What to do with Kids: Easter 2017

This is already the last week before Easter holiday for children in Vaud public schools! I have blogged about the available holiday camps here, and below you can find more Easter-related events and activities:

  • Easter egg hunt in Flon, Saturday 8 April 2017 – with make up artist, mini train and egg decorating workshop. Free and without registration (info)
  • Easter Bunny at Micasa Etoy Saturday 8 April 2017 – with make up artist and craft workshop. Free (info)
  • Marché de Pâques in Nyon, 8-9 April 2017 (info)
  • Pâkomuzé offers many programs during the Easter weekend. Registration for most activities started 28 March 2017 (info)
  • Easter egg hunt at Swiss Vapeur Parc in Le Bouveret (Canton Valais), all day during Easter holiday 14-23 April 2017 (info)
  • Coop offers a children workshop to decorate Easter Bunnies on 12 April 2017 (register asap as space is limited)

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Where to go with children on a Sunday

It’s probably safe to say that many of us who were used to shops open on Sunday were shocked to find “nothing is open on Sunday in Switzerland”. But now that I know so much more, I can prove that it is not true. Almost all shops and supermarkets are closed but there are a lot of things that one can do as a family. So many in fact that I spent 3 days compiling them into this post! We just have to adopt some Swiss-ness, by enjoying outdoor more. After all, we are living in such a beautiful country! But worry not, I included options for those rainy windy Sundays you’d rather be indoor.

OUTDOOR

Vallee de la Jeunesse

Vallee de la Jeunesse is a huge playground for all ages. There is a massive green area for picnic and running around. There are all kinds of slides, climbing and balancing structures, a skate park, and a huge water fountain among other things. The hilly landscape is popular for skateboarders.

The children’s science museum Espace des inventions is located here and open on Sundays. We are fans of this museum.

Ouchy

We all know Ouchy is strong magnet for locals as well as tourists. Beside the view and the abundance of restaurants, there are many green spots and playgrounds for families to relax and do a picnic. Our favorite spot is the grassy area close to the Thai Pagoda.

The playground and Thai pagoda in Ouchy

The park of the Olympic Museum is great to stroll with children. All area are accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. Mine could never resist to race on the 100m athletic track. They often have free temporary exhibition and their TOM’s café Sunday brunch is very popular.

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Autumn Holiday Activities in Lausanne and Around (2016) – Updated

This is not a sponsored post

autum-holiday

We are touching the end of summer, and it’s somehow already September (can you believe it?!) – It’s about time to think about school autumn holiday coming this October! :)

For those not yet familiar with the school here, school kids in Switzerland have holidays often, approximately every 6 weeks (find the list here). This may stress many parents, especially ones who are employed. Chatting around, I found that most employed couple rely on help from grandparents or families (who sometimes fly from another side of the planet). Or hire a temporary nanny when they can afford one. Or they take turns taking off days from their office. But considering the active life of kids, even the stay-at-home parents need programs to keep those little ones and teens happily occupied.

Below I complied different kinds of activities and camps that are offered during the school holidays in Lausanne and surrounding areas. Please click the links for more info.

As a general rule, the winter holiday after Christmas and the Relâches (February) are considered ski holiday thus most of the sport camps offered concentrated into this. For other holidays, activities are more varied.


Offers from the city of Lausanne and surrounding municipalities (Le SJL, le CVAJ and la FASL)

Note that these may be reserved for children domiciled inside the municipalities. Check current offers here on the column on the left hand side

Educational, Wildlife and Nature themes

  • Pop In’s – Full or half day, 3-12y (info)
  • L’écoline in St.Sulpice – Full or half day, there is also one bilingual French-English week, 3-9y (info)
  • Camps des Graines de Curieux – in Ecublens, 4-10y (info)
  • Kids Break – whole day trips for 4-12y, starts from Fribourg (info)
  • Club Vacances in Vevey and Promasens (Fribourg), 3-12y (info)

Read more

Activities for Little Children on Rainy or Cold Days

Oh what a gloomy weather! The original post was published on May 2013. I now included more places from outside Lausanne as suggested by readers (read comments). I would love to hear more ideas, especially the ones inside Lausanne. Please leave a comment below or send an email to info(AT)lausannemom(DOT)com. Thanks!


FOR FREE OR CHEAP – IN LAUSANNE

Go to La Maison Ouverte. It’s an open playhouse. Free entry and you can come anonymously (no registration or such). The children should be accompanied by the parents at all time. They provide toys etc.

Similar to La Maison Ouverte is the Vallée de la Jeunesse (also free)

Most quartiers in Lausanne have a center for activities: http://www.fasl.ch/centres (Thanks, Kate)

See the (dead) animals at Musée Zoologie (Cantonal Museum of Zoology) inside Palais de Rumine in Rippone. Free for permanent exhibition, small fee for temporary ones. There is an old post about it here, but since then the museum has undergone renovations and is looking even better now.

For dinosaur fossils (not so many though), go to Musée cantonal d’archéologie et d’histoire (Cantonal Museum of Archeology and History). It’s in the same complex as the Musée Zoologie above.

dino-lausanne

Be a member of Ludotheque (toy library) and rent toys from them so that your little ones can be busy even at home

Be a member of the Children’s Library BMJ, hang around there and borrow books to bring home. This is a special one for the kids, incl. babies.

MOVIE THEATER / CINEMA

If you don’t mind watching movies in French, you can go watch a children movie at Pathé Flon. But check the age limits as they usually start at 3-4y.

INDOOR PLAY AREAS / SOFT PLAY – OUTSIDE LAUSANNE

Jay Land in Crissier

Urba Kids in Orbe (0-12y)

Laura Park in Payerne

Aux Quatre Coins in Renens (0-5y). Free

Bricks 4 Kidz in St-Sulpice

IKEA in Aubonne offers a free 1h of play in their drop-in play area (3-6y). Free

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Maison d’Ailleurs in Yverdon-les-Bains

About 2 weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit Maison d’Ailleurs in Yerdon-les-Bains. This museum specializes on science fiction, utopia and extraordinary journeys, and apparently is the only public institution of its kind in the world.

As quoted from Wikipedia:

The archives of the museum contain around 70,000 documents related to science fiction or utopia (books, art pieces, toys, etc.), including some very old (as early as the sixteenth century) or unique pieces. The collections of the museum are used for iconographic purposes or research (literature, history of ideas, design, etc.). The Maison d’Ailleurs thus represents an important research and documentation center. In parallel, the museum presents from two to three temporary exhibitions per year, around the main themes of science fiction (cities of the future, space travel, lost worlds, etc.) and its artists.

The museum was very much on the news last year for their “Superman, Batman & Co…mics!” exhibition, but we didn’t go there at the time as our children were still too young to know these superheroes and both my husband and I had never been into superheroes.

This time we went on a Sunday afternoon, to visit their current temporary exhibition Portrait – Robot. We happen to love robots and own a few! I’ve been calling our trio of cleaning robots (a Roomba, a Braava, and a Winbot) my best buddies. You know why.

robots-cubes

Our robots at home are real robots, while the ones on the exhibitions were mostly sci-fi based yet captivating. There were many bots of different styles as well as robot masks. I loved the classifications and display, so modern and sleek.

In one room (photo below) was a display of robot-themed comics and books. There were touch screens allowing you to explore a bit more about them.

maisondailleurs-touchscreen

As a teen of late 80s and early 90s, a few things on display caught my attention more than the others, such as Barbie/Ken-sized Mr. Terminator below.

maisondailleurs-termonator

And the birthyears of some of the most beloved robots, including R2D2 and C3PO (photo below).

maisondailleurs-robotbirthyears

There were also a few real robots such as ones that could move around with a touch of a hand on a panel or one who could talked. Our kids had fun!

Our daughter also had a portrait drawn by a robot (photo below). The result was ok, we could see some resemblance. It took a while (20-30 min) so that you should only try if you or the children could sit (almost) still for the whole duration.

maisondailleurs-robotdraw

There were other things to see and admire of course. The Espace Jules Verne, hosting thousands of collections, one of them. And don’t forget to hear music too, as there were “jukeboxes” that played robot-themed songs!

robot-cube

The small museum shop was also good. We ended up buying 2 children books about robots!

In conclusion, Maison d’Ailleurs is totally worth to visit for any sci-fi fans. It is quite small that you can finish all in one to two hours. The building has stairs, and I’m not sure if there was an easy way for stroller. They had lockers in a small cloakroom where we left our stroller.

The museum is only a few minutes walk from the train station. And if you come by train, CFF has special offer that combines train ticket and discounted visits to the thermal bath and this museum.

Finally, don’t forget to check their regular children activities. Most are for age 7 and up, but sometimes, such as next week, they have ones for all age. The programs do sound awesome!

—–

Maison d’Ailleurs
Museum of science fiction, utopia and extraordinary voyages
Place Pestalozzi 14
CH-1401 Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland
T. +41 24 425 64 38
F. +41 24 425 65 75
E. maison [at] ailleurs.ch

This & That Week #36 – September 2015

It’s the end of second week of school and in our house we have finally started to get used to the new routines. Yay! Hope things are going well with you, too!

So here are some things I found and would love to share with you…

stopsmoking-fb-valais

  • Can’t love this cause more: 900 Valaisans have decided to stop smoking, with the aid from… facebook – via 20min
  • Starry starry nights… The sky observation nights for the amateur public have re-started: in Morges and in Vevey, and of course in Lausanne. Free entry on those special nights.
  • Sweets and chocolate to “disappear” from cashier lines at the supermarkets… Will they? – via 24heures
  • The Magic Lantern, cinema club for children aged 6-12, is accepting registration for their new season. They have many locations. FYI in Lausanne screenings on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Partial interruption on train lines between Morges–Lausanne–Renens VD–Vevey on Sunday 6 Sept 2015 between 6:00-17:00 – info

Have a lovely weekend! x

*Image courtesy of Cipret-Valais

Get Active! – at the Olympic Museum, until 29 Nov 2015

active-bougez-2015

“Get Active!” is a temporary hands-and-feet-on exhibition currently running at the Olympic Museum in Ouchy. This post is based on what Caroline, a friend and a local mom of two, sent me over WhatsApp on Sunday.

The family had been there for a brunch party at the museum’s TOM café, and as this exhibition was just next to the café, their girls literally jumped onto it.

bougez-bed-olympic2015

They also did a little bathroom gymnastics…

bougez-bath-olympic2015

and went through the laundry lines without touching the string that could *gasp* ring the little bells!

bougez-laundry-olympic2015

How adorable is this exhibition! I had thought of going but since I read it was mostly for 9y+, we didn’t go during the school holidays (my kids are 6 and 4). Thank goodness it will still run until end of November so that we should be able to go. This mama surely won’t mind that her kids get busy while she sips a cup of delicious renversé while enjoying the view of the Alps and lake Léman from the café.

Finally, some words from Caroline:

“Most of the things are better for 9y+ but little kids can still do them. The bed makes music when you jump, the string course has little bells so you know if you touched one, etc…”

And about the brunch:

“There was a great selection of food. The dishes changed often and the desserts were great! Service was friendly and prompt. Definitely recommend for  a special occasion type brunch or a big splurge. Reservations highly recommended. Go hungry, leave full!”

More info here.

 

*Huge thanks Caro for the info and lovely pics! xoxo

Chemin de Fer du Kaeserberg in Granges-Paccot

kaeserberg1

Last week was my son’s birthday week. This guy has been in love with trains since he was just a baby. So as his birthday treat, on Saturday we went to Chemin de Fer du Kaeserberg in Granges-Paccot near Fribourg city.

We took the combined offer from RailAway, which gave us (the adults) 20% off train ticket price, 10% off bus ticket price as well as 20% off entry tickets to the museum. Both kids travel and enter for free as they are under 7y and my daughter has a Junior travelcard for the train.

Kaeserberg was easily reached by public transport. The bus started directly from the bus terminal at Fribourg station and the bus trip last less than 10 minutes. Then a few minutes on foot.

The Kaeserberg building was sleek and very modern. The lovely lady at the ticket counter spoke English with us and kindly gave us English guide books.

Visitors go in groups that each starts every 30 minutes. The maximum number of visitors per time slot was 40, so that if the place was full, you have to wait 30 minutes for the next one. When we were there on Saturday 2:30pm, there were only us and another family of 4 – a total of 8. But we saw that the later group had more people.

The visit began by a short film about the founder, the creative team and the work behind Kaeserberg. The film was in French with German surtitle – unfortunately no English. I think the film itself can be enjoyed without the audio explanation, but I hope you won’t miss when they mention how much material was needed, and that it took them 17, yes SEVENTEEN years, to finish the project.

kaeserberg1b

After the film we moved to another room where more explanations were given, again only in French with German translation. In this room we could see the different trains and the complexity of the network, electric circuits and how the train station was maintained.

And then we went to the main attraction, the Swiss railway model at a 1:87 scale. My photos here don’t do justice to what you can see by yourself.

kaeserberg2

While the stars should be the trains, the whole model deserve a lot of praise. So beautifully crafted and truly depicted the scenes around Swiss railways. We don’t have car and take trains all the time, so that we know how real they looked.

kaeserberg3

We spent a lot of time admiring the trains and scenes – The mini tractors, containers being lifted by cranes, cows grazing, a group of Nordic walkers… There was also a Knie circus complex complete with their animals. Even the sound that the miniature trains made when they moved on the track was similar to the real moving train sound we usually hear from a distance (our house is approx 500m from a railway).

The main area consisted of 2 floors, so that we could see the network from different angles. There were also stepping stools for the kids as well as several sets of binoculars that we used to spy on the details.

kaeserberg4

We spent a total of 1.5 hours inside, then a few minutes more on the snack and drink area (self-service) for coffee and biscuits before hopping on the bus back to Fribourg station.

Conclusions: Great place to visit, especially for those train-loving souls. It would also work well on a rainy or cold day as everything is indoor! We’ll definitely come back, as my son already asked when we were leaving “Mama, could we come back tomorrow?”

Lastly, Kaeserberg also offers space to rent for events, both personal and professional. More info here.

Chemins de fer du Kaeserberg
Impasse des Ecureuils 9
Case postale 29
CH 1763 Granges-Paccot (Fribourg)
Phone +41 26 467 70 40
Fax +41 26 467 70 41
Email info(AT)kaeserberg.ch

Note that they don’t open everyday (usually on Wednesdays, weekends, and public holidays)

This & That Week #19 – May 2015

It’s happy time this weekend in Lausanne, with a dance festival and the Lausanne Carnival (more info on Event page).

And Sunday is Mother’s Day in CH. Do you have a nice plan for yourself? Or your family usually surprises you? My answer would be “no” and “no” but honestly I don’t feel very motivated these days. If I could just sit and read a book for a couple of hours I’d be happy 🙂 My kids will surely bring some hand-made gifts from jardin d’enfants and school so that at least I’ll get something 🙂

But in any case let just hope that the weather forecast will be wrong and it will be dry on those days!

There are a few more info I’d like to share here:

  • Landslide alert on avenue Louis-Vulliemin (Lausanne Cité) – via 24heures
  • Open House – École de Musique de Pully, Sat 9 May 2015 from 10am (info)
  • Flower show: 60èmes floralies at Les Jardins du Château de Vullierens, until 14 June 2015
  • New Ludotheque le potiron in Renes – Yay to toys!
  • Peppiland giant bouncy thingy is currently in Moudon, until Sunday. chf10/kid
  • TedxLausanneWomen, 28 May 2015

And finally the video that made a huge talk since published 2 days ago. It was made and distributed by Lausanne Police. Brutal yet effective. Just don’t watch with little children.

 

Sensorium in Rüttihubelbad (near Bern)

This post below was previously published in March 2013. A friend visited this museum recently and I asked her if she could add something to this post. This is what she said:

“There’s still the musical instruments. The level with the smelling stuff has a new exhibition added about bees. Outdoors there are as many exhibits as indoors *perhaps more* so it’s absolutely lovely in summer. barefoot paths, gorgeous playgrounds. Great restaurant. The double swingset alone is worth admission.”

So I think I have to bring this post back. A really great place, I promise!

During the February school holiday, the kids and I spent one long weekend in Bern. Since last year, we’ve been doing many few-day trips to Bern as my close friend live there, and the kids always ask to visit her. As a result, we’ve been to many places in Bern and as the weekend was really cold (-10°C, yikes!) we needed something indoor that would be fun for both my kids (4.5y & 21m)

I consulted this list, and decided to go somewhere new (to us) – Sensorium. It’s located outside Bern, in Rüttihubelbad (Walkringen). I can tell you now that I made one fantastic decision! The museum was super fun, and was for all ages. And it was free for under 6s, so that I only had to pay for myself (CHF18), while the three of us went it! Yay! *cheapmom*

Everything that they had in this museum was hands-on. For example this photo below, shows one of the many balance discs, with my daughter hopping on it. Even my son (a toddler!) was super excited and it was very difficult to drag him to leave this area.

sensorium-disc

That was, until we came to to this (photo below), which obviously was my kids’ most favorite part of the museum. My daughter took off her shoes, got blindfolded, and walked on different type of surfaces (wood, metal, sand, rock, etc), while I guided her. Btw, to convince her to do that, I went first with her as my guide – it was fun! My toddler only did half of the track while blindfolded, he just hated not being able to see. But they both made many many rounds afterwards — it was so much fun.

sensorium-blindfold

In this part (photo below) we tested our senses of smell. We opened the numbered jars and sniffed them, and if we could not figure out what smell it was, there was a list (the green one on the wall) that we could refer to.

sensorium-smell

And there were these mirrors. Can you see how much fun my little monkeys had?

sensorium-mirrors

There were many many more to see, smell, hear, touch, feel… we easily spent 3 hours there. The 2 kiddos were never bored!

sensorium-rocktower

There was a rest area, with tables and seats, where you can sit, drink and eat (We brought our snack and drinks). There were cold and hot drinks that you could purchase there, but no real meal. For that, you could go to the restaurant of Rüttihubelbad (same complex as the museum) that also offers breakfast or brunch packages (museum ticket included in the price).

We used public transport to reach this museum, and it was really easy. We took Tram #6 (if you come from Bern central station, take the S7 train) until Worb Dorf, and there we switched onto a Post Bus. Just make sure you check the schedule in advance as Post Buses don’t run often. We didn’t, and missed the bus by minutes(!), and thus had to wait almost an hour for the next one (it was a Sunday, and the buses only run once an hour). But there were cafés in the area, and we ended up having yummy sandwich lunch and coffee in a convenient store directly at the Worb Dorf station.

I highly recommend to visit this museum, especially if you go to Bern area. From Lausanne it takes around 1.5h by car and a bit more than 2h by train (take the IC train that has a family coach so that your little ones can entertain themselves during the trip).

Have fun! And don’t forget to comment below if you had been there or after you go there!

For more info, check the link below:
Sensorium
Rüttihubelbad (Walkringen)

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