Last Saturday morning, as many other Saturdays lately, we found ourselves home with a very common winter-weekend-dilemma... WHAT TO DO?! It was either going outside and enjoy the nature or the park or staying inside. Brrrrr... staying inside, please! But, not at home of course. Well, then where?!
And in the meantime, while we were trying to figure out a plan, the clock was ticking towards our little one's nap time. In these situations you have to think and you have to do it fast! Otherwise you end up staying home all day and by the time you've decided to go out, oops, the sun is setting! Welcome to Norwegian Januaries :).
And don't get me wrong, I love being outdoors, really. But when it's SO cold, and I see myself wrapped in layers, fighting with my daughter because she won't wear her gloves, walking like a penguin to overcome the ice and trying to blow my nose not really knowing how because I've lost sensitivity, my inner Spaniard awakes with a loud "BASTA!". Enough is enough. I respect Norwegian traditions and I admire their "ut på tur" enthusiasm, but as a southern born, one needs to know ones limits. ;)
Anyhow... My mission today is to help those of you who share my January-outdoor-pain, and pitch some fun indoor family-friendly activities to you.
There are many Oslo libraries that have a children-friendly area. Many of them have recently been renovated and look really cool. Most of them offer very interesting activities for babies and children, like story-telling, movie screenings or craft workshops. Last weekend we went to a story telling at Hovedbiblioteket and I found it amazing. Thea pretty much disconnected after the first 2 minutes, but children from 2 or 3 and up seemed super engaged. You can have a look all their children activities here
Oslo has many children-friendly museums. Many might think that it's usually for older children, but I believe even babies can enjoy the experience. It's a matter of visiting is with another pace and different expectations. I would strongly recommend the Natural History Museum in Botanisk hage and Popsenteret in Grünerløkka. This last one even has a children room with a fun slide, pillows and a lot of cool instruments they can play with. I've also heard great things about the Teknisk Museum, but haven't had the chance to visit it yet. Other options that are also on my list: Oslo Barnemuseum, Kontiki and Frammuseet and Film Museum
Always one of my top plans! And I personally find it extra cozy to go there on cold, gloomy days. It feels unbeliavably good being in a warm pool and looking out the window while it snows and blows. Here are a few of my favorite pools around Oslo: Bislett bad, Risenga Svømmhall and Drammensbadet
I've mentioned these in previous posts, but Steen og Strøm or Litteraturhuset have indoor playing areas for babies and toddlers, and are very convieniently located in case you need to run some weekend errands. Eventyrfabrikken or Leo's Lekeland are also an option, but they're usually quite packed during weekends.
What about YOU? Where do you take your kids during these cold, vinter weekends?
Hi mammas! Today I’d like to share a new discovery with you that I’m extremely excited about… Libraries! Say whaaat??? Yes, you heard correctly, libraries :). And believe me, I’m probably the last person who would have got excited about a library -ask anybody who met me as a student ;)-, but that was before I had a baby and before I discovered how cool they can actually be.
If you think of a library, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Books? Maybe DVDs? Dusty shelves? Harry Potter? Well, fair enough. But what if I tell you some of them have entered the modern era to the point that kids would actually go there by their own will?
Last week I took Thea to Hovedbiblioteket, Oslo’s main public library. The weather was miserable and I couldn’t bear the idea of staying home all day, so I decided to give it a try. Two other friends joined with their toddlers and guess what, we had a great time!
The library itself offers what any other does: book and DVD rentals, study booths, Internet connection, etc. But this one in particular has an amazing area designated for the youngests. Toddlers are welcome, too ;). It’s located on the first floor, just outside the elevator to the left. You’ll find two connected rooms, fully renovated and decorated with nice and colorful design furniture. It’s super spacious and it gets a lot of natural light. That day it was extra cozy considering it was lashing rain outside!
What to do there? Well you can read books, of course. They have a huge selection of children's books. The best is that they’re not only in norsk, there’s also a broad selection of English volumes as well as a fully international shelf. There's aso a TV screen with some video games for oler kids, a chess board and other board games available. Toddlers can also walk around, explore and play. There’s sort of an amphitheatre shaped bench with pillows where our kids had a lot of fun. You can also bring a few toys along and let them sit on the floor, walk around, etc. Here you cans also find a program with all children's activities run by Oslo's libraries.
There’s also a designated eating area, which is furnished with cute little chairs and low tables. I found this great, as you’re not usually allowed to eat in libraries. And it spares you the whole hassle of having to pack, dress your kids in hundred layers, leave the place and find a baby-friendly spot to feed them. Uf!
Oh, and changing diaper is also no problem as there’s a bathroom with a table on the same floor. It’s locked, but just ask a staff member to open the door for you. They’re super nice!
Now, is Hovedbiblioteket the only children-friendly library? Not at all! Most libraries here in Oslo have a kids’ designated corner. So far, I’ve been in two others and I also really liked them: Deichmanske bibliotek in Majorstuen and Nesodden bibliotek.
The one in Majorstuen has a small space for kids with a table and low chairs. It’s located on an open space, but sort of separated through low book shelves, plants and other furniture that keeps it cozy and private. You’ll find a sofa, a toy box with stuffed animals, a lot of children's books and carpet floor. I went there both when Thea was crawling and later on when she started walking and it was fine both times. She had a great time exploring the new space and showed a big interest for the books there actually (yay!!).
The library in Nesodden is further away from the city center -we took a boat from Aker Brygge and then a bus, approx. 45 mins in total-, but it was really worth it. It’s quite big and very modern and has this incredible children playing area located inside amongst all the books. There are a few mats and -wait for it…- a huge tree for kids to climb on, jump from and play Tarzan on! How cool is that?! There’s also a walk-in doll house and some other cool toys around there. But this basically means, you can take a 10-year-old or 6-month-old and they’ll both have fun. Super handy for those brave moms out there that have more than one ;).
There’s also a really nice library in Tøyen, which just opened a brand new section for a younger audience, but it's meant to be used by teenagers only, more specifically for kids aged between 10 and 15. I even contacted them to see if there was anytime I could pop by with my toddler, but they were quite strict about the age range. But if any of you has children in that age, you might want to show them around there. You can check some cool pictures of it on their Facebook page.
Now, I’m pretty sure there are other children-friendly libraries around us waiting to be discovered, but I don’t know them yet. But I promise I’ll keep you updated and will inform you as soon as I find out about them ;). In the meantime, if YOU know any, pleeeease SHARE them with us!
Opening times - Hovedbiblioteket:
Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 19:00
Saturdays from 10:00 to 16:00
Need to take your kids out for some energy-releasing activities? How does some climbing, trampoline-jumping or sliding sound to you? I bet it would sound terrific to your children ;).
A few weeks ago we went with another mamma friend, her 17-month-old daughter and Thea to Evetyrfabrikken in Torshov. It’s a huge indoor playground for kids of all ages. They have a pretty big area designated for babies and toddlers and a huge surface with tons of cool attractions for older children.
I have to be honest, at first glance I thought the place was a bit odd/tacky. It looked like a massive indoor gym made for kids -when you put it that way it actually sounds pretty cool-, but overwhelmingly colorful, and massive. Oh, and all that plastic of course! BUT, after five minutes in there I turned into a child myself, took off my shoes and joined the party. Temptation took over and both of us moms ended up crawling behind our little ones, taking turns to try the slides or climb a huge volcano on the top floor. It was a LOT of fun and a GREAT workout, seriously!
It’s a great place to spend the entire afternoon. You just have to pay an entrance fee for the children (adults and babies up until 12 months are free) and spend as much time as you like in there. They also have private rooms where they host birthday parties. Here’s more info on that in case you’re interested -right click and ‘translate to English’ if you don’t understand Norwegian-.
They also have a small café with a few tables and chairs where you can feed your children. In theory though, you’re not supposed to bring your own food. You have to buy it from them, but we didn’t realize until we left, so we actually fed the girls from their own matpakker (oopsi...!). The thing is, they barely have healthy options, it’s mostly chips, fries, popcorn, nachos, waffles, etc, so not ideal for small children. They also have some baby food like smoothies and porridge, which is actually quite handy.
Oh, and about the location... It took us longer than we thought to find it, since it’s not displayed correctly on Google Maps. I usually blame my horrible sense of direction, but I promise it wasn't that this time! So just to make sure you don’t end up walking in circles like we did, it's located right by Akerselva river. The entrance is a bit hidden, it actually looks a bit like a warehouse and it says “hopp i havet” on the entrance. Good luck finding it, brave mamma/pappa!
Every day from 10:00 to 20:00
0 years: free
One year: 75 kr
Children 2-17 years: 155 kr
So, did YOU like it? Tell us on the comment box below ;)