Last week the girls and I drove into London to meet up with our friends at Westfield. We had our Easter holidays a week later than everyone else in the country so we had deliberately chosen to go that day, knowing it would be empty. The reason we were heading to Westfield wasn’t for shopping though, it was to go to KidZania. I am telling you now, it is AMAZING! I am going to try and share how brilliant it is but I just don’t think you can fully appreciate how fab it is unless you go yourself. But I will try!!
The idea behind KidZania is to give children independence and teach them the value of money. They experience difference jobs and either have to pay to enjoy an experience or they get paid a salary. You are given 50 KidZos as you enter and then it is up to you to spend and save as you go around. The only downside is that adults aren’t allowed to join in – I really wanted to join in haha!!!
We arrived bright and early for our time allocation – you are given a 4 hour slot and although it is plenty time enough for little ones, I know already that we will be going again to take part in the jobs we just didn’t have time for. As you walk in, you are greeted by a BA plane and an airport check-in desk. We had great fun posting a picture on FB of the girls waiting in the queue – everyone thought we were off on our holidays 🙂
At check-in you are all given a wrist band. These are used to scan in and out of each activity, ensuring you are still within your time slot. Adults are given bands too, mine was linked to LJ and Little G so that they would not be able to leave without me being with them. The idea behind that is that older children can be left to their own devices but are completely safe within the complex. Of course mine are too young to be left but it was still good to know they were safe.
Walking into the complex it is like stepping into another world. Cobbled streets and miniature shops, everything built and geared towards children. Little G and O ran off ahead to explore while us mummies pushed the buggies along, marvelling at everything around us (still jealous that we couldn’t take part!).
The first activity they chose was being paramedics. We had no idea what to expect but wow, such attention to detail. They put on their uniforms and were given brief training on how to treat burns. Suddenly a bell sounded and they made their way out of the hospital and clambered into the ambulance. Not just a sit down, no no, off they drove down the street to the scene.
Once they arrived at the scene they treated people for burns (a building was on fire). Watching G rush around completely believing she was a paramedic was just brilliant! At the end of session she was paid 8 KidZos – she was beyond excited by this!
At the scene they caught sight of the firefighters and so that is where we headed next. This was run in a similar vein to the paramedic session. They put on their uniforms, listened to a talk about fire safety and then ding ding ding, time to go!
After a quick ride in the fire engine they arrived on the scene and took hold of the hoses to put out the blaze. They. loved. it!!!!!
Of course having our little ones with us, we didn’t want them to have to sit and watch the whole time. So next up was the home corner upstairs. LJ loved it and so did P, they were so happy making us cups of tea and doing the washing up.
In hindsight I would take Mr F with me so that we could have a child each. It was tricky managing the two different age groups and a lot of the time LJ wanted to join in with Little G – most activities are 4+ though so she just wasn’t allowed bless her.
Next on the agenda was making chocolate bars! Little G had been looking forward to this one for weeks and was itching to get started. They don’t actually keep the chocolate they make (just as well after all the finger licking!) but instead get given a voucher to redeem at the end of the day.
Once G had got her chocolate fix it was into the disco room. Both of mine love to dance and so we all had fun boogying on the dance floor. They run various competitions so you can win more KidZos but we went along while they were between sessions.
My favourite activity of the day was watching G in the supermarket. She looked so cute in her tabard and was completely in her element scanning people’s items. If I was a child this is the one I would have wanted to do over and over again!! She got paid of course and was as happy as larry!
By the end of the 4 hours she had saved up quite a few KidZos and at this point they have two options. They can either save them for another visit or spend them in the various shops. She didn’t have quite enough for some of the items in the shop but she desperately wanted to have her face painted so that is how we finished the day.
Both girls left having had the best day ever. Like I said, I would definitely take Mr F along next time so both girls could do as they pleased. That or I would leave the younger ones at home. Either way, we will definitely be going back again!!
We were invited along to KidZania for review purposes but all words and thoughts are my own.