Many Bali visitors with children barely move beyond the sands of the coast and neighbouring resort towns. That’s a shame, since central Bali highlight the island’s dazzling landscapes, rich culture and friendly, family-oriented people. What’s more, there’s plenty to delight children away from the beaches.
Ubud in central Bali makes a good base. The town is well known for its cultural energy, and many kids enjoy seeing the shadow-puppet, gamelan orchestra concerts and Balinese theatre performances that are held at various venues in town almost every night.
Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Centre was founded by Laurie Billington-an American expatriate who loved to read and believed every town should have a library- together with her Balinese husband, Made Sumendra.
They built the library as an annex to their family compound in Ubud in 1995, with the blessings of Made’s grandfather, Pekak Mangku- whose own passion for reading, learning and helping others had earned him a reputation as a respected priest, healer and advisor in the community.
“Pondok Pekak” means “Grandfather’s little resting house in the rice field”. It refers to the hut that Pekak Mangku first erected, on the spot where he later built his family home, which has been called “The Pondok” by the family and community ever since. In honor of both this tradition and this man, the library was named ‘Pondok Pekak’.
This led to the development in 2001 of a children’s library with books in Indonesian and English. As their brochure attests, they have a collection of over 10,000 books in a wide range of topics consisting of English, literature, anthropology, philosophy, history, politics, and much more. Even the Pondok Pekak Ubud is also often used as dance performances, gamelan (Balinese musical instruments), and poetry readings. They were certainly very good for children, because it could stimulate their creativity in accordance with the interests and talents of each.
Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Centre also provides your kids the chance to take dance lessons or learn to play the drums and xylophone; the library offers kids’ books in English. Bali Centre for Artistic Creativity has half-day art classes that include a collective ‘Creativity for Families’ class in charcoals, pastels or wwatercolors as well as other classes just for children. And Studio Perak hosts three-hour jewellery-making classes and welcomes children over eight to participate.
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