Family and kids in Oud-Zuid
Oud-Zuid is best known for its rich cultural attractions. But hidden amongst the stately parks and grand museums, there are many great indoor and outdoor activities for children. From sporty afternoons to creative cooking and drawing workshops, theatres, swimming pools and playgrounds, even the littlest visitors to Amsterdams will find much to inspire them in Oud-Zuid all year round.
Not far from Vondelpark, OCCII is a community-focused creative arts centre run mainly by volunteers. Kinderpret, the unique theatre programme for children, encompasses a range of accessible performances, musical spectacles and hands-on workshops that will appeal to a range of ages. Young visitors might find themself immersed in shadow puppets, building giant foam structures in the courtyard garden, or all settling down for an afternoon of tall tales and storytelling.
Why does food always taste better when somebody else has cooked it for you? At the Kinderkook Cafe, you can put your feet up as the kids learn how to cook and serve meals to their own lucky guests. Since the cafe opened its doors in 1981, this unique initiative has been teaching children the responsibilities involved in running their own restaurant and some essential hospitality skills. Classes are organised depending on age groups, and, of course, adult supervision and help are always on hand.
You can't start early enough to learn about art. The Stedelijk lends a hand to families with a range of funky activities and workshops for budding art connoisseurs. For example, dive into the Stedelijk Base permanent collection to see if you can locate works of art using your senses. The Van Gogh Museum welcomes children with workshops, exciting treasure hunts, and even the option to throw a birthday party. Or, unravel the secrets of the Rijksmuseum with their interactive family games and activity packs.
Vondelpark Open Air Theatre
Every summer, the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre brings the local community together for its varied range of open-air performances and live music. The youth programme includes special workshops on Saturday afternoons and theatre courses that run through the summer holidays. Budding actors even have the chance to make their debut on the big stage.
Let the kids burn off steam outside at one of Zuid’s beautiful parks which offers plentiful opportunities to stroll, cycle and play. Beatrixpark, for example, has a large children's playground to keep little ones occupied for hours. Vondelpark offers a treasure trove of public play areas, including the idyllic Vondeltuin - a family-friendly garden with a fantastic play structure. There’s also a playground next to Groot Melkhuis with an outdoor paddling pool that transforms into a hive of splashy activity on warm summer days. For further monkeying, the Vondelpark Canopywalk is a challenging adventure course concealed by foliage consisting of climbing platforms, rope bridges, and tree trunks. Further afield in Zuid, Amstelpark is packed with kid-friendly attractions, including mini-golf, a labyrinth, a small train and a petting garden.
Every winter, ICE*Amsterdam offers families the unique opportunity to skate surrounded by the impressive architecture of Amsterdam's Museumplein. With the Rijksmuseum as a phenomenal backdrop, get set to bring some seasonal sparkle back to Amsterdam as you pull your ice skates on or simply watch the action and take in the festive atmosphere. There are also skating lessons on offer to help you hone your skills as well as ice hockey and curling sessions.
How could we not mention one of the best (and healthiest!) family activities: swimming? The Zuiderbad is open for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to float outside in spring and summer. There’s also a great playground, sandpit and wading pool at the Kinderbadje Beatrixpark with public toilets and a kiosk for coffee and ice cream next door. Or, located a bit further into Zuid, De Mirandabad is one of the city’s best-loved swimming pools. The complex has a great range of indoor and outdoor swimming spots, splash pools, slides, a small playground and a wave machine.