Salève for kids

Salève for kids

Old and mysterious from the outside, very modern yet keeping the countryside style inside. Maison du Salève is absolutely charming, engaging, and has a very wide offer for families.

Don’t be us

We have passed the road signs leading to Maison du Salève many times. But it hasn’t been until recently that we decided to finally check it out. Don’t be us. Don’t wait.

Nailed it

Some museums mistake interactivity for touch screens and other screens. Not here. Maison du Salève nailed the interactivity if the permanent exhibition like a pro! Puzzles, drawers to open, quizzes (one using a screen and buttons to make several people compete), things to touch, and manipulate.

Saleve 101

Can an exposition about everything-Salève be interesting and attractive for kids? Let’s see. The first floor exhibition tells a story about Salève. It explains how the rocks we find there help to recreate that story. It covers everything from dinosaurs, plants, animals, caves, to how humans got to live there, and how they created the cable car.

The sounds

The temporary exhibition on the ground floor is about sounds. You will receive a smartphone with headphones, enter a very nice wooden room, and scan pictograms to reveal the sounds of different kinds of animals, and not only animals. The app sometimes freezes, and it’s not clear from the start what to do and in which order, but fortunately it does not matter. You can ignore the rules and a simply scan the sounds you want to listen without complicating things too much. A museum outing with kids is complicated enough after all.

Salève for kids

Last but not least, Maison du Salève organizes a lot of activities for kids (small and big). They sometimes take place on the premises or in the garden surrounding the house. Sometimes it’s a walk with fun theme somewhere on Salève. And other times it’s a cable car ride up. Check their schedule for dates and themes.

Now, one really last thing. You can organize your kid’s birthday party with Maison du Salève, and from what we heard it’s quite great!

Comparing to everything we know in Geneva and around, we can wholeheartedly place Maison du Salève on the top of the kid-friendly list in the region. Absolutely #parentvillerecommended! If you get hungry after the visit, do not hesitate to visit the B com Brasserie, 15 minutes drive away – kids corner, kids menu, and a modern industrial feel.

INFO:
  • Pram friendly
  • Wheelchair accessible (+adapted toilets)
  • No restaurant or buvette, water available in the gift-shop.
  • Good for a rainy day
  • Good for a hot day
Espace des Mondes Polaires

Espace des Mondes Polaires

Espaces des Mondes Polaires
Like every child, Z has her passions. It feels amazing to follow her dreams and hobbies,
as they lead us to wonderful places.

To hear the sound of an ice berg moving, to touch the polar bear’s fur, to ice skate in the middle of the summer. All less than 1h drive from Geneva in the wonderful Espace des Mondes Polaires.

Let me take you to the one of the most exotic places on Earth. Where everything is white, where only the toughest survive, a place that has been fascinating explorers and scientist for ages. Ladies and gentlemen: the poles!

To get there, you’ll have to conquer the sharp turns on the Jura mountains, and cross the deserted French border. Then, drive through the wilderness and soak in the amazing views, just until you get to Prémanon (Les/Des Rousses region).

You have now reached one of the most gorgeous museums in the region: Espace des Mondes Polaires. A museum devoted to all-things-poles. By devoted, I mean so much devoted, they also built an ice skating rink open all year long.

The museum

The museum is very modern-looking inside, very simple-looking, like the poles themselves. Everything is white or made with glass. It’s white and quiet.

When we enter the permanent exhibition, we are surrounded by moving ice bergs and their sounds. Scary for some, fascinating for others.

We go farther, to check out the massive tail of a whale in the distance. A stop on the way to learn about ice bergs first: how they are formed, what they are made of, a true ice bergs 101. There are many videos to watch and games to play all around us – they help us find answers to questions emerging in our heads.

The animals are amazing. The fox, the bear, the penguins, all the whales, orcas, and other dolphins. Their colors perfectly match their environment. It is mind blowing how they can survive this rough environment. We touch their skins to understand it better.

We then move to further to discover the explorers’ trips to the poles. There’s a lot to learn here about Paul-Émile Victor, an explorer from the Jura region, and his fascinating trips. We compare equipment from the past, with the modern one.

Quick look at the massive polar bear, and we enter a separate room with a temporary exhibition. It inspires us to organize a dog-sled ride in winter.

Ice skating, yey!

Now, finally run to the other part of the building – to the true reason of our trip. But first: clothes need to change. Short sleeves and shorts won’t do. It is the time for Sweaters, long trousers, professional winter gear, and compulsory: gloves.

Music on, here we go! Ice skating in the middle of heatwave, wearing warm sweaters and gloves feels so absurd we can’t not laugh. It feels amazing, so fresh, and so good! We practice our moves before the ice skating lessons in Meyrin start again together with the school year.

Our last stop: the gift-shop. A fury diary is just what we needed!

The only thing we didn’t try was the restaurant. It looked and smelled nice though, and it has a view on the rink.

Planning this trip in every season is good. In winter, you’ll have more polar feel with the snow covering the jura. In summer, you’ll get a break from the heat and be silly on the rink. It will be a fun day, anyway!

Have fun!

Bibi Café: a dream come true in Geneva

Bibi Café: a dream come true in Geneva

Back in the day when Z was little, I was desperately looking for a kids friendly café in Geneva. A place where I could meet my mom-friends, have a cake, while my daughter plays. I had no luck. No such place existed.

Thanks to Jennifer Barben-Mirisola things are about to change with Bibi Café! Jennifer is a mom of 2, who instead of searching and whining like I have, sat down to work and founded a place we all need.

Her project, Bibi Café, will shake the current market, and hopefully force other restaurants and cafes to think about parents too.

Bibi Café is the first 100% kids and parents friendly café that is about to open in the Quartier des Vergers in Meyrin. No matter where in Geneva you live, I beg you to continue reading.

Bibi Café will be easily reachable with public transport (buses, trams), and with a car. There is a huge parking, with the exit in front of the café.

That’s not all! It’s also placed very close do the beautiful botanical garden in Meyrin, the public swimming pool, and ice skating rink. So you’ll now be able to plan a whole day in nature, with sport activities, while being sure there is a place close by that will welcome you wholeheartedly with good coffee, lunch, or snack.

It is a new place where you’ll be able to host your child’s birthday no matter their age – sweet, right? Bibi Café will also organize kids activities, parents meetings, pop up store events, and more.

And guess where I’ll be hosting an event to celebrate publishing ABC Geneva city guide FOR KIDS? At Bibi Café of course!

The thing is, the place needs our help! The opening is planned for late October already! Everything is going as planned but Jennifer and Bibi Café need our help.

Jennifer launched a crowdfunding campaign for Bibi Café, so you can support this unique project and get some sweet gifts at the same time – including ABC Geneva.

Please trust me that this is a project worth every possible support! No such place exists in the region yet!

The crowdfunding campaign page is in French, if you need any help translating it – let me know, I will happily explain everything!

Share this article, share the campaign link, and let’s make it happen guys!

See you soon at Bibi Café!

MAH with small steps

MAH with small steps

This text was inspired by my conversations with Aline Smyth, and a her written document on the subject. Aline is a mother of 2, and an experienced early childhood educator, who would take Geneva creche groups to the The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire aka MAH.

Together with Aline we share the same view: MAH is a perfect museum for kids of all ages!

As soon as your child is interested in big format picture books, he is ready for a trip to the museum.

 

Many of you already know MAH, and their kids activities: MAH a Petits Pas (eng. MAH with small steps), for ages 3-5. For those who have never heard about it, these are guided visits specifically cerated for kids: they’re short, amusing, and a great introduction to culture life for kids.

Yet, sometimes group activities are not the best fit, sometimes a more one on one museum time is more beneficial and joyful. As a parent I know that not all kids like group activities, not all like the same pace of activities, and a fixed schedule with kids is often fine only on paper.

Let’s start from shifting our mindset. What is a museum, or rather what can it be for young children? It’s a giant, 4D picture book. It’s a treasure hunt maze. And that long staircase? It’s a mountain to climb!

So how to visit MAH, or any other big museum? By taking small steps of course!

You can try and take all these steps at one go, or spread them among days, weeks, or months.

Eat and pee first.

There is nothing worse than trying to have fun with a hungry child, or one with a full bladder.

No expectations.

Have no expectations, don’t force anything. Let your child explore, look at what he/she likes. And have an ice-cream afterwards in Le Barocco.

 

The building.

The first time you go, just focus on the building itself: humongous door a dinosaur could fit. And the red carpet leading you up and down to different sections of the museum? Could it be lava we can fight? Remember to explore the mosaic on the floor just before the entry to the fine arts gallery.

Every time you enter a new room, stop for a moment. Help your child notice what is different, name the color.

The Art.

Choose just one painting, by the time you get to it your kid might already be tired or bored. If you think your child is up for it, choose more than one: a whole theme maybe.

One of the trick we used was asking Z to find one thing in each room: an orange, a dog, a boy. A simple form of a treasure hunt. You don’t need to prepare beforehand, a quick look at the paintings around and you’ll find what you need. Just remember to talk, name things and colors, and ask questions.

Another idea is to use your child’s current passion and search for art related to that: ancient Egypt? Fashion? Food? Animals? Transportation? You’ll find everything in MAH.

If you prefer the group visits created by MAH themselves, you can check the schedule by going to their website.

I hope these tiny tips, and small steps, will make your family trips to museums fun, and something to look forward to!

A dummy tree in Signal de Bougy

A dummy tree in Signal de Bougy

The dummy tree is kind of a pacifier paradise, where all dummies meet up to celebrate not being in anyone’s mouth anymore while soaking up the sun and enjoying the fresh air. It’s also a place that offers a possibility of a smooth transition into dummy-free life for the kids.

From hope to challenge.

Dummies are essential for the vast majority of moms’ survival. Many of us parents pray for our kid to become friends with them. Luckily, most of the time it works! But then… how to make them stop?

Some parents wait for the child to decide for themselves, while other decide it’s time to stop the habit – I love you all!

Tips and tricks.

Many hacks are offered to those who want to help their child to part with the pacifier. And boy can it be a patience and creativity demanding challenge!

Some parents go cold turkey (courageous people!), some cut the tip of the dummy off little by little (cheeky monkeys), some make it fly away with a balloon (optimistic fellows), some make a calendar with a deadline (practical folks). And I am sure each one of you could share more tricks.

But you can also go on a small trip.

If you’re in Geneva you might have heard about the dummy-paradise in the Hameau du Père Noël in the nearby France.

But now, a new option has just became available – a dummy tree in Signal de Bougy.
(And it does rhyme splendidly!)

From Denmark.

A dummy tree is a concept brought to Switzerland from super child-friendly Denmark. It exists in the Bernese Oberland and in Zurich, and now also in the canton Vaud!

Isaline, a mother of 4, discovered the “l’arbre a lolette” while looking for creative and gentle ways of getting the dummy out of the house. She started looking for something in Switzerland, but places she found were day-trip away.

(You can read more on Isaline on her blog – in French, or in this article on Parentville).

She used her blogging power, and asked her audience, if they also think a pacifier venue is needed in the region. They all said yes.

The solution.

There was nothing else left to do but to find the right venue. Not thinking much she called Signal de Bougy and within couple of emails the deal was set!

The dummy tree (l’arbre à lolettes)in Signal de Bougy was inaugurated on March 24th. It’s the only permanent dummy place in the whole French-speaking Switzerland. It is also located in a beautiful park with spectacular views.

This idea is also great for smaller kids to show them the tree and slowly prepare them for the dummy-free life. In the park they can watch others leave their friends and be more confident when their day comes.

Family Sunday brunch

Family Sunday brunch

Family Sunday brunch is finally becoming a thing in Geneva! Finally restaurant owners saw the opportunity in providing families with not only great food but also with entertainment for the kids. In other words: let’s eat out this Sunday!

To find out about all fun activities for each weekend check out Parentville on Instagram every Friday!

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