Looking for unique children’s activities in Jakarta can be tough, but the innovative and creative Club Kembang is here to give Jakarta families an oasis from the hustle and bustle
When it comes to amazing things to do with kids in Jakarta, some mums feel as if there’s not a huge amount of variation around the activities (plus a lot of them are inside malls). But one charming children’s centre – Club Kembang – is working hard to turn that around, as they believe that children (and parents!) in Jakarta deserve better. We caught up with founder Adinda Simandjuntak to learn more about this innovative new kids’ spot in Kemang.
Why did you start Club Kembang and how is it different from other children’s activities in Jakarta?
Being a parent myself, I felt children’s destinations in Jakarta were limited. There seem to be many, but they all feel the same:
- set in consumerist-type backgrounds, like malls and shopping centers and encouraging consumption, and blindly following mass market global trends in films and music,
- not hands-on or rely on digital technology,
- with ambiance and design that reflects a very limited perspective of what children enjoy in terms of decor, music, and environment. You see splashes of blinding bright colors and hear speakers blaring terrible “children’s” music. This to me is the same as “talking down” and even have some seems forced and artificial feels to them (fake snow in malls, anyone?),
- and the refreshments (read: coffee) ranges from poor to terrible and there is no concern for taste or nutrition
Even activities that advertised themselves to “inspire creativity” did not seem to have a genuine respect for kids’ aesthetics and creativity (i.e. art centres that want kids to achieve a certain result rather than allowing them to learn a process).
I felt Jakarta needed a children’s activity centre that places high value on beauty, the arts, environment and community, a place where families are inspired to create and celebrate art, music, and wellbeing. Furthermore, I knew that Jakarta had MANY interesting places where families can learn and be inspired: exhibitions, screenings, performances, events, etc. But many parents just did not have this knowledge at their fingertips.
So I wanted Club Kembang to be a well-designed venue with a good programming, where families could spend their free time doing something fun and creative, and a brand that Jakarta parents could use as a guide and for inspiration for quality family activities and events.
What is the philosophy of Club Kembang?
Respect for the child, art and beauty, the community, and the environment. All of our activities, events, people, and elements in our organisation are in line with this idea.
What is respect for the child? Activities that are open-ended, encourage exploration of the process rather than result, and providing a beautiful environment that inspires children to be happy and creative.
In a city like Jakarta, where many things isolate family members, like traffic and excessive help, I feel that we need to engage in activities that are very human, such as interaction with nature or physically playing with something rather than digitally. I wish for Club Kembang to be a place where families can recharge their sense of humanity and real-life experience.
What are some components of Club Kembang?
We have a wonderful art studio where anyone can make anything they want using the materials available. We have a spacious open-air room for parties and a small playground with a sandbox.
We have lots of space for classes such as those given by our two partners, Ganara Art Studio and Weekend Workshop (WeWo) who create workshops and classes for kids and parents. We also work with Komunitas Salihara to create family programs there.
We just hosted a very successful school-holiday program. Some classes were in such demand that we had to open a second group. We received very good feedback about the content of the program, which included science, cooking, photography, creative writing, Japanese language and culture, and art history. There were also comic illustration and performing art programs with our partner Ars Longa that were hosted by artists like Teater Garasi and Akademi Samali. Our film camp, which took place in Salihara, also stood out with 28 kids from different schools around Jakarta learning how to shoot, edit, and process celluloid film. We look forward to organising even more holiday camps in the future!
What are the operating hours and can you host special events like birthdays?
Club Kembang is open as an activity centre on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 6pm. We can definitely host special events like birthdays and family gatherings. Our largest event was Monsters Ball – Pesta Monster – our Halloween party, with over 100 kids and featured a live jazz performance, this will also be an annual event.
What about for parents?
Parents often feel dazed and alienated in children’s activities centres, and have no refreshment options to keep them happy. Club Kembang tries to provide good coffee, good music, and even activities for parents, such as our Weekend Workshop classes.
Furthermore we have activities for parents including discussions on topics like gadgets and sensory play. And we provide family guides on what other family-friendly, although no specifically aimed at children, activities are going on in Jakarta (ongoing exhibits, events, etc.) that everyone might enjoy.
This article was sponsored by Club Kembang.