Going Unplugged in Prague

7 fun alternatives to tablets, mobile phones & television

You’ve heard the complaint before, “Mom, I’m bored, what should I do?” It’s easy to turn a blind eye or shrug your shoulders and pretend you don’t see your son creeping in the direction of the tablet lying on the kitchen table. After all, you’ve got a busy life too – why shouldn’t you let your son entertain himself so that you can relax for a few minutes. However, when a few minutes turns into a few hours and you find yourself looking at a child who doesn’t know what to do unless he’s got an electronic device in his hands, well, maybe you have a situation on your hands.

Results of a recent international study presented by the Czech branch of the World Health Organization reveal dismaying (but perhaps not all too surprising news). Czech children are substantially more overweight than they were 15 years ago. The survey states that 80% of Czech children do not get the recommended one hour of daily physical activity. Czech kids are now on par with the rest of the Western world in terms of obesity, which is a disappointing statistic from a nation that once prided itself on its physical fitness standards.

Whether your children are Czech or not, chances are they might benefit from more physical activity and less time spent playing Minecraft or uploading photos on Instagram. Of course, children learn best by example, so if you’d like to change the course of your family’s life in Prague – now’s the time to turn off your television, log off your Facebook account and do something to connect with your family.

One of the Czech Republic’s unique assets has long been the country’s respect for nature and the outdoor world as well as its appreciation for the culture of museums, concerts, art galleries and the world of the mind. Taking small steps toward getting your kids “unplugged” from their electronics and actively plugged in to exploring their home in the Czech Republic may be a turning point in their future lives, here or abroad.

Below are a few ideas for how to enjoy an “unplugged” spring with your children whether relaxing at home, going for a bike ride or visiting a museum. Stay tuned for more tips from Prague.TV next month, and feel free to add your own to the list.

Ride the Easter Steam Train from Smichov to Křivoklát, March 26 - 27, 2016

Board a historic steam engine train in Prague’s Smichov train station and travel back in time to Křivoklát, one of the Czech Republic’s most well-known castles. Led by an engine nicknamed “Bully” dating from the 1940s, the train includes historic cars from the Rybak series. Along the way, enjoy food and drinks in the dining car, including draft Ferdinand beer for adults. At the castle, there will be fencing, comedians, jugglers and music from the time of King John of Luxemburg as well as the traditional Easter markets with hand painted eggs, Easter whips and gingerbread. Tickets and seat reservations can be purchased in advance at the Masaryk Station and Praha-Braník.

Event: www.kudyznudy.cz
Křivoklát Castle: www.krivoklat.cz
Train Ride cost: 280 CZK individual, 140 CZK reduced fair, 570 CZK family

Train Time Table

9:40 Praha-Smíchov
10:13-10:38 Beroun
11:14-11:20 Křivoklát

15:37-15:52 Křivoklát
16:27-16:41 Beroun
17:15 Praha-Smíchov

Visit Jiří Trnka’s Garden 2 at Malostranske Beseda (Prague 1), February 16 – May 15, 2016

Garden 2 is an interactive audiovisual exhibition full of funny, nonsensical inventions inspired by characters from Jiri Trnka’s renowned children’s book Zahrada (Garden) first published in 1962. The exhibit combines aspects of the theater, cinema, circus and even motocross in a hands-on way for children and their parents to participate in the making of the story even as they experience it. Ride on a tricycle to chase a cat, enter the head of a plastic dwarf to see his dreams and emerge from the depths of a whale’s belly after hearing a scientific lecture on the topics of yesterday, today and tomorrow. It’s a perfect place to show your child that inner fantasies can have a life and a meaning of their own. For jazz fans, the voice of the whale is Prague-based singer Tonya Graves.

Zahrada 2: www.zahrada2.cz
Where: Malostranské náměstí 21, Prague 1
Cost: 120 CZK adult, 70 CZK child, 300 CZK Family
Open: 10:00 - 18:00 daily

Ride the rails on the “Cyklohráček” from Prague to Okoř & Slaný, March 25 – October 30, 2016

If you’re looking for a low budget, one-of-kind railway experience, take your family for a weekend railway ride on a train designed as a playground. The train has three cars – one for the smallest children with space for strollers and games, the second for older children with building blocks, cards and a map with a treasure hunt and the third reserved for bikers, with a compressor pump and tools for basic bike repairs.

Although the train itself is a thrill, both of the train’s destinations are also great active day trips from Prague. The train makes its first stop at Noutonice station. From there, it is a 2km walk (or bike ride) to the village of Okoř where you can explore ancient castle ruins or check out trails for biking or nature walks. The second destination is the town of Slaný, where you can swim at the town’s aqua park (85 CZK reduced ticket with train ride), take a tour of the local brewery or enjoy an ice cream at the local sweet shop.

The cost of riding Cyklohráček is only the cost of riding CD or Prague Integrated Transport. The train has been in operation for two years, but it is already a favorite with locals. During the 2015 season, 14,568 passengers rode the train. Cyklohráček was also awarded one of the best consumer-focused projects in the nation. The train leaves Prague’s Masaryk Railway Station on weekends at 9:18 and 13:18. Passengers can also board in Bubny, Dejvice, Veleslavín and Ruzyně. The later train is usually less crowded. Return trips from Noutonice to Prague run at 11:48 and 17:48.

Open: Weekends and state holidays
Website: www.cd.cz
Cost: Ticket for Prague Integrated Transport

Slide & Climb at the Bobsled Park & Ropes Course in Prague’s Prosek District

Visit Prague’s only bobsled course within city limits and enjoy a day outdoors with your family. The bobsled run is an 800-meter track suitable for children from age 3 (with an adult rider). On the park’s premise, there is also a ropes course open from April to October as well as an in-ground trampoline. The area offers a restaurant and an outdoor seating area. For children who like the thrill of an activity, it’s a great way to combine getting outdoors without leaving the city.

Website: www.bobovadraha.cz
Bobsled: weekdays 12:00 – 20:00, weekends 10:00 – 22:00
Ropes Course: weekends & public holidays (April to September)
Bobsled: 1x 70 CZK adult, 50 CZK child, 6X 330 CZK
Ropes Course: 100 CZK (includes cost of trampoline for kids)

Explore Family Park Mirakulum – Opening Day on April 16, 2016 - October

Celebrate opening day by taking a 2-km steam train ride from Tankodrom to the Mirakulum Family Park, a 10-hectare park with attractions for children of all ages. Mirakulum’s park includes a medieval castle complete with suspension bridges, turrets and slides, a ropes course and a giant in-ground trampoline. There is also a mini zoo, giant sandpit and a pink “Piggy” castle for younger children. Don’t miss the half-kilometer underground maze or the forest nature trail with both game elements and instructive information about forest animals, including wild ponies you may see. For adults and older children, there are giant 12-meter swings. As of summer of 2015, there is an oasis and water world with splash pools, water wheels, lily pads and more. On the grounds, there are picnic and barbeque areas and a new forest play area.

Website: www.mirakulum.cz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ParkMirakulum
How to get there: www.mirakulum.cz

Opening Season: April through October
Cost: Family Ticket (2+2) 600 CZK

Play Dixit Card Game

If you’re stuck at home, but looking for an interactive family game instead of turning on a movie, Dixit is a perfect choice. This table top card game with the motto, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” teaches children (and adults) to use their own imagination. The object of the game is to describe a picture card in one word or phrase and have others guess which card is yours. The game has won accolades internationally and is ideal for multilingual families because you can play in any language. My five-year-old son was able to play with his siblings, while a group of adults enjoyed the same game one evening. The illustrations are breathtaking and there are multiple card sets you can buy (Origins, Journeys) to supplement the original.

Where to buy: Neo Luxor Bookstores: neoluxor.cz, Agátin svět (see below) and other book stores or toy shops
Cost: circa 800 CZK

Check out Agátin svět Toy Store

To find other educational, creative and otherwise out-of-the-ordinary games, books and art activities for children, pay a visit to Agátin svět, a toy store and online shop offering a variety of beautiful products to help your children find reasons to stay unplugged.

Agátin svět Praha (P2, P4, P6), České Budějovice a Liberec (www.agatinsvet.cz)

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