Keeping kids amused doesn’t have to be expensive in Berlin – as long as you know where to go!
Festivals especially for young visitors, birthday specials, nature activities or just splashing around, children can enjoy it all for free in Berlin.
Whether you’re in the capital with your children for an inexpensive, entertaining break or if you live here and want something to do in the school holidays – with the right recommendations there are plenty of activities for kids in Berlin, even on a small budget. You can find water playgrounds, children’s farms and much more right in the middle of this diverse metropolis.
Have a free children's birthday treat in Berlin
This is one of the real insider tips: many attractions such as the legendary Madame Tussauds wax museum grant children free admission on their birthday.
Older children can take a gruesome journey through the creepy side of the city’s history for free at the Berlin Dungeon or boldly swing from tree to tree on the high ropes at the Waldhochseilgarten Jungfernheide.
Another great way to discover the city on your birthday are the boat trips offered by Reederei Riedel, where kids can travel on all routes, such as bridge tours, for free on their birthday.
Another very special experience instead of a party at home is a trip to the Tropical Islands, which your child can enjoy for free on their birthday.
Summer activities and adventures
Families looking for something out of the ordinary to do in Berlin will find it at the CABUWAZI children’s and young people’s circus, which offers free training with performers in the afternoon.
Tempelhofer Feld is ideal for all active people – take your picnic basket, ball, frisbee and kite, and join in the fun with everyone else.
If your kids love animals and you want to give them a treat, you don’t need to go to the Zoo or Tierpark – there are plenty of children’s farms where you can meet the adorable animals free of charge. You can visit the goats at the Charlottenburger Ziegenhof, bake campfire bread with your kids at the Pinke-Panke children's farm which has over 70 animals, or learn about traditional country life at the Alten Fasanerie family farm in Lübars.
Free activities for children in Berlin in the rain or snow
The many parks and green spaces in the metropolis make it easy to be active in summer. But even when the sun isn’t shining or snow lies all around, there are things to do that cost nothing. Why not combine shopping with playing?
For example, break up your shopping trip in the Mall of Berlin with a few goes on the giant slide. The rapid descent takes you from the second floor right down to the ground floor. Another tip for fun shopping is to visit one of the children's flea markets, around Berlin, which also take place indoors in the winter. Smaller children can play while you are shopping at the children’s book department of Hugendubel on Wilmersdorfer Straße.
Many of Berlin’s libraries have playhouses and cosy reading areas where you can spend a lazy afternoon – while your kids have fun for free. Most libraries also have storytelling sessions to get kids interested in books. Particularly popular is the picture book cinema in the Heinrich Schulz Library, where pictures are projected onto a screen while the story is told.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love the Bonbonmacherei, a speciality shop connected to a show kitchen, where the secrets of the colourful sweets they make are revealed.
And if it should happen to snow in Berlin, then even the relatively flat capital city has enough hills that you and your children can toboggan down. The most popular is the Teufelsberg, with its fantastic views over the Grunewald forest.
Unusual playgrounds and water play areas
You can have all sorts of adventures with your family at the lovingly designed playgrounds spread over the entire city. At the one near Savignyplatz called Sherwood Forest the kids can play Robin Hood, with tree houses, a zip line and a large knight’s castle.
If they’re very brave, they can fight giant dragons at the Drachenspielplatz in Friedrichshain, while older children will feel right at home at Mellowpark, a 6-hectare site with challenging courses for action sports like skating or BMX racing.
To cool off, there are plenty of water playgrounds. Visit Räuberland with its view of the Havel or the famous Plansche in Plänterwald.
Learning by playing – edutainment in the capital
In the right conditions, learning can be fun. Inquisitive budding researchers will feel just like real students at the Children's University, which takes place in proper lecture halls such as the main auditorium of the Humboldt University.
You and your children can also quench your thirst for knowledge in Berlin’s state museums, which have free admittance for those under 18. Show them the bust of Nefertiti on Museum Island or the famous Pergamon Altar.
Not all of the workshops and special tours for families are free, but some special programmes are free for children. These include the family Sundays at the Bröhan-Museum – with tricky detective tasks, puzzles and creative activities as an introduction to Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
Celebrating with kids – children’s festivals in Berlin
Party with your children for free in Berlin at exuberant festivals such as the Children’s Carnival of Cultures, when a colourful costume parade passes through Kreuzberg on Whit Saturday, followed by music, dance and games to complete the afternoon.
Bookworms can find new things to read at the picture book festival on Helmholtzplatz, and events for families are held throughout the city on International Children’s Day.
Also, the Lange Tag der StadtNatur (Long Day of City Nature), the annual day of events focussing on Berlin’s largely unnoticed biodiversity, is free for children accompanied by a paying adult.
Accommodation in Berlin with children
Many guest houses offer inexpensive family accommodation in Berlin. Children up to the age of nine can stay for free in these family hotels, and their breakfast is also free if the adults have booked one themselves. Other amenities and extras at these family hotels include cots and high chairs, as well as information on playgrounds, paediatricians and much more. When they leave, the young guests also get a delicious packed lunch.