12 Things that Will Convince Your Kids that Moving to Germany is Going to be Awesome for Them!

| May 1, 2013

You’ve got little ones and they don’t want to leave America. Understandable. But maybe if they knew more about the perks of being a kid in Germany, the transition would be smoother…and I’m not talking about your standard “You’re going to learn a new language!” and “You’ll see all kinds of things you’ve never seen before!” No. That’s not specific enough to sway anyone. So here are just a few things that make Germany an AWESOME place to be a kid!

Free Food!

First, there’s the Gummy Bears: Germans love to hand out gummy bears. Shop keepers, the doctor’s office, restaurants; they all distribute gummy bears to kids like it’s Halloween, every day. Even a shopkeeper who had just scolded Sequoia (for bumping into a shelf in a cramped store where an elf would bump into a shelf)—he handed her gummy bears before we left. During our first month, during which we shopped and ate out quite frequently, my purse was overflowing with tiny packets of gummy bears.

Then there’s the free meat: Every time we order meat from the butcher, they hand Sequoia a chunk of bologna the size of a plum. I’m in a perpetual state of jealousy.

And the free bakery treats: The local bakery always gives Sequoia a small roll. At bakeries which serve coffee with a small cookie on the side, typically they slip Sequoia another 2 cookies for herself.

Play corners in almost every store, and some of them are AWEsome

The smallest of stores can have a kid’s table with blocks, books, etc. Bigger stores might have elaborate play areas. Department store Playmobil sections, for example, are ridiculous.


Like this slide…in a shoe store

Christmas presents from perfect strangers and service providers

When we visited a local museum in December, they gave Sequoia a puzzle from the gift shop. Normally, they’re a €5 souvenir. Merry Christmas! And one day as Christmas was approaching, we walked into the Volvo dealer. The guy handed Sequoia a hollow Santa the size of my forearm. Seriously. Huge. “This is for you.” The crazy thing was, it was a walk-in, not an appointment. So they must just have a pile of Santas somewhere in the back, on the off chance that a kid might walk through the door. A few days later, a repairman came to my house. He handed Sequoia a box of Christmas chocolates. Why am I not a kid??

Awesome playgrounds

You ain’t seen playgrounds until you’ve seen German playgrounds. And you don’t just have one or two playgrounds per town. They’re everywhere. They have giant play structures, zip lines, creative rides, ponds, sandboxes, hedge mazes…


Even school playgrounds are awesome. Like ours.


And safety standards are more lax, so you might find, say, a trampoline sunken into the ground.


(But especially Christmas markets.)

michelstadt christmas markethameln christmas market

Ice cream and gelato everywhere


You can’t walk 10 steps without finding it in the city, maybe 20 steps in a smaller town. What more is there to say about ice cream?

The most random stuff in town squares

Our Marktplatz has a telescope and a tall water thing you can crank a tornado inside. Walking through Wiesbaden, there’s a random set of squares you can jump on to play music. They chime. And town squares always have some of the best fountains to check out!

Better Happy Meals

Wait…whaaaaat? That’s right. When there’s not a big movie promo, during which time the same movie character toys as in America are being distributed, McDonald’s isn’t just handing out cheapo toys in between. We first found this out when Sequoia got to choose a book. A real, big hardback book chock full of information about forest life. Some of the latest Happy Meal promos included a juicer, banana slicer, ice cube tray, and other kitchen items with monsters on them.

Happy Meals

During the Shaun the Schaf promo: covered bowl in the form of a sheep, nice quality plastic sandwich container, an egg timer. Some good-looking stuff.

Series of hardback 3D books...

Series of hardback 3D books…

Not only that, but when you order a Happy Meal, they let you pick which toy you want. You’re not stuck with multiples of the same toy, or asking the girl for a specific one and getting a dirty look. Germans let you choose!

And I don’t know if they’ve started doing this in the States, but when the Monopoly game is going, the instant winners aren’t just ice cream, a drink, a breakfast sandwich…a kid can win a book. A hearty story, not a 5-word board book.  Not to mention the real, glass coke glasses with meals during the summer!


You know the ski-lift things that go above hills and mountains? Sometimes shorter rides, sometimes long, and not necessarily leading to ski slopes. What kid doesn’t love having a view of the whole world?

One word: Castles

They’re everywhere!

burg eltz

Burg Eltz

burg Rheinfels castle

Exploring Burg Rheinfels’ Tunnels


Did I mention Frankenstein's Castle?

Did I mention Frankenstein’s Castle?


Who doesn’t want to trudge through mud at a barefoot park?

bad orb mud barfusspfad barefoot park

Okay, so mom won’t necessarily like this one.



Germany and Austria are filled with spas, but they aren’t just for mom and dad!




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Category: Activities, Ex-pat Parenting, FAMILY, Family Travel, Germany, In Germany A Broad blog, Shits & Giggles, Top Tens, Travel

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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