“We wanted a place to go when the weather is bad, when it’s snowing or raining or stormy.”

A two day indoor festival for kids young and old, run for and by local mums, is taking over Niseko Town’s warehouse district this weekend.

Over two days Niseko’s historic Soukomura warehouses will be turned into a giant playground with inflatable toys and play equipment by playground maker Bornelund shipped all the way from Tokyo.

Otaru based toystore Kinderlieb will also be on site with a wide selection of educational wooden toys and card games free to try, and available to buy.

The focus is on toys that encourage interaction and discovery, with all age ranges from infants to adults covered.

Tapping into community spirit

This fun event is all thanks to the efforts of Niseko area mums, who are pushing to create indoor playing areas in the area. One organiser Chika Lund sat down with us and told us a little bit about the thinking behind the event.

“For parents with children under 5, or those with more than one child, it can be hard to find something fun to do here, especially in winter. Sometimes they just sit and wait with us while their brothers or sisters are in ski school,” she says. “We wanted a place to go when the weather is bad, when it’s snowing or raining or stormy in winter.”

It’s not all about the locals either: the organisers hope to eventually create a permanent year-round playground that children can enjoy regardless of weather – a great and timely initiative in a community that has made international news with its trend-defying baby boom.

“If we could get a permanent site set up, it would be fantastic for visitors. Anyone with kids of any age is welcome. On this test event, we’d like to hear what the mothers and kids that attended think. Based on that, hopefully we can work towards something permanent that the whole community can enjoy.”

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Big toys to enjoy

The festival runs over 26 and 27 August, with play equipment accessible 10am – 4pm each day. The Bornelund play area will include an olympic size inflatable jumping mat, inflatable tumblers, giant building blocks and more.

Kinderlieb toys will be out to try with staff on hand to explain how each game works. Facilities will include a separate play area for younger kids, toddlers and babies. Parents are asked to supervise their children as they play, and any grown adults needing an excuse to get amongst the play equipment are welcome to babysit and join the fun.

Entry is free and all organisers are donating their time. Local community and business leaders have stepped up with donations to help the mums cover the costs of shipping play equipment from Tokyo and back.

If you’d like to donate your money or time to the cause, or share your comments and ideas, please contact the organising committee at Niseko-kids@pirka-niseco.com, or via their Facebook Page.

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