5. See a puppet show
The intimate Amsterdam Marionette Theatre, housed in a former blacksmith’s, puts on traditional marionette performances. Because plays are set to classical music there’s no language confusion, and the costumes are fabulous. You could also try permanent children’s theatre De Krakeling, which runs theatre, puppet and dance shows for youngsters up to the age of 17, often with an emphasis on full-scale audience participation.
6. Enter the Amsterdam Dungeon
This popular sight is housed in a former church. Tours last for around an hour, during which you’re handed from one ham actor to another, making believe you have been sentenced by the inquisition, press-ganged onto the high seas, chased by witches and surrounded by plague victims – until you’re finally swept around the interior of the church on a short roller coaster ride.
7. Go to the zoo
Artis Royal Zoo is a fun day out for kids, all the more so if you time your visit to coincide with feeding times. At the time of writing these were 10.45am for birds of prey; 11.30am and 3.45pm for seals and sea lions; 2pm for pelicans; 3pm for lions and tigers (not Thurs); and 3.30pm for penguins.
8. Take a history lesson
A free audio guide (in English) leads children aged nine and upwards around the Dutch Resistance Museum Junior, a new add-on to the main Dutch Resistance Museum. It explains World War II from a child’s perspective using true stories and authentic items.
9. Learn about Judaism
At the JHM Children’s Museum, children aged 6–12 can learn about the Jewish faith and traditions on a tour that leads them through the house of the Jewish Hollander family, learning about kosher food in the kitchen, and Jewish music from around the world, among other topics.
10. Visit Madame Tussaud’s
The large waxworks collection has the usual smattering of famous people and rock stars, as well as Dutch celebrities and the royal family, plus a few Amsterdam peasants and merchants thrown in for local colour.
11. Hire a canal bike
A fun water-based activity is a ride on a pedalo-style canal bike. This can get tiring, but jetties where the bikes can be picked up and dropped off are numerous, and it’s quite safe.
Image by walter etty on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
12. Hit the playground
TunFun in the old Jewish Quarter is a large underground playground with slides, trampolines and climbing apparatus, for children aged 1–12. Activities include gymnastics, bowling and indoor football, and there’s plenty of equipment to clamber into, under and over.
Explore more of Amsterdam with the Rough Guide to Amsterdam. Compare flights, find tours, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. Featured image Pixabay / CC0.