Here we are again with Covid messing with our lives on all possible levels. Geneva has announced the closure of almost everything. No more museums, libraries, ice-rinks, no indoor family-friendly attractions. At least school remain open, but what to do on weekends, Wednesdays, and after school?
Parentville to the rescue!
Below you’ll find ideas for walks, indoor places (yes!), and toys/activities.
Yes, indoors! I won’t unravel any fascinating places to visit here as all that I would love to share this winter are closing their doors as I type. But there are still two places that offer an outing-feel.
1. Schilliger Garden Center in Gland and Plan-les-Ouates. Gardening shops can stay open, winter holidays are coming, and Schilliger is the master of creating Christmas decorations. So, if you’re missing Christmas markets, head over to Schilliger (the one in Gland offers way more, but PLO is fun too). Every year they turn their shops around into the most beautiful Christmas worlds. They also organized workshops and activities for the kids – check their website.
2. Geneva closed down all of the libraries but let the bookshops stay open (go figure… can’t help to think about all the unpriviliged families that will deprived from the joy of reading, and all those kids who like mine love the local library and rent books in bulks). It means that Fnac and Payot shops will be welcoming clients. Children’s sections are great and many kdis can easily spend 1h sorting the pages of several books to choose the one they would like. It’s not a super fun something, but when we have nothing, let’s cherish what we have.
3. Still a library, but so kids-friendly it deserves a separate mention: Au Chien Bleu near Plainpalais. It’s a colorful place filled with beautiful picture books, great adventures, and staff with perfect advise for everyone.
I know, I know, it’s getting cold and wet. But there will also be many days with a sunny sky and dry ground under our feet. The fresh air, and nature around is a great remedy for the autumn/winter blues.
What to do when out in nature?
- Gather leaves, sticks, cones, rocks and create mandalas.
- Build a petend fire pit.
- Using sticks and strings build a raft and play in one of the many streams.
- Use the colors and textures around to design clothes (like here).
- Gather branches and stick fallen down to build huts.
- Enjoy geocaching – the best outdoors adventure for the whole family and for free.
Where to go? Here are some ideas:
The list is long so I created a separate article with the destinations in the canton and around. You can access it here.
TOYS & ACTIVITIES
Semi lockdown in spring and semi-quasi-lockdown in winter is not the same for one reason: the weather. What to have at home to have kids occupied? I have some ideas.
Board games and book are perfect for every gloomy season no matter what virus waits around the corner. We have recently received some games and a book from Helvetiq and can only recommend! Tip: pay attention to the age range as the games really do get more complex with indicated age. When shopping at Helvetiq check their online bookstore as well! Their offer is stunning.
READ & WRITE ADVENTURE
How about letting your child be a queen/king of a kingdom or a zoo director? This and more is possible with Epopia. After choosing an adventure, and answering several questions about your kids (fav colour for example), they will start sending out quests via traditional mail. It’s a great activity for kids who can read (or start reading) in French, and fun writing exercise. All their « orders » must be written down. They will also receive some gadgets and accompanying activities. We tried it and Z loved it very much.
ESCAPE GAME @HOME
Escape games are now available not only in special venues, not only online, but you can also easily turn your place into an escape game room! We have already tried several games from the Escape Kit, and can only recommend it. There’s some printing to do, then cutting and glueing but all rather easy to prepare. A very fun way for a weekend afternoon at home!
As Z is already 8, I have no idea what fun apps are out there for smaller kids. I can only tell you what works here and it’s mostly for computers.
1. Minecraft – the creative mode is great even for kids ages 5+. The creative mode gets rid of the monsters, there are no other players to interrupt or attack and it gives the kid unlimited access to the building materials. It’s like Lego with unlimited blocks and even more options. It’s fantastic! There are animals, villages, mountains… Kids can create whatever they want and if they catch the Minecraft bug they may even want to get into some programming and more advanced Minecraft features.
2. For the horse lovers world over, the best game ever is Star Stable. It’s all about the horses, quests, amazing adventures, races, discovering new lands and more. The game has a chat to connect with other players (an internet safety conversation recommended). The game is available in many languages, and there’s quite a lot of reading involved. So, if your child is not a great reader yet, they may need your help quite often.
During the spring lockdown we both got into some basic science experiments. You can find many of them in my spring posts on Instagram and my IGTV videos. Now, I have my eyes set on MEL Chemistry. It’s one of those companies you subscribe to and every month they send new things. They have a engineering/physiscs activities for ages 5-10, and super duper cool chemistry experiments for older curious creatures.
When parents need a little time to themselves while kids would love to listen to a story, the Lunii « Ma Fabrique à Histoires » comes in handy. It’s a little radio-like box with uploaded story. But! It’s not the same story every time as before listening to the child chooses three main elements of the story. Changing even one of them will change how the story goes! Available in French, English, and possibly other languages too.
The all-time classic, the toy that can occupy kids for hours is of course LEGO. For a year it was all my daughter would do all day every day. If you’re worried about the mess, Ikea has just launched a new collection designed to keep the bricks tidy – BYGGLEK. (Available at Click&Collect Ikea service).