Whilst you’re finally through HTH (Half Term Hell) I thought I would introduce you to the best thing to happen to kids since Disneyland, Universal and all those now, rather MEH kids adventure parks so that school holidays at home, need never be painful again. KidZania.
Those of you who live in West London, may have seen some rather strange goings on, on top of Westfield shopping centre over the last year. This will explain it. This child-size city is the equivalent in size to Leicester Square, with the ceiling height of Heathrow Terminal Five, and is the UK’s first Educational Entertainment Experience.
KidZania London is a real-life introduction to the world of work, representing experiential learning at its very best, where children begin to understand and learn for themselves the nature of work, the diversity and function of businesses, and its overall contribution to well-being and prosperity in our world today – all in a way that is quite the opposite of boring.
As kids check in ( a British Airways one of course!) they are given Kidzania money in the form of a 50 Kidzos cheque (their own currency!) to take to the bank and either convert straight into Kidzania cash or be paid into their ‘account’ and spent via a Kidzania debit card they can use over the course of the their visit. At some activities, the kids are able to earn more Kidzania cash, at others, spend it (that will be my kids if I know them….) and at some, both. On entering their City, kids will find the streets lined with over 60 real-world establishments, including a Hospital, Police Station, Fire Station, Airline, and Theatre, each offering real-life role play adventures in a fun and safe environment. There will be something for everyone.
Let’s take the Hairdressers – kids can get their hair blowdried – which they need to PAY for with the Kidzania cash they receive at entry – OR they can EARN Kidzania cash, by being the hairdressers blowdrying the other kids’ hair. That’s only one example. The kids can work at the in-house radio station, change a tyre of a Renault Formula E racing car – again real, but 75% of the size of a real one. They can be BA cabin crew or pilot inside a real BA plane. With lots of real like businesses involved – it really will be like a shrinky dinky version of the real world. Businesses such as GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen), Cadburys, Mothercare and Early Learning Centre, Unilever, Global (own Heart FM and Capital Radio) and Innocent to name a few.
I have seen it. I am an adult. I have always wanted to shave a few years off my age, but that’s for other reasons. Until now. Now I REALLY want to be a kid again as I cannot even begin to explain how amazing and exciting this place will be for kids to visit. The care, consideration and level of detail that have gone in to this place is exceptional. For example – the ceiling heights are all lowered, to make kids feel taller – more adult.
From age 7, kids can be left at the check in desk (British Airways of course!) to roam the joint safely – yet have that feeling of freedom to choose what THEY want to do for once. And we get to roam freely around Westfield and get that feeling of freedom to choose what WE want to do for once! For kids under 7, there is a waiting room, more of an airport lounge, for parents to sit in – with some BA Club World seats to recline on.
Opening on June 25th, KidZania London will be the 19th KidZania to open internationally and join what is a global phenomenon, having welcomed over 42 million visitors worldwide. I am literally fizzing with excitement about it and my kids are driving me mad about wanting to go.
This is learning, but not as we know it. Fun, but not as we know it. The best thing to happen in London for kids E.V.E.R. – I know it.