Jasmine:During weekends, we like to spend time as a family and do special things for Dilly, like bringing him out to playgyms!
I used to think that indoor playgrounds (or playgyms, as they’re sometimes known) were overpriced gimmicks, and that children would be much better off at free outdoor playgrounds, the beach etc. However, since becoming a parent, I’ve realised that the best kind of time out is where both parties win: the child is happy and immersed while the parent is comfortable- something that I quite honestly would not feel if I were sweltering in the sun at a park or beach. (Andrew: You’ve gotta get used to it at some point, Dear, cos once our little boy + girl get older, we’re bringing him outdoors more – my best childhood memories were at playgrounds and beaches – Pasir Ris Park being my favourite! The only compromise is perhaps we can bring him in the evening, when it’s less hot.)
Entry fees are pretty steep on weekends, averaging $20-25 for 2 hours of playtime at most places. A search repeatedly turned up Hokey Pokey @ Millennia Walk as one of the best playgyms in town. [Andrew: Coincidentally, a male colleague and I started talking about playgyms at lunch today – yes, I know, what a manly topic right – and I found out that him and his wife do enjoy bringing their 16 month old son to playgyms too! Their favourite is Fidgets at Grandstand, which only costs $10 for unlimited play. That’s going to be our next stop!]
There are roughly two types of play at playgyms, active play (climbing structures, ball pits etc) and make-believe play (pretend houses, dress-up stations etc). Hokey Pokey’s undoubted specialty is make-believe play. Just a point of interest also that I visited Toys R Us a few days later (to comfort Dylan after he got a jab) and realised that many of the rides and toy sets at Hokey Pokey cost a few hundred each! Yikes!
Andrew: Another benefit of bringing Dylan to play gyms, which cannot be replicated at home as easily, is the socialisation and getting him comfortable around strangers. When we first brought him to Blue House, he was rather clingy to us (and there was no-one in the play area!) and I realised that we needed to do was to bring him out more. He’s been much better so far, until we now have to chase him to keep up with him – more on that in our post on The Petite Park @ City Square Mall.
I can imagine this being a little girls’ heaven, but I also saw little boys having lots of fun “cooking” and selling things at the “shop” too- and why not, since imagination is gender-neutral!
This is a glimpse of the locker area, shoe benches and a bar counter where parents can hang out while supervising older children. From this bar, there is a full view of the play area for older children, while the section for younger tots like Dylan is at the end, since parents would have to accompany these younger children anyways. (Andrew: Like I said in earlier posts, I can’t wait for the time when I can just ‘release’ my child in a playarea and chill out at the bar with a cuppa.)
There was also an active play area, dominated by the huge ball pool, with a castle and swing/ slide set nearby.
Play area for younger babies
Having a play area for younger children is really useful as older kids tend to be quite boisterous and frankly, self-centred, especially in the absence of parental supervision. This does not stop older children from entering the area, of course, but it does help in reducing their numbers, making it safer for the littlest ones.
This was also where Dilly met a friend, four-year-old Kayla, who ignored her fourteen-month-old brother and played with Dylan instead haha:
And here’s our dear son, smiling at girls once again
Andrew: Honestly speaking, I was extremely exhausted too by the end of 1.5 hours there that I wanted to end the play early. Somehow 1.5 hours in a playgym is more tiring to me than 1.5 hours in an actual gym. I wonder why…
Jasmine: Family selfie in the ball pool! Look how exhausted Dilly looks! Better for us, oops, as he fell asleep within 5 minutes of leaving Hokey Pokey and allowed us to do some shopping for upcoming baby showers at nearby Marina Square: