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Halloween: From spooky origins to family fun

by Natalia Moreno

The Origins of Halloween

Bonfire. PC: Pixabay

Although Halloween celebrations are very popular in The United States, its origin comes far from the American continent. History dates Halloween celebrations as a Celtic festival, Samhain, commemorated with bonfires and animal costumes on the day before their new year, which used to be the 1st of November.

This celebration marked the end of the summer and the start of the cold and dark winter, a period associated with death and agricultural difficulties. The Celts believed that on October 31st, the spirits came back to Earth and the lost souls could cause trouble; therefore the bonfires, rituals and costumes helped repel the intentions of bad ghosts.

Later on, the Christians celebrated “All Saints Day/All-Hallows Day” on the 1st of November, which was the reason why the Celtic commemoration on the 31st of October became known as “All-Hallows Eve,” and later, “Halloween”.

Halloween in the United States

Jack-o-lanterns. PC: Pixabay

The Irish and English people brought the Halloween traditions with them during the mass migrations to the United States in the 19th Century, where it became a popular holiday.

It lost its religious and ghostly nature and became a celebration to bring together the community through games, food and costumes. The famous game “trick or treat” then became a fun way of sharing food. Despite the efforts of some community leaders to remove the scary tone of Halloween, this holiday still holds mystery and superstition, especially in the United States.

Halloween in Colombia

Kids singing and asking for candy at the end of the day. Source: http://www.ruedalaprensa.com

In Colombia, many efforts have been made in the last 15 years to diminish the creepy feeling of Halloween. In fact, it is now called, “Kid’s Day.” Schools and community centres promote the celebration of this day by hosting carnivals and kid-oriented shows, such as puppet theatre and magic shows. It is very common in Colombia to see kids wearing a costume to school on the 31st of October.

Funny enough, we don’t have seasons like those in the United States or UK, so pumpkins and spiders are not common at all at this time of the year. And yet, we still use those items for decoration. At the end of the day, kids go from house to house singing something that would translate as, “trick or treat Halloween, I want candy only for me, your nose will grow if you don’t give candy to me.” It might sound aggressive, but it is not taken in a bad way at all. It might refer to the Pinocchio story, were his nose grew longer because of lying. So telling a kid you don’t have candy to share might be considered a lie. My own interpretation!

Halloween in the Netherlands

Not a Dutch tradition?

Trick or treating. PC: Pixabay

In the 9 years I’ve been living in the Netherlands, no one has come to my door asking for candy on the 31st Of October. However, when my son was born, I decided I was not going to let this day pass unnoticed. At the time, I was living in Wageningen, a very international town in the east of The Netherlands. That year, I sent my son to daycare dressed as a polar bear and although moms and leaders thought it was cute, they also thought it was a bit weird.

I had also asked around among other expats and found out there was a newly built neighbourhood where many expats lived, and many had decorated their houses for Halloween. We decided to go in the evening with our kids and sing our Spanish Halloween songs, going from door to door to ask for candy. To our delight, we were very well received, even by the Dutch families! Perhaps this might be the only neighbourhood in Wageningen where kids can get candy on the 31st of October.

… how you can celebrate Halloween, Dutch style!

However, more than asking for candy, I wanted my son to enjoy Halloween in the way kids do in Colombia, and I’m sure I’m not the only one! Therefore I have been doing my research and I am very happy to share this info with you:

Halloween shopping night

(Prinses Beatrixlaan, 2284 BK Rijswijk)
Thursday 25th October, from 18:00 – 21:00: dance performances for kids and face painting in de Bogaard Shopping Centre.

Halloween at the Delft Botanical Gardens

(Poortlandplein 6, 2628 BM Delft)
Friday 26th October, from 17:00 – 21:00: Ghost greenhouse, face painting, colouring, pumpkin carving, scary photo booth (DIY), marshmallows roasting at the bonfire, ghostly treasure hunt. You must pay for the entrance and for €2, kids get a stampcard for the various activities.

Halloween at the Stadsboerderij BuytenDelft

(Korftlaan 3a, 2616 LJ Delft)
Saturday 27th October, from 13:00 – 20:00: for kids between 3 and 6 years there are several activities throughout the day, such as pumpkin carving, decorating Halloween cupcakes, making popcorn in the fire pit, face painting, storytelling and a ghost tour through the water playground. See here for more  information about the timetable of activities and costs.

Halloween in the Wippolder

(Wippolder, 2628 GC Delft)
Saturday 27th October, from 18:00 – 20:00: this has been a big and succesful Trick or Treat walk to the houses along a planned map route. Kids and parents wearing a costume are welcome to join this fun walk. The route to follow can be found on their Facebook page.

Delft MaMa Halloween Party

(Speeltuin Geerweg, Kleine Boogerd 16, 2611 WC Delft)
Sunday 28th October, from 14:00: Hosted by Delft MaMa, there are costume contests for both the kids and the adults. There’s a Pot Luck (bring a dish!) for food, but drinks will be available at the venue. The fee is €12,50 per family,  Pay online via Tikkie. Follow the Facebook event here.

Halloween in de Trees!

(Laan van NOI 104, 2593 BX Den Haag)
Wednesday 31st October, from 13:00 – 17:00: Face painting, treasure hunt, trick or treat, surprise activities at the Zorg voor Party Feestwinkel.

Halloween in de Reinkenstraat

(Reinkenstraat, 2517 CS Den Haag)
Wednesday 31st October, from 16:00 – 18:00: This is a very cosy shopping street in the Hague.  Children are invited to go dressed with costumes to sing Trick or Treat. There will also be several children’s activities in the street, such as a spooky ghost tunnel, a candy festival and face painting.

Halloween at Duivenvoorde Castle

(Laan van Duivenvoorde 4, 2252 AK Voorschoten)
Wednesday 31st October, from 16:00 – 17:30 for kids from 4 to 8 years old; from 17:30 to 19:00 for kids from 8 to 12 years old. Activities for both age groups include walking through the ancient castle rooms, a super-scary ghost tour, short storytelling in the attic, face painting, Halloween crafts and roasting marshmallows over the campfire.

Have a spooktacular time!

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How Delft MaMa saved my sanity

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS

Initiated over 2 years ago, the Delft Mama blog has delivered numerous creative, heartwarming contributions throughout the years. Looking back at those earlier posts  in our role as current editors we realized there were quite a few that we missed. Surely we aren’t the only ones, especially with new members joining Delft Mama each year. With that in mind, we decided to take a look back a couple times each year to recall one of those “Oldies but Goodies”.

Here’s the first installment, a rather recognizable, yet shocking and frankly funny post that speaks to the core of one of Delft Mama’s missions to help build networks and provide support that makes families (and families-to-be) feel at home here in Delft.

Read more

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Children & schools in Delft: School options and what to expect


by Lynette Croxford

When arriving in Delft not speaking the language, I spent quite some time worrying about schools for the precious ones. My agitation increased tenfold after speaking to other mamas at the playgroup. The conversations were along the lines of, “WHAT? She’s not on the list yet? You might have to move if you want her to get a place at a decent school”. It never occurred to me to enroll my newborn at a school of my choice. Naturally I then proceeded to contact every school in a 20km radius of my home to make appointments or enquire about open days.

It turns out that the waiting lists for some schools are ridiculously out of touch with anything in the realm of reality, with some as long as 6 years!  However, upon further investigation, I found there are really good schools with no waiting lists or at least lists that are in the span of my lifetime, all within the city limits.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the child-led methods where kids determine their destiny, a stickler for structure and direction or an inbetweener, Delft has it all.

On the Education Inspection website, a regulatory body for the assessment and control of schools, there are 34 primary schools listed in Delft.  The pedagogic principles range from the Mary Poppins school of thought (hard work, discipline, routine) to the more Hogwarts (without the magic) approach (child-led, independent, non-structured). The website has an English page which is helpful to understand the rationale behind the system.  There is a ‘find schools’ option but the search function is only in Dutch with an English explanation of how it should be used.

Depending on your reasons for migrating to Delft and the duration of your stay in the Netherlands, you may choose to keep the kiddos in an English environment. Skipping around in clogs and singing Dutch songs won’t enable their future growth outside of the Netherlands, except for entertainment value or party tricks. The International School in Delft is an authorized school for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, which means settling in Delft will be easier since they don’t have to learn a new language. If, like me, you’re in it for the long run and want your kids to integrate into local culture, habits and language, there is a multitude of Dutch schools to choose from, all facilitating clog-skipping and song-singing.

There are 5 pedagogic methods being used in the Dutch schools in Delft at the moment.  Below is a brief explanation on their principles.  If you want more information, Google it.  There is a whole bunch of information readily available. [Note from the editors: we’ve done some work for you! See the short resource list at the end of this article to get you started.]


Freinet

Freinetschool Delft
  • Learning takes place in a context that is meaningful to the children;
  • Class life is organised in a democratic/cooperative way between teachers and children;
  • Learn by experimentation, discovery, doing and discussion;
  • Learning from the experiences of others, adults and cultures;
  • Teachers, children and parents all contribute to an optimal learning climate.

 Montessori

Openbare Montessorischool Jan Vermeer
  • Students are active in a prepared environment;
  • Students are given the opportunity to develop their talents;
  • Let students do a great deal themselves and thereby learning from each other;
  • Teach responsibility by letting students make their own choices and their own plans;
  • Trust the students;
  • A continuous concept throughout the school years.

 Vrije school

Credit: VS Widar
Vrijeschool Widar

(Based on Anthroposophy, a human oriented spiritual philosophy that reflects and speaks to the basic deep spiritual questions of humanity, to our basic artistic needs, to the need to relate to the world out of a scientific attitude of mind, and to the need to develop a relation to the world in complete freedom and based on completely individual judgments and decisions.)

  • Students become rounded individuals and is conscious of daily and yearly rhythms;
  • It doesn’t refer to the freedom of the students but the freedom of the school to work in their own way.

Jenaplan

Jenaplanschool De Oostpoort
  • The subject matter is derived from the living and experiential world of students and important cultural objects from society;
  • Teaching is carried out in educational situations and with pedagogical means;
  • Education is shaped by a rhythmic alternation of the basic activities of conversation, play, work and celebration;
  • Students of different ages and development levels are placed together in tribal groups. This stimulates learning and caring for each other;
  • Independent play and learning are alternated and supplemented by controlled and guided learning. The pupils’ initiative always plays an important role;
  • World orientation occupies a central position with experience, discovery and research as the basis;
  • Behavioral and performance assessment of a pupil takes place as much as possible from the pupil’s own development history, and in consultation with the student.

Regulier

Roman Catholic primary school Bernadette Mariaschool

Regular education is the collective term for education that does not address special target groups, such as special and special education. In a regular school there are therefore predominantly children who go through a normal development. These schools might have a religious affinity.


After deciding on the pedagogic method you prefer for your child, the next step is to go and see the schools of your choice and to meet the people. My first call was made with a mental image of a fire-breathing dragon on the end of the line, speaking to me in Dutch and condemning my lack of linguistic ability.  I was pleasantly surprised by polite and friendly people who were more than willing to struggle through a conversation in English.  The appointments were made with little hassle and followed up by email confirmations. I really enjoyed seeing the schools in action and meeting some of the kids and teachers.  Taking your child along is a good idea since they’ll pretty quickly show you how they feel about the place. Some schools have open days to facilitate choices and there is a fair once a year, De Delftse Onderwijs Markt, where all schools in Delft showcase themselves. The exact dates and times are usually advertised in the local papers.

One thing that I didn’t appreciate the full extent of when making a choice was the distance from door to door. In the summer it’s all fun and games getting to school on the bikes or walking, but in the winter, it can be a real challenge if you’re some distance away.  Dragging babies out in the freezing rain to get their siblings to class on time is no fun and can add significant stress to an already frantic time. Although none of the schools have catchment areas (geographical areas served by schools), take a good look at the schools closest to your home. Most schools are close to daycare facilities (kinderopvang) to help (working) parents before, during and after school.  They can pick kids up from school, take them to activities and are open during school term time.

A place in your school of choice will be confirmed with a formal letter inviting the little one to their first day, usually the day after their 4th birthday or in that same week.  Prior to the actual start date, the schools arrange for the newbies to come in and get used to the class and environment (wennen).  Usually it starts off with a couple of mornings and then a full day or two to see how they cope. Depending on the school, parents are sometimes permitted to stay for the first hour if needed.  Some schools are even flexible in the first year of school to have kids for 3 days instead of 5, or a combination of shorter and longer days, since compulsory attendance (legally) only starts when they turn 5 years old.

When your baby puts that little backpack on and runs down the road for the first time you may very well shed a tear or 10.  They grow up exponentially in their first year of school and the baby-ness become kid-ness. It’s a true milestone in their young lives and one that they relish once everyone settles into the routine.

My resources:

*List of primary education providers

*Pedagogic methods (translated by myself)

*Personal experience

*All photos are mine (with the exception of Vrijeschool Widar, the image came from the school website).


Originally from South Africa, Lynette moved to Delft from New Zealand in 2011.  The majority of her time is spent working in Rotterdam in the Healthcare sector, but she also has 2 young daughters, both in school in Delft. Lynette’s background is varied, including creative and people-related experiences. 


Note from the editors:

Want to read more about education in the Netherlands?

To get an overview of the Dutch education system, start with education in the Netherlands from Nuffic: the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education. (There is also information about bilingual schools at the primary and secondary levels, in Dutch.)

To get an overview of the Dutch education system in an international context, read Education Policy Outlook Highlights: Netherlands published by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Delft MaMa’s very own Parenting in Delft: School Age has some general information. The link to a list of schools in Delft no longer works. Use the one listed in this article.

Dutch school types: primary and secondary education – a good summary of the different types (based on pedagogy) of schools in the Netherlands.

Education in the Netherlands: A guide to the Dutch education system – also a good comprehensive guide, the article also contains useful information regarding school fees, holidays, and contacts for more information.

Some other good/fun articles to read:

Dutch schools: What to expect when you go “local” – article published in July 2018 on iamexpat.nl

Are you sending your kids to a Dutch school for the first time in September? Read How to deal with being the new parent at a Dutch school, published this month on iamexpat.nl

The Dutch school system for dummies – a guide from one parent to another – article published in March 2017 on Dutchreview.com

See also past DMM blog posts about education and after school activities:

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Swimming as easy as A,B,C

by Gaelle Fourcade
with Onica King

Mom-1: I heard “Swim Like A Fish” has a really good swim program.

Mom-2: Yeah, I’ve already registered Katie there.

Mom-3: Isn’t your Katie just 4 years old?

Mom-2: Yes, but there’s a waiting list and I want to make sure she gets a spot on a day we can be there. Your Jacob is turning 4 right, where are you thinking of registering for swim lessons?

Mom-3: Ahhh, um. . .

Sounds familiar?

I first discovered the importance of Dutch swim lessons for children just as I began asking around for information about schools for our eldest daughter. At first, I thought it was a bit early to start thinking about swim lessons, yet alone already registering my 4 year old for swim class. But ongoing conversations and the evident parental stress associated made it seem just as important as choosing a good school.

Out of my depth

You see I’m initially from France. There, schools still provide swim lessons to students. So of course, I had no idea what to look for and what to expect with respect to swim diplomas in the Netherlands.

Diploma A, B, C, badje 1-2-3, colored armbands, etc. I quickly became overloaded and confused with this new vocabulary on swim lessons. Oh, and of course, it‘s all in Dutch — a language I understood very little of at the time. It took me months before I understood ZWEM-ABC (literally SWIM-ABC) referenced the various diploma levels. Diploma A was the first swim diploma that included basic swimming techniques and specific swim distance requirements.  The progression to Diploma B adds more techniques and longer distances. C indicates the most advanced level of the diplomas in this category.

Letters, numbers, colors and more

After a bit of research and experience (we’ll soon be taking my 3rd through the process) I quickly became intimately acquainted with the mysteries of the ‘badjes’ A1 through A6, and its associated color armbands, red, blue, green, yellow orange and bronze. All beginners start in badje A1 with red armbands. As they begin to better coordinate their movements and master the required skills and techniques of each badje, children receive the ‘reward’ of a new colored armband — much to their pleasure and excitement — before progressing to the next badje.

All this culminates in their ability to swim at least 50 meters using both breast and back strokes and swim 3 meters underwater through a large ‘escape’ hole. Those requirements increase to 75 meters and 6 meters under water for the B certificate. The C diploma requires 100 meters of surface swimming with a few additional obstacles.

The NRZ (The National Board of Swimming Safety) publishes a list of requirements (in Dutch) for each diploma.

Time and money

When we decided to inscribe our daughter, we had no clue how long it would take to achieve completion of ZWEM-ABC. It took us almost 4 years!

Ok, we did not attend during summer holidays (which can be a really good way to speed up your diploma). Our daughter also had ear tubes, so she suffered intermittent ear infections. Either way, I shudder to calculate how much her diplomas cost in total. However, be prepared to invest some time and money. The swim school we attended suggests, “the average duration to obtain the A-diploma is 50 hours, for B- diplomas it’s 10-15 hours and for C-diploma it’s 12-15 hours.” DMM’s recent “Get Out!” blog lists the various swim schools in Delft. Check around to find out more about various types, times and costs of swim programs.

A tropical oasis

So every Thursday afternoon we gathered the swim gear, our daughter and her little brother to head to the swimming pool.

Now that’s some heat and humidity for you. It is literally like entering a sauna!

During the winter, you have to remember to dress in layers, and then proceed to unload yourself of those endless layers as you enter the tropical environment that is the swim school. Then in the summer, you observe the children with envy wishing you too were able to spring in the water to cool off just a bit.

Oh, and let us not forget the entire pre- and post-preparation and seating to contend with. Parents and children alike converge upon the changing room entrance 5 minutes before class time in anticipation. Once the green light flickers to ‘signal go’, everyone enters to help their little 4, 5 and 6 year olds change into their respective swim clothing. Should your session start as another ends (or vice-versa), that means there’ll be as many as 30 – 60 little swimmers and their parents — some like me with younger children in tow — trying to find a corner to maneuver.

Finally, after 5 minutes of rushing to get little arms and legs in and out of clothing, you emerge (more often than not, sweating) from the changing rooms in search of a place to sit and observe your budding swim aficionado, while in my case — also entertaining another toddler. Thank goodness for the well-positioned contained play areas on offer at most of Delft’s swim schools, provided specifically for the welcomed distraction of non-swimming little siblings.

Oh the pomp and circumstance

“Afzwemmen” another Dutch word one becomes well acquainted with in the journey towards ZWEM-ABC completion.  Once your child progresses through their respective swim lessons, they are then invited to ‘pass’ for their diploma. Time for them to demonstrate their newly acquired swim prowess before receiving each of their swim diplomas. It’s also time for fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings and the entire list of proud friends and family members to come together in a hot, humid swim school to celebrate the accomplishment (and let’s not forget freedom) of completing a swim diploma.

The whole event is actually a bit of a show. By the time your little swimmer gets cleared for afzwemmen, they have already passed everything necessary in the lessons. Afzwemmen just serves as a final step to acknowledge the investment made by all.

Respect 👊

To be honest, despite the sarcasm and slight inconvenience, I have been impressed by the way my children learned and mastered different swimming techniques at their individual pace. The instructors were nice, some very funny and popular. They always had a little time of “grappig” (fun and laughter) during the lesson, and they knew our kids well. I could always ask information about their level and their competencies.

I admire the kids being so strong and courageous for such an intensive hour, and I am so pleased that they learnt to swim in clothes, which in this country — maybe more than others — makes absolute sense!

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At DULI

See you at DULI

by Natalia Moreno

Last weekend I sat down for tea with Carolina Nesi, the easy-going Brazilian woman who started up DULI. For those who haven’t discovered it already, DULI is a unique concept, and a gem for expat families in the heart of Delft. Part international bookstore and part birthday party venue, the English-language workshops — for both kids and adults — sit at the heart and soul of DULI. In this article, I share the fruits of my conversation with Carolina: what DULI is and how it was created. Read more

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How to choose early-stage age-appropriate musical toys

by Zdenka Prochazkova

Success of the “Muziek op schoot” workshop, initially hosted by DelftMama in March, convinced me yet again that music is a universal language — a cross-point where mothers and children from all around the world can meet, sing and make music together. How great that was, proving that no barrier, not even language, can stand in the way of musical play.

Thus, the purpose for this article, an opportunity to offer some basic information about age appropriate musical instruments to help you and your child embrace the joy of that universal language.

About me

My name is Zdenka Prochazkova and I come from the Czech Republic. Ten years ago, after finishing my music studies there, I came to the Netherlands to continue with a specialization in early music in Utrecht.

A couple years ago, I then decided to enroll in a postgraduate program to become a “Muziek op schoot” teacher. Literally translated to “music on your lap”, Muziek op Schoot is a foundation for early childhood music education in the Netherlands. I currently give lessons in Delfgauw, Spijkenisse, and teach regularly at daycares in Delft and Delfgauw. I am also a member of Krulmuziek  — an ensemble dedicated to bringing classical music to children of early ages.

The importance of music to our children

Experience as a teacher and as a parent of two young children has shown me firsthand the positive influence singing and musical play has on child development. Not to mention the simple joy it brings to their daily lives.

The songs we sing to our children at bedtime are part of the transitional space where parent and child are present together. A moment where children feel safe and can overcome fear and anxiety. Through songs and musical play, we can also turn chores and everyday activities such as getting dressed, tidying up, eating, or even brushing one’s teeth into play.

Age-appropriate musical toys

The first, and probably the best, source of rhythm, melody and musical feeling that children encounter is the human body. In fact, children experience music best through hands on engagement with their parents and care givers. Our heart beats in the most wonderful rhythm; our voices can both soothe and entertain, while bodily sounds like clapping, snapping or whistling always seem to catch children’s attention.

The child’s body develops as a unit; it is therefore important for children of all ages to use both of their hands simultaneously, such as clapping and using shakers and jingle bells in each hand.

Consider sound quality and the ease of producing that sound when introducing an instrument to your child. Children should be able to use and bring out sounds from the musical toy; otherwise, it would be hard to hold their attention. For instance, if you give a xylophone and a mallet to a 1-year-old, the child at that age would not have the precision to hit the bars. The instrument would not make noise, and the child would soon lose interest in it.

Toy stores offer various sound/musical toys to entertain children. However, if they have a low-quality sound, are monotonous or lack dynamic possibilities, they do not contribute much to the musical development of the child. Offering varied good quality sounds enrich the child’s experience and even prevents negative reactions to encountering new sounds in their surroundings.

  • 0 to 1 year old: Discovering the world through multiple senses

    Safety and quality are essential when identifying appropriate toys for children this age. Another consideration is the ability to stimulate different senses at the same time. A soft, colorful ball with a bell inside is an ideal tool for a musical ‘massage’. A pleasant-sounding rattle stimulates children’s senses as they try to locate the origins of the rattling sounds and begin to train their prowess of concentration.

    Singing, along with various other uses of the voice (varying between high and low pitches, different volume, “glissando”), dancing and bodily sounds also occupy a central place during this period. At this age, children follow singing for a longer time than speech. They also have very limited or no control over their movements at this stage. It’s therefore important to choose instruments that are easy to manipulate.

    Choose from shakers (e.g. egg-shakers) and maracas to various kinds of ‘jingle’ bells that attach to fingers, wrists, or even favorite toys and sticks. Homemade shakers like these music bottles can also bring a lot of fun and extra visual or thematic stimulation. Bottles with child-safe closures are available to order from Kijk op spel.

  • 1 to 2 years old: Rapid gross motor development during which children learn to sit, walk and run.

    Little ones this age enjoy exploration and relative independence as long as parents remain at an easily reachable distance. They enjoy playing on parent or caregiver’s laps, can combine different movements while clapping to songs, and seemingly have the ability to absorb a fundamental sense of rhythm. Children at this age spontaneously find objects such as tables and chairs for impromptu drum sessions. Give them even more opportunities to explore those percussion talents. Provide toys already on hand such as wooden blocks, boxes, or objects from nature (chestnuts or walnuts for example) for use as sound-making toys.

    Fill a bottle with sand, rice, lentils, beans, wooden pieces, stones, and even feathers to offer a large spectrum of rattling sounds. Suitable instruments are shakers, jingle bells, rhythm sticks, and rainmaker tubes. The harmonica is ideal for this period as a stimulant for voice development. Children this age also really enjoy dancing with some material in their hand.

    Language skills are also fast developing and any musical play and songs with language forming texts are very suitable. Let children listen to different genres of music and you will soon notice them developing a musical taste. Similar to hiding and revealing objects, pausing and resuming music can also be very entertaining. This principle keeps the child’s attention and teaches them to react to the music.

  • 2 to 4 years old: The start of vivid imaginations

    Musical instruments that trigger fantasy are very appropriate. Offer different types of drums, xylophones, metallophones. They stimulate hand-eye coordination, which is important for writing. Toddlers are interested in different aspects of music such as piano/forte (soft/loud) or slow/fast (speed). As a result, they can learn basic principles of music making.

    Choose music and instruments that offer dynamic possibilities at this age. There are various songs, which incorporate the contrast of slow-and-fast or loud-and-soft. Integrate these elements when playing with instruments as well as in singing, dancing (with or without material) and parent-child lap play. Additionally, for stimulating the development of the larynx, kazoos, ocarinas, and slide-flutes are ideal.

DelftMama music workshops

Music workshops within the DelftMama group has been a great initiative of Ildigo Wooning, Marie Kummerlowe and Tatjana Lisjak. The first series drew many participants and proved a big success. During the sessions, we exposed children to hearing and trying the violin, viola, guitar and melodica, as well as egg-shakers, tambourines, metallophones or bells for themselves. The theme of the first workshop series was spring. The current series, which started on May 28th, has a summer flair.

While the general language used in the workshops is English, participants will be exposed to many songs in Dutch (many of which children already hear at daycares). The sessions are a perfect opportunity to enjoy fun time together with your little ones, learn new songs and get some ideas for music making at home.

Not able to make the current series of workshops? Fear not, we’ve already begun exploring options for scheduling additional sessions after the summer holidays.

Embrace the joy of music

When you make music with your littles, it’s a great joy for you both. The interaction makes you learn about each other and the positive effects of music — stimulation of concentration, motor skills, emotional and social development — turn the learning process of children into play.

I wish you many beautiful (musical) moments with your little ones.

For any questions and more information, please feel free to contact me via muziekopschootdelft@gmail.com or www.muziekvriendjes.nl

Useful links:

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The SpeelOké Toy Library: toys for fun and development

Welcome to our first article in a series about toys and play. Is your little one bored with his or her mountain of toys, or are you looking to reduce that mountain without sacrificing variety and quality? Perhaps you are looking to try different types of toys before buying? The SpeelOké toy library in Delft allows your little one to BORROW toys. Read on as Erna Bekink, the chairwoman of the SpeelOké toy library describes what the library is all about.

By: Erna Bekink, SpeelOké toy library

SpeelOké is a toy library in Delft, founded by volunteers to promote playing with all sorts of toys so children can have fun and develop on several dimensions: moving, sensing, developing creativity and fantasy, building and constructing, puzzles, language and thinking games and so on…

Playing is learning

At our library, parents can borrow toys suitable for children from 0 to 12 years old for three weeks. Every three weeks you and your children can select other toys, which allows them to play and have fun with a regularly rotating selection of toys targeting different dimensions of their development.

If you have any questions, ask our volunteers. They are happy to recommend toys that are suitable for your child following the “toy circle,” which we describe briefly below. Our volunteers know what is in stock for each age group and which development phase those toys are suitable.

Toy circle

Description of suitable toys for different developmental areas for children. Source: speelotheken.nl

We make use of the “toy circle” (see figure to the right), a handy guide for choosing toys in all the different development areas: such as movement material, sensory material, fantasy material, etc.

Each category of toys (see the colors in the circle) makes a different contribution to the development of a child. Ask yourself with which category of toys your child plays with regularly, and then choose toys from another category. For example: if you want to stimulate your child’s creativity and fantasy, you can borrow dress-up clothes, Playmobil, a doctor’s set or a doll’s house. These kinds of toys stimulate the imagination of a child.

Subscription

The subscription fee is €10 per year for one family. The administration fee for new subscribers is €3,50.

With one subscription you can borrow three toys every three weeks. You also pay a small amount for every borrowed toy (€0,50, €1 or €1,50 – depending on the value of the toy).

  • Location
    SpeelOké is located at Van Kinschotstraat 21 in Delft.
  • Opening hours
    SpeelOké is open every Saturday morning from 10.00 till 12.00. We are closed during school holidays. Check our opening hours here.

Become a volunteer!

Volunteers spend 3 hours a month helping out at our toy library. Why don’t you join us?

If your children start borrowing toys at SpeelOké, there is a possibility for parents to volunteer–our foundation is run by enthusiastic volunteers who spend around 3 hours per month on a Saturday morning in the SpeelOké toy library.

As a volunteer, you can also take part in other activities such as the PR commission or the toy selection and purchasing commission.

Are you interested in meeting new people and being part of an enthusiastic, cheerful team of volunteers? Don’t hesitate to come by and take a look at our toy library or phone our chairwoman for more information: Erna Bekink at 06-242 06 378 – We would love to meet you!

Notes from the editors:

The editors want to thank Annemarie Laan-Oorthuizen of Bloei for the use of her photos in the article (see her article about the SpeelOké library in Dutch here). Bloei is an extensive online resource with guides and blogs in Dutch for parents of children aged 0-12 living in the Delft area. On Bloei you’ll also find an interactive calendar with a short description of fun kid-friendly activities. Looking for something offered in languages other than Dutch? Check this page regularly for classes, activities, services and relevant websites available in other languages.

Next up in this series, Delft Mama Zdenka Prochazkova talks about using music to help your young child’s development, and how to choose the right musical toys for your little one’s age level. In the meantime, play on!

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GET OUT!

Get Littles Up And Out With Fun Activities Around Delft

Recently relocated to Delft and in search of something to keep your littles active? Or perhaps Lynette Croxford’s recent “How to Delft” blog has inspired you to explore what’s on offer for your primary schoolers outside the classroom. Well thankfully, Delft has a host of activities to keep most children entertained and interested, with the added benefit of helping them integrate into their new surroundings.

But where to start?

To help you coordinate your little’s free time like a native, the Delft Mama blog editing team rounded up a list of fun activities and resources that you and your children can enjoy to make their experience in Delft fun, productive and worthwhile.

So here you go, 6 ways to help your primary school kids GET OUT in Delft.

Get physical with sports

Sports can teach children important lessons in teamwork, patience, and perseverance. It keeps them physically fit as well as teaches them the importance of success through hard work and the acceptance of failure while striving to improve. There are all sorts of sports programs offered by schools and organizations in Delft. Here are just a few.

Express the artist within

Do you have a young Brando, a musical Streisand, a budding Picasso or an impressive Baryshnikov at home? Then check out Delft’s various venues that help nurture little creatives.

From art to theatre, music and dance, the VAK is a one-stop shop for most forms of artistic self-expression. But creative exploration doesn’t stop there. Delft offers a range of artistic venues and associated professionals eager to foster your young one’s inner artist.

Take it to the extreme

Extreme sport that is.

Does your little trendsetter prefer riding their skateboard or cruising around on their BMX over dealing with the structure of soccer practice or swim lessons? Then perhaps it’s time to consider a more ‘extreme sport’ for your little rebel. There seems to be an increasing attraction to the individuality and athletic self-expression that hallmarks extreme sports.  Here are just some ways kids go extreme in Delft.

Okay, these next three officially aren’t IN Delft, but they’re rather close by and worth the honorary mention.

Observe Delft’s nature & wildlife

Head outdoors for some fresh air in the local Delft woods. Delft and the surrounding area has numerous lakes, beaches, old windmills, and playgrounds. Use this wealth of outdoor space to introduce your littles to scouting, gardening or plain old outdoor fun.

If scouting camps aren’t your kid’s jam, Delft also offers a couple other interesting outdoor alternatives.

Unleash the mind

Help your littles improve their learning, thinking, analytical, strategic and decision-making abilities with frequent mental exercise.  As a university town, Delft offers quite a few options that allow children to expand their learning in fun new environments. In addition to the DOK (Delft’s libraries), here are a few options to help them further stimulate that gray matter.

Take a trip to a Museum

The Netherlands is home to a number of fantastic museums and as luck would have it, some of them can be found right here in Delft. Here’s a list of just a few.

Get started and GET OUT!

There you have it, a few fun activities and resources for keeping your primary school children  (and perhaps even you) occupied and engaged outside of the classroom.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, we’d like to make this a ‘living document’ with annual or bi-annual updates through inputs from you. So let us know in the comments if you have recommendations for other after-school activities available here in Delft.

For now, this list offers a good start with a wealth of options for your littles to GET OUT in Delft.

 

 

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