Mummy, I want to be a… , Daddy I want to be a…. If your child has ever uttered that sentence with their chosen profession at the end. Be it a doctor, a firefighter or even a journalist then you as a parent may be looking for ways to encourage and educate them about that profession. That’s where KidZania come in. A child-sized city designed to teach children life skills in a fun and engaging way.
Kidzania is an educational attraction new to London but already established in numerous places including Tokyo and Lisbon. The concept is slightly confusing and admittedly scary but when you understand it, I tell you, you can’t help but love it. There are over 60 real life role play activities to chose from.
Prior to arrival, I had no idea what so ever what to expect. I invited my friend along whose daughter was the same age as CeCe ( Six ). When she requested more information, I wasn’t sure what to say. All I could come up with was that it’s entertainment venue for kids. What she gathered from that was that it was soft play.
Together, we drove from South East London to South West London. Underestimating Saturday traffic meant we arrived late and missed the tour of the place which meant we were left lost and confused. It’s still a pretty new venue. Yesterday, was in fact its 1 month birthday in city.
To my surprise, I was pleased with the whole experience. Kidzania is located at the swanky Westfield London next to M&S and equipped with all the directions needed from the the parking lot up to the airport style entrance to the venue. Upon arrival, we were greeted enthusiastic staffs who helped book up in, provided our boarding passes, and a high tech bracelet which worked as a tracking device ( Lost kids is a thing of the past ) and a way to track activities on the day.
KidZania operates the same way as an amusement park. You spot a ‘ride’ you want to go on and you queue up for that ‘ride’. Outside there is a notice, telling you how many people can go in at a time, how much Kidzos it would cost ( or sometimes earn ) and how long it would take. I thought this was really handy in explaining to the little one about patience and waiting their turn. At the entrance, the kids are also given 50 KidZo, which they can use to ‘pay’ things in KidZania be it food, or to enhance themselves career-wise.
CeCe and her friend chose to learn how to make smoothies at Innocent Smoothie Kitchen and chocolate at the Diary Milk making session. They also had a go at doing grocery shop at the Supermarket. Popular experiences include the Capital FM Radio room, wall climbing and styling session at the H&M store. Whilst downstair is jam-packed with activities for the older kids ( 6 and above ).
Upstairs, was also filled with activities for 4 and younger. Due to a last minute change, I had to take Amelia with me. I was worried there wouldn’t be much for her to do but in fact there was. She was able to play in the Early Learning Centre which she thoroughly enjoyed. There was also a music room as well as an arts and craft area which she could have tried.
KidZania is aimed at children aged 4 – 14 and although I was pleased with the experience that my six year old had, I have to say its definitely more for the older kids. Say those aged nine and above. I also think the venue may work pretty well as part of a school trip. Parents can leave kids aged seven and above whilst they shop around in Westfield or relaxed in the wifi equipped parents lounge.
I was really pleased with the facilities at the location. Toilets were conveniently located. I was caught off guard by the air plane style toilet. There was even a Mothercare nursing room for parents with younger ones to breastfeed, warm meals and change a nappy.
Whilst there have been mixed review about KidZania, I have to say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It’s an amazing way to encourage learning and get kids to think about their future. I recommend a visit for parents with older children. For more information, please visit their website.
“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event and have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.