In a city like Mumbai, where playgrounds and large open spaces are a luxury, a parent is always on the lookout for a safe and secure space where the children can play. And, if space comes with an added advantage of learning then the idea is welcomed by a parent.
Benefits of role-playing:
Child development experts believe that learning from role-playing is far more likely to stick with children than traditional educational methods like doing exercise sheets. Through role-play, children are making discoveries and experiments with firsthand knowledge rather than hearing or reading about others’ experiences.
Several child development experts outline the benefits of role-playing in their impact on the below core skills:
I had heard of the Kidzania – Indoor City for Learning & Fun Activities for Kids for a long time now. My son had visited the place with some friends couple of years ago. I hadn’t gone along. However, this time around, when I was invited to Kidzania – I tagged along with my children curious to know what it was about.
I learned that our very own, Shahrukh Khan is a shareholder and instrumental in bringing Kidzania to India. A BIG THANK YOU to him for doing so. It is opening up so many possibilities in the minds of little children who are otherwise bogged down with academic and other pressures.
My friends, Kareena and Ghanshyam Punjabi had been to Kidzania more than 15 times and they used to swear by the place. They were the ones who had taken my son to this place a few years ago. It was only logical that I chose them as my partners to visit this wonderful place.
The first impression was set at the counter itself, we
were greeted by the friendly, Aditya and his team.
The counter has been created like an airport, where there are lanes for check-in, one can create a passport or purchase a ticket, a boarding pass is allocated, a cheque of 50 kidZos is handed over and a high-tech wristband includes you in the list of elite Kidzania citizens. Uff…quite a lot of information at one go – but not for the kids, they understood each and every instruction that was meted out to them.
A carefully written script that sounded simple and
exciting each time the staff spoke to the little
All KidZania activities are designed with an experiential learning process in mind, channeled through fun role-play activities that seamlessly combine education and entertainment. The overall concept is quite ancient, as Aristotle once said, “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
Since Experiential Learning involves learning from direct experience or “doing” rather than listening or memorizing facts, it’s strongly linked to KidZania’s concept, supported by this relevant quote from Xun Kuang: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
KidZania’s activities are known to seamlessly combine education and entertainment.
KidZania Mumbai offers 100+ role-playing activities in over 65 establishments. These activities include an introduction to aviation, animation, acting, engineering, medical sciences among others. A university inside the KidZania premises encourages kids to spend their kidZos to sharpen their skills.
One enters the Kidzania city by passing through long, brightly-lit passage that gives an illusion of traveling into another dimension. When you enter the city, what hits you first is the sheer energy of the place.
A proper city, with roads, shops, trees, a hospital, a theatre, bank and even a blue sky with clouds – one actually feels like a character that has been placed inside a movie. One sees little children, dressed in various uniforms pushing trolleys from one shop to another – gosh they look as busy as ever.
Just when one is soaking the energy, the loud bells of the fire engine clang through the air and slogans of, “Kidzania, FIREFIGHTERS! Kidzania, FIREFIGHTERS!!” echo across the city. One sees a dainty little fire-engine containing little fighters dressed and ready to rescue. The fire-engine stops and the little fire-fighters rush out and dowse the fire in a building. If you are wondering how they know what needs to be done, you must know that they are properly trained on fire and safety as part of the drill!!
Move a bit ahead and one is encountered in an ambulance where little doctors and nurses are tending to a patient in an emergency situation. The ambulance darts around the city to rush to the aid of ailing patients – each of the little medical professionals is trained in advance.
Gosh…there are more than 100 role-playing activities
in 65+ establishments!
- A Coke Bottling plant where the children can actually make their own bottle of Coke
- Sbarro joint where kids can make their own pizza and eat it
- Kellogs Factory to make real Kellogs Chocos
- Parle Factory to make real candy and sweets
- Paddlepop icecream factory to make real ice cream
- A mini-theatre where they can walk the ramp or showcase their speaking/dancing skills
- A construction site where they can lay bricks
- The list is endless…
Now, here comes the best part…in the beginning of this post, you saw a cheque with 50 kidZos written on it. KidZos is the official currency of Kidzania. The child can go to the YES bank branch and withdraw money. Depending on the activity, the child can spend or earn money. So you spend for a degree and driving license and then earn by being a DHL courier boy or Pepperfry delivery agent or a car salesperson.
Yes, people! Kidzania has a fully functional economy
of their own. My children found it extremely
So, they need to:
- Enroll for an activity
- Get training for it
- Wear costumes and perform the tasks
- Voila! Get paid!! Wow!!
My four-year-old was squealing with joy each time she earned money for her hard work. What’s more, if you get a degree you get paid better! So my 13-year-old went to Amity University, and got a degree in Business and Finance – after that, every task he did, he earned slightly more than the others.
Did I mention that the passport also helps them earn more money than the other kids? Well, the logic is, if you are a passport holder, then you are a citizen of Kidzania – so you get more benefits than the others.
So much information about money! How do little children understand it and how do they handle the money? Well, it turns out that we underestimate our children – they watch us all the time and when they get an opportunity, they mimic the activities that they have watched their adults performing.
Guess what, in case they wish, the children can even apply for a credit card! They learn to use it wisely and learn to save for better activities that need more kidZos.
So much for children, what about parents? In order that parents don’t get bored, there is a lovely parent’s lounge with comfortable sofas and a neat cafe. Computers with a high-speed internet connection, a large television where you can choose the shows you wish to watch. They also have the famous Bodhi Spa where the parents can relax while the children work to get their kidZos! Whats more? There are fun activities for parents like the hopscotch game with a chance to win prizes.
But what fascinated me the most was their VIRTUAL REALITY kiosk. OHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYYY GOSHHHHHHHHHHHH….it cant get closer to reality than this one! I was laughing when my friend almost tripped and even shivered while she was watching the VR video. The operator was one of the most friendly persons I have met and he carefully instructed us, laughed with us when we were laughing but had an eye on the well-being of the participant at all times.
When I tried the VR video…at first I tried to act super cool…but then…as I mentioned, this is as close as you can get to real-life…the VR technology is simply amazing…totally drew me into it..and I was so scared and ENJOYED it at the same time…great adrenaline rush!!
We were engrossed at the VR kiosk and didn’t notice that our kids had gone in different directions when we finished, we got worried. That is when the wristband came to the rescue. All we had to do is straddle to the nearest kiosk, scan the wristband and the GPS tracker identifies the current location of your child and also the last place they had checked in. Wow! What a relief!
All our wristbands were grouped together – if a person wearing a wristband from another group tried to take my child, the security will immediately intercept. No child is allowed to exit Kidzania without the accompanying adult with a matching wristband.
The food coupons came to rescue when we got hungry, however, there are loads of good eateries where one can buy food.
Now, the question that you all may have, is it expensive? Well, my answer to that will be, yes it is expensive if you see the value in terms of money, but if you view it using the lens of a futuristic parent – it is NOT. Besides, there are loads of promos & offers, contests, and options to choose from. You can even organize your child’s birthday party here – I am planning to do so 🙂 soon.
We entered Kidzania at 2 pm and at 9 pm, I had to literally drag my children out, they plainly refused to come! For those 7 hours, both of them had forgotten their phones, i-pads, computer games and television. Both had so many stories to tell me, the car was buzzing with their happy voices. There is something magical in listening to a child’s description of happiness and success.
My story, however, didn’t end here, the next weekend, I was back at Kidzania – this time the 1.5-hour drive from Malad to Ghatkopar didn’t seem like an ordeal, maybe because I knew that the return on this investment is going to be multi-fold!
If you are a parent who wishes to lend wings to your child’s creativity
and imagination, Kidzania is definitely a must-visit for you.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. Kidzania has not paid me a single rupee for writing this review. During my first visit, they gave me a free entry pass, however, I paid from my own pocket for the food & beverages, merchandise, photo printing etc. The next visit, I have paid from my own pocket for the entire experience – it was an investment and not a cost – totally worth it!