Children’s Day was founded in 1923 in Korea with the intent to instill independence and national pride in the children of today and adults of tomorrow. The day is now a national holiday and parades and other activities will take place all over the country to show kids love. For those considering starting a family here, it might also be a day to consider the aspects of pregnancy and birthing abroad and for others who have children and move to Korea, it’s probably a day to meet other parents and possibly start play groups. To get started, here are some organizations and groups to meet other parents and families, find doctors and other services.
Getting a family started in Korea:
Morning Calm Birthing Services
This is the only foreign-owned registered childbirth service provider in Korea led by two certified doulas and childbirth educators Adele Vitale and Miriam Mangano. They provide labor support, childbirth classes, hypnobirthing classes, Dunstan baby language classes, doula services and postnatal care as well as other services and provide everything in Italian, English, Spanish, Mandarin and Korean. Adele says that their classes “are especially geared towards navigating the Korean medical system,” a task that could otherwise leave anyone stumped. Adele is certified with Childbirth International and is a trainer for the organization as well. The ladies are capable and willing to provide perinatal support to expat and multicultural families as well as Korean families around the peninsula.
Family Meetup Groups:
Seoul Moms & Kids Group
This community of foreign moms tries to provide weekly get-togethers in a mother’s home. It rotates each week, for moms with children aged five months to five years. There are also monthly afternoon get-togethers for three-year-olds and mommy coffee meet-ups as well as picnics, parties and other events. They aim to give mothers the opportunity to meet other mothers, find information on raising children in Korea and they have special gatherings during the holidays. Support, advice and fun as well as the chance to buy baby products and participate in clothing swaps, too are all on hand!
Seoul International Playgroup This international group of mothers and their children meets every Wednesday between August and May at 10am at the Seoul International Baptist Church in Haebongcheon. The group provides Christian-based activities in a fun atmosphere with the aim of providing a place to form lasting friendships.
Directions: Noksapyeong Subway Station (Line 6). Walk downhill, past Army Base Gate #3 on your left. On the right side of the road there is a small alley with the Pre-School Academy. Follow the alley 400 m. and on your right is the SIBC.
Seoul International Women’s Association: Moms & Tots
The Moms and Tots group hosts weekly meetings for mothers and their children with everything from coffee and play dates to visits to local museums and parks. There are special seasonal events and even nights out for mothers. SIWA activities are for members, but membership includes a variety of perks worth checking out. For more information, check their site out and attend a newcomers meeting.
Facebook is also a place that is open to providing relationship fuel and of course the groups there abound as well. Some groups to check out for meeting other parents and babies in the area include:
Infant and Toddler Mom Meet Up In Seoul: https://www.facebook.com/groups/563036790529853/
ISKA – The Multicultural Family Network in Korea: https://www.facebook.com/groups/12591835698/
These groups can provide support during a time when the more is really the merrier and questions abound. Don’t be afraid to reach out and meet other soon-to-be parents and families here in Korea.
Children’s Day Activities
If getting out and about to celebrate on Children’s Day is on the agenda, here are some events to check out on the day – but these aren’t the only ones. There will be events in most big parks around the city including Boramae Park and Namsan Park. Yeouido Parks are always popular with families strolling along the Han River where bike rentals are numerous and are a regular hot spot for this holiday. Museums like the Seoul History Museum will also be hosting concerts if an educational trip is a treat for the family. Here are three spots that are extremely popular on Children’s Day:
Dream Forest Art Center
Dream Forest is the fourth largest park in Seoul and has landscape hot spots from a waterfall to a pond, a pavilion and gardens too as well as a deer ranch and a water park. The park will host different events amid the beautifully curated paths host paid and free activities for children and families to get involved in. Hit this event if being outside and having a picnic is your idea of fun.
Hours: 10am – 6pm
Address: 173, Wolgye-ro, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
Directions: Dolgoji Station (Line 6, Exit 3). Take the city bus #147 (5min ride)
Children’s Grand Park
Not only is the zoo a highlight for children in the park, but in the past the park has hosted everything from a free concert by the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra to taekwondo performances, bubble shows and even a choir singing children’s songs. A Fairy Tale Festival has also taken place on the grounds the past few years. Interactive programs and parades get everyone into the spirit of fun.
Hours: 5am – 10pm
Address: 216, Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, Korea (Neung-dong)
Cost: Free to the park, KRW 6,500 for adults and KRW 5,000 for children for the animal show
Directions: Children’s Grand Park Station, (Line 4, Exit 1)
Imjingak Children’s Festival
Imjingak Park in Paju hosts one of the largest free events for children and families this upcoming holiday. From musicals and performances catering to children to a bazaar, safety training and exhibitions, there is a lot to get involved in in a town usually a stop when people are heading up to the DMZ.
Hours: 10am – 6pm
Address: 148-53, Imjingak-ro, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
Directions: Sangam DMC Station (Seoul Subway Line 6) or Seoul Station (Line 1 & 4). Transfer to the Gyeongui Line. Get off at Munsan Station. Get the tour train towards Dorasan Mountain and get off at Imjingang River stop.
Hallie Bradley is a writer, educator, editor and more who has lived in Korea since 2006. Check out her website TheSoulofSeoul.net for more articles on culture, Korean traditions and the life of her growing multicultural family in Korea or follow her on Instagram @thesoulofseoulblog for photos along the way.