Earlier this year the kids and I visited Kidzania. We were invited to a birthday play date at the facility. We went with the flow of our birthday host and had a wonderful time! However I knew I had to visit again to explore the facilities better with my blogger hat on. I was fortunate obtain a review opportunity of the facility, much to the excitement of Angelo and Valentina. I’m sure I earned a few brownie points. On our first we arrived for the 4pm time slot. For our review visit, we took the 2pm time slot. Although, the 2pm time slot was busier, both visits were equally fun. Kidzania was an enjoyable, educational and empowering experience for my kids.
Kidzania is a child-size City nestled inside Westfield London. There the kids are in charge, as my daughter reminded me by our second visit. It’s geared towards children aged 4-14 years old and allows for more than 60 real-life role-play experiences. On arriving at Kidzania International Airport, we all checked in and were given our security bracelets. The bracelets have a radio frequency antenna and identification chip and they can only be removed by Kidzania staff with parental authorisation through a specialised system at the end of the visit. We were given a map and the kids received 50 kidZos to get started. The attendant suggested that the kids should aim to complete six paid jobs but it was necessary. Angelo and Valentina gravitated to what they knew in ‘the real world’. Angelo visited Innocent Smoothies first. We’ve visited Fruity Towers in the past and he has fond memories of the visit. He used some kidZos to pay for the experience. While, Valentina went to the ELC play area, which caters for under 4s. Then, she went to be a Hair Stylist at the Beauty Salon. (It pleased me to see that the mannequins were of different genders, skin tones and hair textures.) She earned 6 kidZos. Angelo earned 8 Kidzos from the Police Department. He really got into the task if securing the site of a fire. I could see he enjoyed being part of a team. Both kids were confident and happy try activities without each other.
At the Alder Hay Children’s Hospital, Angelo went off to be a Surgeon and Valentina became a Nurse in the Special Care Baby Unit. I admire Kidzania’s attention to detail and teaching without being ‘preachy’. For example at K-Mart, there were posters that said ‘Eat Fresh’ and ‘Inspired by the Season’. During our visit there were many opportunities to practice numeracy, literacy, as well as verbal comprehension. Between them, the kids completed 8 jobs and earned 165 kidZos. They were both able to set up bank accounts, because the minimum amount to start is 75 kidZos. They left with Central Bank of Kidzania bank cards.
We thoroughly enjoyed our Kidzania visit. Staff were really friendly and helpful. The facility was clean and perfectly sized for kids which allowed them feel empowered to do things on their own. Comparing to our first visit, the only downside from a 4 pm customer point-of-view is that some work experiences end around 7-7:30pm. I’d advise first time visitors to plan the visit to avoid disappointment. Angelo and Valentina continued to role play at home. They’d set up their play space with props and all, pretending to be cabin crew or cashiers. One occasion I overheard him saying ‘Welcome to British Airways, would you like a cookie.’ Then he got crisps for more selection. He said ‘that’s all the British Airways food we’ve got.’ ‘Welcome to British Airways, pick a Crip’. It was so cute! I used the Kidzania online Teacher Resources for ideas how to extend their learning at home. So far, I’ve encouraged them to draw a picture of their favourite job. Valentina drew herself going into the Air Conditioning Unity. Angelo drew himself stocking shelves in K-Mart. We also talked what made the jobs enjoyable.
My only regret was not arranging a B-Kidzania PaZZport for the kids . The PaZZport allows kids will earn extra money and gain other benefits. There’s still lots we have not tried. We plan to visit again soon. I know over the Easter Holidays, Kidzania has additional attractions. There will be the opportunity to make chocolate bunnies in the chocolate factory, Easter themed face painting and the children will be able to make cards in our shopping alley! Kidzania is an inclusive facility. Check refer to this link for information on their additional needs provisions.
Kidzania tickets for a family or four, 2 adults 2 kids or 3 kids 1 adult costs £88 Monday to Sunday for a time slot of 4 hours. Note: the offer excludes Early Years and Infants. Visit the website for further details. Kidzania has been awarded the Quality in Study Support (QiSS) Award. This means that Kidzania is the first organization to receive the award which places them at the centre of the education community if the field of ‘Out of School Hours’ Learning’. Now that’s value for money.