Skoleklar – Check list for the new school year

Three years ago my son was going into the 0 Klasse and starting school for the first time. I recall at the time being surprised that there were so many things we needed that the school had assumed we simply knew about. In many cases people did know but there were a lot of people who didn’t so today as we are just a few weeks off the new school year starting I thought I’d pull together a list here. Now some schools may ask for other things and maybe not all of these but this is a good, basic starting point. There will be a lot of promotions in shops I have mentioned over the coming weekend and week so it’s a good time to get a bargain and also to ensure the shops don’t sell out before you have kitted out your child.

1 A rucksack

This needs to be size appropriate for your child and be large enough to carry a homework folder (if you school gives homework), a pencil case, a packed lunch (if your child isn’t having school lunch or it isn’t available in your school) and a water bottle. Good places to find rucksacks include Bog og Ide, Neye and perhaps Bilka. Popular brands here are Ergobag, Jeva, Satch, Lego themed bags, Eastpak and of course Fjällräven. You don’t need to buy these brands but they are the ones you will see around, also at the start of school they don’t need a huge, expensive bag. You can expect a good quality rucksack to last them a few years.

2 Sports bag

Your child will probably need a basic sports kit including shorts/track bottoms, T-shirt, sock and non marking trainers for inside use (this last one came as a surprise to me so you many want to double-check this is what is expected at your child’s school, it is dependent on the type of gym floor they have). Also a small bag for the kit. H&M is a great place for inexpensive sports kit.

3 Water bottle (and lunch box)

You can see these in any supermarket at the moment and there are various promotions around.

4 Pencil case

This is not necessarily a necessity but you will find that most children in the class will have them at the start or begin to get them. You don’t need to spend a fortune on these but again a good quality one such as one from Ergobag will last. Many come already kitted out. However both Flying Tiger and Søstrene Grene have both pencil cases and all the pencils etc sold separately and this is a cost-effective way of getting a good set together. Bilka also has a great ‘back to school’ section. In general lead pencils, a set of basic colour pencils, an eraser, ruler and pencil sharpener is all you need at the start of their school career.

5 Waterproof clothes and boots

If your child is moving up from børnehaven you will know this already but kids here are sent out at break times whatever the weather so need to have a waterproof suit and rubber boots at school to wear when needed.

6 Indoor shoes

Likewise school like to keep the wet outside so may ask your child to have a pair of indoor shoes to wear inside, certainly our school does. You can find these in shoe shops – Superfit is a popular type (you can find them on Zalando.dk as well as shoe shops) but there are other brands.

7 Change of clothes

Your child will be expected to have a complete change of clothes at school in a small bag.

8 Name tags

There will be loads of new kids in the school as well as the existing students and clothes can get lost very easily so make sure you have put your child’s name and class in all their clothes. You can buy stick on labels or just buy a fabric pen (from Panduro or Bog og Ide) and write it yourself. Remember these fade or fall off with repeated washing so keep an eye on them to make sure they are still identifiable.

I would recommend that you go out this weekend or during the coming week to make sure that you aren’t (like I was three years ago) running around frantically only to find a lot of things sold out.

Good Luck!

 

 

Paddling Pools in Copenhagen

Now we are into the real summer months here in Copenhagen the Kommune run paddling pools (or soppebassin or soppesøer) will now be filled on hot days. Here is the main link to all the locations.

Here is a rundown of some of the best in the city.

Skydebanehaven – this large paddling pool in this fantastic playground in Vesterbro is filled by spring water. {Free}

Bermuda Triangle in Nørrebroparken – again a large paddling pool in an interesting playground. It is close to the trendy Stefansgade and Jægersborggade in Nørrebro. {Free}

Soppesøen in Fælledparken – this is probably the best one in the city with a water maze and water cannons that shoot for 5 metres. This one is not supervised {Free}

All of these may be filled from the 1 June. Check on this Facebook page to see which ones are open on any given day.

Lindevangsparken in Frederiksberg has quite a deep paddling pool but it is only filled during the school holidays.

There are, of course, some rules for using these pools:
Paddling pool is only to paddle in
Take drinking water from the nearest tap
Children should wear swimwear or swim nappies
Keep dogs out of the water.

 

There are also some outdoor swimming pools offering play sections:

Bellahøj Open Air Swimming Pool and Bavnehøj Open Air Swimming Pools both have a play sections with water slides and a grassy area to sit in the sun. {Paid}

The perfect place to cool off with your kids this summer!

Starting April 5th, 2018 – English Sing and Sign classes in Vesterbro

Maya will be running a third course of an English language Sing and Sign baby signing class in Vesterbro starting on April 5th 2018 for 10 weeks (term time only) at Café Sweet Surrender, Dybbølsgade 49, 1721 Copenhagen V.  The class is for babies aged 6 – 14 months old.

For more information please visit facebook.com/singandsigncopenhagen or www.singandsign.com then choose Copenhagen under Classes near you.

Below is a little about what you can expect from the class.

Learn baby signing with Sing and Sign

Both I and my children loved Sing and Sign! Because it teaches all the signs through songs and music, it makes learning them seem easy and lots of fun. Some of the songs are written especially for the course which makes it easy to include signs which relate to your everyday life with your baby, and that’s what makes it so useful; there’s a lovely song about changing your baby’s nappy, about bath time, about going to the park etc. The classes are themed, and the signs are introduced gradually. This way, by the end of the 10 week course, you have actually covered more than 100 signs without really thinking about it. However – and this really appealed to me at times – each week also focuses on just a couple of essential signs (such as ‘eat’, ‘drink’ or ‘help’) so that even frazzled parents who haven’t slept for two days feel they can walk away from class with something.

The S&S approach is that baby signing is meant to be simple, relaxed and fun, and each class always follows the same pattern so that your baby quickly feels comfortable with the format and start to anticipate what exciting thing happens next …..perhaps the instruments, the peek-a-boo box with Jessie Cat, the props bag or the picture board.After moving back to Copenhagen last year, I met several English speaking mums who said they would love to do a baby signing class if only classes were available in English. At home we were still listening to the Sing and Sign CD, and my three-year-old daughter would from time to time ask for the DVD, and as I still found myself singing along to the songs and throwing the odd sign in, I decided to look into buying the franchise. I am now the proud owner of Sing and Sign Copenhagen and will start classes in early September 2017. I’m so excited to be able to share my passion for baby signing with other parents this way, and hope to see lots of lovely mums, dads and babies in my classes!

 

Kreakassen – craft boxes for children

For those of you with crafty kids living in Denmark, then you will be, undoubtedly, interested in a relatively new concept here called Kreakassen.

Kreakassen is a monthly supply of  four creative projects a box including instructions and simple materials. The projects in the box are related to the season or time of the year. This means that Kreakassen has adapted the seasons and festivals and offers creative projects for those times that you and your child would like to do. Kreakassen delivers it all: the ideas, materials (although it does not contain every day crafting materials such as pens, pencils, scissors, glue and brushes – they do see boxes of these too) and instructions so that you can bypass the laborious preparations and jump directly to creating.dsc01814We were sent a box to try out (a Halloween themed one) and my son loved it. All children are different but Kreakassen is aimed at 4 – 8 years olds, although older children may enjoy the projects and younger ones with more help from an adult. There are four projects in the box – a couple longer projects and the rest quicker ones. All the instructions are pictorial and in Danish but pretty easy to grasp.dsc01824

You can take out a subscription or buy a box on a monthly basis. Their website (www.kreakassen.dk) has all the details. If they are oversubscribed you can add your name to a waiting list. The website is currently only in Danish but run it through Google Chrome and its all there.dsc01817 dsc01810 dsc01814

Anemone Teatret – family theatre

At the weekend my son and I went along, at the invitation of one of his class friends, to see a play at the Anemone Theatre called Frøken Ignora eksploderer. My Danish is up at this kind of entertainment but my son has quite limited Danish language skills at present. I was curious as to how much he would enjoy it. He was rapt all the way through, refusing my whispered offers to explain what was going on. It is only fifty minutes long so perfect for children. It runs until the beginning of November so it may be something to consider for  the autumn holidays as there are still tickets available. Don’t be put off if your child doesn’t understand much Danish as the play is very visual and fun (that said it is a bit bizarre so understanding the Danish still didn’t help me really get the whole thing).screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-17-05-36

The Anemone Theatre has been around for a long time, funnily enough I mentioned it to someone today who recalled going when they were a child when visiting relatives in Copenhagen decades ago. Like my son she didn’t understand much Danish at the time yet still enjoyed the performance she saw. They have an interesting programme of productions aimed at different ages of children so well worth keeping your eye out for other future performances.

Address: Suhmsgade 4, 1125 København K

Website and ticket sales

 

A guide to baby food

A few weeks ago I was commissioned to undertake some market research about baby food available in shops here and I thought I’d use the information to write a short guide for here. Like most things in Denmark the choice is relatively small and it would seem that it reflect the demand for preprepared baby foods with most parents preparing food at home. There was certainly a perception amongst Danish parents that premade baby food is expensive and they only use it as a supplement or an on-the-go solution.

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When you have a baby here the Health Visitor tells you to buy a guide from the Government health department about feeding you baby from birth to toddler age and the emphasis is very much on home cooked and family foods. It can be bought from the pharmacy for around 75dkk or you can download it here. I found it very useful.

All the types of food I mention below are available in most supermarkets and offered mainly by Semper but you can find Heinz and Ella’s Kitchen in some places (Helsemin carry the full range of this) and most supermarkets offer an own brand as well. There is a big emphasis on organic (øko) food too.

Pouch food

This is the predominant type of baby food available and it seems to be that sweet ones are the ones the supermarkets stock the largest selection of. There are pouches of the usual suspects of spaghetti Bolognese etc but nothing too exciting. There are also new flavours of sweet ones reflecting the current trend for green smoothies.

Jar food

The traditional type of baby food is, of course, jarred food and this can be found in all supermarkets with varied selections.

Powdered porridge or grød

This is something that is everywhere and a type of baby food that is popular with Danes. It is powdered smooth porridges with varieties of flavours from plain to fruit ones and can be mixed with water, formula, breast milk etc and are usually used to supplement homemade foods.

Snacks

Since I had my son, when there are no baby specific snacks available on the market here, I have noticed there are now corn snacks like crisps in some shops and also baby biscuits although these are still not very widely available.

Formula

This is available in all supermarkets and is either the powdered variety or premade cartons. Organic options are widely available now and it is easy to avoid Nestle if that is what your ethics demand (as mine do and here’s why, in case you are interested)

The best shops to go to for the widest selection of baby food are Kvickly and Føtex. If you are looking for the full selection of Ella’s Kitchen then Helsemin is the place to go.

 

Children’s birthday parties at Statens Museum for Kunst

We were delighted to be invited to two of my son’s classmates’ birthday party at the Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK) last weekend. I was aware of the children’s workshop area which we regularly go to but I didn’t know you could have a birthday party there.

img_5985As part of the birthday package up to 30 children and 6 adults take part of a tour of selected works in the museum and then head back to the private art workshop and create a masterpiece inspired by the art they have seen.

The party we went to was themed as Kings and Queens and we were shown two related paintings and two sculptures. The excellent guide really engaged with the children and they (and we) learnt a lot about art and also the historic context. Once in the workshop, there were already easels set up for the children to get painting.

As part of the package you also have used of a private lunch room where you can have party food and continue the celebration.

The guide spoke in English to our group (there is a slight supplement to have this) and was very good at containing the more lively elements. There is a lot of listening for the children but it is very interactive and engaging.

So if you are looking for a birthday party that is a little different and affordable, this is the perfect thing.

For more information check out the SMK’s website here.

On another note the SMK has ben gifted this iconic piece by the Danish artists’ group Superflex, first produced in 2002. Its message is even more relevant today. As part of its installation there are smaller, free posters for you to take away. img_5991

Things to do over the winter school holiday

So the Vinterferie (winter school holiday) starts this weekend and we are heading to Hamburg for the week (any tips of places to go there gratefully received, just leave me a comment below). For those of you with children spending the week in the city, here are my picks for things to do (of course there are many other things happening – make sure you check out your local library as many are offering holiday programmes).

Danish Architecture Centre – BUILD FOR CHILDREN – INDIA ARCHITECTURE IN KAPLABuild for children - Kapla m. TextWe really enjoy the workshops here and this holiday they are running a building workshop inspired by Indian architectural firm Studio Mumbai. The building materials are wood and mini brick and children can build either a town-dwelling or a countryside one. Below is the translated information about the workshop. Please note you need to visit the website to book a slot and you need to book a place for all participates (adults and children).

How to build houses to withstand the strong monsoon rains or screens for the strong sun? Or how about a house out when inspired by Indian temples and beautiful craftsmanship?

Participants can seek inspiration in the exhibition of Studio Mumbai and Danish Architecture Centre guides are ready with knowledge and advice.

Participants are allocated a plot of land in the city or in the country in the different regions of India.  Finally you can take a photo of your building and participate in an Instagram competition.

The workshop will be held both in the morning from 10: 00-13: 00 and in the afternoon from 13: 30-16: 30 throughout the winter holidays from 14 to 21 February.

Tickets cost 95dkk for both children and adults. For 125dkk you can buy a package ticket for the workshop as well as coffee / chai tea / cocoa and ginger cookies afterwards.

To book click here.

 


 

Statens Museum for Kunst – Children’s workshop

The SMK will be opening up their brilliant children’s workshop for the whole of the week from 10.30am until 4.30pm. They say “Get inspired with clay, paper, cloth, paint, pencils, glue guns and paint brushes and create your own painting or sculpture in our workshops.” Workshops cost 45dkk per child (no need to book, just turn up and pay at the ticket desk) and more information can be found here.


 

Tycho Brahe Planetarium

Over the break the IMAX cinema here is offering a great selection of films including Fly me to the Moon 3D and Arctic – The Polar Bear’s Home. Click here for more information about the films and also the Planetarium.


 

Workers Museum

As well as the fascinating exhibitions and children’s section, the Worker’s Museum will be running a banner workshop where you create your own banner using fabric clippings, stamps, paint and text to show what you think is important stand up for. (This is related to their current exhibition *Uhørt Unge (Unheard Youth)). The workshop lasts an hour and aprons are provided.

There is limited seating and tickets (50dkk) must  be purchased in advance on their website here. You will also need to pay general admission to the museum.


 

Politimuseum 

The Police Museum will be running special activities over the week. For more information about times etc visit their website here. I think organised activities will require Danish language knowledge.Every day, children and adults can test their skills as investigators when a murder case must be solved. See who the best investigator in the family when you must solve “murder mystery – the case reopened.” For children aged 8-13 years.

For younger children, there are also activities including daily tours for children. Here, the children in collaboration with one of the museum’s employees find out who the perpetrator is in “The Mystery of dog thief”. For children aged 6-10 years

Admission throughout the winter holidays: Adults 40ddk / Children 15ddk


National MuseumWinter holidayThe National Museum is running a dragon taming activity everyday except Monday (as they are closed that day). They say “Are you afraid of dragons? Come on a magic dragon adventure – if you dare – and learn how to take control of dragons. If you manage it, you get your own dragon to take home.”

It is 50dkk per child (under 3s are free) and it is aimed at children between 4-10 years old. You can buy the ticket on the day. More information here.


Legoworld

Legoworld comes to the Bella Center again this winter holiday and is not to be missed if your children are Lego fans. Word from the wise the queues for lunch are long and sadly you can’t bring in packed lunches, this year they have introduced a ticket that includes the choice to order and pay for lunch in advance. I have no idea how this will work but I would say it is worth trying – we waited over an hour last year for lunch. For more information and to book a ticket click here.