We recently visited the Nubo play centre in Alexandria for a fun family Sunday. I was looking forward to taking the boys after seeing images of Nubo’s beautiful spaces on their Instagram and I have to say that I was not disappointed.
One of the things I found most impressive was the design of the centre. There are several different areas designated to different types of play – float, create, imagine, build, climb, taste – however the centre’s clever design makes everything feel very open. The openness combined with high ceilings and fresh, clean colours create a feeling of freedom and open up little minds to creative adventures. It’s essentially a blank canvas with little props and tools to encourage families to make the most out of their play time.
There are so many options for kids nowadays – play spaces designed specifically for their entertainment, “interactive” concerts and an abundance of toys unlike anything any other generation before us has ever seen. The problem with a lot of these activities is the child is often just a passenger in the experience. Today’s experiences are often planned and strategised to preempt the child’s next move and do it for them. How often have we seen our LO’s press a button to open the door to a kaleidoscope of bells and whistles? They may watch in awe for all of 5 seconds but will typically discard the toy or move onto the next activity very quickly after – not really getting very much out of the experience.
Our kids are itching for what Nubo terms ‘pure play’. My three-year-old, Christian was beside himself with excitement. I can genuinely say, hand on heart, that I’ve never seen him so excited and so engaged for so long. My heart burst with happiness as I witnessed his excitement level reach an all-time high and last the entire visit of a solid 2-hours – an eternity for any toddler. He came up with creative ways to use a slide, built a fort and went fishing for treasure in the ball bit while his little brother was really drawn to the Art Studio and Library.
The garish colours of most play centres are nowhere to be seen here which is a welcome break for our senses. There is also a cafe that offers healthy options for all family members. I would love to see some good ol’ Vegemite on the menu however I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of their fruit frappes. Their pricing structure is also a little different to other centres. Parents are free when accompanied by a child but you pay by the hour so be aware of the clock if you’re on a budget.
We’re excited to return to Nubo with a few more family and friends and I’m so happy that there’s a place that has figured out how to get families to play together in the most simple and beautiful way.