Vacation week #1 with the kids

Due to the long summer holiday for school kids in Finland, and the fact that my wife had to work two specific weeks in July, it resulted in me having the kids for two weeks on my own during the weeks. So how would I entertain them?

I decided to compile a list, which I held as a secret to my kids, so that every day would be a surprise, and that I needed not to hear moaning in the matter of; “I don’t want to do that!”.
To my surprise the list grew long enough that there would be at least one event per day. There was the need for 10 days of happenings, and 15 things ended up on the list.

To compile the list, I Googled “what to do with kids + Helsinki” and the other municipals close by. Although there is compiled pages of this sort on the municipality pages of Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo, they were surprisingly static. These and other pages helped nonetheless. So here’s a breakdown on activities this week.

Monday

On Monday I decided to take the kids to place we’ve been to before, and which they loved the previous time. Place in question was the Angry Birds park in Oittaa. As I was a bit lazy, the timing was so that we would start the visit by eating lunch at the restaurant at the location. From there the kids wanted to go swimming. Said and done and we headed to the beach. After some splishsplashing, the kids got cold enough to switch to the park itself. The pandemic as caused a lot of things, and I’m sure one thing was to push people to stay away from the park. There was surprisingly little kids and parents at site, and the kids could run around without heaving ques.

Regarding the restaurant there were not high expectations beforehand, but to my surprise, the buffet lunch good. I ate lasagna, and the kids took chicken with rice, and everybody were very satisfied with the food. There was a good scale of options both on the salad side, as well as with the warm offering. The price of 12€ all so included coffee.

The time flew by and we ended up being a total of almost 5 hours, before heading home.

Tuesday

To Tuesdays main event, I decided we would visit a place a friend of mine had opened this summer. The place is called “Elämää Lönnebergassa – Livet på Lönneberga”, roughly translated, Life at Lönneberg. For this place I decided to write an own blog post. Here>>>.

From Livet på Lönneberga we headed into central of Siuntio city, to grab some lunch. To take a sure path of success, I located a pizza place, where we had lunch. To my surprise the girls ate very little, but we took the rest with us. My initial plan was to go to a beach pretty close by from home, where we usually don’t go. Sadly, the for weeks ongoing sun and high heat had calmed down, and as we arrived at the beach, the winds were hard, and it felt like +15,(59°F) at best.

Not easy to set down the towel in hard winds.

Only our first born had the determination to actually go swimming. To top it all off, the clouds got darker and darker, and it ended up to start poring down just as we got into the car.
We drove home, and by a quick survey from the girls, the satisfaction of the programs had been highly appreciated.

Wednesday

For Wednesday program we drove to my parents cottage in Grundsjö. Although there’s not a lot of special activities there, the company and place is liked by us all. One of the main attractions there are the train track and trains that goes just beside the yard, and as trains sprints with over 100km/h speeds, it’s fun to see, both kids and me. There’s high visibility when the trains come, the enthusiastic waving by us, almost every time results in the train conductor waving back. That then results in an eruption of joyful scream and laughter from the girls.

My mon who likes to plant small amounts of carrots, cucumber, peas, tomatoes etc on the premises, and it’s always liked by the girls when harvesting of them is done, and they of course are as organic and pure as can be, so they taste great.

We ended up staying for some 5h+, and as a bonus program, before we headed home we went to a lake beach nearby called Björnviken. The girls, added by my mom went for a swim. Sadly the weather was windy and felt pretty chilled this day too, and as it was just a small extra program before heading back home, not that much time was spent there. But a nice place tho, and we shall remember it for future possibility to visit the beach again.

Thursday

I decided to pick two similar events, and combine them for Thursday. First stop was a car museum. I remember visiting it in my youth, so it was some 20+ years since last. The site itself is not so very big, but could be explained as more homie and familiar. Its placed in an old barn on two levels, and although it’s not grand in size, they haver really well gathered everything from bicycle’s, mopeds, cars and even a couple of really beautiful trucks. There are cars from the early 19-hundreds, and the oldest I found was from 1911, although it was just the shell of it. A lot of bits and pieces was missing.

The chatter, questions and “auws” from the girls were constant, and although they haven’t have the tenacity to stop by every sign by the cars to read, and familiarise, I was impressed on how they managed to keep calm and look at most things and make notes.

A small picnic was held on the yard of the car museum, before heading to day-destination 2, which was the aviation museum near Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Isabelle and I visited there in 2019, but for Eveline and Amelie it was the first time. The time me and Isabelle wen’t there, there was not that much of special programs for kids, but this time there was arranged a “treasure hunt”. Around the planes and exhibition small teddybears is placed with letters for the kids to take note, and by the end of the tour, a word could be formed. Once the word was found, they could participate in a draw.

At first it seemed that the kids didn’t have the energy or interest to walk thru the museum and discover information about the planes and the items. I dreaded this would be a quick run thru with wasted time and money, but slowly and surely the girls picked up the interest, and by the end of the tour, there was excited talk and chatter about the wonders of flying and planes.

The two day events had caused that everybody was very hungry, and by now we were in late afternoon. Short drive to Jumbo shopping mall, and straight to fill the empty belly’s. After that the thought was to go home as the time was 17:00. The kids surprised me, as they requested to stop by a beach, and so we did. I chose a beach near home, and informed my wife about it, so that she could join us.
The winds were very hard, and one really needed to hold on to towel and other possessions, not to see them fly away. A good hour and a half was still spent on the beach, and as we got home it was already time for evening snack before starting to head for beds.

Friday

As the events been many, and the days stretched long during the week, I decided to just have one place to visit today. I packed the kids in the car and headed to a place called Fazer Experience. It’s a place just beside the headquarters of the company Fazer. Fazer who is known for chocolate, other sweets and a lot more. As we hadn’t bought tickets to the tour beforehand, we did not fit into one as we arrived at site, but then again, they only have the tours in Finnish or English, not Swedish. Our girls aren’t that advanced in Finnish, so it did not bother us that we couldn’t go on the tour.

Sidenote, Fazer, why don’t you have a tour in Swedish at all?

We headed over to the store, and the kids expression when they saw it…PRICELESS! The amount of candy was amazing and I’m sure they thought they ended up in some sugary heaven. 😀

A lot was purchased, and to balance the excitement, we ate lunch in the Fazer cafe. The salmon soup we had was very good! After this we headed back home, and during the drive home the kids uttered the desire to go to the beach. I knew my wife was thinking of going to the summer home, but after some dialog between us parents, we decided not to leave today. As she had to work some still, the rest of us headed to the beach. Worth mentioning is the second time, the same day when a facial expression was priceless, was when we unpacked the goodie bags at home, and my wife looked at me with the clear question without spoken words: “OMG, are you for real!?” 😀 I might have gotten a bit carried away myself in the store.

All four of us enjoyed the salmon soup very much. Although I think the girls are at the picture moment more excited about the upcoming Geisha chocolate bar I promised as dessert. 🙂

Needless to say, I hid the receipt from the purchase from my wife.

A lot of swimming, diving, splashing and playing on the beach was done after we arrived there. My wife joined us there after she had her work done for the week. The day did not end up to be any shorter. We arrived back home at 19:10, and a light evening snack was held and then the evening routine was started. During the weekend we are probably going to head for the summer home.

Next week new adventures awaits the small ones. New posts then on the blog.

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