When I heard about Kaboodle Kids, I was intrigued by the concept – a room full of supersized foam blocks where kids are free to build whatever they want. It sounded like something my boys would like as they love building with Duplo/Lego.
I believe kids need unstructured and imaginative play. Playing with old cardboard boxes and pretending they are in anything from a house to a spaceship; improvising with Daddy’s old shirts and transforming into a doctor, an astronaut, or a diver. These are activities I enjoy seeing my kids engage in. The blue foam blocks that Kaboodle uses are Imagination Playground blocks which are meant to provide children with an environment that encourages free, creative, and unstructured play. The parts are loose, but can be joined together; and there is no right or wrong way to play with them.
When I first stepped into Kaboodle Kids, I must admit I was a little underwhelmed by the space. I had imagined it would be closer to the size of other indoor playgrounds that have climbing structures, but Kaboodle was just one large room filled with blue foam blocks scattered about. A thought flitted through my mind, “That’s all?” However, it quickly became clear that the space was sufficient, and maybe even ideal.
Why ideal? As the room isn’t too large, and one side is lined with a long sofa, parents can sit comfortably at the side while watching over their kids. My husband happily sat there and read his newspapers while the kids played. I cannot tell you how pleased he was to not have to move in order to watch over them. Many other parents read books, checked their phones, or just zoned out. I’m not the kind to sit still, but I can see how comfortable it can be for parents who prefer to sit it out.
The space is also sufficient because once the kids get lost in creating something, it really doesn’t matter how much space is around them. All they are focusing on are the blocks. And in fact, with a smaller space, they don’t have to walk so much to search for specific pieces they are looking for.
The boys embarked on several projects. First, a ball run. They then started to build a multistorey fort with battlements. Ellery ventured out to build a slide for Alyssa, then a tunnel to crawl through, while Asher and some other boys continued on the fort. Ellery then moved on to make a helicopter, while Asher used some pieces to make a spider costume. Finally they built another multistorey castle before I had to drag them away because our time was up.
Time really flies when you are having fun! It didn’t feel like two hours at all!
Childhood experts claim that there are many benefits of playing with blocks, and at Kaboodle Kids your kids have the chance to make their usual creations life-sized! There were kids making houses, tanks, motorbikes, cars, and getting to play in and on their new toys. You can see some other creations that people have made at Kaboodle Kids here. There’s a file at Kaboodle Kids which shows a range of designs that you can follow to get the creative juices flowing. One of the most amazing, to me, was a building that some adults made that reached right up to the ceiling!
Unlike a regular indoor playground, I felt that playing at Kaboodle Kids gave the children the chance to learn many valuable little lessons. I liked how the children could come together and collaborate on a building project. It was good for the children to learn how to negotiate with other kids to incorporate this or that element into their design, or justify why they put or removed a particular block. Sometimes things got a bit testy, but we tried to stay out of it to let the kids settle their own problems.
That being said, I do think that parents who bring their kids to Kaboodle should tell their children not to deliberately break other children’s structures without first asking. The boys and their new friend were very disappointed when some other kids came by and tore everything apart! So much time and effort had gone into making it! Their mum just sat by the side and did nothing. She saw, and went back to her phone. But we told him that’s just how life is, and to move on and build something else. It took quite a lot of convincing, but finally he deciding to make a spider costume. I thought it was really creative of him to wear the blocks, and he inspired a few other people to do the same.
The best time to go Kaboodle Kids would be when it’s quieter so that you have access to more blocks, and Mui Jin (the owner) sometimes chips in to help with the children’s large projects (e.g., she mentioned one project that used up all the blocks in the room and stretched from one end to the other!)
Party packages are available if you want to book Kaboodle Kids to celebrate a birthday. Mui Jin told me about a Nerf gun party that was held there. The kids could build their own defences before the fighting started. Sounds really cool to me!
As we left the boys were already asking when they could come back again. And they haven’t let up on their requests, so I think we’ll be heading there again!
Kaboodle Kids is located at
902 East Coast Parkway (Big Splash),
Block B, #02-05B
(above Mr Teh Tarik, next to Alpha Gymnastics)
Our children were offered free entry to Kaboodle Kids in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.