I accepted my first official blogger invitation to an opening event on Friday night and I’m so glad I did. Invited to the opening of ‘The City’ – Singapore’s first interactive children’s playground – I have to say this is very different to anything else I’ve seen in Singapore, because I reckon I’ve seen nearly all the playrooms! With that said, when invited I was a little sceptical something like this could hold my boys’ attention, but I was completely proven wrong – they loved it, and I’ll definitely be heading back. Dressing up and role play – what’s better than that?
Located in Liang Court (#03-04A, 177 River Valley Road) – it’s easy to find, because you just need to follow the signs up to the 3rd floor once you get there. Parking is plentiful in the basement and I’m sure there are a few public transport options to get you there as well. Liang Court is a quirky little shopping centre already – famous for its Japanese speciality stores – so if you haven’t been, it’s worth a visit in its own right. In addition, the location of ‘The City’ is perfect, because if you are looking to create a full day adventure with it in the mix – the whole area is brilliant – here’s an old blog on adventure opportunities in Boat Quay and Clarke Quay if you’re looking for additional inspiration, but of course you can go the other way to Robinson Quay as well. A top area.
Getting back to ‘The City’ – it is designed for children to dress up and role-play real-life and fantasy scenarios. They can be cooks, cashiers, doctors, nurses, policemen, super heroes, princesses or construction workers – the amount of costume options is really quite impressive. And then they can be these characters in various rooms set up to inspire their creative juices. The themed rooms included a supermarket, medical clinic, post office, café, beauty salon, nursery, kitchen, soft block construction area and more. It’s done very very well, including a “road” that goes around the middle area for kids to zip around, but they can also learn road rules and how to identify signs. All of it is designed to create realistic situations so the kids can learn as well, which includes a recycling and health message in the supermarket. It’s simple genius really.
There were two aspects I loved about it. The first is watching the kids create their own little worlds based on their interpretation of the costumes and environments. Kids are so incredibly creative and it was really beautiful watching this play out. I also noticed that more boys than girls were going CRAZY for the costumes, and we had action heroes leaping from tall buildings and doing the shopping as well. It was sweet. You can stand back and let them go or get in and play-role with them – either way, watching how they interpret the environment will certainly melt your heart.
The second aspect is a very big part of why we live in Singapore. The concept of ‘The City’ ensures that to really maximize on their creative experience, the children have no choice but to interact with the other kids. As each kid takes on a role, to make that role come to life, it requires the participation of the other kids as well – i.e. the supermarket “shopper” needs to pay for their purchases with the “cashier.” As you can probably gather from this blog, we love living in Singapore for many reasons, but the main one is to give our children exposure to people from all races and nations, hoping they will grow up not accepting of everyone. ‘The City’ brings this idea to life, and I loved watching all of the kids collaborating together and really enjoying themselves. While the other indoor playrooms can encourage kids to play together, it’s never consistent and that made ‘The City’ a real stand-out for me. I loved that side of it.
So as the rainy season batters Singapore, and many parents with younger kids are looking for inspiration to entertain the kids indoors, I can definitely recommend ‘The City’ as a new option. It would be a great place to go with a group of parents and kids, or just turn up alone and let your kids make new friendships? It’s new and evolving, with lots of plans for the future, but it’s not a place you can drop your kids and run for the hills. Parental supervision is required, although I’m wondering if they’d give us 10 minutes to go and enjoy a peaceful perusal of Kinokuniya – as there’s a branch on the same floor… J? One can hope. Also it would definitely be a perfect venue if the grand parents are in town.
Designed for 3-8 year olds, the cost is $22 ages 3-8, $18 ages 1-2, and adults are obviously free. There are also membership options, which make it a little cheaper. It’s open from 10am – 7.30pm, and don’t forget socks! Also if you’re planning on a sea creature adventure on Boat or Clarke Quay before or after – water, hats and sunblock are a must.
Enjoy and please do tell me what you think if you go?