Life with Kids

At a glance

The wealth of activities on offer in Tübingen extends to children - whatever their age, you'll find plenty to occupy them.

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Activities with and for kids

Numerous organizations offer activities for babies, toddlers and school-age kids. The following non-exhaustive list gives an introduction (German-language activities unless otherwise stated).

Babies and toddlers The Familien-Bildungsstätte Tübingen (FBS) runs a variety of activity sessions and playgroups for babies and toddlers accompanied by a parent. Many churches also host or run playgroups for toddlers. The Tübinger Musikschule offers musical experiences for toddlers from age two. Baby swimming lessons are offered by private swim schools; type "babyschwimmen tübingen" into your search engine.

Sports From gymnastics to soccer, most sports clubs mentioned in the soon to be online section Recreation offer participation for kids. Expect a couple of try-out sessions for free, with an annual child-rate subscription paid from then on.

Music, dance and drama Tübingen has two music schools offering instrumental tuition for a monthly fee: Tübinger Musikschule in Wilhelmstr. and jamclub in Reutlingerstr. For drama activities, check out workshops for kids at the LTT (Landestheater Württemberg-Hohenzollern Tübingen Reutlingen). Tübingen has several dance studios and clubs with classes for kids; type "tanzen kinder tübingen" into your search engine.

Making and creating The Tübingen Stadtmuseum offers art and craft workshops for kids, as does the Kunsthalle. Check out also activities offered by the Familien-Bildungsstätte Tübingen (FBS).

Nature and the environment Kids aged 4-12 years with an interest in nature might like the Salamander group from the local branch of the conservation group NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland). The FBS also offer a range of nature-themed outdoor activities.

Religious groups Most local Christian churches offer a Sunday School, some also have a children’s choir. Older children can sign up for confirmation classes. The Christlichen Pfadfinderschafts Deutschlands is the German equivalent of Boy Scouts/Girl Guides and has a branch in Tübingen: Christlichen Pfadfinder Tübingen.

Foreign-language activities If your children speak English at home, they might like the events put on by the German-American Institute Tübingen (d.a.i.). French-speaking families should get to know the Institut culturel franco-allemand. The FBS currently offers intercultural playgroups for children with their parents.

Summer vacation activities The town council puts together an annual program of activities running throughout the summer vacation (Sommerferienprogram). School age children receive a brochure and registration information early in the summer. The duration of individual activities varies from a few hours to a few days; if you need guaranteed childcare, this program won’t be sufficient.

Family friendly activities

Whatever language(s) your child speaks, the main city library in Nonnengasse is a great place to visit. The children's section is a comfy place to hang out and has a foreign-language book section. You can also borrow board games, music CDs and audiobooks, and DVDs. The library foyer is a good place to pick up flyers and brochures about what’s happening in Tuebingen. Children living in Tübingen get a free library card valid until their 18th birthday.

The Museum of the University has over 60 subject-related collections open to the public: young dinosaur fans will enjoy the Palaeontology Collection in Sigwartstraße while older children will be fascinated by the art and archaeology exhibits at the Museum im Schloss up at the castle. The Stadtmuseum in Kornhausstraße often has exhibitions aimed at families; be sure to visit the permanent exhibition about shadow-theatre artist Lotte Reiniger too. If you are visiting Bebenhausen Monastary with kids too young for a a full guided tour, you can separately visit the Palace Kitchens (state-of-the-art in 1916) every Sunday afternoon for just a few euros.

A nature walk or cycle ride in the Schönbuch Forest can be made more interesting by visiting one of the wildlife enclosures/feeding stations where deer and wild boar can be observed. For more nature, the Naturkundemuseum in Reutlingen has a permanent display of stuffed animals representing local wildlife and habitats.

If you want more activity, what about swimming? The baths at Hallenbad Nord have a toddler area and learner pool, while those at the Uhland Bad are more historic and central. In summer Hallenbad Nord closes but is replaced by the much-loved outdoor pools (Freibad) with paddling area, playground and large green spaces. For all swimming pools an adult ticket costs 4,00 EUR , children 2,70 EUR. For yet more action, Tuebingen has a bouldering center popular with adults and older kids - or, in winter, visit neighboring Reutlingen for ice-skating.

Seasonal events The slopes of the Österberg, east of Wilhelmstraße are home to an autumn kite-flying festival (Drachenfest). See local press for details - windy weather not guaranteed! During winter snows this location becomes the number one destination for sledging. January - February is carnival season (Fasching) with street processions in all the towns and villages - be aware that the costumes (scary witches) may alarm small children so if in doubt, visit a specific childrens' procession (Kinderumzug). Finally, a fun event in autumn is the annual plastic duck race (Entenrennen) on the Neckar - see local press for details.

Family friendly restaurants

Most Tübingen restaurants and cafes welcome babies and small children, and can offer a high chair, diaper-changing facilities and a special children's menu (Kinderkarte). Feel free to ask if the standard menu can be adapted for a child, e.g. as a smaller portion. Small children dining out later in the evening are rarely seen, so you may feel more comfortable going during the day or early evening. If you are ordering coffee, some cafes will provide a "babyccino", i.e. foamed milk, for young children.

Playgrounds

Tübingen has plenty of green spaces and many children’s playgrounds. Some favorites:

  • Town center: Old Botanic Gardens; also, the Anlagensee with its pirate ship.

  • North side of town: Waldhäuser Ost, near the junction Berliner Ring/Bei den Römergräbern and next to the forest.

  • South side of town: Volksgarten, near Paulinenstraße/Eberhardtskirche.

See this overview of playground locations from the town council.

Shopping for kids

Drug stores and large supermarkets sell day-to-day supplies like diapers and baby food, and in some cases have a selection of children's clothing. Tübingen has both large clothing stores and several small boutiques offering baby and kid's clothing: type "Kindermode Tübingen" into your search engine. For toy shops search with "Spielwaren Tübingen". Tübingen's largest book seller offers international children's books. Tübingen currently has one specialist store for baby equipment (cribs, baby strollers, etc); type "Babyladen Tübingen" into your search engine.

Buying items second hand is a good alternative - to find shops in and around Tübingen specializing in children's items type "Kinder Secondhand Tübingen" into your search engine. Second hand sales are also organized by kindergartens and other groups, especially on Saturdays in Spring and Fall - look out for newspaper listings or posters advertising a Kinderflohmarkt or Flohmarkt rund ums Kind.

Finally, a note about buying items for school. In elementary school, your child will likely bring home a very detailed list of the exact pencils, paint brushes and exercise books you are supposed to purchase. Retail staff at a stationery shop (Schreibwarenladen) are usually happy to help you find everything if you take along the list when shopping. And every German elementary schoolchild transports their school things in a traditional hard-shelled backpack (Schulranzen) - you can buy one at a stationery or specialist luggage shop.

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