I have been a Lagosian for 3 months now and am truly loving it. I moved here with my family to pursue a rare work opportunity (husband’s, that is). It is not just the two of us though, we have 3 little children and I have managed to settle in and build my routine around the kids… for the first few months at least that is what I am focusing on. I have to say in the short time we have been here we have got up to a lot of fun for kids. Here I will share a few of the things we have got up to, and activities such as these are held quite regularly. I will also share a “hit list” of all the kid friendly things I am yet to do.
- Attend a School Fair
There is an abundance of schools in Lagos, and international schools for that matter. There is almost always a fun fair held by a school on a weekend. You will normally get to hear about these through your own school or friends schools. Another place to search for these activities would be on Facebook groups. Events such as these are normally advertised. One word of advice I would give is that you should really make it a social thing if that is what you appreciate. Events are so much more fun when you can attend and be guaranteed to meet someone you or your kids know. The socialising is half the fun already. So always let your friends know what you are up to. Even if they do not tag along, it is still going to be oodles of fun for you and your kids so go ahead and get out there. A word of warning, they can cost a pretty penny for the gate fee enter but if you buy ahead of time, it might be worth your while.
- Visit Mindscapes Museum
This is a fairly new establishment. I attended on one of their family days known as Wazobia day/night. They had various events such as face painting, story telling, dancing workshops and food. We arrived to the event on time and it seemed quite bare but within the hour there was a flurry of activity and people enjoying themselves. The grounds were nice and sandy, with very clean looking beach style sand. Unfortunately there was not much cover but that is bound to improve with time as the trees grow. Thankfully for us, it was an overcast day so we were not overcome by the scorching sun. I took the opportunity to actually go into the museum with my kids. I was pleasantly surprised at the effort Minscapes is making. The museum has a bit of a “Kidzania” feel to it, albeit on a much smaller scale. It also has a multisensory room with wonderful lights that little ones would only delight in. All in all I would say it was a fairly inexpensive event. I would go again.
- Have Fun Swimming
Whether you are privileged enough to have a swimming pool at home or not, you may have good friends who do. Irrespective of all these factors, a swimming pool is only a club away and the kids will simply love it. Make it even more meaningful by signing the children up to baby and toddler swim classes. If you are worried about the cost, try to get a group together to share the cost.
- Say “Yes” to the Playdate Request
Or organise your own playdate and invite your friends over. Do not always wait for life to happen to you. Be the person who makes life happen and you will never be forgotten. And do not be shy about who’s place is bigger than who’s. When it comes to entertaining the children, no one really cares about that. Besides there is bound to be spills and thrills when it comes to entertaining kids so don’t bring out your best crockery and napkins, save that for the big kids. 😉
- Visit the Lekki Conservation Centre
Yet another place on my to-do list. I have made some enquiries through friends and without having been there before, I would advice that no buggies are taken. Hence I would recommend this for kids above the age of 5 who can manage on their own 2 feet. I will ofcourse revisit this once I have ticked it off my list.
- Go to Eko Hotels Playground
I paid the Eko Hotel playground a visit and was pleasantly surprised. It is huge and is not costly to access. It is also completely covered in natural shade which is priceless in Lagos. Be prepared though, as with all outdoor activities, mosquitos are everywhere, so a good spraying or lathering on of mosquito repellent is essential. You will also be able to purchase some food items from the Eko hotel restaurant, but it does not come cheap. For the pool enthusiast you can couple playground fun with a dip in the lovely Eko hotel pool.This part of the fun does incur a significant fee, so perhaps keep the dip for special occasions or make really good friends with the hotel staff. 😉
- Take a day trip to the beach
Yet another activity I have not yet had the time to do but it will be worth your while to embark on a day trip with the family to the beach. On my list of accessible beaches are Elegushi beach, La Campagne Tropicana, Eleko and Tarqua Bay (which involves a boat ride to access). Different beaches will give a range of experiences depending on what you are looking for. Some beaches are public so will draw more crowds whilst some are private. Once I pay all these a visit I will share more on the logistics of getting to go to the beach. Be prepared to take along food, drinks, water because the beaches are a long way from shops (well, anything in Lagos is still a long way from convenient shops). The beaches are usually equipped with on site staff who will be able to cater to your needs and do your cooking for a fee. So be prepared. A note of caution with all things when visiting with young children not all beaches are safe due to the under currents so please be careful.
- Go to Terra Kulture
I have not had the chance to visit Terra Kulture yet but it is on my Lagos to-do list. With an art gallery, food court, book shop, events centre and theatre, I can’t imagine you running out of things to do there with the kids. And being one business at the centre of promoting Nigerian art and literature, why not get the experience, after all where else will you do this out of Nigeria. Having said that, the group behind Terra Kulture have created Wakaa, a musical which has now made it all the way into London theatres. The next London showing is from 21st of July for 5 days at the Shaw Theatre on 100-110 Euston road.
- Laterna (for children’s books and educative toys)
Still on my to-do list. I understand it is a little bookshop, never the less, a place dedicated to children so why not pay it a visit?
- Shopping… anywhere
Ofcourse this may seem like an odd one out but trust me, we all need to take the kids shopping at some stage. Regardless of whether or not you enjoy shopping (with kids) you are guaranteed to spend at least 2 hours doing it (more if you are a serious shopper). There are a few options as to where you will take your kids shopping. Whilst visiting a local market is bound to be at the height of cultural experiences, some of them are just too hectic for even adults. But the Lekki Art market is not bad. I went there with my 3 year old and spent at least an hour looking around. I wish I had had more time there but between the heat and a melting child, I knew where to call it quits. Alternatively you could take them to an indoor shopping centre, some of which are very modern and come with miniature locomotives (for a fee of course). There
- Movies at the Cinema
If you can do this in your home city, why not in Lagos? The cinema (Genesis Deluxe) at the Palm’s shopping mall just off the Lekki-Epe Express Way in Oniru is pretty decent and makes for a great morning out with the kids when you need to make a trip out there. With Shoprite, Game and clothings stores on site you could make a day out of it if you have the $$$$ to shop. There are other cinemas in Lagos such as Genesis Deluxe, Silverbird Galleria and Ozone Cinemas to name a few. Some of the facilities I hear can be disappointing depending on which cinema you go to but I was pleasantly surprised when I went to Genesis Deluxe. It is not massive but it was definitely what I would expect of a cinema by any standard.
- Go to an Art Gallery
There are several to choose from in Lagos including the renowned Nike Art Gallery and Rele Gallery. I took my kids to Rele as part of the activities I had to kick off the Summer holidays. It was showing a special on food art and you know me being a foodie, I could not resist attending. We spent about 45 minutes there. You can’t spend too long in an art gallery with kids anyway, especially ones like mine who bounce off walls but I try to invest in giving them well rounded experiences, especially to introduce a bit of culture into them. It is something wonderful to do.
- Kids Yoga at Yoga Sutra on Saturdays
Being very new to the world of yoga, I found it pleasantly surprising that the yoga place I visit (Yoga Sutra) also has kids classes. You would need to contact them directly for the schedule and prices but I would say in terms of affordability it is moderately priced. (And by moderately, I would say on the slightly expensive side for a budget conscious person, however based on what I have heard about exorbitant gym fees, this is definitely MODERATELY priced).
- Take them out to eat
Lagos is filled with clubs (I am not sure whether country club is the right term) such as the American GQ, Ikoyi club, the Yatch club, the Syrian and Lebanese clubs to name a few. Some of them are pretty expensive to join whilst others such as the MArican GQ are exclusively for Americans, you can still get in by invite from any of your US friends though. Clubs aside, I really enjoyed taking the kids for lunch to Cactus restaurant which has a lovely play area outside so you know the kids will be entertained for a bit whilst you dine.
- Join a Playgroup
Especially for babies up to 36 months. There are several to choose from although I must admit it is not always easy to find the information you need about them. I think this is actually a good reason. The security of our kids is paramount, so please when you visit any of these playgroups, do not snap pictures, check in, then splurge all over the internet for all to see. If you need to know more about the playgroups, contact them directly, you will be registered and assessed to make sure you are legit and then be invited in. I have only regularly visited one playgroup that I am honestly happy with in terms of pricing and people, it is the “British playgroup”*. I have done a search (Google will not tell you much but Facebook and Instagram will) and found Popplagos. Popplagos looks interesting (and more pricey) but I will at least give it a go.*Not its real name but if you ask anyone in the know (hey, my hand is up) they will let you know more about it.
Now I have gone and surprised myself. When I set out to write this blog I thought I would be stretching myself to find 10 activities or places to go with young kids but I have found 15 and have not even included a visit to Freedom Park!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Once again I hope you have found this post useful and if you did, please spread the good news and share it.
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