Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kid-Friendly Adventures -- Here, There, or Anywhere

It's occured to me that I'm probably not the only mother wondering how to keep busy while school is out. So I've devoted this entry to some of our favorite ways to pass the time -- when it seems as though there's no end in sight. And even if your summer break is coming to an end, these are great ways to keep busy with your kids, while treating them to an extra special afternoon with one of their very favorite people (you!).

Let me add that I generally pendle between adventures and laziness, trying when I can to squeeze a load of laundry into the equation. That gives us all some downtime in between, to play, nap, color, and – in my case – write.

The "Adventure" Days vary, but here are a few of our favorites:
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-Heading out to a local beach, lake, or river (here in Zeeland, the town of Wemeldinge has a great small beach, vs. Vrouwenpolder which boasts some of Zeeland's most beautiful larger beaches)
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-Conquering an amusement park (such as Zeeland's Neeltje Jans)
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-Exploring a nearby Zoo (Antwerp's Zoo and Rotterdam's “Blijdorp” Zoo are both great for kids)
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-Spending a relaxed afternoon at a local park or garden (two of our local favorites are the “Vlindertuin Berkenhof” butterfly gardens and the inspiring Sequoiahof, which was created and is maintained by a single man)
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-Picnicking at the local playground, or in your own backyard! Make it special by bringing a pretty quilt, wicker picnic basket, some cold lemonade in a frosty jug, your favorite sandwiches wrapped in twine-bound baking paper, and a couple of colorful paper napkins. Don't forget your camera!
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-And if when all else fails, get out on the bike. Don't have a kids seat or trailer yet? Buy one. Craig's list and Ebay are great resources. Should you live in a larger city, find an urban trail or lake to ride around. And be sure to take some time to stop and appreciate the beauty around you.

Now that you know our secret hang-outs, let me leave you with a brief explanation of of our Neeltje Jans adventure (as seen in the above collage).

Neeltje Jans is a waterpark and museum built around the Delta Works Project, now known as one of the "Seventh Wonders of the Modern World". While it can be crowded in the summer months, the park does a great job of merging fantasy with reality and learning with fun. While my kids adored the water playground and aquarium area, what I most enjoyed was the walkway out onto the sea, boat ride, and self-guided tour of the actual storm surge barrier. Pricey though it may be, Neeltje Jans truly is one of Zeeland's gems. Admission for adults is €20 (or save 10% by buying your ticket online) and children under 4 get in free. Be sure to allow yourself a full day to take advantage of all of the shows, movies, and activities, and get to each venue early, to avoid missing out.
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Happy adventuring!

1 comment:

Mara from Motherofalltrips said...

Great post Liz! You know I'm down with the bike thing - a bike ride around the neighborhood always lifts our spirits.