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Survival manual: How to go on a day trip with the kids?
What to bring on a day trip with children?
How to go on a day trip with children?
What is more fun than going on a day trip with the kids? They will be excited! And hopefully, you will be too: going out on adventures and exploring the world through the eyes of the kids is supposed to be much fun. But, It is good to get ready for quite an intensive day. Because to be honest with you: going on a day trip with a bunch of enthusiastic, energetic and mostly very curious youngsters can be a particularly big challenge. So here is some advice to get you through it: just to make sure that everything will go as smooth as possible and that you are enjoying the day yourself as well.
How to prepare a trip with children?
Preparation is key. If you prepare your trip very well, chances are that the day will pass by the way smoother, and that’s exactly what you want to achieve. This is what you have to take into account during your preparation:
- Plan the activity. Double-check: Is the activity possible (consider seasonally related activities and check opening hours) will the kids like it, and is it suitable for their age(s)?
- Plan your transport. Can you go there by bike, car or public transport (to plan your trip by public transport in The Netherlands, you can use this tool)? How long will it take you to get there? Do you need to walk to get there? If yes: are the kids able to walk that distance or will it be smart to bring a pram? When planning the transport, keep in mind: moving around with kids will take way more time than whenever you go out by yourself.
- Buy tickets online. Whenever possible, buy the entrance tickets in advance, online. This way you can avoid waiting in very long queues and sometimes it’s even cheaper. Win-win!
- One more visit to the toilet before you go. It is not a secret that kids always have to pee when it is just not an ideal moment to pee. There is not a lot you can do about that. Although one thing you can: let them visit the toilet the minute before you leave the house.
- How to not lose your kids. Going to places that are a bit (or maybe even very) crowded can be frightening, especially when you are babysitting curious kids that tend to run away quickly. If this is the case, make sure you put them on clothes or a cap in bright colors, so it’s easier to track the kids while playing and running around. Another thing you can do: give them bracelets with your phone number written on it, just for when (worst case scenario) you lose them out of sight.
- Don’t worry, don’t hurry. As mentioned before: going out with kids takes a lot of time. So keep that in mind and don’t try to rush too much. If you arrive a bit later than expected: it’s okay. And if arriving late is not an option (a movie in the cinema isn’t going to wait for you), make sure that you leave very early. If necessary, you can always bring something to entertain the kids if you arrive early and have to wait.
What to bring on a day trip with children?
One of the most important things to bring if you go on a day trip is water and sunscreen. I remember strolling through Madrid’s pretty park as an au pair. Packed with a backpack full of water, food, a picnic blanket, and sunscreen to begin with. During our walks, my backpack started to fill with stuff the kid wanted to get rid of: toys, dolls, her sunglasses, cap… I always ended up with a heavy backpack and a doll pram and the kid herself in my arms. Those days in the park were lovely, I can tell. But (not so surprisingly) me and my arms were always very tired at the end of the day.
So the first advice will be: bringing less, is more. But, bringing less isn’t always possible when going out with kids. When you start packing your backpack for the day trip, consider these (basic) items:
- Sunscreen and sunglasses/cap (when it’s sunny)
- Gloves and a warm hat (when it’s cold)
- Jacket or sweater
- Water bottle
- Band-aid (you never know with kids)
- Cash (in case of emergency)
- Sandwiches for lunch and biscuits/fruit as a snack
- Proper shoes (consider hot/cold days, rain, long walks, etc.)
- Cleaning wipes
- Entertainment for on the way (for example music, a book, small games, a (cuddly) toy)
- Picnic blanket
- Public transport cards
- Your phone (although probably needless to say)
Of course, a lot of items have to be added to the list, based on the situation. For example extra diapers and clean clothes for the younger ones. Swimming clothes, float armbands, and towels when the activity involves water. Or rain boots and an umbrella when it is rainy (kids love to bring their own umbrella!).
Where to go with children?
So many things to do with kids in The Netherlands! Here is a small list to start with, to get some inspiration for a nice and fun day trip:
- Monkey Town: This indoor playground isn’t always loved by the parents (let’s say a 100 energetic kids screaming and running around is pretty exhausting), but it is always a success for the kids. Especially when it is raining all day long, this is the place to go. Get yourself a coffee/tea and find yourself a nice spot to relax, while the kids are playing. This way you will survive too, I promise.
- Zoo: There must be a petting zoo near your house, but if you want to make it a more special trip: visit a zoo! It’s fun and educating as well. Kids (and adults) of all ages will love it, so it’s a great trip for families with children of different ages. You have plenty of zoos in The Netherlands, for example, Artis (Amsterdam), Diergaarde Blijdorp (Rotterdam), Ouwehands Dierenpark (Rhenen), Vogelpark Avifauna (Alphen aan den Rijn), Burgers’ Zoo (Arnhem), Dolfinarium (Hardewijk), Apenheul (Apeldoorn), Wildlands Adventure Zoo (Emmen) or Dierenpark Amersfoort (Amersfoort). But there are also a lot of smaller zoos, you can find them here.
- Linnaeushof: I bet you can spend the whole day in Europe’s biggest playground, without a problem. Lots of fun guaranteed.
- Swimming pool: It is always nice to spend some time at the pool. In the summertime, a lot of swimming pools are opening their outdoor pools. Bring a blanket and enough food (and sunscreen!) and you can easily spend the whole day swimming, relaxing, swimming, eating, swimming, playing, and even more swimming. In wintertime you can also visit the indoor pools, just make sure to check out the times and days that recreational swimming is allowed. Even more fun: some pools organize ‘disco swimming’, which is practically a party in the water, with music and colorful lights.
- Cinema: Although ‘screening time’ probably should be minimalized for the kids, every once in a while a trip to the cinema is pretty cool and nice, both for you and the kids. Especially when it has been raining for days and you are out of inspiration for any activities inside. So, check out the movies that are playing and just go! Are you living near The Hague? Omniversum is highly recommended. This wide-screen film theatre shows spectacular ánd educational films, which will transport you to another world.
- Beach/Forrest: A trip to the beach or forest is always a good idea! It’s outside, it’s cheap and you can always find a beach and/or forest relatively near. Make the trip extra fun, with outdoor games, a picnic, and a treasure hunt.
- Theme Parcs: Last but not least: visit a theme park. What is more fun than stepping into a world with fairytales, magicians, carrousels, little boats, trains, and for the daredevils: roller coasters? These theme parks are specifically orting he smaller ones: Toverland (Seventum), Julianatoren (Apeldoorn), Sprookjeswonderland (Enkhuizen), Drievliet (Den Haag), Plopsa indoor (Coevorden), Tivoli (Berg en Dal), Duinrell (Wassenaar), Pretpark de Valkenier (Valkenburg), Avonturenpark Hellendoorn (Hellendoorn) or Familiepretpark De Waarbeek (Hengelo).
And don’t forget… Just relax and have fun!
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