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A half-term with a difference: Keep kids entertained with these holiday activities in Brussels
The half-term holidays in Brussels are an opportunity for families to get out and explore a museum, head to the cinema or enjoy a swim. But this is 2020, and things are different.
With all cultural and sports venues closed due to the latest coronavirus restrictions, keeping small children entertained in the half-term holidays requires a different approach this time around.
And with the school holidays extended until 12 November, there are more days to fill. Let us help. Here are some top kids' activities in Brussels that, for now, remain accessible.
There's still some sun forecast, with temperatures around 10°C. So, wrap up and enjoy the great outdoors with family this half-term, while respecting the current coronavirus measures - so that one day in the future we'll be able to enjoy Brussels' wealth of family activities to the full.
The Brussels region has more than 400 outdoor playgrounds, but one of the best (and biggest) can be found at Rouge Cloître, an old abbey nestled within the calm of the Sonian Forest in Auderghem. In fact there are two vast playgrounds a few hundred metres apart, with everything from sandpits and toddler-friendly play equipment to some seriously impressive slides, a zipwire and a recently inaugurated pirate ship for bigger kids. Buses 72 and 34 stop nearby, or it's a 15-minute walk from Herrmann-Debroux metro terminus.
Next to Brussels' busy inner ring road, the Ferme du Parc Maximilien is a little oasis in the heart of the city where children can discover all about farmyard animals. Meanwhile, on the nothern edge of the capital, Ferme Nos Pilifs has a countryside feel, while still officially being part of the City of Brussels. Founded to help children with autism, the urban farm has grown to offer adapted work to people with disabilities and is home to a wide range of animals. There's also a playground with sandpit, a shop selling local produce and a nursery where you can buy plants and seeds. Walk a few hundred metres further along Trassersweg for an impressive panorama over the city.
Brussels' child-friendly cafe, Haricot Magique, is not just a cafe but a community initiative for children aged zero to 10 and their parents. So while the catering part has had to close, all its other activities remain open for now, but limited to one family at a time (up to two hours), so reservation is essential. There is a playpen for the littlest ones, comfy furnishings, early learning and construction toys, an art table and a library full of picture books and stories. Haricot Magique can currently be found within See U, the vast pop-up community project in the former Ixelles barracks, but is seeking a new home next year.
Open Wednesday-Saturday 10.30-18.00, Building Q at See U, Rue Fritz Toussaint 8
Another indoor favourite is Baboes - a free, multilingual and multicultural drop-in playgroup for any Brussels child four and under, with branches near Madou metro, Midi station and in Schaerbeek and Laeken. The aim is to provide an opportunity for kids in apartments to get out and play in a safe place, with a plentiful supply of toys and games. Due to the current restrictions, Baboes is accessible by reservation only - and limited to one family per half-day. Reserve via their Facebook page.