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Parent-child activities

Activities with your baby

Finding some activities to share with your baby or young child can be a great way to get out and meet other parents and build up a social (and support) network - especially important if you're living far away from family and friends.

It's also a chance to have some fun with your little one! And there's plenty to do in Brussels and the surrounding areas, both in English and in French/Dutch. Below is a little taste of what's on offer:


Parent and baby groups


Brussels Childbirth Trust (BCT)

The Brussels Childbirth Trust (BCT) runs lots of parent and child groups for members at both their main centre in Wezembeek-Oppem and at Holy Trinity Church in Brussels. Activities may be aimed at different age-groups (check website for details) and often include music, crafts, strories and free play in a relaxed and welcoming environment.

The BCT also has 16 local groups in and around Brussels. These member-only groups meet regularly, e.g. coffee morning at each others houses, picnics in the park or meet-

ups at a local playground, and are a great way to get the low-down on being a parent in your local area. It goes without saying that dads are equally welcome at all activities!

Almost all BCT activities are organised in English - with the exception of a weekly Spanish-speaking group!

Antenatal and Baby

Antenatal and Baby runs a twice-weekly mum and baby group (alternately in central Brussels and Tervuren) in English. 

St Paul's Church in Tervuren runs 'Funtots' for parents and their pre-school children (birth to 4 years). 

The Ligue des Familles runs 'bébé rencontres' in French in various parts of Brussels, Walloon Brabant and other parts of Wallonia. Follow the link to find events in your area.

Les Maisons Vertes invite babies and children until the age of 3 to come along with a parent, grandparent, or other carer. The aim is to give children a chance to socialise with other children and qualified staff, while their carers are close by ... but not too close. Ideal to gently easing your child into social situations as a preparation for going to creche or school. In French

Address: various locations in Brussels and surrounding area, including Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Ixelles, Saint-Gilles, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Jette

Opening hours: depends on location (see website) 

Read more about the Woluwe-Saint-Lambert Maison ouverte in this blog post from the Bear & Dragon Photography blog. 

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Baby yoga, massage and babywearing

Baby yoga can provide a special time to reconnect with your baby mentally, physically and emotionally.

Radiant Light Yoga runs postnatal (mum and baby) yoga in Antwerp.

 

Tess from Namastess offers postnatal yoga or 'Mommy and Me' classes to gently nurture and slowly strengthen the body after childbirth. 

 

 

Laia Puig Escandell runs mum and baby yoga at the Udi Malka studio at 51 Rue des Francs, 1040 Etterbeek. 

 

Carrie Sutton runs parent and baby yoga - a time for parents to focus on opening sore shoulders and loosening tight backs, while bonding with babies. All yoga sequences incorporate baby. Classes run in various locations, check link for details.

 

Emily Gold runs mum and baby yoga and massage classes in Brussels. Contact Emily for details of location and time.

 

Baby massage can be a gentle way to ease your baby's transition to life outside the womb. As well as providing comforting touch, it can also help ease problems with the digestive system and congestion, and can let you tune in to your baby's cues. There are various baby massage courses on offer, including:  

  • Zwanger in Brussel, Dekeyserstraat 39, 1080 Molenbeek (courses in French or Dutch ... but they stress that a little language knowledge is enough) 
  • Espace Bamboo, Rue Hôtel des Monnaies 79, 1060 Bruxelles (courses in French)  
  • OxyzenRue du Noyer 282, 1030 Brussels (courses in English and German) - Baby exercise classes also available 
  • Serendip Spa - group classes with max 5 participants. Course in French with English translation if needed. 

Some perinatal physiotherapists also offer short baby massage courses.

 

Babywearing (baby carrying, sling tying): If you're interested in using wrap-style baby carriers but would like someone to show you how, you can follow a sling tying/babywearing workshop: 

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Parent-child classes and workshops

Baby sign language classes


Mother-of-two Diana Siepmann runs Our Mamas Rock, which offers online baby signing courses. You can follow the courses from the comfort of your own home, and connect with other parents on the course via a virtual café (private Facebook forum).

Sign language can help babies to communicate long before they are able to speak. The use of sign language can also help reduce frustration and allow for a stronger bond to form at an earlier age. Research shows that sign language also supports speech and fine motor skills development as well as brain development in general.

 

Baby music classes 


Kindermusik

Kindermuzik is an internationally recognised music program that immerses your child in a musical atmosphere of play, song, and dance - while developing fundamental skills. Classes available for different age ranges from 0 to 4 years.

Classes run in:

 

DingDong runs MusicTogether classes for children from 0-5. This internationally recognised music program places emphasis on creating a playful, developmentally appropriate, non-performance-oriented learning environment where parents and children can explore the joys of music together. 

Classes take place in André Fauchillestraat 3A, 1150 Brussels (near Montgomery)  


Parent-child classes


Terrific Toddlers offers classes, in English, for babies, toddlers and preschool-aged children. Each of the classes includes singing, rhymes and stories as well as a chance to explore some new age-appropriate toys. The toddler and preschool classes also include an organic snack and a chance to try out a new activity together such as painting, making play-dough, water exploration, cooking projects and much more.

Each class also focuses on a topic related to child development at your child’s age with topics such as play, sleep, language and motor development for the little ones through discussions of setting limits, toilet training, developing independence, and supporting your child’s playing with others for the older children.

Terrific Toddlers also runs a special 'as Gaeilge' class for those interested in practicing or picking up some Irish language.


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Baby swimming

There are various pools across Brussels that offer baby swimming lessons ('bébés nageurs'). Babies can usually start from around 3-4 months and classes are given in water heated to around 32°.

Some pools offering these classes are:

Commune

Details 

1040 Etterbeek

La Baignoire - PRIVATE POOL, offers classes for babies/children/adults, aquagym, aqua physiotherapy

75 rue Baron Lambert
1040 Etterbeek

http://www.labaignoire.be/La_Baignoire/Accueil.html

1170 Watermael Boisfort

Calypso ** CLOSED UNTIL 1 FEBRUARY 2015 **

Parc Sportif des 3 Tilleuls
Av. Léopold Wiener,60
1170 Bruxelles

http://www.piscinesbruxelles.be/2010/09/la-piscine-de-watermael-boitsfort.html

1190 Forest

Darwin Aqua Club - PRIVATE POOL, offers classes for babies/children/adults, aquagym, birthday parties

15 Rue Darwin
1190 Bruxelles

http://www.darwinaquaclub.be/

1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert

Poséidon

Avenue des Vaillants 2
1200 Bruxelles

http://www.piscinesbruxelles.be/2010/09/la-piscine-de-woluwe-saint-lambert-le.html

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Storytelling

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ― Albert Einstein

Going along to a storytelling session can be a great way to help your child develop a love of stories and reading. While the opportunities to hear stories in English are relatively few and far between in English, listening to stories in French or Dutch might be a nice way to reinforce the language your child hears at creche/school ... and might even be good for your language skills too!

Storytelling in English

  • Waterstones Boulevard Adolphe Max 71-75, 1000 Brussels 

    What and when: Stories suitable for young children - every second Sunday - see link above for details of events

  • Treasure TroveBrusselsesteenweg 7, 3080 Tervuren

    What and when: weekly story times for 3-6 year olds on Wednesday afternoons from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.and Sundays from 2.00 - 3.00 p.m. 

 

Storytelling in other languages

Many local libraries organise storytelling sessions in French/Dutch, often on Wednesday afternoons or weekend mornings. Advance registration may or may not be needed. 

Ask at your local library for details - if you don't know where your local library is, check with your commune.

You can find a comprehensive list of organisations running storytelling sessions on the website: 

http://www.brussels.irisnet.be/brussels-for-free/books-and-literature/entertainment-with-books (page in English)

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Language tip

Use Google Chrome when surfing the internet for easy translation of all websites into your own language! 

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