Have you ever been at a loss for what to do with your kid, and along that line, someone (with some kiddos) who might enjoy doing it with you? Thinking up fun stuff that keeps you and your kids busy, and happy, is a quest that renews every day. But if you’re a family in Kansai, then you’re in luck! There’s a whole crew of folks who are all in the same boat; who are all looking for good places to meet, and good people to do it with. Three years ago Kansai Kids Network was created to bring these families together, and in that time has grown to a collection of over 150 families and kid-friendly groups from all over Kansai. We’ve also just launched a shiny new website, but the best way see the real action is to join us on Facebook.
Here’s a smattering of some of the different gatherings we’ve had, to give you a taste of the fun. We have playgroups in North Osaka, Kyoto, and one for newbie mums, all run by parents who are pros at working with kids. We also feature classes in parent/child yoga, music, eco awareness, and sign language for babies. Frequent gatherings at fun kid centers, such as Kids Plaza, USJ, Dream 21 and Kid-o-kidat Bournelund are always a huge hit. We’ve joined or hosted amazing workshops, such as making Tanabata garlands at Kukkia Kids(a fantastic wooden toys workshop) and making our own vermicomposting bins (whee, worms). Seasonal gatherings include spring hanami parties, playing in the water at Rokko Island and Utsubo Koen, enjoying the autumn leaves in Minoh, and ice skating. Of course, we also have the all-important easter, Halloween and christmas parties. And there’s always someone up for community events, such as Oktober Fest at the Deutsche/European School in Kobe.
In fact, there’s a community event coming up that I’d love to invite you to attend. During Golden Week, KKN will gather for our annual picnic at the Nakanoshima Children’s Day Festival (www.nakanoshima.net). Therearelots of kids games, crafts, rides, and last year’s event even had a maze. There’s also an “eco” aspect, as all of the rides are handmade from reclaimed wood and other recycled materials. We will meet at 10:30am on Sunday, May 5, which is Children’s/Boy’s Day. After we run around and tire ourselves out on all the rides, we’ll have a picnic together. If last year is anything to go by, tickets for the rides and games should be reasonably priced. The crafts should also be hugely popular, with lots of lovely volunteers helping the kids, so be sure to get there early.
We can’t wait to meet up with you and your family. If not during the festival, then some othertimesoon!
Kansai Kids Network’s goal is to connect English-speaking families in the Kansai area. We want to help you network and build your community. The group’s Facebook page is a bulletin board for family-oriented events throughout Kansai. You could be hosting a class, looking for company for an event, or just posting information about something cool for kids.
We’re pleased to announce that along with the publication of this article, we’re launching our website: www.kansaikidsnetwork.com. There you can find great resources for families in the Kansai area, and a link to our Facebook group, which you can request to join.