Summer activities for children in Nouméa
Most people we know in New Caledonia tend to travel during the summer holidays, just like anywhere else in the world, I suppose. Newly here, we are still so in love with the views, the fresh air, the extraordinary snorkeling only boat rides away, the palm trees and the white sandy beaches that we’ve chosen to stay here this summer (and summer it is until school starts again on 11 February). Which means that we have a 6.75-year-old to keep busy in the meanwhile.
“Take him to the beach!”, you say, “It’s easy!” Yes, I suppose we could do that every day. But truth be told, as most of his friends are away, I’m his only playmate. So yes, we can swim, and look for fish, and build sandcastles (and now that you mention it, maybe I’ll do that more), but I worry about us getting bored.
Yet, some of my happiest memories are being at the beach …
Well, before this brainwave (good thing we’re in this together, you and I), Pablo and I have been exploring other options. We’ve found that Nouméa has quite a few things to offer 4-12-year-olds.
Week-long “stages” (or intensive workshops) of water activities
Down at the Centre d’activités nautiques, you can sign your children up for half-day or all-day week-long water activities, such as sailing (fun boat, optimist), kayaking, wind-surfing and stand-up paddle. I hear they book up quickly, but we have an instructor that still has spots open for half or whole-day weeks of sailing (optimist). If you’re interested in his number, email me and I’ll send you his number.
Pablo just finished a week of mornings sailing and has great tales to tell, from what it’s like to turn your boat over and to have to turn it back and bail out all the water, to what it’s like to jump off the piers they sail to, to what it’s like to swim around your boat as fast as you can during “breaks”. Next week he’ll do another week-long “stage”, sailing and wind-surfing, with another provider. Oh the tales he will tell …
From 9 January to 8 February, the city is offering free water activities and games to children of all ages at Anse Vata (from 9.30 to 16.30 Wednesdays through Fridays). We stopped by this week for a jump on one of the trampolines. But you can play volleyball, beach soccer, or “boules”; kayak or do stand-up (if you are 8 or older); read books or play board games. On Thursdays and Fridays from 10 to 12, you can go along and learn to zumba as well! I hear they are open exceptionally tomorrow, 26 January as well, from 9.30 to 16.30.
Children from all over are brought in to benefit from this service, and I have to say, it looks like lots of fun!
Aquarium activities and workshops
We’ve been to the local aquarium twice over the last 2 weeks (to see the fish being fed – at 13.00 Tuesdays through Sundays) as we’ve signed up for a year’s membership. But more importantly, you should know that the aquarium offers activities for children once you’ve paid for your entry. Their new Les Olympiades du Lagon exhibit might be fun for some.
They also have paying workshops of 1 hour for 3-6-year-olds and for 2 hours for 7-12-year-olds (1 500 CFP per hour; reservation and payment in advance on site required). They explore the exhibit, learn new and fun facts and work on art projects. It’s worth checking out here.
Pablo is going along to one of these workshops next week, for fun. We’ll see what they’re like!
Idéfix art afternoons
Exploring Idefix at the Baie des Citrons, by fluke, we learned that this crafts store offers art afternoons to children aged 4-10 this summer all the way up until school starts. Every Tuesday through Friday, from 14.00 to 17.00, they work on a pre-planned project for 3 hours and take it home at the end. They also have an afternoon snack offered by the store. Very few people seem to know about it, as at most, they seem to have been 4-5 children.
Pablo has made a magnetic post-it board (pictured), treasure pouches, and a bracelet out of “fimo”. On the schedule for next week are painted Venetian masks, sand-painting and necklace making. All very nice things – and a great afternoon for art lovers.
The price is 3,675 CFP per child, per afternoon. For more information, you can ring them or stop by the shop. You can also be asked to be put on their email list, to receive the programme of activities by email.
I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by this range of different activities in the city and wonder if I will find more. If you know of anything, do drop me a line in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Otherwise, enjoy your summers everyone, wherever you are!