For curious tots
Mums looking to introduce their young ’uns to the world of indoor playgrounds without bigger kids running amok, check out Blue House. Catering to children from six months to three years old, this two-outlet playschool is appointed with open-ended furniture – most of which is endorsed by Reggio Emilia, the Northern Italian early childhood approach that inspired Blue House – and materials to encourage problem solving and theoretical reasoning. (Even we had to google the latter.)
Flexibility is the name of the game at Blue House. Enrol your kid in a regular playgroup or class on a weekly basis (from $225/six classes) or pop by during its drop-in time slots ($25/2 hours) for a more casual session. Playgroups are split according to age: six to 12 months and 12 to 36 months. And if you’ve more active tots, check into Blue House’s Turf City outlet – it has an outdoor interactive playgroup.
In the heartlands
Here’s a playground for the north-eastern peeps. Set up by five mums with 11 toddlers between them – so you can be sure they’ve got plenty of experience to draw from – Hokey Pokey (from $16) is a cosy play haven for kids six months to six years old.
Besides age-appropriate loose toys such as ride-on vehicles, musical instruments, train tables and dollhouses, there’s a fully equipped ‘kitchen’ where budding foodies can flex their MasterChef skills as well as a huge ball pit, complete with slides, to tumble around in. There’s also a separate infant area that’s fully padded – no need to worry about falls – to let the children boogie.
Got a birthday bash to plan? Parties at Hokey Pokey are sweet affairs: it involves a beautiful fondant cake alongside desserts like cupcakes, brownies and other treacly treats.
Sensory play galore
Don’t expect to find slides and ball pits at Busy Tables (from $10). As its name suggests, there are tables – and shelves – filled with open-ended play items targeted at children up to six years old. Toys and learning resources, which include puzzles, reading books and construction blocks beyond LEGOs, are sorted into varying levels of difficulty for young kids to tinker with. There’s even a dark room with lightbox tables on which the little ones can manipulate shapes and colours.
However, this isn’t a place where you aim for the couch and let your children roam free. Given the nature of the play items, parental supervision is the key to making the most of your time – and money – as you help your kids hone their thinking, observation and motor skills.
It's a kid's world
A garden for planting veggies, a pond for fishing, a forest to explore, a supermarket for shopping and a kitchen for playing masak-masak? It’s all right smack in the middle of Orchard Road, in Little Planet Playland ($25), a 1,800-square-foot space that’s designed as a miniature world for children to pretend to be grown-ups for a day.
This indoor playground admits those up to 12, but its enclosed and interconnected play areas are also great for younger kids to get busy with their favourite activities while picking up crucial social skills. There’s an arts and craft zone to dabble in that doubles up as a function room for birthday parties, too.
For active bunnies
While Tickle Tickle (from $11) outlets aren’t the biggest indoor playgrounds around – they range from 1,506 to 2,368 square feet – they more than make up for their sizes with an innovative use of space. The branches, each of which has three play areas, bear different themes: the one in Delta Sports Hall has a candyland scheme, Hougang Sports Hall a cartoon village vibe, and Junction 10’s outlet has an interactive play area with a miniature boxing ring trampoline, revolving swing, spinning balls and rocking balls.
Although Tickle Tickle isn’t strictly for children under six – it accepts kids up to 12 years old – the space is cosy enough to accommodate younger children, even on play structures like ball pits, flying foxes, slides and obstacles. When they get tired of jumping around, there are plenty of pretend-play toys, ride-on vehicles and playhouses to exhaust the remainder of their energy.