Children

When we are talking about children’s leisure time, we usually mean the time they do not spend being at school or doing school work. Children need to have some rest and recharge their batteries just like adults. Nevertheless, educational aspects are often emphasized in free time activities for children. It is often called ‘informal education’. Thanks to after-school activities (or “kroužky” in spoken Czech), children can learn new skills, make new friends outside of school and explore what they are good at and what they enjoy doing.

 If your children learn Czech, participation in after-school activities with their peers can be of a great help to them. Children have a greater opportunity to communicate than in school, they learn while doing something they enjoy and develop knowledge of the language through active use. Contact with Czech-speaking children will also help them back at school, because talking to them will be much easier and they will also understand their interests and topics. 
 More and more attention is being paid to children’s after-school activities. There have probably never been so many options as there are today. It is therefore important to make sure that there is a certain balance in your child’s life. Extremes have to be avoided as too many activities may be stressful. A healthy level of incentives is beneficial for children but they should not get overwhelmed and feel under pressure. It is not good if an after-school activity become just another obligation. 


Activities for Preschool Children

Even preschoolers can choose from a range of educational programmes. Prague Houses of Children and Young People (the Czech abbreviation is DDM) run Centres for Preschool Children. These centres organize morning programmes which represent an alternative to often unavailable kindergartens.Their aim is to provide informal education for preschool children, emphasizing the development of physical, musical, artistic and play-oriented activities and personal-social development.

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Apart from the aforementioned centres, there is also a number of interest activities for preschool children (music, art, sports etc.) which children may attend at Houses of Children and Young People or at private providers, such as mothers’ centres. Mothers’ centres are usually non-governmental organisations which connect parents on parental leave and their family members who want to spend time together. Mother’s centres provide leisure activities as well as educational activities. Very often, they are organised by parents themselves.

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Activities for Children and Young People

The choice of leisure time activities for children and young people is vast and varied. The most common are after-school activities that have already been mentioned here. However, a number of institutions and organisations also offer one-time events, competitions, camps, clubs or open workshops.

Thematically speaking, there are dozens of options. You can choose from various physical activities, drama, photography, video production, music, languages, computing, pottery, dancing, technical clubs, tourism, educational activities and many more areas.

Database of leisure activities

There is an umbrella organisation of children and youth associations in the Czech Republic called Czech Council of Children and Youth (the Czech abbreviation is ČRDM). You can find member associations on their website. Within their project WhereToGo ČRDM has put together a database of leisure activities.

The database takes the form of an interactive map and a catalogue. It provides children and parents with information about the leisure options near their home or school. The database includes a lot of organisation venues such as Houses of Children and Young People, leisure centres, mothers’ and family centres, sports organisations and their sports fields, public playgrounds and many other interesting places.

 The website also offers Nine Recommendations for parents so that they know how to choose leisure time activities for their children and what to look out for.

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Do You Want to Get into Sport?

In Prague there is a great number of sports clubs which accept new members every year. Whether you are looking for a club for yourself or for your children, the Praha sportovní website will definitely come in handy.

Here you can find links and contacts for individual sports clubs, terms of recruitment, detailed information on active sports activities as well as a calendar of sporting events.

A sports festival for children called Sporťáček, which is held annually, is a great opportunity for children to try different kinds of sports. The date on which it takes place and the programme can be found here.

 

Do You Do Sports Recreationally?

Then you could be interested in an overview of Prague sports grounds and parks, where you can do recreational sports (ice skating, inline skating, cycling, football, pétanque, ping-pong, swimming and others).

Prague playgrounds, parks and sports grounds can be found here.

 

 

Scouting

Scouting is an international movement which aims to support young people and help them develop personally.Children learn team work, respect towards others and towards nature, and they make new friends. There are Scout groups from the age of 5 to the age of 18.

For more information on how to join the Scout Movement, have a look here.

 

Houses of Children and Young People (DDMs)

DDMs represent one of the largest leisure facilities in the Czech Republic. They offer more than 2,300 after-school activities, ateliers, courses and groups. They organize a vast number of public events: theatre, singing and dancing performances, exhibitions, shows, competitions, celebrations of various holidays etc. Within DDMs in Prague there is also a sports stadium, a technicians’ station, a natural scientists’ station, a horse riding centre and other leisure time centres.

The founder of DDMs in Prague is the Capital City of Prague.

DDMs provide regular and year-round systematic work with children and young people and help to deepen their interest in various fields. DDMs also focus on working with talented children and young people.

The range of activities organised by DDMs is very wide – children can choose from physical activities, such as dancing and various sports, singing, natural science, animal keeping, art, craft and technical activities, and tourism. There are also occasional activities such as holiday and training camps, tournaments, competitions, theatre and music performances, excursions, lectures, seminars, debates, weekend trips, events for parents and children, thematic promotion events, etc.

Prague DDMs’ biggest events are the Model Makers’ Day for Children (Dětský modelářský den) at the Sobínka model makers’ airport, the Leisure Time Stop – Vypich (Zastávka volný čas – Vypich) which offers a wide range of leisure activities for children including an accompanying theatre performance, the Family Day (Rodinný den) which offers leisure activities for children and families and accompanying music and theatre performances, the Witches from the Vltavanů Site (Vltavanské čarodějnice) event in Braník and the ANTIDEPKA music festival in Prague 2. Smaller overnight events for groups of around 20 children are also popular. During the day children usually dance and they sleep in the DDM.

Every summer there is the Prague Children’s Summer (Léto pražských dětí) – a project with an attractive programme for the summer holidays. Children can go to camps which are held at one place for the whole time or they can spend their time travelling. They can also join city camps or holiday clubs for children and young people, go to multipurpose outdoor facilities which belong to DDMs and visit one-time holiday events.

The core of DDMs’ activities is an open form of work with children and young people (especially those over the age of 13). The current structure is based on three pillars: leisure time clubs open to all, multipurpose outdoor sites of the DDMs, and one-time public events. Apart from regular activities for talented children and young people, DDMs, in cooperation with schools and other institutions, organise professional competitions and public contests.

DDMs also hold occasional events for young disabled people – for example PC user courses, craft activities, and events in cooperation with the Prague Association of Physically Disabled.

Children from migrant families living in Prague also make use of the activities available at DDMs. In Prague there is a well-functioning network of 15 DDMs which are easily accessible by public transport. The founder of 13 of them is the Capital City of Prague, the remaining two were founded by Prague 13 – Stodůlky and Prague 20 – Horní Počernice. Overall, the activities of Prague DDMs can be found at 48 places (including remote worksites) in different city districts. They are therefore available across the whole city and its suburbs. DDMs also manage 18 outdoor leisure complexes. Outside the city, DDMs provide accommodation and camp activities in 8 tourist resorts and 4 outdoor educational venues.

 

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Information about all activities offered by DDMs is available at the following websites:

Keywords for searching the Internet: free time, children, youth, after-school activities, children camps, competitions, courses, educational programmes, workshops.