FREE & OUTDOOR
Taking your child to Vondelpark on a sunny day is amazing for his or her eyes. It's full of people, and with a bit of imagination, it's almost like an amusement park! You will find a special kids' area with a shallow pool - this area is packed with kids and parents whenever the weather permits. Nearby, the center of the Vondelpark features a really cool wooden treefort with an obstacle course. Built into the trees, it blends naturally with the surroundings. It could be hard to find, if not the loads of parents' and kids' bikes parked around!
The Vondelpark is also rich in child (and dog) friendly chillout areas and cafes, with several offering kids' playgrounds and pillow covered areas for the parents to enjoy. Just two minutes off the park, you can grab some fresh juices or snacks at the Alchemist Garden nearby.
Getting to miniature golf [midgetgolf in Dutch, how PC is that!] in such beautiful surroundings is a special treat in Amsterdam. Get on board the Amsteltrein [Amstel Mini Train] and tour the park for 15 minutes, for €3. When you get back, don't forget to go straight up the hill to the enormous play area. But, remember to take a quick dip into the big grass maze! After playing on some sophisticated electronic playsets, head up the stairs and...now you are at the Amstelpark! Entrance to Amstelpark is free of charge, and there are various attractions. A visit to the petting zoo [stadsboerderij] could be planned as a separate visit, as there are so many animals to see. A great chance to let your child come close to a donkey, goat, chicken or lamb.
Amstelpark is a great place to have a summer birthday party or day out. If you arrive early, you may just have a chance to grab a good picnic table.
A great park to take a leisurely bike ride through. Stopping at the many interesting, kid friendly play areas won't disappoint. Jungle gyms surrounded by wide open grassy spaces and a giant sand-bottom play area is a catch-all for kids and parents alike. It's a good place to meet other parents while your child runs around and enjoy playing with the rope tow and climbing structures. Bring your own picnic and you're all set.
The main area of the park has a big, gated play structure where parents come to chat and kids come to burn off energy doing everything from swinging on bars, crawling through tunnels and running around in a miniature village playing hide-n-seek. Sand is everywhere, so bring the tools! A huge open grassy area is great for playing football and throwing the frisbee. A separate dog playing area means the area is clean for the kids to play. Behind the main park area, a huge natural constructed climbing gym and kid powered canal system reside ready for the taking. If your budget allows, visit the well known organic and healthy restaurant just off the park, De Kas, and discover their amazing herb and vegetable garden.
It's big, so don't feel like you have to tackle the entire park in once visit. Enter from the south entrance for the bridge route through the woods for the big WOW opening at the Bos [forest]. Walk a bit to the right and you will find the open water playground area. Come in the north/main entrance and you may be lucky to catch a rowing training or event from the nearby rowing association. Lay in the grass for a picnic, take a stroll in the woods to discover a giant grass tunnel for an adventurous walk. You can get to the Amsterdamse Bos easily by bike from the city center. It's a lovely ride, if your kid can handle it. If not, considering hiring a bakfiets for a day.
A bakfiets is a Dutch 'box on a bike' that enables you to carry everything from a Christmas tree to a group of toddlers, a big screen TV or the kitchen sink! See our article on Bakfietsen coming in the pipeline.
LOW COST & OUTDOOR
NEMO Rooftop cafe
Experiencing the view on the rooftop of NEMO is one of the great treats of Amsterdam watever age you might be. Lounge chairs, oversized games and a small cafe connected, you can spend a portion of your afternoon relaxing, learning about the city and playing together in the nicest open air rooftop in town. Every summer NEMO transforms its rooftop into a beach with a flowing stream and fun water games to play on! Not to miss!
Always something new to discover here in the center, everything from living statues of all your famous characters good and bad, to carnivals and ferris wheels fill this exciting city center plaza. When Sinterklaas [Santa Claus] comes to town, this is the place to be. With big screens, loads of crazy kids dressed up and candy thrown everywhere, you wont forget when you see Sinterklaas come through on his big white horse, its amazing! The Dam Square has a great fun fair several times a year, and free Uitmarkt music or dance events at the end of August. Just remember that this is a major square in a busy city, so mind your kid and your pockets ;)
Public Transportation / Metro Ride / Canal Cruise
For less than €15, you can take go for a ride on an Amsterdam canal cruise through the city. Whether you are a born and bred Amsterdammer, or just moved to town, getting to know the city and its history can be a memorable experience for you and your child. It can be a nice to listen to all the different languages over the loudspeaker, get some time on the water, stay dry and practice the art of sitting still :)
If you normally ride a bike with your child, you can switch it up in the weekend by taking a tram or metro downtown for a change. Your OV Card will allow you to step on and off in case you spot a special playground worth trying out.
Royal Artis Zoo
Heading to the zoo is something a child will never forget. With so many different species and exhibits on display, there is always something new to experience at Artis. Come in the springtime to see the new babies. For a special treat, come at feeding time to catch a glimpse of what it's like to be shark bait or a lion's dinner! Regular entrance costs €15,95 per child, and €19,50 per adult. The member card is helpful to keep the zoo visit costs lower.
As you see, Amsterdam offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for kids, and they are not all that costly. If the weather is not good enough to spend time outdoors, choose an activity from our Indoor List of Low Cost or Free options.
What are your favorite kid friendly spots in Amsterdam?