Moving to a new country, there are many new things to figure out. This issue we focus
on children’s after-school activities, and how to find information in your area of Denmark.
Text: Josephine Wan
Both parents and children benefit from recreational activities. While some activities work better with individual participation, others do better with group participation.
Children’s leisure time
67 percent of 1,659 ninth grade pupils have regular recreational activities according to a survey https://www.boerneraadet.dk/media/236424/BRD_PIXI_Unges fritidsliv_tilgaengelig_web.pdf made by the Children’s Council (Børnerådet) in 2018. The survey also shows that these children are happy with having recreational activities because they make new friends, learn new activities, and get into good shape, etc.
Children develop valuable qualities
Besides making new friends and becoming good at specific sports/activities, they also learn and grow their skills in communication, understanding, decision making, cooperation and (co)leadership at a young age. These valuable qualities benefit them later in their teenager and adult life.
Clubs run by mostly volunteers
Subsidies can be applied for from the local council (kommune) by the clubs, and most club positions are run by volunteers who are often parents of the children that attend the clubs. It’s typical to see parents take on coaching roles in football teams. Older children can also be co-coaches for younger teams. Danes have this unique volunteering culture, and it really benefits recreational life in Denmark. Volunteering helps minimise the economic expenses of the clubs and the membership fees so that the clubs can optimise their resources, and more children can afford to join.
"Besides happy children, parents also gain something for themselves."
What are the benefits for parents?
Besides happy children, parents also gain something for themselves. As mentioned earlier, most clubs depend on parents’ voluntary participation (some clubs do require it). It means you will be helping from fixed tasks to offering carpooling to training facilities, matches, etc. when necessary. This will bring you new networks, new friendships, and new interests, which are exciting and precious, especially if you are new in Denmark. You can also improve your Danish by interacting with others.
Where to find information?
There are many recreational activities in Denmark to choose from.
These are only a few examples:
You can find the clubs (foreninger) around you by typing in your postal code in the search bar on this website: https://www.dgi.dk/foreninger
Most sports clubs divide their training teams by age groups. “U15” will be the team for children that are (around) 15 years old.
If you are searching for swimming lessons for your children on the internet, you can type (svømmeklub) and your city name after it. Swimming classes are usually divided by skills, and they always inform you how deep the water is in the section of the pool you will be swimming.
If you are looking for a choir nearby, you can search on this website: https://korsang.dk/kor-i-danmark
Most of the clubs’ websites are only in Danish. If you haven’t mastered the Danish language yet, don’t worry. You can either write them an email in English to ask for more information, or you can simply ask the other parents in your neighbourhood when you meet them on the streets. This can be an icebreaker, and you will start conversations and possibly friendships with them. You can also use your city’s Facebook group page – we are blessed to be in a technology-friendly era, and most people are always happy to help.