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We Love KidsSTOP! (Part Two)

Finally we made it to faraway Science Centre again! This time we managed to cover five exhibits.

Critters

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Hmm, nothing much here – tree frog, gerbil, freshwater fish, hermit crab, chicks, incubator. There is also a short complimentary presentation at 4.30pm daily where the staff introduce the animals and the kids get to touch the chicks.

Kiddie Theatre

Alas, I don’t know how to introduce this section. Firstly, I am not familiar at all with filming equipment etc. Secondly, my kids aren’t exactly enthusiastic performers. So this section did not really catch our fancy.

Math & Tinkering

Rather disappointed with this section too. Some sensory play with green beans and a few containers… Some magnetic shapes… Two toy cars and tracks…

OK, probably I was too excited and expectations were too high. Furthermore I only found out today that the Innovation Lab and Kitchen Lab are only open to school groups. That leaves 20 exhibits for us then.

Flight & Space

Magnetic blocks with the planets’ names for the kids to match with the planets, and rubber bands to form constellations.

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Pedal or turn the handle to power the fans.

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Airport scene with flaps for the kids to open.

Pilots in action! (Actually just a few buttons to press the make the dashboard change colour :P)

The Flying Machine Factory! Our favorite stop for the day. The materials provided are very basic – balls, strips of fabric, pieces of foam, all with velcro to attach them together. Place them into the wind tunnel through a hole at the bottom, and watch them fly! The more successful machines (or the very light individual pieces) will fly right up to the top of the tunnel and drop out after they clear the top. Flying action, falling action, of course the kids were thrilled!

Built Environment – Blocks

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Nice blocks.. But from my observations of the boys and other kids, they prefer to use the long blocks as weapons. 金箍棒!

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Like this. No kidding.

Virtual Pond

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Virtual fish… step, step, step…

That leaves nine more exhibits to go!

Sadly, I noticed some ‘deterioration’ in the exhibits even though KidsSTOP is only two months old…

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Most of the tools are… gone… So are the excavators.. The crane wasn’t in use either – ‘upgrading in progress’. (See their previous glory in my earlier post.) Hopefully they will be replaced soon!

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The Value of Indoor Playgrounds

Indoor playgrounds are not just a place for me to relax while the kids go wild. No doubt that is a very valid reason if the kids are old enough to play on their own, but not now when I have to chase after Meimei who is too fearless for her safety.

I think indoor playgrounds are the best place to go when the little ones are starting to practise a new skill. For example, after Meimei started crawling, I wanted to let her practise climbing upwards. There were no such chances at home, and neighborhood playgrounds were too dangerous for her. Indoor playgrounds are padded and she could crawl and climb safely.

Similarly, when Kor Kor starts to do all sorts of monkey stunts at the neighborhood playgrounds, I know it is time to lug the kids to an indoor playground. The kids can do their ‘training’ in a safe environment, then it will not be so dangerous when I do unleash them at the park playground.

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We Love KidsSTOP! (Part One)

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Since KidsSTOP opened in June 2014, we have been there twice. The first time was a couple of weeks after it opened, during the school holidays, and it was too crowded for me to take photos properly or even think about whether it was good… I was busy keeping track of the kids! As promised on my Facebook page, here is the review! : )

According to KidsSTOP official website, there are 22 exhibits (play areas / themes, in my understanding) in total. And though we have been there twice and spent about five hours, we have only seen two exhibits in passing, touch-and-go for another seven, and really spent time at five exhibits. Thus I shall only include here the areas where we spent a significant amount of time.

That said, the other exhibits which are not included here, do look quite interesting too. – Flight & Space, Human Body! And the eight which we have not laid eyes on, I am excited just by their names! Tinkering, The Innovation Lab, Kitchen Lab, anyone??

KidsSTOP is really a dream come true for me – it provides opportunies for my kids to try things which are way too large-scale for me to even try to emulate at home (and gosh, I do try very hard to do many uncommon things at home!). Bonus points as it is under the Singapore Science Centre, which means that education and promoting the young scientific minds are duly considered in the setup of the edutainment centre.

In my opinion, rather than trying to cover all the exhibits in one visit (limit of three hours on weekdays, and four hours on weekends & public holidays), it is more useful to allow the child to spend as much time as he likes (or needs!) at each station, so that his learning is optimized. (If you have been following my blog, you probably know that ‘learning’ in my definition is often not what we adults can see/test. Trust me, there is definitely learning going on in that brain – ‘hear’ the gears moving?)

Built Environment – Crane

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We spent a good amount of time here! There is only one ‘crane’ here though. (See the exhibit name? It’s singular crane ok! The three kids were jostling to play with it.. I can only imagine the queue when it’s crowded..) In the photo Kor Kor is controlling a crawl above by pressing the buttons on the panel and moving a joystick. The crawl then goes down and picks up the balls, and the crane operator moves it up and out. Then it’s the climax! Open the crawl and release the balls into one of the big tubs (like the pink one on the right of the photo).

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In addition to the crane, there are other things to captivate the kids. The activity in these two photos really requires teamwork! While Meimei collects balls and puts them into the machine, Didi operates the crank. Kor Kor arranges the various parts on the wall (with attached magnets) to ‘catch’ the balls. Many movable parts, I like!

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Also in the same area, movable gears with attached magnets. The kids were not really interested. Not yet, anyway.

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Ride-on excavators! I had high hopes for these when I saw them in photos before our visit to KidsSTOP. Unfortunately, I think they are under-utilized. There is nothing around for the kids to scoop! And there is a television screen in that small space, which means Kor Kor was staring at the screen most of the time *gloomy* Would be great if there is a ‘real’ construction site to play with the excavators.. at least some sand please?

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All three kids liked this station. Meimei was especially interested in the hammar and nails! Bang bang BANG! A great excuse for creating a din >.< It looks like the boys are interested in simple machines and maybe carpentry too. Hmmmm. Time to rack my brains to ride on their interests.

Dino Pit

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Sadly, I think this is under-utilised too. The main problem? The fossils are not movable! And since there is a constant stream of kids playing here, the fossils are exposed all the time. What fun is there for a palentologist when he doesn’t even need to dig to see the fossils??

Brushes are provided for the kids to brush the sand off their hands and feet when they are leaving the pit. But… the same brushes are used for the hands and the feet!! EEKS!

Supermarket

Look at the variety and quantity of goods! Complete with weighing scales and cash registers! And when you scan the items, you hear the familiar ‘beep, beep’ too! But it’s just a sound effect – the ‘scanning’ is not connected to the cash register and the price is not reflected on the cash register. The cash register is like an electronic calculator – the child can key in numbers and add them up. It does not open and there is no play money. But still, it’s already a very good supermarket!

Cafe

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A very well-equipped kitchen! And it’s right next to The Supermarket, so you can bring your purchases home to cook right away. How convenient! And look at that fried rice, it seems so real! I think Meimei really wanted to gobble it up.

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And that’s all the exhibits we managed to cover during our second visit. And we also caught the complimentary puppet performance. It’s funny and worth the time I think.

Honestly, admission fees aren’t cheap. But it’s comparable to indoor playgrounds, and definitely cheaper than enrichment programes…. and more fun too! KidsSTOP, we will defnitely be back soon!

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Cool De Sac… Somewhat Disappointing..

Ok, it wasn’t really bad in that sense… But I guess my expectations were too high after seeing many nice pictures online >.<

At the back of the slides is a small ball pit.

At the back of the slides is a small ball pit.

 

The treehouse play area.. Something which I was quite excited about. But this picture shows the entire area. Quite small, nothing much

The treehouse play area.. Something which I was quite excited about. But this picture shows the entire area. Quite small, nothing much

In terms of the climb high climb low type of play, Cool de Sac doesn’t have much to offer. Meimei as a very agile 15-month-old, can’t manage much at the Treehouse area. She has no problems climbing up to the slides, but the slides are too high for her to come down by herself… so what’s the point of letting her go up… (I never go down slides with the child in my lap. It’s dangerous!) The two older boys were initially excited by the slides, but quickly lost interest too. They didn’t spend much time at the Treehouse.

The main attraction is probably the various Interests sections, namely Lego, dress up, and art & craft.

Art & craft - free flow of paper, abundance of pencils, crayons, markers, pom poms, ice cream sticks, scotch tape, etc

Art & craft – free flow of paper, abundance of pencils, crayons, markers, pom poms, ice cream sticks, scotch tape, etc

 

Lego - a lot of blocks, and many base plates

Lego – a lot of blocks, and many base plates, including vertical ones (the 3 standing figurines in the background)

 

Dress up - mirrors, costumes, props like toy knives. There is also someone doing face/body painting for the kids. On the left is a stage.. Best for phototaking!

Dress up – mirrors, costumes, props like toy knives. There is also someone doing face/body painting for the kids. On the left is a stage.. Best for phototaking!

 

The boys did spend a lot of time at the art & craft and Lego areas. But…. those are things which they could have done easily at home too…. hmmmm…

Wii and Playstation. I was so glad my boys didn't spend much time oogling at other people playing! (I definitely wouldn't have allowed them to play here.

Wii and Playstation. I was so glad my boys didn’t spend much time oogling at other people playing! (I definitely wouldn’t have allowed them to play here.

 

Play area for below-3s

Play area for below-3s

 

One of the highlights of Cool De Sac is definitely the food, as the playground shares a kitchen with Bistro Cool. The dining area is large and spacious. I had the chili crab curry linguine, yummy! No photos of the food, cos it was me against three hungry kids! I also like the kids’ menu, which includes purees for babies! No photos of the menu either, it was me against a thrice-pregnancy-ravaged brain… I forgot, sorry! (Then again, maybe I just need to get used to being a food blogger. Anyone wanna offer me free food?? :p)

Image from Cool De Sac Facebook Page

Image from Cool De Sac Facebook Page

So, I wasn’t that impressed with Cool De Sac. BUT their website does state that the playground ‘is designed around the needs of parents who desire a place where their kids can enjoy creative play while the entire family has a delicious meal. Parents can relax while their children are engaged in our unique play areas.’

I like that. Their objective is stated clearly, and I think they do fulfil their stated objective. If I want a place where the kids are gainfully occupied while I relax with my iPhone a good book, or have a good chat with Hubby or good friends, yes, Cool De Sac is indeed a good choice.

Location: 5 Temasek Boulevard, 02-379/80. (I don’t understand why the address doesn’t state it’s in Tower Five, right next to the Convention Centre. Am I the only one who’s totally lost in the renovated Suntec City??)

Image from Cool De Sac Facebook Page

Image from Cool De Sac Facebook Page