During the last six months we have found some good child friendly places to eat in Ubud, but finding a range of playgrounds to entertain the kids has not been as easy. Flat land is obviously too valuable for the Balinese to create playgrounds like we are used to in Australia, either the land has been used for generations as rice fields, or recently used for building resorts or restaurants! The Balinese attitude is ‘why do you need to build one when the whole world is a playground!’
There is one “western” playground called Tamanak (www.tamanak.org – link not currently working). Located just off Jl Sayan, outside of the main part of Ubud, the name Tamanak is a portmanteau of Taman = garden, Aman = safe, and Anak = children. It is a fenced playground in a quiet area with a sturdy cubby house, swings and a shelter. It does not seem to be well used, and we are usually the only ones there when we visit.
Tamanak is a bit of a drive to get to, and not as convenient as a park just down the road! At the end of our street is a soccer field, which is very conveniently located. Many of the Banjars (villages) have their own soccer field area, but they are generally not very well maintained. If it rains it turns into a mud patch!! You will always find other kids playing sport, flying a kite, or just hanging out.
There is also a rickety playground just down the road from us located within a primary school, which we have used during the school holidays. It has some really old (and dodgy broken) equipment, but the kids don’t mind at all. There is a slide, a climbing frame, a merry-go-round, and a see-saw.
Pelangi school that Olive (and soon Jetson) attends has a couple of play areas, which we make the most of after school time. They have a couple of large and newer play areas with climbing equipment and swings.
If we cannot find it anywhere else, we always have the open grassed area at home to run around. This has provided loads of fun, we can let the kids go wild (not too wild to disturb the other guests!), playing with sticks, balls, flowers or just rolling about on the grass.
We realise that we are so spoiled in Australia when it comes to quality play areas for kids. There are hardly any playgrounds in Bali, and it is one of the things we really miss about home. But, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise to encourage the imagination of children, and for them to learn to play with what they have. Other kids have been doing it for centuries!