Today’s post is one for the parents. If you are a parent I’m sure you’ll find this post useful so keep scrolling and if you are not, I’m sure you know a couple of parents. You will want to share this with them. So keep scrolling too!
I am a member of a mum and baby club and we always discuss the inadequacy of kid friendly hang out spots in our city, Lagos. Lagos can be a bit frustrating for parents of toddlers and older kids. They get so active and it’s important to keep them entertained. The kids are out of school now and thankfully there are tons of pop up camps everywhere! But after these pop up camps are over what next? Don’t get me wrong there are a few places to go, but some of them are far. You’ll find yourself driving for over an hour (traffic being on your side) to be at one with nature (i.e. Lufasi park). There is also the Hi Impact Planet, our very own “Disneyland”, which takes you about 2 hours from the city.The rides at the Hi Impact Planet are adequate for Nigerian standards. However, I’m not too sure it’s worth driving all the way to “Ibadan” for.
The issue is not the distance because if you think of 6 flags, Thorpe park or Disneyland, most people have to drive a distance. The issue is the quality of the roads. Most parents will rather have their kids ride bikes within their homes than drive on terrible roads + uncertainty of traffic for a few hours of thrill. When I wrote a post on fun activities for kids in Lagos, I got good feedback from parents; most of them not aware that some of these places existed. There is an information vacuum and I’ll definitely love to put together a “fun places for kids in Lagos” directory. Parents can always use it as a source when looking for places to go.
One of the places I highlighted, the kids beach garden, is a personal favorite of mine. I finally checked them out sometime in May. The kids beach garden had been on my radar for over a year but I could not make out time to go. I was waiting for my daughter to get slightly older so she can enjoy the concept of the beach. Walk or at least crawl on beach sand and make sand alphabets/castles. I don’t see any point taking baby that can barely sit upright to the beach. Her first beach experience was at Lake Kivu, Rwanda and she was such a natural! Bikini, beach towel, sunscreen, sun hat, sun glasses, building sand alphabets with some sand in her mouth and no tears, I knew it was time for her to explore beaches all over the world!
So back to the kids beach garden. We visited the kids beach garden during the children’s day celebration in Nigeria (which is celebrated on the 27th day of May). It was such a delight. It was a Children’s Day Caribbean party and the kids and adults were asked to dress the part. Bold colors, flowers, grass skirts, raffia wigs, reggae hats and bright prints, filled the atmosphere. The entire space had a Caribbean vibe and everyone stuck with the theme! We spoke about the history, culture, people, food and music of various Islands.The owner of the kids beach garden, Doyin, almost lost it when the DJ derailed and played Nigerian Music. Only music from Caribbean stars were allowed at the party. At some point, she picked up the microphone and said “DJ, we are still in Barbados. Please change the music”. It was so hilarious! She was not playing with her Caribbean themed party and I loved it.
We had Jamaican food; jerk chicken, rice and peas and a bunch of other things on the menu. I didn’t have a taste of it. However, my daughter did and not a single grain left on her plate. A sure sign the food was fabulous. We also had the Jamaican sorrel drink a.k.a Jamaican Zobo and it tasted great too. Its amazing how countries have so much in common with food and culture.Other fun activities for the day were hula hoops competition for parents, Dads Vs Mums Volleyball match, sand castle competitions and general Q and A’s on Caribbean countries. Prizes included gift vouchers and stays at La Campagne Tropicana resort. It was an exciting day and we all loved it! I even had a mini photo session there (channeling my inner Naomi)
WHY THE KIDS BEACH GARDEN?
It’s always incredible to hear why people start initiatives such as this. When I had a chat with Doyin, she sounded so passionate about what she did. The idea of the kids beach garden started when she realized that there were no kid friendly beaches within reach in Lagos. Lagos island being surrounded by water needed a kid-friendly beach. Most nice beaches were far off. You either had to drive for over two hours to get there or take a boat there. She saw the need for a kid-friendly beach, close enough for parents to plan an impromptu trip to. It was really that simple. Her other programs include the “kids clean club” where she teaches kids about the importance of keeping the beach clean and protecting the environment. She also has an initiative called “adopt-a-tree” where she’s fighting to protect our shorelines by planting coconut trees. It cost money to maintain coconut trees. The money raised is used to nurture and take care of the trees.
“Planting Coconut trees reduce the impact of coastal erosion because they have fibrous roots that bind the soil together. Coconut Trees are arguably the most valuable trees in the world because every part of the tree is useful. The fruit, the branches ,the stem and even the roots” – Doyin Ogunye. Founder, Kid’s Beach Garden
The kids beach garden is right in the heart of the city. It’s located at Elegushi in Lekki. Yes I was like you, skeptical, when I saw it was located at Elegushi. Different things went through my head, what do they mean by Elegushi? Is it the same one we all know with people constantly harassing you for money and weed heads all over the environment? Certainly not! It’s actually close by but while Elegushi beach is on the left side on the shoreline, the kids beach garden is on the right side. You surely have no worries as it is safe and secluded.
They are the 1st sustainable beach in Nigeria where children can learn about and give back to the environment while having fun. This is what I love about Doyin’s initiative. Its a simple way to have serious conversations about the environment. For enquires on visiting the beach, how to be a member or even just attend pop up events, you can get in touch with Doyin on tel: 08033788641, email: shorelineeuphoria@