Amsterdam is a good city to bring your children. There are many things to do in Amsterdam with kids. The center of the city is a busy area that is not suited for children, but a boat ride with pancakes, a walk along the canals with a stopover at the cat shelter on a houseboat or a visit to the marionette theatre on a rainy afternoon will be great ideas for things to with kids in Amsterdam.
Here are 10 things to do in Amsterdam with kids
1. A puppet show for adults and children
Go to the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre. Here, large wooden marionettes present a classical marionette theatre, opera or theatre play. The wooden puppets are dressed up in silk and velvet costumes and act in classical operas and music theatre.
Performances are in Dutch, but that is not a problem. There is an English program available. Because of the visual and musical character of the performances, the language is no great barrier. It is beautiful to watch and listen to for both adults ad children.
2. Climb a wall
With a serious lack of mountains in Holland, to go up, you need to go indoors. Just east of central station climbers have a beautiful Climbing hall. Good thing to do in Amsterdam with kids of 5 years and older.
3. Houseboat for cats
Cat lovers, pay attention. The famous Amsterdam ‘cat lady’ has created her own refuge for abandoned and stray cats sanctuary on board of a canal house boat. Those looking for a cat should definitely visit.
De poezenboot (cat boat) is open for visitors from 13.00 to 15.00 every day, except Wednesdays and Sundays.
4. Football, soccer, Ajax
Young boys might enjoy a trip to the famous football stadium of Amsterdam Football club Ajax. The Amsterdam Arena stadium is one of the largest stadiums in Europe.
During the 70 minutes ArenA Stadium Tour a football-passionate guide will show around the Amsterdam football stadium. You will stand along the line, touch the leather business seats next to the dug-out and visit the press stand. If Ajax is not training or playing, you can even visit the dressing room area.
5. Artis Zoo
A visit to the zoo is a great thing to do with kids in Amsterdam. The Artis Amsterdam Zoo is said to be the oldest zoo in Europe. Artis was founded in 1838 to promote the knowledge of natural history. The zoo is located in the eastern part of the center. Neighbors can actually hear the lions roar. There are over 700 species of animals and the park is an oasis of peace and quiet.
6. Kids-friendly Amsterdam museums
Most of the Amsterdam museums have a special section for children and are great to visit. The museums have a special section where the kids can do some activities like drawing.
The Amsterdam History Museum is a museum about the history of Amsterdam. Their regular exhibition Amsterdam DNA is also fun for children as many of the things on sight are interactive.
The little orphanage
But the real treat for smaller kids, even for a young age is The Little Orphanage where children and their parents can discover together what life was like in the 17th-century orphanage. The kids can run around in the dark hallways and get excited about the stuffed animals they find. The hidden corners are great fun and the kids can touch anything they see.
7. NEMO Science Museum
NEMO is Amsterdam’s science museum. It’s located in a spectacular venue near Central Station on a nice walk. Children as of 6 years old can play around doing a lot of scientific experiments.
8. Ton Ton Club
Older kids who are sucked into their mobile phones and video games? Take them to the Ton Ton Club. This is an arcade games place located in the Red Light District. They also have board games!
9. Pancakes! Sweets
Pancakes are greats things for kids in Amsterdam. Take the kids out for some real Dutch pancakes! Recommended is Pancakes Amsterdam in the 9 Streets Area (Berenstraat 38), but there is also the Pancakes Bakery on Prinsengracht 191 (near Anne Frank House).
Pancake boat ride
Combine eating pancakes with a boat ride! The Pancake Boat offers a 75-minute boat ride while you eat all the pancakes you can eat! I don’t really know for a fact if boat rides and pancakes go together…, so let me know in the comments!
Other Dutch treats for kids are poffertjes, (basically very small pancakes with butter and sugar). For a traditional snack of poffertjes you head to the festive De 4 Pilaren behind the casino/Leidseplein.
10. Old Dutch Candy Shop
The old Dutch candy shop is located in the Jordaan area near the Anne Frank House. The owner has huge patience and always stays friendly, no matter how long the kids take in making a decision what sweet to get.
The choice is overwhelming: licorice, sticky treats, caramels, salmiac, but also some very odd traditional Dutch sweets you don’t come across easily nowadays. Also great for souvenirs! A visit to the Old Dutch Candy Shops is a great thing to do with kids in Amsterdam.