Make a splash
The entire recreational area of Het Twiske, in Amsterdam’s Old Holland, offers a wealth of nature-friendly activities for children. But the Speelsloot is unique. Situated on one of the seven beaches, this kids-rule zone cannot be accessed by car (but rather through Het Twiske’s Den Ilp entrance). And it’s worth the pedestrian effort: besides playground equipment, kids can get their hands – and feet – on a climbing tower, huts and totem poles. Plus, there’s a cable car ride and a ferry that children can operate themselves.
Almere is the newest city in the Netherlands’ newest province, Flevoland, which is built almost entirely on reclaimed land. It’s no surprise that there’s also much to entertain the world’s newest humans at Outdoor Park SEC Almere. This park in the Almeerderhout forest offers miniature golfing, canoeing, archery, paintball, treasure hunts, mud-bathing and more. Check the events calendar and book spots in advance.
Aye aye, captain
De Veilige Haven – which translates to “the safe haven” – is also a kids’ playtime paradise. Located in the North Sea port city of IJmuiden, the playground was established in 1930 by a non-profit organisation, whose volunteers still manage it and run the canteen. There is plenty of playground equipment, though the prevailing theme is maritime realness, with a pirate boat and a lighthouse that children are welcome to commandeer.
Seeking an evocative spot for pancakes, coffee or seafood-spotlighting Dutch cuisine? But also aware that the kids will excuse themselves from the table before drinks even arrive? Then look no further than Kraantje Lek, located at the foot of the De Blinkert dune in Overveen near Amsterdam Beach. The restaurant has a view over its own playground, essentially an enormous sandbox with naturalistic wooden equipment. A bronze statue replicates the ancient hollow tree that once stood there and was fabled to be the birthplace of children.
Feel on top of the world
The Netherlands’ flower region has more than bulbs and blooms, which is good news if you’re visiting outside of the tulip season. Encourage the kids to be vine-like themselves at Klimpark 21 in the town of Nieuw-Vennep. At this park, they can scale over 40 walls, zip-line two routes and climb up in the air along four different courses via bridges, ropes and ladders. Those who prefer to stay more grounded can play archery tag or cruise the 500-metre track on a solar-charged e-skateboard.
Haarlem’s miniature farm
A short distance from Amsterdam, Hoofddorp and Haarlem, the Spaarnwoude recreation area is famous for hosting summer music festivals for grownups. Canoeing, cycling, golfing and climbing are on offer, but there are many alfresco activities for the underage set too. Have questions upon arrival? Stop by the information centre, located within a delightful farm. Zorgvrij, as it’s named, has its own playground, plus cows for petting, milk and cheese for tasting, and a pancake restaurant for refuelling.
Inspired to explore more of the Amsterdam Area? See our guide to day trips from Amsterdam with kids.