Activities for Children under 8yrs in Samoens this Summer

Keep the little ones busy this summer in Samoens!

Activities for Children under 8yrs of age this Summer in Samoëns

Samoens is a brilliant summer holiday destination, renowned for the range of exciting outdoor activities on offer for older children, teens and adults.  Keeping younger children entertained, however, can be more challenging.

Here we’ve prepared some of suggestions especially adapted for under-8’s throughout summer 2018.

1 – Easy mountain walks 

The Alps are known for vertiginous slopes and impressive summits, but there is also a great selection of scenic walks accessible to parents with pushchairs and young children who are walking.

  • At the Lac aux Dames in Samoens you’ll find a playground, café and pony rides. Cross to the river side of the lakes to find the start of a walking track that will take you through shaded forests to Lac Bleu in Morillon (accessible for all-terrain pushchairs).  A veritable playground for families, offering a swimming beach, café, inflatable games, pony rides, high ropes and more, Lac Bleu is a must-do in the summer months !
  • You’ll find long, flat, shaded walking paths along the Giffre river, heading both up the valley to Sixt and down the valley to Taninges. With few rocks and roots, these paths are relatively pushchair-friendly.
  • In Taninges, the path begins right beside the historic Charteuse de Meylan buildings. There’s also an interesting modern art exhibition on display along the path through the forest for several kilometres between Taninges and Verchaix.
  • Walking along the riverbank from Samoëns towards Sixt, it is worth stopping at the Gorges de Tines. Accessible both on foot and by car, the Gorges are a natural wonder, carved into the rock over thousands of years.  You can walk through an old gorge where the water no longer runs, although this passage is equipped with ladders and stairs, so it does require a bit of physical effort and you’ll need proper walking shoes.  The view over the river and surrounding cliffs is worth the effort !  This area is mostly shaded and blissfully cool on a hot day, thanks to its proximity to the river.
  • The Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval offers a spectacular walking destination that is mostly flat, with walking paths that are suitable for an all-terrain pushchair. The walks to « Giffrenant » and « Frenalay » are small (1.5hrs return) walks accessible on foot for young children and for parents with all-terrain pushchairs.  The panorama is breathtaking ; you’re surrounded by a horseshoe of cliffs with waterfalls in every direction, flowering alpine pastures and green mountainscapes as far as the eye can see.
  • Sixt’s magnificent « Bout du Monde » (End of the World) walk takes about 2 hours each way and is also relatively flat, with a little café halfway for drinks and ice creams. Parking in the Cirque costs 5€ per vehicle.  More information is available from the Sixt Tourist Office.
  • The « Bourgeoise » lookout walk is accessible from the car park at the Joux-Plane. This walk is relatively short, flat and easy (allow maybe 60mins for a return trip).  The Bourgeoise lookout offers a stunning 360° view over the entire Giffre valley, plus a fabulous panorama of Mont Blanc.
  • The « Cascade du Rouget » waterfall is accessible on foot from Sixt village. Follow a relatively steep walking track through the forest (not suitable for a pushchair), or simply drive up the road to access the waterfall directly.  The « Cascade » restaurant overlooks the waterfall and is a great spot for a coffee, ice cream, or lunch.

With a baby carrier backpack, other walks are also accessible to families, including those with youngsters on foot. An overnight stay in a mountain refuge is a great way to break the journey, allowing everyone to rest their legs ready for the return trip.

We particularly recommend the refuges de Sales and Folly, both of which offer ideal introductory level hikes for families (2-3hrs each way over a range of terrain with great views).  The Folly refuge offers travel cots for young ones to nap or sleep in.  The Sales refuge offers a children’s library and a range of outdoor games (football goals, play house, wheelbarrow, tricycle, trailer, etc).   Their website offers educational worksheets that you can download and complete during the walk, designed to help combat the monotony for children 5-8yrs.

This June 30th, you’re invited to join the fun of Sal’Mômes, a child-friendly day of education, ecology, workshops and activities at the Refuge de Sales.  Free for children 6-14yrs, sign up by contacting the refuge guardians. 

To help with motivation, or just to offer pack-carrying parents a rest, we recommend renting a donkey to transport younger children (40kg max) over longer distances !  A donkey is a real novelty and is ideal for acessing the refuge de Sales.  Contact Les Anes du Haut Giffre for more info.

2 – Horse and Pony rides

ZigZag offers horse or pony riding lessons for children from 6 years of age.  Book a single session or 5 half days (Mon-Fri).  During each session, children will be taught about caring for their pony/horse and preparing their riding equipment prior to heading out.  They’ll begin riding within an arena and graduate to longer rides outside on forest paths.  Book your pony and horse riding lessons with ZigZag via info@zigzagski.com or call +33631204410.

Children from 3 years of age can also try pony riding under the supervision of a parent.  Parents can rent a pony for 20 or 30 minutes and lead their little one around for a fun and entirely safe intiation to riding.  The ponies are trained to trot and selected to suit the size of each child.  Book your mini pony session with ZigZag via info@zigzagski.com or call +33631204410.

3 – Lakes and pools

“Lac Bleu” in Morillon is not to be missed!  On the banks of a beautiful alpine lake, this leisure area offers a huge choice of activities for children of all ages.  An ideal spot for swimming and picnicking all day.

In Samoens, the “Lacs aux Dames” leisure area is a great place to walk or cycle with kids.  It has a playground, high ropes course, bow and arrow range, golf driving range, pony rides, along with plenty of green space to run around. Swimming in the lakes is prohibited, but Samoens’ municipal pool is right next door.  There’s an adult pool and a kids’ pool, plus a nice big waterslide!

4 – Introduction to Yoga for children 5yrs+

The Sixt tourist office offers a range of Yoga workshops, as follows:

  • Beginner level Yoga courses for children 5 to 7yrs of age. These fun sessions are designed to help children familiarise themselves with their bodies and breathing.  A great way to develop corporal awareness, improve attention span and work on psychomotricity.  Available Tuesdays 17 July, 2 & 23 August, and every Thursday throughout July and August from 4-6pm.
  • Parent/child workshops are also available, allowing the experience to be shared by the whole family. It’s a great opportunity to identify the exercises that your children enjoy most, so that you can practise them together at home.  Enrolments via the Sixt tourist office.

5 – Adventure activities for children 6yrs+

A range of activities are available for children from 6 to 8 years of age, on the condition that they’re ready to get stuck in!

Rock climbing lessons

ZigZag proposes both group and private climbing lessons for children from 6 years of age. Lessons take place on a natural rock face under the guidance of a qualified and experienced English speaking professional.  Those with motivation can sign up for a 5-day package of climbing lessons, running from Monday to Friday (NB children aged 6-7yrs are required to have a bit of climbing experience before joining the 5-day course).  Contact ZigZag for more info.

Rafting

White water rafting is accessible to adults and children from 7yrs of age. Under the Guide’s qualified eye, participants are encouraged to jump out of the raft at safe points.  They can even climb up the gorge wall and jump from a height!  Children love the experience and photos are available as a great family souvenir.

Canyoning

Children from 8yrs of age can join in the fun of canyoning, thanks to ZigZag’s child-friendly “Little La Balme” option. They’ll adore jumping, sliding and swimming down a natural canyon, where the water has carved brilliant waterslides into the rocks.  Entirely safe, you’ll be in a full wetsuit and accompanied by a highly qualified and experienced Guide.  There are no abseils or big waterfalls involved in this child-friendly canyon.  As you’ll be wet anyway, it is a great activity to occupy everyone on a rainy day!

Caving

A unique experience open to children from 8 years of age (with a parent present), caving is genuinely eye-opening.  Discover an entirely hidden underground world, right under our feet!  The caves used for introductory tours are entirely dry and safe, with no tight or dangerous passages.  A really different experience for the whole family, caving is a great option for a wet day.

Paragliding

Up, up and away! Children from 4 years of age can experience the thrill of flight over Samoens.  A “parapente” flight is an incredibly exciting and utterly safe experience.  Strapped safely to your own qualified pilot, you’ll jog down a grassy hillside until your feet are no longer touching the ground, soaring upwards with thermal updrafts (rest assured, there’s no jumping from a cliff involved!).  No experience is necessary; your pilot takes care of everything so you can enjoy the experience.  A discovery flight lasts between 10 and 25 minutes according to conditions, and children are encouraged to take the controls and steer themselves!  A high definition video of the flight makes for a brilliant souvenir to take home.  You can be there to cheer them on at the take-off or landing zone, or you can book a flight with your own pilot to fly simultaneously.  An experience not to be missed!

Tree Climbing Sessions

A fun and educational activity for children from 7 years of age. Under the guidance of an experienced guide, children will be taught about trees and the environment around them. A great educational and ecological experience.  Workshops run for 2 hours (10am-12noon, 2-4pm) in small groups of 4 to 8 children.  For more information contact Guillaume (« l’Hêtre Agile ») : +336 23 77 24 27 – lhetreagile@gmail.com. Some beginner sessions are already scheduled this summer in Taninges : 12 July, 18 July, 1 August, and in Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval on August 2 and 16.

5 – Two events not to be missed this summer in Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval !

24 to 27 July 2018 : The « Bambins et Compagnie » Festival in Sixt fer à Cheval

4 days of activities for children and families.  A varied programme offering a mix of sporting activites, nature, fun workshops and performances (concerts, acrobats, contests, etc).  Everything is free except the Theatrical Storytelling and Marionnettes, which cost 5€.  More information via the Sixt tourist office.

Sunday 5 August 2018 : India comes to Sixt-Fer- à-Cheval

A full day of activities relating to India and its culture, open to everyone.  Children’s workshops are open to children from 6 years of age and include yoga and creative arts.   At 7.30pm, there will be an open air Indian dance concert, offering a great opportunity to soak up beautiful Indian music in a magical outdoor environment.  Free for children under 12, you simply need to sign up in advance via the Sixt tourist office.  An adult day pass costs 8€, or just 5€ if you book in advance.

Equipment for babies & children

Samoens is a wonderfully welcoming area for families with young children.  Hotels, apartments and chalets often offer cots, high chairs and other equipment enabling families to travel lighter.  Equipment for children is also available to hire in local sports shops.  We recommend Sport 2000 for baby carrier backpacks (from 9 months) and 3-wheel all-terrain pushchairs (10€/day).  J’aime Sport rents travel cots, high chairs, and other baby gear for a set rate of 10€ per item for the week.

Dining out with babies & children in Samoens

Certain family-friendly restaurants (such as La Reposette in Vercland, Le Serac in Samoens, Bar Le Savoie in Samoens and La Covagne in Morillon) have large dining areas that allow you to easily “park” a pushchair or set up a highchair.  Avoid smaller restaurants, which may not be so well equipped for welcoming families with young children.

For more information about activities for children, don’t hesitate to contact ZigZag.  Our office is open 7 days a week, all summer long.  Download Brochure summer 2018-EN for a full breakdown of the activities on offer – and if you have any questions, we’re here to help!

This page is also available in: French


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