne, click to open their website.

La Turbine sciences, in Annecy, click here.

Aquatis, in Lausanne, visit their website for details.

Espaces des Mondes Polaires in the French Jura. Read my article about it here.

Maison du Saleve, Parentville’s article about it here.

And a bit farther: Explorit Kindercity in Yverdon, that I find absolutely fantastic.

 

 

 

 

Exploracentre – the first science center for kids in Geneva

Exploracentre – the first science center for kids in Geneva

Exploracentre – excitation

I am so excited about what I am going to write that you can expect many typos (as jumping up and down from joy does not go well with using the keyboard). Let me try though! A new (first!) science centre in Geneva for kids has opened!

Exploracentre, the first science centre for kids in Geneva is opening its doors on rue des Bains 33 in Geneva!

I repeat: EXPLORACENTRE on rue des Bains 33 is opened for visitors!

Exploracentre – explanation

What is the science centre? It is a museum when kids can not only touch everything but also manipulate all the objects to find out how they work. In other words: forbidden not to touch (fr. inderdit de ne pas toucher !).

I visited Exploracentre twice already: without Z, and after with her. During my first visit, there was this voice in my head screaming: why nobody had taught me this way at school? Nobody said physics could be fun! I remember learning about centrifugal force, but it is only in Exploracentre that I could see how it works: observe, touch, and then read about it.

Exploracentre – exploration

But Exploracentre is not about the physics only. After all, science is a broad matter. Read on.

The centre has two levels. The upper one homes the Circus exposition. There is so much physics in the circus, right? Balancing for example – how do they not fall? And again, why no physics teacher ever thought about using circus to explain these things!? This exposition is not permanent, as Exploracentre wants to show us other science revelations in time. The new expositions will probably start with every new school year.

The lower level of Exploracentre has a smaller exposition that will change every three months. Currently: building bridges without any glueing substance, discovering the properties of the ellipse while playing billard, and more. There are also rooms for workshops: a scientific room, and an IT room, as well as a space for, wait for it, birthday parties!

For who?

Everybody aged 3 or more. Kids, tweens, adults. Science ignorants, and those passionate about it. Anyone who likes to play.

Opening hours

Wednesday, 10h – 18h
Thursday & Friday, 13h30 – 16h30
Saturday, 10h – 18h
Sunday, 13h – 18h

Tickets

Free for kids under the age of 3.
Ages 3-15: 10 CHF
Adults (16+): 15 CHF
Different prices for groups of 3, 4, 5 people.

Read about other places promoting STEM activities among children, by clicking on the button below.

Halloween costumes and Escalade dress-ups in Geneva!

Halloween costumes and Escalade dress-ups in Geneva!

The dress-up season in Geneva starts soon! While many parents worldwide are busy preparing for Halloween, folks in Geneva prepare their outfits ALSO for Escalade (and for the marathon of course).

Some are already hands deep into sewing. Others search online, some go and rent one, others prefer to buy. I won’t help you with sewing (2 completely left hands), but the two latter yes. Voilà a list with shops where you can get Halloween costumes and Escalade dress up clothes!

La Mascarade
2 Rue des Rois, Geneva

That is one of the two biggest costumes rental places. They offer handmade outfits made in Switzerland. Fitting and dry-cleaning are included in the price. You can find absolutely everything in this shop, and they can help you choose the accessories too. Check it out here.

La Caverne d’Ali Baba
Rue du Grand-Bureau 26, 1227 Geneva

Another rental place with a wide range of Halloween costumes and Escalade dress up outfits! They also sell party decorations and accessories. The place lives up to its name, offering more or less clothes to transform you into any character you could imagine! Here’s your link!

La Gaîté
Rue de la Rôtisserie 13
And Eaux-Vives 2000 (from the 24th of October)

A shop with a long history, dating from 1928. They specialize in all things party, with decorations and outfits for absolutely every occasion. The shop is big but in this hot hot masquerade season, the most trendy ones get sold fast! Here’s their website.

100% Fête
434 Rue du Mont Rond, 01630 Saint-Genis-Pouilly, France

This shop across the boarder in Saint-Genis-Pouilly is a go to place for all party gear, and costumes! It’s just few minutes away from Cern, and literally ahve everything you need. From baby-shower deco, through birthdays, to all Halloween craziness. Here’s their website. #parentvillerecommended

La Drôlerie
201 Rue de Perruet, 01210 Ornex, France

A bit further into France, in Ornex (around 15 minutes from the border by CERN), is another party 101 shop – la Drôlerie. Birthday parties, weddings, Halloween, kids, adults, decorations, helium balloons, and costumes. Their website also has a “funny gift” section, but I was kind of scared to click on it…

Figue Bazar
Rue de Nant 7, 1207 Genève

In the Geneva city center, one of the shops to visit is certainly the Figue Bazar. It offers high quality costumes, and designs not easy to find in big toy-shops. Oh and yes! They also have tons of sweet toys and unique kids clothes. Definitely worth a visit!

Charity shops

It might take a bit more time and patience to find a Halloween or Escalade costume in a charity shop. You might not find exactly what you are looking for, but everybody who regularly visit these stores will assure you that true gems can be found there! Remember that by purchasing in charity shops you’re helping a certain cause, and you’re saving the planet! You can find plenty of addresses and description in an already existing article on Parentville – Second Hand Shops in Geneva.

Toy shops

Probably the fastest way to get a costume is to head over to one of the big toy shops in the city. Ghosts, vampires, scary withes, princess dresses, super heroes costumes, animals, and some of the occupations dress-ups are easily found there. Which shops? Franz Carl Weber, Maxi Toys, King Jouet, Manor.