We’re hoping a visit to Copenhagen is in the cards for this summer and I’m working every possible angle to make it happen for us. It’s been fun to keep up with news of the city and make lists of favorites to revisit but also new things to explore, like Thomas Dambo’s Six Forgotten Giants sculpture series that just went up around various hidden corners in the outskirts of town.
The video below gives a great overview and I don’t want to give too much away but I find the whole concept fascinating. Thomas Dambo is a sculptural and installation artist that uses scrap wood and often works in “hidden” locations, which means that in order to see his work, you have to do a little work yourself. The Six Giants website has treasure maps to all of the Giants, and each is written with a backstory as to the why and how of he or she was built, often times incorporating not just a nature statement but a social or cultural one too. I’m sure many a forest school has been out looking for these troll-like installations and we will most certainly be tracking them down ourselves!
October has been busy, busy for us, and if I could get to everything in time, there would have been about ten out + about posts for us. It’s really just that time of year that you start settle into the change of seasons, right? The shorts go away, the layers come out…the darker nights come earlier and the transition to the “school year” isn’t quite as hectic anymore…plus Copenhagen, and the area to the north of us, really does offer a lot during the fall. A few I’ve mentioned on the blog already but just in case I don’t get to everything before the month is over, here are our toddler favorites for October in Copenhagen!
Dyrehaven Park: This is a favorite any time of year, and a frequent stomping ground of many a forest school here in the area. In fact, our toddler knows this park infinitely better than we do so she’s very much the guide on her turf when we make it out. It’s gorgeous in October with the fall colors and hiking paths that go for ever, so it’s a stroll everyone can enjoy (and she likes to bring her bike since we give her free reign). As a bonus, the end of September and October are mating seasons so you’ll see and hear lots more excitement about the park…it’s like your own Mutual of Omaha special.
Apples and Pears at Frydenlunds Frugtplantage: This year, it looks like Frydenlunds will wrap up the self-pick season on October 18th. We’ve already been twice (see the apple picking post here) but it really is worth a trip out to Vedbaek if you have never been. Not only is the fruit fantastic, but that particular area is also lovely for fall and has some of the nicest homes in greater Copenhagen.
Yayoi Kusama at the Louisiana Museum: The retrospective of this priestess of pop art polka dots just opened over at the Louisiana and just another way that they’re hitting out of the park this year. We’re members at the museum and I found that we were getting a bit bored at some of the exhibits last year, but this year, one after the other have been hits for our family. Kusama’s art can be delicate (um, and valuable) so the one tough thing at this exhibit is that your wee ones will see lots of stuff that looks like you can touch and handle, except for of course, you can’t. Still, it’s worth taking them to see some of what’s surely in their imaginations come to life. Try to make it on a weeknight when the museum has late night hours – you don’t have to go all that late, but avoiding some of the rush hours over the weekend will give you more space to enjoy the art, and less hassle fighting the crowds. And bonus, you can do the buffet dinner at the lovely cafe.
Halloween at Tivoli: This one is a no-brainer. Not only is Tivoli open again for three weeks (hurrah!), but they do Halloween like nobody’s business. Last year, they brought in 17,000 pumpkins (to give you a sense of scale) and all the rides are redecorated in a Halloween theme. Plus, they have stands selling mulled wine (even more this year!) – what could be better?
Trick or Treating!: Yes! It can be done here in Denmark and it’s actually getting more and more popular. The two best areas to go are in the “potato rows” down in Osterbro or in the Skovshoved area (rumor has it that the American Ambassador’s residence is always well stocked and now neighboring houses are prepared too!) – Danes are giving their own “hyggeligt” spin on this classic American holiday so don’t miss out on one of the best nights of the year!
The forest school is predominantly held – wait for it – in the forest, but it doesn’t mean that these kiddos don’t get out and about in the city from time to time. Periodically, if there is an event of note, or if the weather is particularly dreary, the classes visit museums or other points of interest. And a couple of weeks ago, we were delighted to host this group of curious ones at the American Embassy here in town.
The Embassy often hosts schools groups to visit and learn about their work and the United States but this was the first time that the doors opened for these tiny tots. After all, visa processing and bilateral trade agreements aren’t necessarily top of mind for them. So we structured the visit around the little stuff – after all, isn’t that stuff the coolest anyway?
Here they are learning about the American flag, what the stars and stripes stand for, and how the colors compare to the Danish flag…
And here they are waving to the Marines who keep the embassy safe and learning all about reinforced glass…
The model of the USS Constitution was a major hit as well…here they are sitting calmly and listening, but about 20 toddlers swarmed that glass case just minutes before giving anyone adult in the area a brief moment to wonder if this was a good idea…But as always, the forest school kids surprised me with their own ability to self-regulate. “Step back, ” one of them said to the others, “we have to be careful here.”
And who can resist snack time? In keeping with Danish school traditions, fresh fruit was front and center, but let’s be honest, the chocolate chip cookies, a special “hygge” American treat was the real treat (at least, that’s what the teachers told me, and they haven’t stopped talking about them since)…
Flags to color and stickers were take-home treats…
I don’t know how much of this visit will stick with four-year olds, and frankly, I’m sure the huge adventure park across the street is probably the thing that was most entertaining thing for them that day. But Denmark has been so good to us in terms of opening up its doors in so many ways, it was a nice feeling to open ours in return. One thing the children learned was that Denmark and the US are good friends – I hope they remember one day that we absolutely meant that.
It’s been a few days since a larger post here but the truth is, summer days kind of came out of nowhere here in Copenhagen. And then of course, they up and left just as quickly. A few days of 80 plus degrees were here, so like most CPH’ers, we dropped everything to run outside to the beach, to the park, and to adventures out and beyond. I’ll share a few of those toddler explorations shortly, but in the meantime, wanted to post here a few snaps from our trip to the Valby Nature Playground.
One things you notice quickly if you have kids here in Denmark (and you’ll probably notice it even if you don’t have kids), is that playgrounds here resemble the way that you probably remember playgrounds of your own days growing up. Then, if you picture in a whole bunch of green space to what your remember, and you will have an image pretty close to a Danish playground. Tall slides, zip lines, wooden climbing structures…those are all the norm here. Consent forms, legal disclaimers and hovering parents are not. I have yet to see a playground with any kind of soft matting here, save one small one in Hellerup and said matting is around the trampoline portion of the park (Cool, right? Trampolines! ).
The Valby Nature Playground takes these Danish playground concepts nearly to the extreme. It’s amazing how large this place is, with climbing equipment and play areas tucked in between forests and fields. Part of the fun is just finding what’s next. The park is also full of picnic tables and places to sit so that you can easily make a picnic and playdate (and incidentally, it seems to be a great place for birthday parties given that we saw three there when we visited). It’s a bit outside of town so we took a car, but it seems like buses go there as well. But after a place like this, you can be sure that the little ones will most certainly nap on the ride home.