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Keepin’ it real at Kidzania

I need to tell you about last weekend when we brought all 4 kids to KL to visit KidZania. I know, all 4 kids!!! Out of the country!! This is called level-up parenting, wherein we attempt a test run somewhere manageable before considering something really crazy.

We’ll talk more about this later, but first, KidZania KL. 

When we first found out about Kidzania 2 years ago during a trip to Bangkok, it was one of those “woah, how do I not know that this place exists??!!” kind of moments. Because how did a place this fun just fly under the radar without me hearing about it?

The concept is great – it’s sort of like a cross between a play area and a real-world experience where kids get to have a go at different occupations. And the place is huge, with 90 different activities to choose from, ranging from popular occupations like doctors, pilots, firemen, to lesser known ones like travel agents and HR consultants.

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//I’m jumping the gun here but how adorable is this? I’ll say right now that if this is my courier delivery guy, my online shopping situation is going to be out of control.

Okay, so each kid starts off the day with 50 kidzos, and every station offers an opportunity to earn more cash or to spend it. At the end of the day, they can use their kidzos to shop for memorabilia at the department store. They can also choose to save it for use at a later time (and at any KidZania around the world).

This is great for teaching the kids about economics and wealth accumulation. Now that Truett and Kirsten have a better understanding of how savings work with their pocket money, they were very diligent with how they spent their kidzos.

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Here are all the things you need to know for a visit to KidZania:

1. Go during off-peak periods. 

This is one of those places where the kids’ enjoyment is inversely proportional to the number of kids there at the same time because more kids = more time spent queueing = less fun. Unlike theme parks where there are filler shows/parades to spread out the crowd, all the kids will be spending their time queueing for one of the popular activity stations.

2. Not all activities are created equal. 

You’ll soon realise that the some of the stations are far more popular than others and you’ll either want to head straight to the pilot/fireman/paramedic station first thing in the morning or spend an hour in the queue later in the day. These activities all had hour-long queues the 2 days we were there.

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Other occupations like mobile phone consultants were consistently empty the entire time. Clearly kids don’t see it as a viable career alternative.

3. Have a strategy.

There’s no right way to tour the place, but depending on your child’s age/preferences, they’ll adopt a different strategy in their activity choices.

Like if they are all for earning the most money, they’ll want to choose the stations that have the highest payout vs time-spent ratio and instead of spending an hour learning to be a pilot, they might do 3 manual labor stations to maximise their earnings.

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Or if they’re like Finn, who wasn’t big on the whole kidzo-earning bit, they might choose to spend their kidzos on fun stations like the burger-making or to express their artistic side. While Tru and Kirsten were off working hard for some extra dough, he chose to spend 6 kidzos to be all tortured artist at the paint studio.

Kid knows what he wants in life, that’s for sure.

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4. Make your own food and eat it. 

The best way to spend kidzos is at the food-making stations. We usually have to fork out additional cash to buy food during visits to theme parks or playgrounds, but food is already included in the cost of admission to KidZania.

Here, the kids can learn to make food like chicken burgers, wraps and Vitagen, and then eat it so you save on the cost for more overpriced food. Also, you get to see your baby wearing a ridiculous hair net, which FYI, is priceless.

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5. Bring the baby!

Even though all the activities are designed for kids aged 3 and above (that’s when they can follow instructions without a parent present), there’s no need to leave the baby at home because there’s an entire area for toddlers to play in while the big kids are off doing their thing.

Theo had a great time at the baby area with all the toys.

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There are also some stations that allow for some baby participation, like the courier delivery service.

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I couldn’t get a clearer photo of this because my ovaries had spontaneously exploded while watching my 2 little boys delivering packages. True story.

*Bonus tip: You’ll need more than one visit to KidZania.

There’s so much to do that it’s impossible to finish everything in one day. This means that there’s a lot of revisit value before the kids get bored.

And for the best part, KidZania will finally be opening in Singapore come April, so there’s no need to haul the family to KL or Bangkok just for a visit.

Theo

Theo, 18 months

This is Theo at 18 months. Such a studmuffin!

His brothers and sister call him a muffin for short because “he really likes to eat muffins and also looks like one.” By that logic, they also call him a cupcake and a char siew bao and a mochi and any number of food items that are both squishy and delicious.

He then responds with “MUFFIN?? WHERE??? EAT MUFFIN! GIVE ME ALL THE MUFFINS!!!” He is usually not pleased to discover that there are no muffins to be eaten and it doesn’t end well.

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Theo at 18 months is super fun to hang out with because he gets very emotionally invested in things. He’s got all the feels all the time, which is way too much feels for such a little guy, but hey, I can’t argue with someone who believes in being all in emotionally.

These are the stages of Theo reading a book about a giraffe named Gerald who can’t dance and is mocked mercilessly by all the animals in the jungle.

Stage 1: Okay, a book about animals, I can totally go for that. 

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Stage 2: I’m not sure I like where this story is going.

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Stage 3: Full on frowny-face = WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME READ THIS, MOM???

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Stage 4: I can’t even look at this anymore, make it go away!!

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The story does end on a nice note, with Gerald finding his groove, but by then, it’s too little, too late. Emo baby can’t handle this much sadness in one book.

pregnancy

YES YES YES YES YES IT’S A GIRL!!!

One of the great things about having a 5th baby is that you can stop being politically correct about things.

1st, 2nd, 3rd baby, you feel obliged to be all “boy or girl, it’s all the same to me, as long as the baby is healthy…” even if deep down inside, you really really had a preference.

5th baby, you’re done with all of that.

Right now, I’m not even going to pretend like I’m the slightest bit prepared to have another boy. I NEED A GIRL. I just had the delight of spending my afternoon watching my 3 boys summon Captain Destroyer to my living room. What’s that? It’s like how Captain Planet is summoned by the combined powers of the Planeteers, except this guy is way more destructive and basically does not care about the environment.

And every time the husband jokes about <insert random activity> with his 4 boys, I try to mask my panic because I know he’s kidding and I won’t give him the satisfaction of watching me fall for it but my involuntary facial twitches will just give me away.

If you’ve ever had a baby, you know that gender isn’t something within your control. You can munch on spinach while facing southeast during the full moon exactly 72 hours before you ovulate with a family of chickens running around under your bed while doing the naughty-naughty, but that’s no guarantee of having a girl. Short of going the IVF route, you just do it and hope that the odds are in your favour.

So the point of all of this is that…YES YES YES YES YES IT’S A GIRL!!!

I can confirm that Operation Baby Hayley is a success and balance to the force will soon be restored. I’m going to have one more of these sweet little things. :)))))

kirsten baby