Friday 26 August 2016

Our Kidzania Experience

The thing about Kidzania is, it's expensive! Everyone attests to that. But there's great inspiration, fun and much learning opportunities in there.

KidZania is a children's city with everything built to their size like in the real world. They study, contribute and earn in a functioning economy. Working along the concept of role-playing, the kids get to try out many different careers within. There are many occupations they can get their hands on, for the close to real experience. They can work as a flight attendant, pilot, optician, professional model, chef, performer, police, fireman etc.

Last month, we finally found an auspicious day to visit. A weekday when Jazz didn't have to do school. It was also my first time bringing three Js out on an expedition. Just me and them. A milestone unlocked! Mad it may be, I've to say Jazz and Jare enjoyed themselves tremendously.

It was a regular weekday we visited, and was not overly crowded. Though we had ample time on hand, we didn't accomplish as many stations as expected.

Here sharing the experience of our adventure:
1. Play in small groups
Since school was out for Jazz, we made the trip down with her classmates and their parents. Parents and kids often have different interests and opinions, it will be really tough to play and move in a large group. Ideally, moving in a 2 to 4 kid group will be an easier gang. Moreover, there is a limit to the number of kids each play session can take in. 

2. Let the kids decide
I know, it's so expensive that we cannot let them decide to idle on time or get on the unexciting stuff. I witnessed many parents hard coaxing their kids to try what it seems exciting to the adults than to the kids' interest. Most times, our kids would actually choose what they like to play to match that of their character. I confess I am a victim of such when Jare wasn't adventurous and open to most plays. I had to follow his desires more than that of mine.

Highlighting an expectation here. One thing Jare had really love to get on, was riding a car at the Automotive. But that required not only getting a license as a trainee driver and an eyesight test, it also required a minimum height of 1.2m. Which he didn't make the mark.
3. Get both parents
If possible and affordable, get both Dad and Mum to chaperon the kids separately. It will help greatly if the kids are of different ages and gender. Boys and girls play differently and different stations require some skills at certain age requirement. What the older sibling can do, may not be what the younger sibling can do. That's when we do need to go our separate ways to maximize our money play time. And of course, if your kids are highly independent, you may sip coffee away at the parents' lounge. Which is out of bounds for kids.

4. Pictures
The play stations are parents forbidden, but open to their official photographers. Some are not even with an open concept. Parents are not able to see what's going on in there. I went with a determined mind to not purchase any pictures (Decisions Non-working Mums make), as we know how pictures can be a rip off. So we did end our day without buying any pictures, and I refuse to even browse through their portfolio. Until.... a kind friend sent us these that she bought. Oww... I love!!!

Now I regret not browsing through the pictures and I doubt they will still be around the next time we visit. I guess there's a package price to purchase 15 photos or maybe even unlimited for a price. I'll find out if we go again. 

5. Nursing room
I had a baby in tow. So Thankfully, there's a nursing and diaper changing room for Mums and babies.

6. Toddler zone
I love how thoughtful the place caters to children of varying ages. Which means it's play together for a family with siblings of very young age. This play zone is also conveniently sited next to the nursing room.

Kids aged below 4 can explore the different rooms of the Kindergarten. There are also ongoing workshops where both parents and kids can have fun learning about potting plants and more!

RightZKeepers Residence
Also for kids aged below 4, the RightZKeepers Residence is stocked with toys and bouncy surfaces for kids in Singapore to have fun and discover their skills and abilities.

7. Don't be too ambitious
It's good to explore the place with great dreams and ambitions. The kind of attitude we really need in there. But realistically, it is impossible to complete all establishments within a visit. Generally each establishment ticks off about 30 minutes of play, so there really isn't much we can cover within the regular opening hours. Prioritize.

We are gonna disappoint hard if the day doesn't turn out to be as expected. But like many have forewarned, if your kids are interested in the Aviation Academy (pilot and cabin crew), that should be the first place you whack for a queue number once you enter. Then come back at the allocated time. Smartest play system among all. Just so we don't have to wait in line. There are also fix timings of the day when queue passes are given out. Schedule will be placed outside the academy for all to view.

8. Lunch
Js didn't want to spend kidzos (Kidzania's currency) doing lunch, they had preferred that I buy their lunch with my real money over at soup spoon. Hmm... smart kids at play. Anyway, I did it their way. Saved us time too. Hands on eateries for kids include making burger at KFC, soup at soup spoon and pizza at Pizza Hut. For the adults, there's a Killiney and a restaurant within. Malay cuisine I think.

9. What to expect
Waiting and waiting. I'll be lying if I said you don't have to wait even on breezy days. You need to wait for earlier session to complete and clear before the next batch enters. Wait in queue, especially popular activities. So best way to play is really to visit early on off peak days. A friend reported that Sundays are quite okay too.

10. What we covered
We covered 8 establishments. And I know friends who could cover up to 15 a day. It looked like we did take our own sweet pace. Here's what we covered:

i) Traditional BBQ Meat Store
Get insights to how traditional BBQ meat is prepared. Kids discovered the rich history behind this taste of tradition which is enjoyed by many, and learnt how the meat is still cooked the traditional way using charcoal. No real food involved here. All food play is dummy.

ii) Radio Station
Kids were introduced to all of the high-tech equipment used in a live radio broadcast programme and learnt how it is used to produce a radio program! They got to run their very own radio segment while delivering chart-topping hits. A link of their audio file will be given for download and keepsake. I love how this is also a good training for their oral tests in school.

iii) Courier Service 
Js love this! Safeguard the packages to make sure they get to the customers on time, and in its original state. They navigated through little streets in the city of KidZania to deliver the packages. If your kids aren't too good with maps and directions, this is a good time to teach and get involved. Because they will be out of the parents restricted zone to get on their jobs. Oh yay, we can play!

iv) Fashion Boutique
Js attended a Modelling Class and learnt how to catwalk by showcasing their favourite pieces with  show-stopping poses. I felt like Js were conned to get in there, by their beloved Mama. I saw lovely kids' clothes and a mini stage which I told them it's exciting to be dressing up and model for a day. They took on my idea after some coaxing. Low and behold, we didn't know there would be a Fashion show parade at the theatre with parents as guests! My bunch of shy kids were probably upset with me. But I'm proud that they pulled it off really well. I love the confidence and boldness they exuberated.

To be a model, the kids will first need to pay some kidzos to be a trainee model. After which, they will earn it back (with slight profit) by staging their fashion as a runway model.

In the theatre, parents were invited to get on stage for picture with the models. 

v) Fire Station
Stop.Drop.Roll! A fire was threatening to burn down the hotel and Js put on their uniforms to the rescue. Only bad on the day of visit was, they had to walk to the fire venue. Fire truck was under maintenance. Do call in to check if you think the vehicle is gonna break or mend your child's day.

vi) Peranakan Museum 
Learn about the work of a museum curator through taking care and displaying valuable artefacts from the unique Peranakan heritage. Js got out and related that they were Nonya and Baba wearing kebaya and batik. I'm happy that they learnt something after every play.

vii) Nursery
Because we have a baby in the house. I shoved them in here for a good time of learning to be a baby expert. They learnt to take weight and height of newborns (dolls), cleaned and fed them. This area shares the same building as the hospital, with other related occupations within. Do be aware of what your kids want to queue for.

viii) Aviation Academy
It was a rare opportunity for Js to be inside a cockpit and have a taste of what it feels like to operate an aircraft. It's a pity that we didn't manage to score seats as cabin crews, where adults are welcome to role-play as passengers.

Those were the establishments we completed. A fufilling day we had! 

We spent a full day in there, right from its opening hour to closing. I find that primary school going kids may achieve more in terms of learning and fun, as compared to a preschooler with some restricted activities and sometimes understanding ability.

Going as a family of 2 adults and 2 kids is really costly, and soon, we will have to pay for 3 kids! It's damaging to the pocket. But I've to say, it really is a place to learn through play. And kids learn better when they are happy. Parents get to discover a different side of our kids, which we may not see in their usual play. The interests and talents of our little ones as they make their career choices. Even if it means choosing to work as a window cleaner, we will be happy. Only in Kidzania.

There really is so much to share about Kidzania, where every corner is a discovery. Oh well, we will have to be back some day. Js didn't use up their kidzos at the Department store! A day of earnings may not give them a good buy in there. Saving up is a good trait, but in this case, it means you will have to visit Kidzania again.

Have a go if your kids have not experience the fun of it!

Sentosa, Palawan Kidz City.
31 Beach View #01-01/02
Singapore 098008

Disclaimer: We were given a pair of adult and child ticket for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photos are solely ours.  

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