With the summer holidays fast approaching, its that time of the year when we start to think about how we can fill those long days with activities for our children.
Of course there is nothing wrong with kids just having fun, but surely when that fun is combined with education and growth, then all the better, right? Well, just such an experience can be found at the Todagawa Kodomo Land (Kid’s Land) in Nagoya’s Minato Ward.
Established in 1996, Todagawa Kodomo Land claims to be the largest child center in Nagoya. With a philosophy of encouraging children’s growth through play, it is packed with things for kids of all ages – though with a particular leaning towards younger children – to do.
The central park is an immense (as in absolutely huge!) play area and playhouse that has all sorts of activities such as a zip wire, climbing frames, swings and slides, scramble nets and innumerous other things for children to enjoy. Around the outer of the area there are peddling go-karts for larger children and even a small cycle monorail that is recommended for children aged 3 and up, accompanied by an adult (as long as they aren’t too concerned about heights, of course).
In the warmer months it is advisable that children bring bating costumes so that they can splash around in the paddling pool or get involved in all sorts of fun games in the small water park that includes a floating raft and water wheels, all conducive to play that is not only fun and energetic, but also requires kids to use their brains and work together.
Outside of the children’s area there is a large BBQ and picnic area. For the BBQ area it is best to call in advance to book a space, but the picnic area is free for all to use, and you can even bring your dog as long as it is kept on a lead.
As part of the Todagawa Greens initiative, it is coupled with an agricultural center and flower gardens, the former of which holds classes such as piano sing-and-dance-alongs for babies, unicycling, dodgem cars and batting centers (see website for details of when events are held). Outdoor activities include environmental and nature trail games.
However, while these activities are all provided, the intention is still for children to focus on making games for themselves, helping the imagination to grow as they do so too.
But Kodomo land is not just about little kids having fun, but also fostering a community and encouraging affection for children. With this in mind they ask for volunteers to help out with games and activities. Particularly they request that children of junior high and high school aged get involved, but adults are always welcome, making it a good chance for you to make friends with other parents, and give a little something back to the community.
By Mark Guthrie
Images via http://www.todagawa.jp/ (modified) – Screengrabs