Taking the kids on a day trip

Taking the kids on a day trip

When you take your family to Amsterdam in the summer months, you might want to plan a few day trips to child friendly spots on the periphery of the city. Here’s four lovely events:

Stand Up Paddling
When your kids have learnt how to swim and are up for an active adventure, why not have them participate in the latest Hollywood craze[:] Stand Up Paddling? This crazy sport has finally hit Amsterdam too! What’s it all about? Well, Stand Up Paddling involves a surfboard and a paddling oar. Instead of belly-hugging a surfboard, the little tykes will stand on the board and paddle along the Amsterdam canals with an oar, not their arms. Like with most children’s games, the simpler the trick, the more fun it is. Try it yourself too, because in Hollywood people swear it works miracles for toning your stomach, butt, legs, arms and shoulders. You can try Stand Up Paddling in Amsterdam city or make a day excursion to IJburg and get lessons at M&M SUP. The website is in Dutch, but I am told people can simply email info@mm-sup.com to book.  

Kwaku Summer Festival
In case you have footballing kids, consider going to the Kwaku Summer Festival in the Bijlmerpark in south-east Amsterdam. The festival runs during the five weekends from July 12th until August 10th and features numerous cultural, musical, dance, food and drink events. It is one of Amsterdam’s most multicultural events, and started in 1975 as a football festival for inner city youth in the Bijlmer. Currently it attracts over 300,000 visitors annually, and the football competitions are still a central tenet of the festival, along with activities such as beauty contests, lectures, public debates, dance workshops, musical performances and food and drink demonstrations. Dishes you can sample vary from spicy Korean tacos to Surinam spare ribs, and food from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Plenty of exotic drinks too. To celebrate the World Cup 2014, the Kwaku Summer Festival has booked all football fields in the neighbourhood to stage its football tournament. Entrance
to the festival is only €3,-. 

Situated in a leafy part of Amsterdam, the city’s zoo organises a range of events in its park on Saturday evenings until sunset during the months of June, July and August. Performances vary, ranging from storytelling, music and guided tours. Dutch jazz diva Bettie Serveert will be performing, as will artists of less international repute, but who are definitely worth discovering; Jacqueline Govaert, Lucky Fonz III, Eefje Visser, Rita Zipora, Kris Berry & Perquisite and Typhoon. Whilst the adults enjoy the performances, the kids are entertained by puppet players or they can join guided tours for children and workshops. The events start at 15:00 and finish when the sun sets. Surf to the zoo’s website to check out what’s on when you plan a visit.  

Throughout the Summer, the Vondelpark hosts the Openluchttheater, an open air theatre. The great thing about this is that the performances are free, unlike those at the Artis zoo. What’s more, the featured artists tend to be of high calibre and you can opt to have a relaxed picnic far from the crowds, play football with the children and still enjoy the live shows. Styles include pop, rock and jazz music, Dutch language music (truly great too) and world music, as well as dance and dedicated children’s programmes. At lunchtime, the organisers put on classical concerts. 

The summer performances in the Vondelpark run until the end of August. In case your favourite artists perform, you might want to book a seat and pay a small fee to do so online. There is excellent wheelchair access. How you find the park? Take the tram. Really only the tram will get you there without any hassle – lines 1, 2, 3, 5, 12, 16 and 24. For a detailed programme of all the performances, check out the website of the Vondelpark Openluchttheater.