English-Language Drama Camp, Winter of 2014, Parents' Place in Neihu

10am-3pm Mon-Fri January 20-24

We are excited to offer this winter camp during the first week of the winter holidays! We will have FIVE DAYS of drama and storytelling activities for the children. And, we are lucky enough to get not one, but TWO experienced, creative, energetic, and much-in-demand teachers for the week.

10am-12 noon, freelance teacher and choregrapher Lauren Mark (http://becoming.com.tw/lauren-mark/) will lead children to:
-explore different levels of movement and physical shapes
-transform spaces into other worlds through imagination and body language
-make living paintings, or tableaux, of your favorite story scenes

1pm-3pm, Katie Parlow (http://becoming.com.tw/theatre-katie-partlow/) will introduce the children to the world of theater and improv.

In theater, kids can learn self-confidence through games designed to help them express their own creativity and imagination. Beyond that, improv also teaches kids flexibility and quick-thinking, all in a fun and safe environment. Different skills: voice, body, story creation and then two days of improv. "Improv activities" is a series of different games where participants make skits.

This camp is open to children from grade 1 and up. The nature of the activities mean older children should find it most enjoyable and challenging, also.

9:45am doors open
10am -12 noon Movement/storytelling
12 noon - 1pm Lunch
1pm-3pm Theater/Improve

Pickup by 3:30pm.

Please register ASAP. We need 5 registrations to confirm the camp. http://www.parentsplace.com.tw/Register.html

Cost: NTD5,000 for the week.
Lunch: Bring your own, or NTD100 per day for a Chinese-food lunchbox.
Payable upon registration.


Awesome Playgroup News Winter 2013 - Online Edition of the Paper Produced by Children in Taipei

Here's the link to our digital format of the latest Awesome Playgroup News! But we will still have a few of the beautiful print copies available at the Jan. 18 Stage time and Juice. Please support our sponsors. And, check out the photography contest!

http://www.youblisher.com/p/786428-Awes ... nter-2013/

This paper is produced by children who are in Taiwan and/or connected to Taipei City Playgroup and offshoots in some way. We welcome all children's submissions, children's help with layout, and sponsors' support.


Shimen Coastal Area - More Than a Kite Beach

Way back in the early days of this blog, I wrote about the annual kite festival at Shimen Kite Park.  Since that writeup, I have gone out to the beach several times, mostly to walk my dog and give my kids a bit of a run in fresh air.  On a trip out there alone (with the dog) a few days ago I explored the area a bit more than I had in the past, and discovered it was a little treasure trove of places to run and play, even on these cooler winter days.

First, we have to deal with the ugly truth.  A LOT of trash gets washed up onto this Kite Park beach, and is left there during the winter months.  This first picture is taken from the Kite Park entrance side of the beach.  I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending this for children or dogs at the moment. Unfortunately, this is the first landing for most visitors, as it is easily accessible from the carpark right off the main coast road.

This is a picture of the "Polystyrene Garden" - for some reason, there is a lot of polystyrene "growing" out of the vegetation that reaches from the car park to the beach.  It looks like leftovers from containers used to hold raw fish.

This time round, I decided to venture to the other side of the township that is by the Kite Park beach.  I drove out of the carpark, and took a hard right, driving over the little bridge and through the street, then took a right toward the beach. There is a signpost showing the way to the Cape Park.  I turned left and followed the street up the hill. I was delighted to discover three car parks, clean toilets, and a number of wonderful stone and wooden picnic tables and chairs scattered around the grounds, under these amazing "windswept trees".  These areas hold the promise of a cool escape from hot summer days.  This area is known as "Fugui Cape Park".

The paths are mostly wheelchair-friendly.  This gun emplacement is right next to the path.  

 The area is well-signposted.

The steps go up to the lookout.

The view is spectacular.  You can head back down to the activity area and enter the brick maze, or run around the open space. It was almost silent when I went there.

 This "Laomei" Green Reef was formed by "wave-cut volcanic lava". The best time to see this is at low tide in April and May.  It is the only place in Taiwan that you can see this kind of landscape.

Besides this off-road area, there are several attractions close by.  The government website is well-written, and clearly shows the positions of the respective landmarks in the area.  I did not make it to the lighthouse this time, but plan on taking the children out there when we have opportunity.  The lighthouse is the northern-most one in Taiwan, and very accessible.

Fuji Fishing Harbor is located right on the way out of Fugui Cape Park.  It is the large white building down at the edge of the water.  You can buy seafood to take home, or have a meal at one of the many local seafood restaurants.  If you go on a weekday, you can get away with not paying for parking in the car park.

Here's a night view of Fuji Fishing Harbor, taken in August 2013:

Overall, Shimen district's attractions and natural areas should appeal to families.  Definitely not as popular with tourists as Baishawan or Sanzhi, it could provide some coastal air and a space for the kids and the dogs to let off steam, year-round.

How to get there:

1. MRT: Take the Danshui (Danshuei) Line to Hongshulin Station and catch the shuttle bus
2. Danshuei Bus: Danshuei → Jinshan (Laomei Village, Shihmen → Walk about 150 meters)

1. Taipei → Chongcing North Road Interchange → Provincial Hwy 2B (Dadu Hwy) → Danshuei → Provincial Hwy 2 → Shihmen → Laomei Village (intersection of Laomei Street and Danshuei-Jinshan Highway (Provincial Hwy 2)
2. Taipei → Yangmingshan National Park → Yangmingshan-Jinshan Highway (Provincial Hwy 2A) → Jinshan → Yeliou → Shihmen → Laomei Village (intersection of Laomei Street and Danshuei-Jinshan Highway (Provincial Hwy 2)
3. Sanchong → Wugu Interchange → Guandu Bridge → Jhuwei → Denghuei Blvd. → Provincial Hwy 2 → Shihmen → Laomei Village (intersection of Laomei Street and Danshuei-Jinshan Highway (Provincial Hwy 2)
4. Sun Yat-sen Freeway → North Coastal Highway Interchange → Provincial Hwy 2 → Shihmen → Laomei Village (intersection of Laomei Street and Danshuei-Jinshan Highway (Provincial Hwy 2)
5. Second Northern Freeway) → Sijhih → Keelung-Wanli Interchange → Wanli → Jinshan → Shihmen → Laomei Village (intersection of Laomei Street and Danshuei-Jinshan Highway (Provincial Hwy 2)

Google Map: http://theme.northguan-nsa.gov.tw/gmap/gmap.aspx?Lang=2&SNo=04002740&nearBy=view