Been to indoor play centre BusyTables yet, mama? Their new BusyCards initiative makes hands-on play even more fun for little ones
I first came across BusyTables at one of our Mama Meet Ups earlier this year, at which company founder Jeff Lim brought along boxes of full of hands-on sensory materials like dried pasta and squishy water balls from his My Messy Box collection to keep toddlers occupied and delighted.
BusyTables is an extension of the same idea, an education-themed indoor play area especially geared toward younger children (aged 0-5). Located at Rochester Park near Buona Vista MRT, it’s filled with a treasure trove of fun learning activities for kiddos, like puzzles, building blocks and crinkly books, along with pretend play areas and a light room for experimentation.
In comparison to other indoor play areas – where kids might be running around screaming, or there’s loud music or flashing lights, walking into BusyTables is calm and inviting: around the room you’ll see babies and kids highly engaged in whichever activity they’ve selected, even with minimal parental involvement. As soon as we walked in, Maggie made a beeline for a table with a construction hat and building blocks and was delighted to get to work. I really like how kids set the pace of play and only move on to the next activity when they’re ready.
So BusyTables encourages purposeful play, which is great, but what can parents do to keep things fresh? They’ve just introduced BusyCards, which kind of give kids “missions” to complete. For instance, a child’s first task might be to complete one puzzle, while the second task would be to complete two puzzles (or a more complicated puzzle than the first).
Tasks are age-appropriate and are mainly meant as a guideline to keep kids motivated and give them extra focus on the task at hand. Each task is marked complete with a special sticker (we all know how much kids love stickers), and once a child has completely filled out a BusyCard he or she can redeem it for special prizes.
It’s also a great way to explore the many resources available at BusyTables in a somewhat orderly and progressive fashion. I love that there are shelves lined with puzzles and block-building activities, and reading through the BusyCards helped me to better understand how they were organized.
I think BusyCards are also a great way for other caretakers like helpers or grandparents to get involved and support children’s play. My parents don’t always have the easiest time coming up with suitable activities for my toddler, but prompts like those on the card provide a great roadmap.
Maggie was quite pleased with herself after she’d worked her way through one of the puzzle challenges (and of course she was delighted to get her sticker). After that, she stood up, and announced she was ready to go home. It’s a truly calming, enriching environment, and I look forward to returning soon to tackle more tasks.
BusyTables entry starts from $10 per child (<1 year old) to $15 per child (1 and older). Free entry for 1 adult per paying child, and accompanying siblings under 6 months are free. Package prices are also available.
Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00am – 7:30pm
BusyTables, 35 Rochester Drive, Rochester Mall #03-22, Singapore 138639, Tel: (+65) 8420 0200, www.facebook.com/busytables