It is just too beautiful out today. Exactly the kind of day that you just want to spend outside. But this next baby and toddler hot spot will have you scanning the weather report for any hint of clouds. Just enough to give you an excuse to stay inside and play.
I have written before about the ludotheque in Etterbeek. Having lived in Etterbeek and with a tiny slice of Etterbeekois pride, it pains me to say that the ludtheque in Ixelles is seriously kicking our ass. Located in a breezy neighborhood a stone’s throw from Square Ferdinand Cocq, this ludotheque is chalk-full of new, bright and shiny toys. Lots of options for play from an extensive train collection, up and downstairs playhouse, loads of lovely frocks and dresses for make believe and the mother of all crawling tunnels (see happy face snail below). I was really impressed to say the least.
There is a bit of admin to get started. Upon proof of residence in Belgium, but not necessarily Ixelles, you can get your yearly membership card for 10 EUR. This card entitles you to as much free play time as you like as well as the right to borrow toys and games from the ludotheque for between 1 – 2,50 EUR. Don’t forget to return your toys within 1 – 3 weeks or you start accruing late fees. Also don’t put them away in your closet and forget about them for nine months and end up with a fine 10x the value of the toys (lesson learned the hard way, thank you…).
Next time the clouds descend, get yourself over to Ixelle, get a cookie at Sucre Sale and play play play. Cheers!
Where: Rue Mercelis, 13-1050 Brussels
Tuesday from 10h to 12h and 13h to 17h
Wednesday from 13h to 18h
Thursday from 13h to 17h
Friday from 10h to 13h and 14h to 18h (for 10 years)
Hello people! News has it that today should be 20 degrees. 20 degrees! Its cloudy now but just you wait. I can already feel the warmth coming!
It was on a not so warm Sunday about a month ago that the Bear and I flat out ran out of Sunday Funday ideas. it was just then that I remembered a recommendation from long ago. Check out the Toy Museum. We’re in!
I love museums, the Bear is not so much a fan (protests were quieted after a pre-museum beer) and Zoe’s one adventure to the Barberini Museum came when she was way too young to decide. Anyhow, off we went and I must say, it was an interesting time. Le Musée du Jouet is a massive four story home turned into a toy wonderland. Very impressive displays of antique and handmade toys. The best part was that it was quite interactive with lots of games for the little ones. Also THE most impressive set of play kitchens manned by a number of over-zealous 6 year olds on a birthday party.
It is a tad on the expensive side (5.50 EUR) per adult, under 4’s for free but still cool to check out. Did I mention they are open 366 days a year. Impressive!
Most recommended for the over two set. Happy playing!
Where: Verenigingstraat 24, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
When: 366 days a year (WOW) from 10 to 12 am and from 2 to 6 pm.
PS Alot of people have been asking how the photography business is going. Great! I am having a blast and meeting all sorts of lovely little ones and families. If you want to learn more about Bear & Dragon Photography, check out our website here. http://bearanddragonphotography.com/
Given my love of well stocked playrooms, it is somewhat of a mystery why I just now made it down to Baboes. Organized by the Flemish community but open to all, Baboes is another great place to get out of the house and enjoy some good company with the little one. Targeted towards kids 0 – 4, there are several play spaces. Some for the really small set, and several for the older. My personal favorite is the ball pit, yes, a ball pit! With a slide! Just looking at that sea of little green balls transports me back in time to my own childhood. Wonderful.
Opening hours are geared towards the morning. Oh yeah, THAT’S why we haven’t been much, but one day a week they are open in the afternoon.
There are two locations, one in St Catherine and one near Gare Midi (Nieuwland). The Nieuwland location is newer and really lovely inside but I must confess, rather scary to walk to. I don’t think I will head back that way. The St Catherine location is convenient by metro and to some of my favorite restaurants. Thank you very much.
Please enjoy this lovely space!
How much: Free
When: Open Tuesday mornings (8.45am to 1pm), Wednesday afternoons (12.30pm to 4.30pm), Thursday afternoons (1pm to 5pm) and Saturday mornings (9.30am to 12.30pm).
On rainy days like this, it is hard to get up the motivation to go outside. That turns one’s eye to available indoor options AKA toys and games. Well as much as I love new toys, and I DO love new toys, it gets to be a bit much when they are stacking up and Bababoo gives them no more than a fleeting glance. So what is a rain-avoiding momma to do? How about check out some new digs at the Ludothèque in Etterbeek.
The Ludotheque is a Toy Library where you can check out toys. I was turned on to this resource back in the early fall and since selecting the “Musical Escargot” have been going regularly back for more. For the highly reasonable price of 0.50 EUR per week, you too can take home a new and exciting toys for your little one. Hooray!
In addition to toys, there are lots of games and puzzles for the older set. You can try before you rent in the small but well organized play space. Selecting your new friend is fairly straight forward in the catalogs where you can see pictures of the toys, their name and the recommended age. You can also preview the catalog and toys here.
Some of the toys are a little old (I am looking at you Sony cassette player!) but they are also classics. So stay dry and let the good times roll!
Where: Avenue Auderghem 233 – 1040 as well as many other locations. Check out the nearest here.
When: Hours vary by location but here is Etterbeek
Ooh la la, what a lovely place to dream a little dream. I first stumbled onto this treasure after Sabloning (seriously, this should be a verb) and headed down for a little wander in the general direction of Gare Centrale. When to my delight, I saw the first hints of a whimsical shop just begging to be shopped.
Inside you will find a wide range from vintage children’s furniture, some toys, clothes, and art. I am seriously considering buying one of the heart breakingly lovely duvets of a circus with a bear riding a tricycle even though bababoo is sure to not need a bed that big for at least a couple more years.
Pépin la Lune has some of the sweetest things! A bold combination of new, vintage and just plain fun merchandise makes it always a pleasure to partake. You must be thinking, “Wow, I wonder how much free stuff Nicole gets here.” I swear it is nothing! I just hope you have the chance to check it out. If you are like me and still lacking some presents for the little person (yours or someone elses) then stop by. A little on the pricey side but just right when you are looking for that special something.
One big surprise in being a mom is how extremely excited I get going into toy stores! Perhaps it is my general love of whipping out the credit card to bring home shiny new things but there is just a little extra magic in the rows of bright colored blocks, games, dress up clothes and cuddley magical animals (purple, green and orange porcupine anyone?). The toy shop that gives me that special zing at the moment is Oliwood Toys on Avenue de la Chasse.
Recently evolved from a smaller, cramped space to a spacious, well lit and well, highly magical, wonderland, Oliwood is where I go to dream. Prominent in the collection are such favorites at Lilliputiens, Haba and Moulin Roty. Also a heavy weighting toward wooden, beautiful and durable toys, games, costumes, you name it! Although I have spent most time exploring the baby section, I have been drawn in a trance-like state towards the older kid toys, fantasizing about when I can get Bababoo this gorgeous puppet show theater, oh my.
WARNING: Do not go in here without planning on walking out with a very exciting, shiny new toy for yourself, err, I mean your little one. Happy shopping.