Review: Bad case of kid envy at KidZania

February 07, 2017

Have you been to KidZania? Carey Ann Dodah, Director of Curriculum Strategy at Explore Learning, recently visited the child-sized city in London and shares her experience in this blog post!

KidZania London

Ever suffered a really bad case of kid envy? Unless you want to experience this then I strongly recommend that you don’t visit KidZania because from the minute you’ve checked in with your special wristbands and walked through the doors to this world you will experience the greatest rush of “Why can’t I be a child again right now!?” I would have dashed straight off to the TV recording studio and my husband would have probably spent the entire time working on the FormulaE car.

Wow – this is a truly unique experience.

In all honesty we didn’t have much time for the kid envy to settle because the girls were whisked straight away to join the fire department and within minutes were kitted out with hats and jackets watching a briefing on how to put out a fire. Moments later a call came in to report a fire and the 8 mini firefighters bundled into the fire engine waiting beside them and ‘zoomed’ (or maybe more like a 5 mile an hour trundle) off to the fire. It was the cutest thing and I laughed so hard. The girls rushed to the fire hoses whilst the rest of the emergency services arrived. The mini police officers cordoned off the scene and the ambulance crew started treating unsuspecting parents for burns treatment. I apparently had a broken leg and needed treating for smoke inhalation, so I was swiftly seen to! What a brilliant way to throw us all into our adventure – the most amazing role play experience.

My girls are 7 and 9 – they definitely enjoyed every minute and they packed in a lot. In their four hours they got to experience being:

  • Firefighters
  • Hairdressers
  • Models
  • Animators
  • Hotel housekeeping
  • Chocolatiers
  • Painters
  • Dentists
  • Drummers
  • Clothes recyclers

Needless to say after four hours they were pretty spent (as were we!) and of course there was a tonne of other things that they could do as well – they are already planning their next visit.

All the activities that they took part in lasted between 10 and 20 minutes which is just perfect for capturing attention but also ensuring that there wasn’t a long wait time for anything either. I loved the cross interaction between different roles. Whilst the girls were being Dentists other children acting as couriers and bank guards came in to pick up parcels and deliver money. KidZania really does a fabulous job of bringing the world of work to life. It was great to listen in on the children’s conversations about whether they were going to spend or earn their money. This visit was really a chance to completely immerse themselves in that and I love how my 9 year old has decided her strategy for her next visit already.

“Next time I’m going to go to the University and get my student card so that I can earn more money doing some of the jobs. I’m also going to open a bank account so I can have a debit card and earn money in interest and then I can save up for the really big prizes in the department store!”.

It’s lovely to have conversations with your children about the work they enjoyed. For my eldest, the Cadbury’s chocolate factory stood out as her favourite and my youngest loved the hotel housekeeping (if only she applied this passion to her own room cleaning!). We also spoke about what else they might have liked to do and science laboratory (for the older children as there is one for the under 4s) and the opportunity to be a teacher were the ones that came up – maybe ideas for future development!

Some top tips for making the most out of your adventure:

  1. Choose an early slot – it was easy to get parked in Westfield and the first couple of hours were quiet and easy to get around to all the activities.
  2. Look online and choose 4 activities that you definitely want to do and prioritise them first.
  3. Consider the meal options online especially if you are leaving your children there (which you can do if they are over 8).
  4. Don’t forget your camera.
  5. Be prepared to live vicariously through your children and try not to force them to do the things that you really wish you could do if you were decades younger!

We will definitely be visiting again!

Explore Learning will be working with KidZania in the coming months so watch this space for more on our exciting new partnership – including discounts for our members and family days out!

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