Basketball is popular in Flanders, but
sadly Belgium won’t be represented in
the Olympics. Children from six to 14, on
the other hand, can come to Hasselt for
a free introduction, every weekday from
23 July to 10 August from 14.00 to 17.00.
No reservation necessary, just turn up
and shoot some hoops – it’s all free.
Capoeira (pictured) isn’t an Olympic
sport but a popular martial art
combined with music and dance from
Brazil, invented by slaves brought over
from Africa. It involves power, speed and
awesome moves, and brings fitness and
fun. The Brazilian association for the
support and development of Capoeira
art is offering hour-long lessons for
children every Saturday at 12.00 in De
Merode school in Berchem in Antwerp
and every Wednesday in July and August
(except 15 August) at 17.00 in the Kavka
youth centre or Parkspoor Noord sports
hall. There are also lessons for adults
on Saturdays and Wednesdays, and
the whole thing is run by instructor
Luquinha, who’s taught all over the
world for 25 years. The first lesson is free.
Shooting may not be what you want
your child to grow up being good at,
but for some reason it’s impossible to
stop boys from seeing a rifle in every
stick. A slightly safer variant is paintball,
organised for kids from 10 upwards by
the youth service of Torhout in West
Flanders on 6 August from 9.00 to 17.00.
It’s not restricted to boys, of course, so if
your own Calamity Jane feels like trying
it, she’s more than welcome. There’s also
air-rifle shooting and archery (under
the strictest supervision, it goes without
saying) for those who prefer playing
Cowboys and Indians. It costs €11.
Swimming is well-represented among
the athletes heading for London, and
if you think you may have a budding
Brian Ryckeman or Kimberley Buys, take
them to the municipal swimming pool
in Tremelo in Flemish Brabant, where
the pool has been converted for the day
into a playtime paradise, with every sort
of floating amusement you can think of.
It’s open from 13.30 to 18.00 for €2.50
for adults, €1.25 for kids. Tremelo has
other activities planned for the summer,
including a supervised playground, an
omnisport week from 20 to 24 August
and a day of water-skiing and wakeboarding
on 28 August.
Cycling, the Flemish sport par
excellence, is only one of the sporting
activities laid on by Terra Nova in
Antwerp. On 1 August there’s a BMX
course in the provincial cycling centre in
Wilrijk, an indoor track for cyclists and a
parcours for skaters, from 15.00 to 18.00,
with races at the end of the initiation.
Kids aged eight to 12 pay €4, older kids
and adults €6. Long sleeves and long
trousers required for the cycle track.
Finally, an exhibition at Ghent University’s zoology museum explains how some of our Olympic heroes and heroines would have got on against the athletes of the animal kingdom. It’s open from 15 to 22 July, from 9.00 to 12.00, with a guided tour at 10.50. Our runners, swimmers and jumpers might have met their match, but somehow we think Tom Boonen and Maaike Polspoel would do okay.
Guided tours in English for children in the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels
Hunt for clues with Fly through the collections of the Fine Arts Museum in Ghent
An indoor playground for sporty toddlers in Turnhout in Antwerp province
Spend the day climbing a tower, then spend the night in a tent on the top:
An overnight expedition in the woods, with a night’s camping
A free introduction to a variety of sports and a hot-air balloon event in Sint-Truiden on 5 August
Looking forward to Sochi in 2014 or even Pyeongchang in 2018? Ice
skating is still possible at the Poseidon rink in Brussels, Sundays from
10.00 to 13.30 for kids under 1m20:
Contributions to this article were made by Olga Hope