I heard good things about Kaboodle Kids from a friend who went recently, and so when K had a recent school holiday, I thought it’d be the perfect ‘off-peak’ time to bring her (as opposed to public holidays or weekends).
At the start of every day, the blocks are arranged in neat piles according to their shapes, so it is easy to find pieces you need. There’s also plenty of natural light streaming in from the full length windows.
The first thing the kids enjoyed exploring was the cosy nook near the entrance. Such fun to climb up and peek out of a long window!
There was a helpful folder with many photos of vastly different structures for reference, complete with clever and funny taglines. I enjoyed looking through it, as well as their website’s gallery, because it just made me realise that there were so many possibilities!
When Kaboodle’s founder, Mui Jin, chatted with me, she said that her preference was for kids not to refer to the folders though. It would be more interesting to see what they’d come up with themselves!
So this was what K & B came up with, at the start.
Then K remembered a photo of this ‘house’ I had shown her from the website prior to coming, and said she really wanted to build that. So we did! And added a ‘palm tree’ to boot! It was really fun trying to put the pieces together, and seeing the structures take form.
We had just read Rosie Revere, Engineer, which was a fascinating book on a girl who loves engineering. So this was a great follow-up activity.
Our first precarious palm tree came tumbling down when the girls brushed against it, so in a never-say-die attitude, we built another one. This time, I had the idea of reinforcing it at the ‘joints’, haha. It lasted slightly longer. The cool part is that the material of these Imagination Playground foam blocks are light enough such that it doesn’t really hurt if some pieces fall on you.
See how the door below has a functioning hinge! A small tube that runs through all the door pieces ensures stability.
Check out the back of their house. They had so much fun playing pretend here.
Then they built a couple of different car models.
As we were there on a weekday, there were between 7-12 other kids and parents there at any one time, so we had a very pleasant experience. In fact, they eventually made friends with another two girls (who looked aged around 8-9), and B became their castle’s “very best guest”. “We are the workers,” they said, as they very hospitably ushered little B in and made her sit on the “best guest’s chair” (photo below). Super cute kids!
I enjoyed building some of these structures with the girls, and I think they enjoyed spending time with me this way. It was heart-warming to see other parents build with their kids too, whether they are 3 years old, or 10 years old.
There was an older girl (upper primary, probably) who was quietly building this huge ball-run all by herself, at one corner.
She later modified it to something taller and narrower, and generously let the other kids play too! A visitor tries out this feat of engineering.
K finds a cosy cubby hole on one side of the tall ball-run.
I also appreciated how this space gives kids the chance to practice their social skills. It might have been an exceptionally good day, but the kids were inviting one another into their ‘houses’, or tactfully sussing out whether the original builder would allow them to come in to drop a ball in the ball-run, and then happily helping to feed one another balls to drop off…
Of course there were the usual demolition incidents, but the kids were not too upset. Also a chance to learn how to deal with disappointment and an opportunity to practice conflict management skills? I think if all the kids involved are old enough, it would be interesting to have them sort it out themselves, instead of having parents intervene.
In any case, there are ample seats for parents along the entire length of the room, so it’s easy to observe what’s going on. There were also two staff (play associates) on hand the entire time we were there, encouraging the kids’ building efforts, and keeping an eye on things.
There were these interesting good quality gear toys at the magnetic wall on the far end of the room. It was fun to link them together and watch how one action triggers consequential reactions. Even I got quite absorbed playing with this!
Thus wraps up our fun visit to Kaboodle Kids! We stayed there for almost three hours. The girls didn’t want to leave! They really enjoyed it, far beyond my expectations. It just goes to show that a good toy, however seemingly simple in its premise, can engage children for hours!
902 East Coast Parkway (Big Splash)
Block B, 02-05B, Singapore 449874
Tel: +65 6247 7020
Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm daily
Admission charges can be found here. They also offer Party Packages.
Transport: There is ample parking space in the open air carpark. There is also a free shuttle that leaves every hour, exactly at 20 minutes past the hour, which stops at Parkway Parade.
Note: We received free admission for the purpose of this review.