Back in my pre-mummy days in Tokyo, when sleepless nights were many but solely attributable to copious amounts of dancing, drinks and after-morning parties, I used to take a short cut through the neighbourhood park on my way home from the station. As far as neighbourhood parks went, this one was on the smaller side, with a few pieces of equipment, a lot of concrete, and a position directly in front of a busy street. It looked utterly miserable to me and I pitied the poor children that had to play there. Fast forward seven years. The after-morning parties were still happening, albeit at 6am, in my bed, with the party goers being two comatose adults and one deliriously happy two year old. And those 'miserable' little parks no longer looked look so miserable. In fact, they were the place to be seen for the under 6 set, and certainly for my little punk who lovingly named his favourites, ‘zo-san park’, ‘home park’, and ‘pond park’.
Indoor playground ASOBono makes living in Tokyo with young children all the more much fun. At the site of the old and much-loved Toys Kingdom, ASOBono is one of Tokyo's largest children's indoor play facilities aimed at kids age 6 and under. Divided into five areas, each designed to appeal to the imagination and wonder of children, ASOBono will keep your child entertained for hours.
KidZania might just be the best thing to come out of Mexico since chocolate and tequila. Currently in 10 countries and more in the process, KidZania is a chain of family entertainment centers where children can 'work' in adult jobs and earn currency in a child-sized replication of a real city with real-life brands to boot.
BorneLund stores sell the kind of beautifully crafted toys that adults seem to love more than children, for whom the cheapest plastic toy can hold just as much appeal as the hand-crafted, wooden counterpart. While visiting a toy store with kids is asking for trouble - the expensive and publicly humiliating kind - some BorneLund stores also have indoor playgrounds called KID-O-KID, well worth any potential toy-induced whining.