When we tell our kids we’re going somewhere fun, the first thing they ask if its to a mall. Sadly, this is a mall culture we’re in due to the extreme heat throughout most of the year. However, once in a while, going to the mall really does mean fun, and my kids are beginning to learn just that. In our beautiful UAE malls, you’ll find indoor skiing, an aquarium, Sega Republic amusement park, ice skating, bowling and more. But the next time you’re at Dubai Mall, your kids need to go to Kidzania. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, maybe even wondered what it was all about, but you truly don’t know until you experience it.
Kidzania is a pint-size city with over 80 interactive experiences…all indoors. When you arrive, you’re given a boarding pass, a KidZos check to cash at the bank and a city map. The streets are paved or filled with cobblestone, the business windows are child height and its ALL about the kids. Parents are welcome as bystanders, but you’re not allowed into the actual experiences. The children run the city with the guidance of Kidzanian adult helpers called Zupervisors. I loved watching my kids through the windows, seeing them take great pleasure in doing something on their own.
The kids learn how to earn money by performing various jobs around the city such as flying an Emirates plane or staring on a TV show, and then can choose to spend their money on other experiences like getting a driver’s license or baking cookies in a factory. I love the lesson of producers vs. consumers the kids learn, as well as the importance of working to get money in order to do the fun things! The children are exposed to role play, socialization skills, mutual co-operation, teamwork, self-esteem and respect like no other. Creativity abounds. This isn’t just a place for families, but school field trips. I took my students last year for their unit about money and it worked beautifully!
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Kidzania has plenty of places to eat throughout, and they even have Pronto, an adult only lounge where all the sounds of Kidzania seem to disappear and you can seek out a few moments of peace. Safety is a high priority here at Kidzania. Every person who enters will received a chipped RFID bracelet. When its time to leave, every band is scanned, making sure the child with you is yours. You can even choose to leave your children at Kidzania unsupervised, but you’ll still get wrist bands to make sure you’re allowed to collect your child after you’re done enjoying the rest of Dubai Mall.
While you might be tempted to drop your kids off and enjoy some adult time in the mall, I recommend going in with your child and just watching. I learned so much about my kids after six hours of seeing them explore, discover and seek out their interests.