I realized in looking over the last few posts that I’m running the risk of becoming ‘that mom blogger’. Aie. But you know what? I don’t really care because I have some valuable information to share with parents facing the two-week school break (French system that is, don’t panic ISD and DA folks). I have scraped every corner of my mom-tired brain to compile this list of tested activities to keep little hands, feet and selves busy over the coming days…
Ker Imagination: my number one recommendation for kids (and parents!) in Dakar. Creative discovery and play space that is well supervised and guides the children to learn while having fun. You can drop in any time (4000cfa/child per day) or sign up for their special workshops and camps.
Trampoline park on the Corniche: 800cfa buys 15 minutes of sheer joy. And then a few more coins can buy you a fresh coconut to crack into for a refreshing drink and snack afterwards. (Option 2: Go with a friend and take turns watching each other’s kids on the trampolines while the other one knocks out some grocery shopping across the street at Le Parcours, chez Hoballah.
Hann Park (and zoo): the only real green space in Dakar. Take your bikes, strollers and scooters and get rolling. You can buy drinks (and eat lunch if you want) at the little restaurant on the pond. There are a couple shady spots to sit and enjoy the water and play in the sand-dust. Entry to the park is free, but there is a fee for the zoo.
Marina Bay: Dakar’s new ‘it’ spot features a kid-friendly beach and pool in a setting that’s an Instagrammer’s dream. On weekdays the price for kid’s beach access is 4000cfa and for adults it’s 5000cfa. Pool + beach is 8000cfa during the week. If you want to go for lunch, be sure to check out their daily special at 15,000cfa including the pool and beach access.
Colombin pottery center: Classes for ages three and up, some of which are taught by deaf teachers which is pretty cool. In each sessions the child will create a small project and also have a chance to throw a bowl on the pottery wheel. Come back a week later to pick up their creations once they’ve been fired. Call Ibrahima (77 564 9559) to set up a session at 4000cfa/child.
Kermel market field trip: Hop in a taxi and tell the driver ‘marché Kermel’. Easy enough, right? Walk the circular market and buy all kinds of fresh produce, including some stuff that you probably had no idea was available in Dakar or that you plain have no idea what it is (personal experience speaking here). On the inner section you can find all kinds of creatures that were formerly alive and (again, personal experience here) little boys will love touching fish scales and poking squid and making dead chicken feet dance. This activity is best in the morning before the market gets busy and hot.
(Little) ART House mosaic classes: Gather up five kids and book a 2-3 hour mosaic class with the beautiful, patient and very talented Sophie. She speaks French, English, German and Wolof. Classes cost 10,000cfa per child and they can complete a mosaic project to take home with them. Call Sophie (77 270 59 13) to set up a session.
La Cabane du Surfeur (chez Abdou): Playground, restaurant and an ocean view. What’s not to love? Plus it’s been recently renovated. If you want to avoid the crowds, go mid-afternoon. If you’re looking for other kids to play with, head over around 5pm. Look for it on the beach road in Almadies, across from Prainha and just before the bilingual school.
Lou Bess Farmers’ Market: Saturday, May 7th, from 9am-3pm in the parking lot of Le Ngor restaurant in Almadies. Bring your shopping list and the kids and let them explore and ask questions about the locally grown foods… or just let them play and create at the Ker Imagination stand (fee is 2000cfa) while you shop. 🙂
Quick ideas, low-to-no prep required:
- Fly swatter + balloon to play indoor “tennis”.
- Go to the buutik and ask for ten boxes of attaya (tea) and ten bags of sugar. Find people you want to thank (the gendarmes guarding spaces around town, people sweeping the streets…) and let your kids give them tea + sugar to say ‘thank you’.
- Dry erase markers + bathroom tile.
- Fly a kite in the wide open spaces on the Corniche road near the Mosquée de la Divinité.
- Make a bow and arrows from acacia tree branches + twine + duct tape for arrow tips.