April 11 – J – JUEGO & JOVEN
These are two J words that are near and dear to my heart because they involve my darling children, Luca and Tulia! Juego is the Spanish word for play and Joven means young or youth. Now I’m not gonna lie – my kids are like the rest of kids (both here and Canada) and they would be permanently tied to their ipads, x-boxes, and Wii if we let them. But one of the things I really appreciate in Santa Fe Argentina is the amount of play available for kids.
We only need to walk down the street and the kids have access to an entire midway park that is permanent with the large four storey slide that the kids LOVE. Okay – I loved it too eventhough the heights were terrifying. But there are many of these parks around for kids to enjoy – some with paid rides, some with just fun parks.
Although the parks are fun for the kids, Santa Fe has done something really incredible that we should all sit up and pay attention to. They have taken two derelict buildings and turned them into free play, art, and cultural centres – one being an old flour mill, El Molino; and the other, La Redonda, being and old train centre that was a locomotive shop.
El Molino is a large old flour factory that was cleaned up and used as a large interactive space of inquiry learning. The three floor building has a different floor each dedicated to discovery, play and creativity: the first floor focuses on paper, the second on wood, and the third on textiles and clothing. Here kids engage in creative design, application, and manufacturing skills relevant to each floor’s focus.
La Redonda – the old train repair shop – has revitalized with art and play. The humungous space is filled with various activities to let kids run, play, create, read, do art, and many other creative endeavours: The reading ring is filled with books on the crash mat, the children can also find centres to mould clay, paint, play with sand, dance, swing, etc…
All in all, seeing these free spaces for creativity and query, I am so impressed with the usage of space. THis is something Calgary needs to invest in!