Many people often think of play in the form of playing catch, playground time on swings and slides, kite flying, swimming and other physical activities. But physical play is not the only kind of play. Pretend play (or imaginative play) plays an equal (if not more important) role in a child’s cognitive and social development. Harnessing the benefits of pretend play, THE CITY – Singapore’s newest interactive playground was officially launched yesterday on 15 December 2012.
Within THE CITY, young children can role play in a fun, safe and inviting environment. Children can choose different professions such as Cooks, Cashiers, Doctors, Nurses or Policemen, dressed in the respective uniforms. They can drive on mini streets and explore small-scale real-life locations; such as the supermarket, café, beauty salon, medical clinic and classroom.
Dana and her buddy, Valerie were invited for a sneak preview of what THE CITY offers. There are altogether 10 learning stations at THE CITY. We bring you a review of the Top 5 which Dana and Val (both 4) enjoyed most.
OUR FAVORITE ROLE-PLAYS AT ‘THE CITY’
1. The Supermarket
A miniature supermarket stocked with groceries and sundries awaits the mini-shoppers. The girls had a fun time role-playing as shoppers picking up detergents, cereals, milk, vegetables and other fresh produce on their imaginary shopping list. They also had the opportunity to take turns to be cashier and handle transactions with pretend money.
|The well-stocked shelves made of clean, recycled boxes…|
|The gleeful shoppers with their mini trolleys…|
|The industrious cashier learning how to tally, add and total…|
|Learning how to pay for her purchases…|
|Learning how to give change in return…|
|As you can see, the girls are taking their Pretend Play very seriously…|
|Learning accountability in tending the till and ensuring no money is lost! 🙂|
2. The Cafe
Here in a small pretend kitchen, the girls role-played as pizza chefs, politely showing us (their customers) to our seats, taking down our orders then patiently cooking and serving us our food. The girls love the little dining area (complete with Ikea rattan tables and chairs) where they could seat the customers.
|Let’s have a cuppa before the first customers come…|
|Chef Dana preparing her first order of the day…|
|Busy rushing out the pizza take-aways…|
|Learning to work in teams in the kitchen…|
|A busy but happy Chef Val…|
|My sassy chef ready to serve her freshly baked pizza!|
3. The Clinic
A small clinic with baby dolls as patients. The girls don uniforms as doctors and nurses and proceeded to their own private cubicle to examine and treat patients. We love the realistic uniforms and little medical tools supplied at this station.
|Meet Val, the friendly nurse on duty…|
|Meet Dana, the caring pediatrician in training…|
|Finally found the diagnosis and looking for the right drug to dispense…The baby’s got tummy ache she says…|
|Giving the patient tenderly, loving care…|
4. The Post Office
Stationery and writing paper are provided for kids to scribble a mail before dropping it into the postbox. The girls like the exclusively printed CITY stamps provided on the tables to affix on the envelopes.
|Old fashioned mail sorting box…|
|Bringing the world to you on a map…(pity Singapore is not printed on it)…|
|The girls writing a mail to their fav persons…|
|Folding the letter and slapping on the stamps…|
|I’m sending this letter to my kakak who has just returned to Indonesia this afternoon…|
|I’m mailing this to Santa to tell him I’ve been good!|
5. The Beauty Salon
It must be a ‘Girl-thing’. I realised girls do naturally gravitate to this corner of the play area where they get to become hairdressers to mini mannequin dolls. With the hair accessories provided, each hairdresser gets to style the mannequin’s tresses. Quite a unique experience for the girls to style others instead of being styled…
|Hey Mom, look I’m combing her hair!|
|Does she look good with two ponytails?|
|This jiejie seems to be doing a much better job than we do…|
|After some styling, Val’s doll is looking so much neater!|
Apart from these 5 learning stations, the girls also explored being:
|Attention! Attention! We are here to evacuate all of you!|
|Discussing the best evacuation plan for the City…|
I thought the girls look rather stylish in these fire chief uniforms! Pity there isn’t any water hose or fire trucks for them to maneuver in. That would make the pretend play more realistic.
Before we went to grab a bite, Val hopped over to the costume corner and transformed herself into a sweet pink fairy!
|Gorgeous in Pink!|
We also saw other kids (mainly boys) don Batman, Superman and other Super Action Hero costumes. It was comical yet heartening to see the young ones so enthused in pretend play. With a wide array of pretend play costumes, THE CITY does provide plenty of great photo-ops.
|This reminds me of ‘Dash’ in The Incredibles!|
|Unleashing the Power of Imagination here at THE CITY…|
|Two cute Japanese brothers in Spider-man outfit!|
The girls were having fun in THE CITY that they would have gladly stayed longer to continue their play if not for the fact that we had an appointment to rush to. The concept of an interactive learning playground is not new in Asia and THE CITY certainly has lots of potential for creative play. Having been to BabyBoss in Taipei, I had expected more directed activities and authentic experiences at each learning station but the girls do not seem to mind at all! What I like about our visit was seeing how the girls interacted with each other and with other children whom they do not know while engaging in the role-plays (esp at the crowded Supermarket). If there are two main benefits to be reaped, that would be the building of interpersonal/social skills and the nurturing of creativity & imagination!
The City, #03-04A Liang Court
177 River Valley Road
10am to 7.30pm Daily
Adults and Babies Under 1 – Free
Under 3 years – $18; 3 to 8 years – $22
(Unlimited Play per Entry)