Introducing Young Kids To Jakarta: Baby Steps Are Key

By Carrie Crozier

A little over a year ago, my family and I moved to Jakarta, and I often find myself reflecting back
to how things felt then. At the time we – my husband and our two daughters – arrived, the kids
were 2 and 4 years old. Everything was new and a little overwhelming. Now Jakarta truly feels
like home and that switch came about fairly quickly for us. I share what we did and some of the
handy survival hacks I’ve used for exploring with kids – spoiler alert: most involve snacks!

We essentially moved here with two miniature time bombs – you never knew when one (or both)
would be tired, over-tired, hungry, need to pee… or all of the above! Our key priorities were to
find a temporary place to live once out of quarantine (yes, we arrived during the pandemic!) and
safe ways to keep the girls entertained while we adjusted.

We took things very slowly, revisiting the same places several times so they became familiar,
and making new family traditions out of the simple things we did. It helped our young girls get
acclimatized to our new city and created lasting memories we still recall fondly.

The scene of our personal “micro-city” was Lippo Mall in Kemang. We rented an apartment in
Kemang Village for the first month, while we searched for our “ Jakarta forever home” with the
fabulous Esti McMillan (CEO/founder of EMC).

Here’s a quick run-down of some of our first favourite spots in Lippo Mall. If you find yourself
starting out in a different location, don’t worry. There may be other branches of these places
near you or, if not, you can still take note of what to look for when creating your own micro-city!

Kidzoona is a large indoor playground on Level 2 with a ton of different activities that are
geared towards younger kids. For children who crave action, there is a large slide, jungle gym,
ball area and bouncy trampoline walkway. For kids more interested in pretend play, there is an
interactive village with little restaurants and shops, and other sections featuring things like a
sand table, trains, and magnetic tiles. It’s basically every child’s dream playroom and
playground combined!

The part I like best as a parent? There is one small, well-guarded opening for kids to exit
through, which means I can easily take both kids myself. You can see some images on
Kidzoona’s instagram page:

Make sure you remember to bring your own socks – parents too – or you’ll end up with a
drawerful of Kidzoona-branded socks, like us! We also usually bring our own snacks for a
mid-play break, but Sour Sally’s Frozen Yogurt (located on the UG floor) is a great place to get
a healthy treat.

After listening to the loud, cheerful music loop at Kidzoona for an hour or more, you’ll definitely
want a break! Avenue of the Stars is a large open-air dining area on the ground level that is
serviced by a collection of many different restaurants. The comfy chairs and relaxed vibe make
it a lovely place to unwind after a play session. Survival tip – bring snacks and things for the
kiddos to do when sitting starts to get boring – colouring books, small toys, etc. I let my girls help
decide what to bring and they take “packing their backpack” very seriously!

Monochrome Cafe is located on the second floor of Avenue of the Stars and earned favour
with my daughters by offering excellent pancakes and babyccinos. Everyone knows a four-year
old is the expert when it comes to pancakes!

With bellies full of pancakes, we would often go on a jalan-jalan (short walk in Bahasa
Indonesia); the walkway just on the other side of the main road is a safe way to get outside and
stretch your legs. You get a glimpse into a local kampung (village), complete with goats and
chickens, and can sometimes see fish and large water monitors in the river, as well as locals

This little snapshot summed up our first couple of weeks in Jakarta. Fast-forward to the present
and we are happily living in Kemang. We have, of course, ventured outside of the small bubble I
described and discovered many fun and family-friendly activities. I plan to write another blog
post about them soon, but for this post, I wanted to reflect on the things we did to help our
young daughters thrive amidst all the change.

With a little creativity, curiosity, patience, and snacks (never leave the house without snacks!!),
you can turn any place in Jakarta into a fun bonding experience and create wonderful

We still joke about the time we roasted a chicken for hours, only to discover it was rotten inside.
(Coincidentally, this was the same night we started Family Take-away Night!) It is so much fun to
randomly bring up the things we did “when we first moved to Jakarta”. I’d love to hear yours – do
you have any favourite places that helped you transition to Jakarta? Or silly traditions that got
started from buying chicken from the wrong grocery store? Please share!



A Canadian wife and mother who loves to travel and try new everything: food, experiences,
books – I’ll try anything once! Our Canadian family has been living as expats for over 10 years
but this new Indonesian experience is our first with our American-born children.

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