Often referred to as "Robinson playgrounds", Bern's multiple playgrounds are a reflection of the interests of the kids who play there and the talents of the volunteers who help build and maintain the play equipment or help organize special activities such as parent-toddler groups.
The Association for Public Work with Children in the City of Bern (DOK) provides some funding for the playgrounds, but the playground associations also raise money. A picture book featuring the playgrounds was produced last year to celebrate DOK's 20th anniversary and help raise money to support the playgrounds.
Here are a few top spots for your young ones to enjoy throughout the year.
On a typical afternoon at the Schützenweg playground in the Breitenrain neighborhood, you'll find parents and babysitters chatting away while their toddlers dig in the vast sand landscape. Older children test their bravery by climbing to the top of the wooden tower or "sky dive" from the front of an old airplane onto a thick gym mat. During the supervised hours, children can borrow toys — everything from balls to bicycles — or create things in the playground's own workshop.
On a hot summer day at the Längmuur playground along the banks of the Aare, you will find children splashing about in the adventure fountain. Others climb on the fantastic structures built by the playground's association or race around the fenced-in play area on homespun riding toys crafted in the workshop.
When the weather is rainy, the Chinderchübu Kindertreff (kid's hangout) in the Monbijou Park is a great place to spend an afternoon being creative. In addition to painting and drawing, kids can try out other crafts such as making piñatas, dipping candles or woodworking.
The soapbox derby at the Klösterlistutz is one of the big events put on by the playgrounds each year. Among the others are the children's circus, Carnival for children, summer fests, as well as Moditag (Girls' Day) and Gieletag (Boys' Day), though these don't happen every year.