Kidzania London: the day my kids got jobs!
Teaching my children to 'earn their keep'.
How have you been coping with the long summer holiday from school this year?
It always sounds so idyllic, but 6 weeks is an awfully long time to keep coming up with original and interesting ideas to keep your children entertained.
The thing is that you can sometimes end up paying a small fortune on days out and other kinds of activities. Not that young children care: money doesn’t mean anything to them at that age.
But what if there was a place that taught them that money doesn’t grow on trees? Where they could learn about the value of hard work in exchange for a salary? Where they learn these things and still get to have fun?
What if I told you that such a place actually existed?
It does. It opened earlier this year and it’s called KidZania London.
Based inside the Westfield shopping centre in west London, KidZania London is a huge indoor ‘city’ specially designed for children. It features more than 60 child-size establishments, including a hospital, police station, theatre, hairdressers and a courier company.
Children can try jobs out at each establishment and earn money for completing tasks. Each activity offers a unique role-play experience where kids can learn about things such as money, teamwork and independence.
My children and I were invited along to Kidzania London to see first hand what it’s like.
Before I begin, it’s worth noting that if you book your tickets in advance, you will be asked to choose a time slot for your arrival. This is to ensure a continual flow of visitors and helps to avoid overcrowding inside the attraction.
Our experience at Kidzania London
Your experience begins even as you walk through the main entrance door. You have to show your ticket and are then directed to the Kidzania ‘airport’. The idea is that you check in on arrival and are given everything you need for your time inside the child-friendly city before you enter.
Part of the checking in process involves being fitted with special wristbands. These have 2 uses. They are scanned every time your child takes part in an activity and monitors which jobs are proving the most popular. It also keeps track of your time inside the attraction.
The reason for this is that KidZania London is a 4 hour experience. This allows the attraction to welcome the maximum amount of visitors while also making sure it doesn’t get insanely overcrowded.
The wristbands will stop working after your allocated 4 hours are over, which means your child won’t be able to try any remaining jobs.
Each child is also given 50 Kidzos (the official Kidzania currency), which you use to pay for each activity. Depending on the activity being undertaken, your child may earn more Kidzos in return.
Once you have received your money and wristband, you then walk through a security gate and into the city itself.
There are so many jobs that children can try out that you won’t manage to do everything within your 4 hour time slot.
But it does mean that there are plenty of options to choose from. Children can choose to be hairdressers, pilots or flight crew, doctors, nurses, dentists, paramedics, firefighters, artists, actors, or couriers.
They can visit the dance studio or become chocolate, smoothie or ice cream makers.
I would definitely recommend visiting the KidZania website before you visit and get your child to pick out 2 or 3 jobs that they want to do above all else. We did this before we went and it helped tremendously.
We also made sure that we were flexible. Some activities start at allocated times so if we missed one activity we went to find another. There were also things that simply caught their eyes as we walked past.
From pilots and paramedics to smoothie and ice cream makers, my children were certainly kept busy. They also made their own bracelets and rode the Kidzania tour bus around the ‘city’.
You can watch our day to see what we did and what my children thought of it.
Tickets for KidZania London cost £28 for children (aged 4-14) and £16.50 for adults if bought online in advance. It will cost a little more if you turn up on a whim and pay at the door.
At those prices it won’t be the cheapest day out you will ever have, but it will be a quality one.
Please note: I was given complementary tickets for myself and my 2 children to visit KidZania London for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, opinions and video con10t are 100% honest.