Crazy over Lego in Legoland Deutschland

Legoland Deutschland resort Park in Günzburg, Germany

One of the highlights of our Summer break this year in the midst of Corona Pandemic is our visit in Legoland Resort Park in Günzburg.It was a looonggg wish by my daughter, she often asked that after she turned 6 years old, she wants to see her beloved Ninjago friends in Legoland.

But because of Corona virus, this trip was postponed many times….

But then, Endlich… FINALLY!

Wearing her Lloyd Ninja mask while we hike through the Pöllatschlucht going to Neuschwanstein Castle

We visited the Legoland Discovery Center in Berlin and for her, it is not enough. She even wants to go to Legoland HQ in Billund! She needed to see a much bigger park and that is why we decided to give it a go. As a gift and before she goes to school, I know she deserved to be here. As a child, she has been a great fan and addicted to playing Lego.She has her Papa´s old Lego blocks and toys so I guess this is really special to her.She has been fanatic as early as 2 years old,playing Duplos, and now more on the complicated ones, like Ninjago and all the Ninjas. She knows every character by heart and all the episodes of the series and film. She is no-princess type of girl and only want Legos, trading cards and ninjago things as gift,nothing, nothing else.

She doesn´t want to wear a skirt, dress or any girly things—but give her Lego t-shirt and costume as she will be so happy!

Driving to Günzburg was easy for us.It took us 1,5 hours from Ingolstadt and we were in time for the 10 a.m opening of the park. I knew and anticipated that it would be packed with children ( and crowds!) since it is still “Sommerferien” here in Germany. Most of Germans stayed in the country ( at least from whom I knew…) during this summer, doing staycation and out of town trips, just like we did.

I have asked few of my friends who went here as well how did it go so I am confident that it is safe to visit the park.And I was not indeed dissapointed….

My daughter had a blast! and so are we..:-)

Greens and beautiful landscape inside the Legoland Resort in Günzburg

Visiting Legoland is only possible if you book your tickets ahead of your visit.It follows a very strict Corona restrictions so there are no tickets sold in the entrance. We booked our tickets ahead including parking fee so we are all settled. A great tip, there are many vouchers in the LegoBrochures and Discount offers from Mcdonalds, so make sure to take notice of those to get available discount in your visit to this park.It was quite a pleasure that we got those since entrance fees can be helfty, especially if you go with big groups! There are also available packages including Hotel such as Legoland Feriendorf, and varied Hotels and accomodation within the vicinity so if you want to stay longer exploring the Park, then it could be a great option as well.I knew friends who stayed there for 2 days just for the children to enjoy all rides and taking their time to explore everything!

Don´t forget, this park is so huge…so make sure to dress up depends on the weather, mostly comfortable clothes and shoes. bringing extra clothes for change is also a good idea since some rides involves water and I am sure that you will sweat a lot!

Speaking of Corona control measures, don´t worry. This park has great control measures and I am really impressed by it. Of course you need to wear masks and practice distance of 1,5meters and everything, but the great thing is that they have disinfection station in every play station. Yes, every station is strictly controlled and monitored.Before and after riding the rides or getting into the play areas, visitors are asked to disinfect.You need to wear masks at all areas, even going to restrooms.

Even if it was a day full of visitors, I find it comfortable enough to roam around since most of the times, we are outside. The park is surrounded with shady trees, enough benches and tables to rest and sit for a quick break and most of all—people are disciplined.

With the entrance tickets, you are allowed to ride and explore everthing. So if you really want to try the all, you need to come here early to avoid long lines. Some rides are age restricted and should be accompanied with either 1 parent or adult.

Everwhere we go we see Lego. Built Lego miniatures and play areas are really amazing! As a parent, I find it really awesome that my daughter can enjoy such beautiful things as a child. I am sure that in the end, it will create great memories to her…

There are many highlights of our visit and we ride everything that she fancied.Our favourites so far is the Lego Ninjago World, where we had a close up encounter with the Masters of Spinjitzu and some Ninja tricks. The ride was so awesome that I ended up enjoying it as well.There´s the Lloyd´s Spinjitzu Spinner, Coles Climbing Wall, a playarea for small children, and of course, a Ninja Kitchen!

Fun fact : I have read that even adults play with Lego and it can do miracles on your stress management. My husband always play Lego with my daughter.He grew up with Lego as well and He is basically transferring all his skills and techniques to my daughter. My daughter can now build a big set by herself and its no surprise to me why.

Here in Germany ( prior to Pandemic), Lego is an important piece of Toy and learning tool for toddlers and kids. It is very famous so almost all children recognize it. I only find a place great if it has a small playarea in the corner or a place where children can have time for themselves. In the Doctor´s offices, Libraries, and even public shopping areas, Lego corner is normal.

I am sure that Lego helped my daughter with her motor skills, creativity and problem solving skills, which are all very crucial factors to a developing brains! No doubt, she spends times building and building and everyday, she surprises us with her wonderful, sometimes “weird” fantasy, and whimsical thoughts about Lego. If you asked me, it´s better to be engrossed with Lego, than getting addicted to tablets and videos!

In every ride station, you need to wear your masks while waiting for your turn. We tried the ride where children are taught to ride a small car and earn a Driver´s License.I saw that the operator really disinfects all cars, including seatbelts one by one before another batch of kids takes it again.They are really doing well in taking care of their guests and making sure to avoid contaminations.

This one is a thrilling experience !

Important note is that the atractions are going to close 1Hour before the park closes which is around 7pm. In some days they are closing early so its better to check in the official Legoland website to make sure of your time of visit.If you want to enjoy everything, start from the backside of the park, normally those rides are not so full in the morning since most people flocked near the entrance areas.If you have little children, there is a free “Kinder-finder-Armbänder” so you don´t need to worry that your child will be completely lost if they got away from you.It is very safe inside the park and especially nowdays with Corona, people are more cautious.

What I have learned through the Pandemic is to take care of your family. We may be restricted to travel because of the virus but there are various reasons and ways to enjoy family time.In Legoland, I have families of different nationalities, having fun together with their children, behaving like a child, maybe reliving past childhood experiences as well.

I grew up not having this luxury. As I scan the views before me, I felt just grateful that my child can experience such as these and grow up a happy, healthy and active child. Probably, in most European countries, Lego is 80% part of every child´s fantasy .It becomes a treasured memory for them…

Restaurants and Cafe´s are spread all over the park so no worries about getting hungry.There are plenty of tables and picnic areas where you can eat in peace with your family without the crowds.We enjoyed having lunch with a view of the rides and we really had a great time.

Plenty of playareas and climbing station for kids as well. They have a big payground as well , when children wants to have a break from Lego rides then they can ” rest” here as well. For Mamas & Papas, this is also a perfect place to sit, check their phones and have a drink!

My favourite ride so far was the Pirate ship and Spinjitzu Spinner. Here in the Pirate boat ride, we ride our boats and we spray waters on others. The park was so beautifully designed and even adults enjoyed it so well!

We booked a hotel in the nearby town from Günzburg since we still have to continue or Romantic road trip to Füssen that is why we did not stress on driving back early. But around 4p.m, my daughter is already tired and wanted to check out the lego shop and told us that she had enough of rides.The line for the shop took as about half an hour to enter the store as well. You might consider to set aside an hour here if you plan to do your shopping before departing since most people do their shopping on the time they depart as well.

For me personally, you can enjoy the park the whole day, but not really exhausting yourself and your child. If you came all the way from far places then I am sure, it is worthy to spend couple of days in this place just to make the most of your trip.

Time flies so fast…not a small baby anymore!
Hang over from Lego ?

After seeing giant Dinosaurs in Dinopark, and nature climbing in Beilngries, this girl is totally , and still very in love with her Lego Ninjago friends!

How was your summer vacation in the midst of Pandemic so far?

If you plan on visiting Legoland, then these important and vital Info might help you plan your trip!

Stay safe everyone..until next time, Tschüss!

Tschüss Kindergarten, Hallo Schultüte!

Tchüss Kindergarten, Hallo Schultüte!

Today is the first day of School here in Bavaria, the southern part of Germany and my daughter finally said Tschüss (Goodbye) to Kindergaten and said “Hallo to her Schultüte”…Sie ist endlich ein Schulkind, finally now that she turned 6, she is finally starting School…

As a parent, this whole new experience is bringing us mixed emotions. Schools are finally reopening—with masks, Abstand ( or distance of min. 1.5 Meters) and strict hygienic concepts and many more other restrictions. For the first time , this is all happening, children are finally back to school, as we also all gone back to work, right on the verge of Corona virus chaos.On the other hand, we are proud parents that our child is having her new milestone, new challenge and definitely making big leaps of growth.But then for the same scary virus, part of me always have this fear and a bag full of worries. Fear of the unknown, because we all know that as long as the virus is still out there, we can never feel safe enough.

But then for most of us, especially in the eyes of the little children…life must go on…

Starting school in Germany with a big “Schultüte” or School cone

As an Expat mama, I am sharing this special post because here in Germany, I have seen something else. Something unique, something worthy of sharing . Something that I have never seen in my homeland or in any parts of Europe. Here, children starts school with a “Schultüte” or simply a School cone! This is totally German, and every single child here who enters the first grade in school must bring one on his/her first day of school. That is why this day is so special and celebrated !

What is a ” Schultüte” ?

Schultüte is actually a “Zuckertüte” or sweetbag ,or rather cone. A paper cone full of sweet surprises, like a big fat Christmas socks that is stuff with gifts! I have read that Shultüte is an old German tradition way back since 1810. First stories about Schultüte starts in Jena, Leipzig and Dresden so mainly on the Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia areas in Germany.But then nowadays, this nationwide tradition is widely celebrated by all children whoare about to start school in Germany.

The school normally starts on the 1st week of September, right after a long Summer break. On the first day, you will notice that the streets is filled with children (along with their parents) carrying this huge cone and their trendy Schulranzen (Backpacks). That is really a lovely sight to watch. Most of the time, parents are as excited as their kids!

Why German Schulranzen is Unique?

The Backpack and the School cone (Schultüte)

Here in Germany, Backpacks or Schulranzen says it all. I never imagined that Backpacks were that important here.I remember when I was young, many children does not need to have new things for school, but here…forget it, Schulranzen is very important, let alone expensive! Every child needs to have a decent Schulranzen. It´s like their weapon for their next battle.

But it looks to bulky and heavy…and how can they carry it while riding their bikes? “

Schulranzen is an important matter for every first grade children here in Germany.The backpack must be for functional use, compact, stable ,and will not hurt their backs ! ( Very important!) It is an important factor when buying one is that papers don´t get bent, and snacks dont get squished! Think about German mentality and perfection in every single thing. To give you an idea what children needs on their first grade, take a look at the photos below. This will give you an idea what you need to prepare aside from the Schultüte on the first day of school! This is the list that we´ve got from the School and bought!

With this, you might have an idea that starting school means you will spend probably hundreds and hundreds of Euros, all for a good start.My daughter chose her own design for her Schultüte, which happened to match her Schulranzen.

For me persoally ,the start of school in Germany is quite special. Yesterday we had a simple mass in the church for the first graders to be blessed, and today, they are rewarded with their own Schültute.They have the whole day to enjoy it. Schultüte is filled with many things that brings every 6 year old child loves. Normally it is filled with things that they can use at school like pencils, small stickers, notebooks, or stickers and so much more.It can be filled with small toys, sweets and many other “wished items”. The list are endless.

Since she adores Lego and Ninjago, we´ve had plenty of ideas what to put in her Schultüte!

The thing is, what I love about it is that it really creates that element of excitement and surprise to children.You can really see their eyes get wide full of excitement! My daughter cannot even wait to unpack it all! I think this is very important on their first day in school, a good start is always better than pressure. Instead of directly going to lessons, the children can still enjoy a relaxed first day of school, and of course, enjoying their hard earned sweet threats from their Schultüte.

Here in Germany, months before the school starts, many shops already sells different kinds of Schultüte. You can also make and decorate your own, just like we did. Many schultüte can also be ordered online especially now because of Corona Virus.For us, I just ordered the materials and we did it together with my daughter.

Personalized Schultüte is far by the best!It is far memorable…

Today I have seen that this event is really celebrated by the whole family.Not only parents are present in school but I saw Grandparents and other relatives who were there to celebrate with their child.It is indeed a big thing here.

Starting elementary school in Germany leaves me quite an impression.This is totally non -existent way back in our times where we started Grade 1.I must say that here, it looks like a birthday, or a big family reunion since parents invest so much on this special day. Most parents even take this day as a day off to be with their child on their first day in school.My daughter already spent 3 years in the Kindergarten alone, but then I know, starting school is a big adjustment to her.

Maybe that is why Schultüte signals a new phase–a new life full of surprises!

A Day to remember

This day is really a day to remember.In other parts of the world, people are starting school virtually, and online learning is the solution, a safer way to learn. But here in Germany, we are moving slowly to make things normal, but with strict caution, especially to not stop children from getting into school, the real way.Many children I see posed on their first day wearing a headset and in front of a computer, well, I am not against it. In the end, we all want the best for our children…

“Kinder Malen sich Selbst ” Exhibition in Schloss Blutenberg, Münich

One of the best thing that happened to us during Corona Lockdown was that my daughter´s painting was selected to be inluded in the Exhibit for ” Kinder Malen sich Selbst” ( Children, paint yourselves!) exhibition in Münich. I am a proud parent of a 5 year old kid that is inclined to arts at a young age as this! I am wondering what am I doing when I was 5 years old?She is really an epitome´ of an international expat kid–born in Kuwait, of Dutch & Asian origins, and raised in Germany and now, she just had her own drawing escapade!

From March, right at the beginning of the Corona virus global outbreak, the Library began to asks children around the world to participate to draw themselves what they feel about Corona.At first it was a virtual collection of drawings of children how do they feel during the tough times of Corona Pandemic then they began to collect the drawings as well.These are gorgeous collection of children´s talent, thoughts, visions, and feelings which travelled from different countries to Germany. This exhibit was arranged by the International Youth Library ( Internationale Jugendbibliothek, IJB ) in the Herrenhaus Foyer of Schloss Blutenberg.

Of course I am the most excited for everything! Like an overreacting stage mother, we were all ecstatic to see finally the Exhibit. We are still in Summer break so decided to go to Munich to see it.For my daughter who was only 5 years old when she did the drawing, I think the whole experience was also great.To think that she almost tore away the drawing and I was able to save it. She was so happy to know that her drawing was selected among many others, and it is now displayed there up until September 9,2020. With Corona restrictions, the exhibitions follows strict hygienic controls, with masks and reduction of visitors inside the halls.

Because of Corona, children cannot go out and play outside. She wanted to play football so she draw a portrait saying she wants to play Football, but then scared of the threats of the Corona Virus.

From the beginning, Ms. Weber , who was the one coordinating with me of the drawing submission was very kind and helpful. I was even glad that finally I can write an email in English and not in German !Aside from the helpful assistance in the exhibition, we were ushered to see the amazing Libray archives which really took our breath away. The underground cellar beneath the castle courtyard is the place of extensive collection of books from different times, era, period, languages and countries. It is really an international place.No wonder most of the staff are speaking different languages! From the reception in the entrance of the castle, I heard someone speaking in Hindi, and many guests came from Asia, including Japan and Korea. Even the featured children´s stories were of Japanese origins!It is really a great feeling to belong to such a friendly multi-cultural community like this here in Germany. It was nice to see Asian mothers for a change. 🙂

The Library have accumulated a total of 650,000 children & adult books from different times and periods from 240 languages and covering 4 centuries! I think this is the biggest & extensive Library I ahve ever been to. There are so many different ” Mark Twain´s ” books in different versions and languages in one single shelf that I have ever seen in my whole life. I don´t even know where to start.Also, the Library possesed 30,000 volumes of Scholarly Literature and about 130 current subscriptions to specialized literary journals. If you love Literature and children´s books—this is the best place to be!

We were told that the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Münich is the biggest International Library for Youth and children´s literature in the world! It´s setting is like a fairytale castle—the Schloss Blutenberg.

These 2 paintings draws my attention, one from Iran and one from the Philippines. I am sure these children would love to see their artwork personally as well if given the chance considering the travel restrictions due to Corona. I have read that the Library also grants scholarships to Foreign scholars with the objective of supporting research in the areas of international children and youth´s literature, illustration and promoting scientific exchange and international cooperation.

Aside from the Exhibition, the castle itself and its courtyard is beautiful. Founded in 1949 by a German Journalist, Author and Translator Jella Lepman, this Library has a vision to build bridges for children with books and open windows to the world.

Surrounded with lush greens, lake, and the flowing river makes the castle an idyllic setting.There are different Summer programs , Open Air concerts in the castle´s courtyards and a nice quaint Restaurant with a view of the lake. There was even a wedding in the time of our visit.

We enjoyed the story telling stations, the other exhibitions like the Internationale Wimmelbücher, ” Die Ganze Welt auf einer Seite” ( also collected from different parts of the world!) and the Illustrations of letter Postal envelopes “ Oh wie Bezaubernd Schön !” by the amazing Binette Schroeder. There was huge collection of her illustrated books, objects, mementos,and children toys that are really captivating! My daughter found a little door, I never thought of it as a cabinet! Then she asked me ” Mama, can I open the little door?” .I never thought there was something in there but then to our surprise, there it was…the jewel of the palace, the Binette Schroeder-Kabinett!” There was a little world inside there that captures every child´s heart.

Absorbed in this small, yet wonderful world of Binette Schroeder-Kabinett.
Thank you International Youth Library!!

It was a wonderful experience and I am so glad that my kid loves to read and appreciates reading at a young age. It was really a great experience and we will be back for sure to Schloss Blutenberg. I did not expect that during Corona times, we will discover another world of love for reading and children´s literature.

As an expat Mama here in Germany, I certainly commend that we have the opportunity for great Libraries and children´s learning mediums!

Nature Adventure Kletterpark -Beilngries

One of a kind climbing experience in the forest

Last Sunday we went to the Adventure Kletterpark ( Climbing Obstacle Course) in Beilngries,in the vicinity of Altmühltal.It´s half an hour drive away from Ingolstadt and located in between the lush forest and nature also near to the Dinopark which we visited last Tuesday. Here we celebrate again the 6th birthday of my daughter ,together with her friends from Kindergarten .It came out really a great surprise and fun- filled day for all of us and here´s why;

Thrilled kids and parents climbing together in the Beginner´s Yellow Parcours

My daughter is super active and love many fun activities and climbing is definitely her thing. She has no adrenalin limits and no fear of heights at all.She really knows what she wants and climbing with her friends is one of the things she wished for her birthday.They happened to share same Birthday so I think it was a great idea to have one group activity , playdate and fun day all in one!

Because of Corona restrictions, we haven´t made a party for her, a simple cake at home and we headed to see Giant Dinosaurs in Dinopark, then on the weekend we let her enjoy her time with friends. We avoid big crowds, closed spaces and contacts, that is why outdoors in nature is our top choice. This Kletterpark in Beilngries is great because of its location and offers varied fun activities for all ages . From 6 years of age, they allowed children to climb with assistance of an adult. For security reasons, they only allow people weighing up to 120 kgs max.Even I myself haven´t experienced this in my life, its actually my first time doing Obstacle course nature climbing and it was really cool, plus the Flying fox and everything!

The very efficient security system CouDuo , the reason why you can never fall!

The climbing park offers different Obstacle course for every age and levels of difficulty. Our group consists of 7 children and 6 adults so we stick to the beginner course for a start.The park itself is away from the city and its like a hideaway where we experience nature´s healing and invigorated.The trails are made of steel ropes and cables connected from tree to tree! Everywhere I looked, I see green and more greens so definitely climbing under the cool shade of the trees is a win -win situation. I sweat a lot because of the challenges and obstacles but then its really all worth it!This exercise is really necessary!

Nature climbing adventure Park in Beilngries, Altmühltal, Bavaria

Getting lost in the shades of giant trees and forests where man commune with nature and enjoy adrenalin packed activity. I thought it would be an easy task but then I was mistaken! I almost wanted to quit and go back!

We can do this!

We already booked online because its a Birthday party package but then we still need to wait for our turn for the Orientation and Safety instructions.We brought along our helmets and hygienic handgloves as well. It was 30+ degrees when we visited so it was pretty warm, but under the trees is cool. The orientation is about 30 minutes , we gathered wearing masks and we are instructed how to do our special safety equipments such as full harness, helmets, & CouDuo system. the guides were very helpful and professional and the instructions were clear and easy to follow!

In the briefing, we are informed of its 100% safety guarantee, thanks to the CouDuo Pro System.With this system, the freedom of movement is completely retained during climbing. You don´t really need to worry about falling because you are tighly secured to the rope. This is because of the highest safety standard according to DIN EN 15567 and the easy operation of the system. The accidental unhooking of the carabiner is impossible!You can´t really beat a German technology where they make everything efficient and trustworthy!

The kids are doing the sample CouDuo harness system. The guide is checking that all of us know how it works and operates.

I think it really needs time to get acquainted and familiar with it.The rest is nothing, your greatest abstacle is finding your balance and conquer your fear of heights!

Nature climbing is a great family bonding activity!

This briefing is really essential and you are not allowed to climb unless you participated in this security briefing. This is done every half an hour and 2,5 hours before the park closes. If you don´t have helmets and gloves with you, you can also rent but we preffered to bring our own to avoid contact.

Tying to have a grip of myself in between screaming and dealing with balance and of course, the essential carabiner!

After we had the briefing, we get into climbing! We grouped ourselves to assists the kids and then we were lost in adventure. While waiting, the kids also enjoyed twirling and sliding in the playground . Bringing food and beverages is allowed in the park but you need to take care of your own things. So for us, we always made sure that one of us is watching our backpacks and cooler while the others are climbing. After we had eaten, we returned our stuff in the car and go back again to climbing.

Father and daughter having fun together!
Happy Birthday nature climbing Girl!
While waiting for our turn for the security briefing.

The adventures of nature climbing with kids!

This activity really challenges me with fitness and I would absolutely love to do it again. I find the whole adventure very safe and a half day is actually not enough. I find the entrance fees quite pricey but the park itself is really great. There is an ample ( some shaded) parking areas located at the bottom of the park, a clean bathrooms with disinfections and toilets and a separate outdoor areas to book your special events like Children birthday parties or others. Climbing to the top may be a challenge for old people but then you should consider this before booking your activity.

All smiles while suspended above the trees!

The entire climbing area and the climbing equipment are regularly checked by specially trained staff. In addition, a main inspection of the adventure park takes place once a year. A detailed test is done by a certified external company.

Fun fun and more fun!
Unforgettable climbing adventure!
Little Monkeys

This summer for us is quite special despite the Corona scare and restrictions. Fear of the virus can´t stop us from having safe fun under the sun as long as we observe more precautions about contact and more washing of the hands. I hope that the future still holds a safe and secure place for our kids without the scare of the virus.

I guess we just make the most of the opportunity of having these days with warm rays and sunshine!

Until then and stay safe ! Tschüss…

Isolation. Children, paint yourselves! (Self-portrait of children in Corona Times)

I want to play Football outside and not in the garden! This is my daughter´s entry for this drawing exhibition hosted by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany.

I am sure I am not alone in this dilemma.We don´t know yet until when will this all be over, but as long as it is not yet safe outside, children needs to stay at home.Here in Germany, the lockdown measures were relaxed, some shops are allowed to open, wearing mask is enforced, and some schools will open soon next week.But daycares and Kindergarten remains closed. I know personally that staying at home, confined and can´t visit playgrounds and play areas can be tough and is never easy, it is messy, chaotic,sometimes out of control and dramatic. But our times together these days become so meaningful, I guess there´s so much difference when we all take things slowly.

How does she feel about the isolation?
She said her inspiration for her Portrait is that she wanted to play Football and run in the field freely .She wanted to go back again to the Kindergarten and see her friends.

For those who are staying at home with kids during this Pandemic, what have you´ve been doing with your kids lately?

I love to paint and it´s one of my favourite things to do during this lockdown.I think I can paint the whole day and every single day. I just love to create something creative, whether it is with watercolors or Acrylics. Nowadays, I spent more time with my daughter painting, drawing and creating something. I created a journal of my daughter´s drawings so she can have an album of what she created.We even paint stones and joined the creative art here in our neighborhood.Here are some of her doodles and

Another interesting Art exhibition which we are joining is the Isolation, Children Paint yourselves! launched by the International Youth Library Foundation in Munich,Germany .This is an online exhibition of submitted images of children which depics their mood and how they are feeling against this terrible, dire times of Pandemic. I have talked to my daughter many times about Corona virus, especially when we are on the push of frequent hand washing and social distancing. It is very interesting to find and learn from little children about their feelings about isolation and being in restriction .Sometimes they cannot express themselves verbally, but with visuals, we can learn so much more.

The moment that I showed to her that her drawing was in the Gallery, she was thrilled and so happy. She is only 5 years old!

Paint anywhere, everywhere!

I really find this online exhibition super cool and my daughter is proud of what she have done.It´s amazing to see different entries already from different countries submitted and available in their online portal for public viewing wherever you are. I heard that they have received over 800 drawings from 42 different countries! Some portraits with paintings listed are from Mexico,South Korea,Venezuela,Sweden,Great Britain, Japan, France, Iran, Slovenia,Germany, and even the hard hit countries like USA, Italy and Spain! I think seeing another children´s artwork is also a great tool for encouraging the potential of your child to be creative since they can see it as a relatable issue and not just something to kill boredom. Difficult images of people who are sick and death toll are not easily digested in small children´s mind so we, as parents needs to guide them and be careful of the information we feed them. In this way, let them express themselves through their imagination through their hands, the explosion of colored pencils, paints, crayons and doodles.

Let them be absorbed with ART.

The founder of the International Youth Library, Jella Lepman, had already asked for such self-portraits since 1952 and showed them in an exhibition. By that time, it´s still very difficult to create a digital or online exhibition. Nowadays, it´s all handy and accessible for all, even most museums opened their exhibitions online for others to view while staying at home.If you are interested and want to create something different and has a global impact, start painting, start contributing, and start it now!

If your child is 3 to 13 years of age and wants to participate, you can send your child´s portrait or drawing as a scanned copy (with first name, age and country) to direktion @ ijb. de. The online gallery exhibition can be seen in here.

#StayatHome #wirBleibenzuHause

More artworks and creative Crafts we do while we stay at home during this Pandemic crisis.

Here she is when she finally visits the Exhibition in Münich where her own drawing was chosen!

View of some of the children´s drawing from different countries in the Exhibition Center in Schloss Blutenberg, in Munich.
Feeling proud of my daughter´s first ever artwork in display !

The exhibition “Kids, draw themselves” ( Malen sich Selbst) is displayed in the International Youth Library in Schloss Blutenberg, from July 15th up to 9th of September 2020, located in Foyer im Herrenhaus and is free entrance fee. The Library is open from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 Pm and on weekends from 12 pm to 5pm.

Feel free to share this to your friends!

To all parents out there who are taking care of their kids at home, I salute you. You are doing great and you deserved to have a big hug and pat on the back!

Stay safe and see you again next time!

Creative hand painted rocks Project (Steinschlange Corona)

May all beings have a happy life– Gautama Buddha

Paint your own stone, and join the FUN!

Today marks my 34th day in quarantine at home with my daughter and there´s no greater idea than to celebrate it than creating something creative with her. Oh yes, we count the days because our calendar have gone empty, all the scheduled activities were cancelled because I am sure you know why! The only legal activity we have nowadays is grocery shopping, walking, playing, cooking and cleaning. I´m not gonna lie—it is never easy! Millions times during the day, I am hearing THIS WORD : Maaaaammaaaa!!!!

Sometimes I am wondering if she knows other word than that! Day after day, I go on tidying up, and again tidying up and again tidying up. A pleasant routine indeed.But then…the moment she hugs me and say ” Mama, I want to be good” then everything would feel just fine. 🙂

Sooooo, today we cycled a bit and enjoy again Spring colors outside , breathe in fresh air while the rest of Germans are still sleeping. We stumbled nearby to us a very interesting and engaging art project , and what we love about it is that —we just need rocks! I´m sure that all parents out there with kids at home during this Pandemic are looking for many ideas to entertain their kids at home. So I think this is a perfect activity for families to do on weekends and yes something to ease the boredom!

Keep on reading and scroll down the photos if this interests you.

Aside from unbelievable Corona Balcony parties in my neighborhood, my favorite Germans loves to cycle, walk and wander in small forests ( we called it here Wald wanderung) especially on weekends and Sonntag Rühetag. Taking a quick break outside, parents loved to bring their toddlers , altogether getting lost in the forest with a playground adjacent to it. But because of Corona, playgrounds are closed and we are confined to stay home and practice social distancing. But there is always something else to do, I realized it as I am a parent myself. Right there inside the nearby forest we found this line of colorful, very creative, painted stones.This creative project, called Projekt JAA ( Jugendliche Anonyme Anmaler) where children and also parents are encouraged to paint their own rocks at home and design it as per their own wish , then putting their rocks in the line to join the connection.

Just look at these wonderful stones! Some have even encouraging message like “ Stay healthy, and best wishes..” . My personal favourite is the one with the Buddha and ladybug.

A friend of mine sent me a message about this and immediately we painted our rocks and brought it there. My daughter was delighted to see the names of her friends also there and she even mentioned to invite her other friends! We are looking forward to see how long would this line of rocks would be in the coming months.

You can create this even at your own backyard. If you don´t have one then on your window sill or decorate your balcony. All you need is a handful of rocks, paints and a bag of creativity! For sure it could keep your kid busy for at least an hour and that´s 60 minutes of sanity for parents!

An update, I saw in another nearby area, a kilometer away from us is another painted stone project done by kids. It´s beside the Kindervilla, near the Glacisbrücke going to the direction of the city. Let us see if it even reaches the town proper!

How was life with kids during lockdown at your side? Have you ever thought of doing a Happiness rock painting project?

Kindergeld : My 3- year old’s basic income in Germany

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A Third Culture Kid enjoying the cold Autumn walks

It has been revealed by Internations, and there’s no denying that Germany is probably one of the best place on earth to raise a family. I am a first- time parent and raising my child in a culture totally different from where I grew up with, has been the focal point of our expat move. Of course I know that all parents ,in general, desires the best for their child, and this is the reason why I wanted to share my personal experience why despite of the crazy weather and difficulty to learn the language, I think Germany is a better place to raise a kid and be a child!

You might be surprised, having a child is Germany seems more of a blessing, an enjoyable reason to defray the first-world country problems that weighs every family on a daily basis. With its excellent health benefits and support to parents, both financially & socially, raising a child here can be rewarding!

Raising an Expat child, which has windows to multiculturalism or rather, raising a  Third Culture-Kid child in Germany is a privilege . Aside from the extensive leisure activities, safe environment, a more play-based educational system in the early years, every child has their own allowance up until they reached the age of 18.

My three-year old daughter has a monthly income of 192 Euros that goes to our German  bank account paid by the German government. So simple as it sounds and yet so generous. When we came to live here in Germany and heard about this, we are extremely happy. Happy in a way that as parents, we all know that every single Euro matters when you are raising a child. Kindergeld is a great help to our family budget.It is granted as a tax refund, primarily to meet the constitutional rule that income is untaxable up to a child’s subsistence level.I am not talking about the amount itself, but as an expatriate parent like me, this amount is really something tangible, with this I can feel that the government “cares” about my child, and to every single child living here.

I am sure that I’m not the only one who is grateful for this. Although it seems to me that this country is an advocate of  “Ordnung“( or order) and everything seems to be ruled by rules, I see that hard work really pays off. All taxpaying expatriate residents of Germany are, like Germans, entitled to Kindergeld if they have children. Also called as” Child Benefit“,  the German government give all families, expats included, to help defray some of the cost of raising children. It can run from €190 to €221 per child per month, and is usually made by a fund transfer into a German bank account. We all know that raising a child is expensive. From diapers to milk, Kindergarten expenses and other essentials, plus the never-ending cycle of buying toys!

Just about any taxpayer living in Germany with children can get the Kindergeld, whether employed, self-employed or independent. You get it as a rule that until the children turn 18, though it can continue until they are 25 if they are still in school or meet other requirements for an extension.

This amount also varies depending on where region in Germany you are living.

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Kindergeld amount 2017 (standard amount):

Child benefit for the first child: 192 Euros per month
Child benefit for the second child: 192 Euros per month
Child benefit for the third child: 198 Euros per month
Child benefit from the fourth child: 223 Euros per month
The child benefit amount will be increased by 2 euros per child compared to the end of 2016 for 2017.

If you are a parent and planning to move to Germany or living here and about to have a baby, then this is good news for you! If you’re interested to know more about this, you can check it Here.  I will share to you the steps we took for us to avail of this benefit. It was easy, smooth and practical in all sense. The child benefit application must be submitted in writing and signed. Note that all the forms will be in German . Applications may also be submitted by an authorized representative, who must submit a written power of attorney (for example by members of the tax-consulting professions). An oral application, for example by telephone, is not possible

Official details in English are given Here.

Here’s how to apply :

  1. Anmeldung ( Application) – Open to all family members. This is to prove that the family is living in Germany.
  2. Birth Certificate : translations of them if they are not in English / German. If child is born in Germany, a birth certificate is issued separately to apply for Kindergeld, which should be attached in original. We translated my daughter’s Arabic birth certificate into Dutch & German languages because her nationality is Dutch. We also brought along  the originals with the attestations showing it was legalized both from the German embassy in Kuwait and the Netherlands embassy there.
  3. Your passport
  4. Forms to fill up are listed Here.Haushaltbescheinigung (KG3a) – A proof with your address (This has to be certified as per procedure below)
    • Tax identification Number ( both parents & child)
    • German Bank account ( where the transfer will be made)

Procedure:

  1. Fill in following Forms:
  2. Take the Haushaltbescheinigung, and your passport to your local KVR/Rathaus (The place where did you registration/anmeldung)
    • Officer will verify the form and  pay the applicable fee. You will be issued stamped Haushaltbescheinigung.
  3. Put in the envelope:
    • Stamped Haushaltbescheinigung 
    • Antrag auf Kindergeld (filled in)
    • Birth certificate
    • Residence permit copy (Aufenhaltstitel)
  4. Post it to the office of Familienkasse belonging to the city you live in !

That’s it. You will now get your Kindergeld in 3-4 weeks. Keep the letters from Finanzamt safely for future references.

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Can’t make up her mind: Aspiring to become a Doctor today, tomorrow a Gardener, and next week will be a Veterinarian!

More than the benefit itself, I am really grateful that my child is growing up in a place where the family oriented lifestyle is very high.When I am writing this post, I am not actually surprised that Germany is considered a great place to raise a child and live abroad. Generally speaking, Germany is an economically strong nation, it’s a hard-working nation, and it’s a nation where the people feel a strong pride in their country. Right from the beginning, from childhood, they feel important !

Back in my home country, we don’t have such things as  child benefit. You as a parent is responsible to allot savings for your child. I grew up in a culture where there is an endless pressure on “getting rich” to be able to afford everything, seeing money as an achievement or a social standing. As a child, I don’t have such as this “benefit“. I have other siblings who, along with me, strive for all our needs to be met along with all other basic necessities.

I saw both the joys and misery of raising multiple kids and I realize the effect of poverty and the support from government, or the lack of it. Families with more children  struggles to meet both ends.I think that beyond the cost, it is also the reason of advocating Family planning.

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My Third Culture Kid

Kindergeld is a form of love. There’s so much love for children here in Germany that I cannot sum up in this post. I will try to write more in my next post about this. Anyhow, Children are special gift, with tantrums and all their screaming, and Yes, they deserved to be raised in the best way that we can give to them.

Have you ever had a “child allowance”when you were a child? How did it make you feel?

Big Little Steps : First days in Kita ( German Kindergarten)

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Her smile , its priceless!

Milestone Alert : My green Goblin 3-Year old daughter goes to the Kindergarten!

It’s been a while since I’ve written some personal updates about my daughter whom I’ve written a lot about here  in “Raising Natalie “. So I thought that after squeezing some quality time with my ever-beloved laptop which always reminds me of my Expat days in Kuwait since it has Arabic characters in the keyboard, I finally managed to put together this post to celebrate my daughter’s first days in Kita ( or  German Kindergarten). And yes, I called it celebration, because I think, starting in Kindergarten is a great milestone to celebrate just like a promotion or a raise. After all, it’s a signal for growth. Not only for your kids, but for parents as well! Finally, my Third Culture Kid goes to Kindergarten!

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Young, Wild and THREE!

So first, if you are a parent and your child goes to Kindergarten for the very first time, let me give you my warmest congratulations, and say “Well, done!”

I wanted to share our experience how did it go for us with my daughter starting her days in Kita here in Germany. I’ve written before how insane it is here to find a spot for our child to be admitted in the Kita. We literally waited for almost a year! Yes, A YEAR! With almost 10 schools we applied, only 1 responded. Sure thing, as a parent we all have our own preferences for which school we want our children to go, but here and on our case, it’s not just possible. You gotta take what’s given to you. The competition is so tight that you just put your hopes on luck! Anyway, we are grateful for the slot that has been given to us by the local ministry which takes care of these things. It is just in time for my daughter to be readily accepted since she just turned 3 years old last August and her school starts this September.

We ‘re all excited for her! Few weeks before she start, we always talked about Kita to her so she gets familiar with it. When we had our meeting with her teachers, we were asked to prepare the things that she needed like Regenkleidung ( rain clothes) like Matschosen, (which is really a German thing!) a raincoat,rain boots, hat, gym shoes, house shoes and extra pair of clothes(seasonal) just in case she make herself wet or dirty. We brought her some extra diapers just in case, toothpaste, tooth-brush, and her own File folder with her personal identification and a family photo.

Here in Germany, the education system is totally different from where I grew up, or from Kuwait, or in the Netherlands. Here, German focused more on children’s early development through free play, totally opposite from the American system where there is a stress on learning the academics at the very young age! Here, in simple layman’s terms: Kita is a place to play and learn things through play. Social skills are polished by  stimulating the child’s development through unstructured modules. They learn things naturally and reading comes later. I never see any alphabet or numbers on the walls. I remember that in Philippines, Kindergarten & pre-schoolers are taught to read and write, paint, count and so forth and there is a reward system. Like if you behave well or achieve something remarkable for a certain activity, there is always the recognition. Remember the stars on the hand? Over here in Deutschland, those things are not the norm. I think I am the only one whose teaching my daughter to write and count!

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Ich bin Krankenschwester! ( I am a nurse!)

When her teacher saw that my daughter reads the writings on the bulletin board and the names in their coat racks, she was really surprised! To top it off, I already announced to the teacher that my daughter is the only one who just can’t sit. She is so restless that she always wants to be on the go, running, playing and hyperactive. They saw it on the very first day. I haven’t even had the chance to say a proper goodbye because she already run into the playground and her teacher is running after her! We start with her staying in the Kita from 8 am to 11 am for the first 2-3 days, then gradually increase the times she spent there up to 2pm. On the first day, they asked me to leave after 1 hour and stand by phone to wait for any updates. Around 11 am, I picked up my daughter and felt relieved that she was playing by herself, cried a few times but they were able to calm her. I can see signs that she is ready for Kindergarten but the  challenge of Separation and Hunger are two big things she is overcoming slowly, at her own pace.

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Reading books is one way to make her calm.

My daughter is very social and yet uncontrollable especially when she is too absorbed with playing. She’s the explorer type so I know that the hardest part for the teachers to do is to tame her and make her listen. She has a lot of personality and her attitude stands out being the defiant. Oh yes, there were lots of crying, screaming, and defiance on these days and the worst thing is, she doesn’t like to eat or drink during Brotzeit (snack time) or even during lunch. She doesn’t like to be in their group, she refused to stay there in their room and prefer to be in the middle group where she spends her time pretend-playing, and obsessing about dressing up as a nurse and Doctor. By the end of the week, she caught her first virus , also maybe because we are having a terrible rainy-cold-crazy weather these days, so she got  severe colds and when I pick her up, she was already warm.

It was not an easy start  for us. In fact it gets bumpy at the end of the first week. Nevertheless, during the course of the  days up until today, I saw that she made some progress. I was happy today because when I opened her lunch box, only few pieces of cucumber are left, we are making real progress! She sat in the table with her classmates and began eating together.I know there are more challenges to come for her, like sitting in the potty and probably sleeping there, but I trust that my daughter will overcome all these in due time and finally adapt to her new routine.

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First Days in the Kindergarten

As for me, I don’t know about you or for other parents how did it go, but I really felt weird during the first day of my daughter in the Kita. Call me crazy, but I felt sad, disoriented ,and a bit out-of touch. I missed my daughter from the moment I left and my heart was crushed during the time I was going out to leave and  heard her crying. I asked myself if I am a terrible mother? I can’t imagine that my hyper-active kleine madchen(little girl) will be needing me less and less. Its a mixture of happiness for her growth and yet why all these weird feelings inside me!? The separation anxiety is real now!

When it comes to the familiarization phase, it is important to observe and regard the many signs that our children sends out. There is a possibility that children react at a delayed stage (even months later) to an unsuccessful adaptation.

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Big Little : First days in the Kindergarten

As the winds get chillier, and colder, signalling that Autumn is here and soon everything will be in full Autumn colors once again, my daughter is facing the new chapter of her life ; taking the Big Little Steps in the Kindergarten and we as parents, need to moved on as well. This Familiarisation period  ( or Eingewöhnung in Deutsch) might not be easy from the start but I know, soon she will feel secure, safe and comfortable in her new environment. I am relieved that though the teachers barely speaks English, still we found a way to communicate and understand about the matters of her settling-in the Kindergarten.

 

How  about you? How was your own experience when your child goes to Kindergarten for the first time? (If you have a child...)

What were the struggles you’ve met along the way?

 

 

 

 

 

Young, Wild & Three !

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Young, Wild and Three Birthday Party!

Would you believe it, my daughter turned THREE last Saturday!

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Water fun !

Yes, my only daughter, is officially  Young, Wild, and now THREE!

For those of you who have been following my Blog and my posts about “Raising Natalie“, you must have been known her one-of-a kind personality, with all of her adventures as an Expat baby born in Kuwait, spent her first year of life in the oil-rich Muslim country, and now creating a free-spirited toddler hood as “kleine mädchen” in Germany.  Time really flies. I can’t stop her from talking now. She’s a talker, runner, and a rolling ball of energy. She’s crazy about books, cars, dinosaurs, doing puzzles for 6 years old, and read. Imagine the chaos, and the fun she brings !

She’s growing up so fast, and surprising us with her witty character everyday!

Here I wanted to share with you how we create a simple “Rainbow party” for her. I didn’t know where did she get the idea of a rainbow party but when I asked her what she wants for her birthday, she kept on saying “Rainbow Cake”! She indeed has a mind of her own!

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Never Stop Dreaming : The Birthday Girl

We invited few of her friends and since its summer, we decided to make a pool party –right there in our garden. I am so glad that the weather came perfect. Sunny, bright, and lots of sun to keep the kids swirling and playing around. They have enough space to run, dip in the waters, and slide.

I am so delighted that here in Germany ( as same as most European countries) , I don’t have the pressure to throw a big party for my daughter. Birthday parties here are surely a real thing— practical, and much more chill. Shared mostly with family and close friends, and without the fuss of grand, expensive details. I can’t even be more happy how it turned out. Everyone had a great time , especially the parents as well. Almost everything that we did were all hand-made, simple and personalized. If you are planning to throw a kid’s party with Rainbow theme, these things might inspire you.

 

Natalie’s 3rd Birthday Party : YOUNG, WILD & THREE!

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Rainbow Cake  I have baked for the Birthday Girl !

The Cake : Colorful as the Rainbow!

We all know it, A child’s  birthday won’t be complete without a cake!

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Rainbow Cake topped with fresh roses

When your 3- year old daughter demands for a rainbow cake topped with flowers, what can a mother do? I managed to re-create my previous recipe of my Rainbow Cake and enhanced it with fresh flowers as a cake topper covered with yummy decadent vanilla buttercream frosting. It turned out so DE-LISH and just the way I like it. Not too sweet, and not too big.

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It’s all in the layers…

Rainbow Theme Decor

I made these simple rainbow backdrop made of Crepe papers, with colorful tied-dyed balloons  which I hung on the wall of our dining area. It’s so colorful, bright and really make the whole room so funky. I put some balloons in the garden as well, and simple backdrop for  the garden table.We laid down a pump boat, baby pool , slide, tent, and scattered lots of toys for the children to play. Another simple trick was just let the  water sprinkler in the garden run for a few minutes, just enough for the children to shriek with glee.

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Rainbow Party decor made from scratch

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Addicting: Home made marshmallow pops!

Rainbow marshmallow pops

This colorful threats were inspired once again by my daughter. She love marshmallows and I have some left over sprinkles  so I thought its a great  for the kids. I dipped them into melted chocolate and decorating options were endless. This one is super simple, colorful, and best of all, yummy!

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Spell delicious!

Fresh  Rainbow vegetable bowl

Cut some yellow, green & red paprika, carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes,olives and some home-made dips. Arranged them in a serving plate and that’s it!

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Something fresh…

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Birthday spread

Canapes and finger foods

This one is my favorite and definitely a proven crowd pleaser!

I got the idea from my parent’s in law in Holland from our family dinner last Spring .They were kind enough to send me some tart cups since I cannot find them here in Germany. Diced some cucumber and lettuce, topped with salami, bacon, and salmon. I have made some thousand island dressing and arranged them in a layered platter. Looks so good , delectable and taste good as well. I love to munch on these especially with white wine, beer, cheeses, crackers , pretzels, baguette slices and spanish olives.

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Canapes : always a crowd pleaser

 Rainbow Fruit Skewers

In Philippines, we always have fruit skewers topped with marshmallows and hotdogs. Here in Germany,we opt to make it with only fresh grapes, melons, watermelon, and marshmallows. I brought a couple of dozen of them to one of my friend’s daughter’s birthday party and it was also a hit. You can never go wrong with these.

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Fun hitting the Pinata!

Handmade Pinata

I managed to make a Pinata, also using recycled materials of old boxes, cartons and the crepe papers. My daughter loves fishes so I’ve made a figure of a fish and filled it with some gummy bears, candies and confetti.The children had so much fun hitting the pinata!

 

It was a wonderful day all in all. What makes it even special is that my parents in law once again join us so we had some quality family time. Birthdays in Germany are really something and how I appreciate more the fact that you can really have a children’s party without ruining your budget, stressing yourself and the pressure to give a party better than the others, here, it’s all about enjoyment, relationships, and of course, a time to share good food with love ones.

What is important that my daughter had a blast. She got wonderful gifts and I can see that great memories were created from this occasion. For almost 3 hours, she’s running around in her wet swimsuit, having fun, all smiles, wild and free!

She was totally living a Wild, Young & Three moment!

Until then and off we go to our next milestone next month: First Day in Kindergarten!

 

 

How do you celebrate  your child’s Birthday Party ?

Do you splurge or you prefer the simple celebration?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to find a Kita for your child in Germany | Expat Guide

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Tender beginnings for the  little ones 

Guys, after almost 9 months of waiting, finally, we got a spot for my daughter in a Kita here in Germany!!! 

I know, I know, I heard you, you might say that this is such a normal thing,no big deal, but hey NO! not here in Germany. Believe me, once you got a spot in the Kindergarten or Kita for your child here, you’ve got to be jumping for joy and saying thanks all over again. Because I am telling you, It’s not EASY. It was never EASY.

Okay, maybe I am overreacting, but yes, it is quite a relief when we got the letter from the municipality informing us that my daughter was selected to join a Kita this coming September.It was a long wait and therefore we loooove this  news. A new chapter for my child’s life, and as well as for us parents. Finally,an end to long days and months of waiting.Of course, as a disclaimer, this is purely based on my experience. Maybe someone got so lucky that they immediately find a place for their child in Kita, a case to case basis. But I observed this phenomenon for long months now and therefore have established my opinion about the complicated system for childcare and Kindergarten schools especially here in our area in Bavaria, southern part of Germany.

So how did we got the spot? What techniques did we do?

If you are an Expat parent like me, I am so sure that the moment you moved into a new country and you’ve started to explore your new neighborhood for parks and playgrounds, the next thing you want to establish is joining a playgroup, Nursery, childcare or a Kita /Kindergarten for your little ones especially if you are a working Mama. It is very important to get a support group for your children. This is one of the natural ways in “re-potting the uprooted child”.

“So here’s the truth: Getting a spot in the Kita/Kindergarten for your child here in Germany REALLY ONLY depends on LUCK, or in logical terms-written in the stars, destiny, or some may call it fate, or your blessing!”

What you need to do as a parent ? Here are practical ways ( which I did!) on the course of our application for Kita in a span of almost 9 months;

  1. Do your research. –  I don’t speak German yet but I did a lot of research even prior to arriving here in Bavaria. I made a list from the schools which I saw online even while I was still in Kuwait and then mapped their location once we got here. Depending on the area where you live, find as many Kita that you can in your vicinity. If you apply for 2, the chance is almost zero, but if you apply for at least 8-10, then at least you can have a chance. For complete listings of Kita per area, you can always refer to the information provided online by your local municipality or ask from the Rathaus. For residents in Ingolstadt, there are so many information provided by Stadt Ingolstadt and there is a department who is really in charge of finding a space for every child to be put into a Kita/Kindergarten.There are persons there which main job is this; helping you get that slot for your child ( Freie Plätze in Kindertageseinrichtungen).

 

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My Pre-schooler tiny Goblin

2. Explore and visit the Kita/ Kindergarten in your Area – You need to be out and find the location of the school. As soon as we have the list, we started walking and exploring and visiting the school one by one. It is always good to personally inquire from the staff for any vacancy.

3. Write a formal “Anmeldebogen” ( Application) in Deutsch ( German) and send by post or email– This one is very effective, at least it works for me. Most of the staff I’ve talked via phone always told me that they don’t speak much English so when they read my letter and my inquiry written in Deutsch, I got concrete answers, even quick replies.

4. Follow Up. Every single Month. If you are forceful like me-make phonecalls  to ask for progress. Take time to follow-up. Sometimes, there might be a chance that someone left the Kita or moved away so a vacant space is available. The Kita that we’ve got is the one we’ve got on the opening day and not the first one we’ve applied or visited.Also, take note that depending on your area, you are most likely to get a spot on the place where your local address is linked to.

5.Attend the Opening Day – All Kitas and Kindergartens have an opening day held during the month of January where you can write the application once again for your child at the same time take a tour of the facilities of the school and their profile. This is very important. They have an announcement on this on their websites so pay attention for updates and changes of dates.

In the Kita, it compose normally of 2-3 groups, with around 25 children.During the opening day, I have asked the teachers what are their criteria in choosing a child to be in their Kita and here’s the information I’ve got :

  1. Parent’s status – If both parents are working, single mother/father .
  2. Location of residence, and if you work on certain companies ( like Audi , Schanzer etc.) then you can have some benefits or privileges.
  3. Language of the child/ spoken at home and the age of the child.
  4. Decision by the Municipality ( Department for Children and Families – Kitaplatzkoordinator)

With all these, all you can do is wait for a confirmation from any one of the school that you’ve applied, and nobody knows when will it be.They will give out confirmation around March and have the meeting with parents of the children who were chosen by month of June to prepare them for the  start of semester in September.

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Repotting the Uprooted child

So what are your options if you can’t find a place for your child?

Today, kindergartens here in Germany are an integral, yet voluntary, part of the early education system: Over 80% of all children between three and six years attend a kindergarten in Germany. The state supports parents with monetary incentives, such as tax reductions and child allowance (Kindergeld). The basic concept of Kitas and Kindergarten here are all “play based”, which is totally opposite from the American and English system which has more emphasis on academics. Now, I have written before how kid-friendly Germany is and how it is more AWESOME to be a kid living here. But then have a shortage of Kita really sucks!

Generally, in every area, there’s plenty of Kindergarten to choose from but it seems that it’s still not enough to accommodate the number of children who needs to be enrolled, add the fact the number of migrant’s children and the booming Expat population, especially in big cities like Berlin, Hamburg or in Munich.The staff have always told us that the waiting list is too much and “kein frei platz “( or no vacant space) .Even if there are many options for parents on where to put their child, the competition is still tight.

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Eager to learn..

Here are the childcare options for children ( 3 months up to 6 years old) here in Germany ;

Tagesmutter  ( or Day mother) – yes, you can hire a “Mother“in Germany. The Tagesmutter takes care of 3-5 children in her home, like a small daycare. Tagesmutter take care of your child in their home while you go to work. In most cases they care for additional children as well, so your child is guaranteed to have contact with peers.A Tagesmutter needs to be certified by the youth welfare office and most of them have a Pedagogy background and have a great experience with children.

Nannies-  are also an option in Germany. In contrast to in-home daycare providers, nannies come to your home to care for your child. In-home daycare providers and nannies are not required to be trained early childhood educators.  For a 20-hour week, in-home daycare providers charge an average of 300 to 600 euros per month.

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The long wait is over…

Here in Ingolstadt, in South Germany ( Bavaria) , you can contact the Mobile Familie e.V if you are interested for alternative options. There are equivalent of these services depending in the area where you live.They have the following services available all throughout Germany:

  1. Tagespflege (Daycare)
  2.  Kibeno ( Childcare Emergency Call)- supports parents in emergency situations where a caregiver is needed for the child / child at short notice.
  3. Kinderfrau – ( Childminder) -A childminder regularly takes care of the children in the parents’ household over a longer period of time. The Kinderfrau is employed by the parents.
  4. Au-Pair ( Nanny/Governess) – An au pair lives with a family, supports them mainly with the care of the children and helps in the household.
  5. Notmutter – (Emergency Mother) -An emergency mother takes care of the children of a family in emergency situations, especially when the mother is ill.
  6. Babysitters 

I hope the above information have helped you in a way to have an idea how it goes here when it comes to applying for a Kita/ Kindergarten for your child.

If you have more questions, please feel free to give comments or share your own experience for your child.

For Expat Mamas and Papas who are in this stage, good luck with your application !