Thanks to a reader of my blog, I got to know about Tickle Tickle at Delta Sports Complex. They opened in August this year, and Atlantis City (the playground that used to be at Delta Sport Complex) had closed down before I even had the chance to visit. Oh well… It is a part of Singapore I’ve never explored since I stay in the North.
Delta Sports Complex is walkable from Redhill MRT, but I am 6 months pregnant and Redhill MRT is not exactly anywhere near Yishun MRT, so I visited on a day when I had the car to use. I was entering unfamiliar territories and when my iPhone map directed me to the wrong location (some mosque nearby), I tried to follow road signs instead. Turns out there are NO road signs to Delta Sports Complex, there are only roads signs to Delta Swimming Complex, which I followed, only to discover that I couldn’t drive from the swimming complex over to the sports complex!! So I had to drive out to the main roads again, and find the inconspicuous entrance (which bore NO direction sign) to the sports complex carpark along Alexandra Road. Thankfully, after I parked along the parallel parking just next to the sports complex, I found Tickle Tickle almost immediately (it is the first unit upon entering the complex).
And even more thankfully, Tickle Tickle turned out to be an awesome playground that made up for all the trouble! It specializes in Pretend Play and is absolutely great for the young ones, I would say between 1 to 5 years old. But I thought it stood out from Hokey Pokey and Royce, which also specialize in Pretend Play, because of their four themed houses.
Instead of just having the toys placed on toy racks, they have organized their toys into appropriate little houses. It makes the Pretend Play here a lot more real and interesting, compared to other playgrounds.
The first house is called ‘My House’. Inside, you will find toys like a kitchen set, make-up table and house-cleaning equipment. There is even a doll of a baby, which your kid can put on the high chair to feed or rock in the bouncer.
MF didn’t mind that the kitchen set was all pink and girly and immediately started ‘cooking’ a meal for mummy dearest (he kept trying to feed me stuff that he ‘cooked’).
Next house is called ‘Supermarket’. Inside, you will find a diner kitchen set and a shelf full of groceries and a shopping trolley.
MF has gone on enough supermarket visits with me and the moment he went in, he loaded the shopping trolley with some vegetables and happily dashed out of the Supermarket with his loot. Maybe they should have a cashier around here, so that I can teach MF that he needs to pay before leaving!
The third house is called ‘Repair Shop’. This one is for the boys.. Think toys cars, parking play sets and workbench. But what I really love about this house are the pictures on the walls. Such fine and cute details of a repair shop.
Somehow MF didn’t seem to enjoy playing with the parking set here, neither was he interested in the workbench at all. He preferred to just push the cars around the floor, like what he does at grandma’s house where there are only toys cars without all the elaborate parking sets and mat.
And we are on the the last house, which is called ‘Mimi’s Cafe’. Here, you can find all sorts of food and tea sets, complete with a dining table.
I have seen the exact same toy food sets at other playgrounds and MF has never been interested in playing with them. But over here, he totally enjoyed serving up a meal of pizza, sushi, cupcakes and tea for mummy and himself. This is why I love Tickle Tickle.. The organization and decoration make the same toys so much more enjoyable as compared to other playgrounds!
Besides the themed houses, there are more toys and cars in the middle of the playground. MF loves the car toy and couldn’t stop playing with it.
I, on the other hand, totally love the wooden doll house, but MF showed zero interest in it. The little girls at the playground loved it though.
There is also a small Active Play section here, with a ball pit and slides (which are very fast and slippery, so watch your little ones!).
22-month old MF has absolutely no problem playing here on his own. It’s small and safe enough so I didn’t have to follow him around.
Outside of the main play area, they have this cool water play toy which MF didn’t quite know how to play with (neither did I). He just kept scooping water and pouring it all over the floor, so I didn’t let him play here for long. Nevertheless, this is something I haven’t seen at any other playgrounds before and I just love it when playgrounds come up with new ideas.
While your kids play, parents can rest at the seats along the side, where you get a clear view of the entire playground. They sell drinks here, but not food. (I did spot a few cartons of cup noodles, but I didn’t ask if they were for sale.) You are allowed to bring your own food in and consume them here though.
But speaking of food, my main problem with this place is actually the lack of food (made worse by their no re-entry rule). There is nowhere nearby where you can buy food. According to my friend who stays nearby, the nearest place to buy food is from the swimming complex, which sells only simple snacks. If you want to get a proper meal, you have to go much further to Redhill Market (where you need to cross an overhead bridge from the swimming complex). BUT, because Tickle Tickle does not allow re-entry, you cannot take your kid out, go for lunch, and come back in again. If you have more than one adult around, one can go buy food while the other stays to look after the kid. But if you are like me, who is usually at playgrounds alone with the kid, this is a BIG problem. I basically starved the whole 3 hours MF was there, to a point I almost wanted to call McDelivery, but decided I would just leave instead (much to MF’s disappointment). (Update: During my second visit to Tickle Tickle, I tried to find the food stall at the swimming complex that my friend was telling me about but didn’t see it. The nearest places I could find to buy food from were the food kiosks at Redhill MRT, or Redhill Market which you can reach by crossing the road from the MRT station.)
Lucky for MF, I cooked and brought his porridge with me that day so he didn’t have to starve with me. But then, there was only ONE high chair at the playground, and since kids’ lunch times coincided, someone else was using the high chair when I wanted to feed MF. I ended up sitting MF in his stroller to feed him instead, but I would very much have preferred it if there was another high chair available.
Another problem I encountered was the lack of diaper-changing facility. There was no diaper-changing table at the playground, and the staff told me to use the ladies changing room where there were benches there to put the baby on. MF HATED lying on the hard wooden bench and kept struggling and screaming while I tried to clean his poo poo.
As a SAHM who travels alone with my child, Hokey Pokey is still my favourite place to be, due to their thoughtfulness and convenience. The abundance of eateries, ability to re-enter any number of times (meaning MF can spend the whole day there, with lunch and tea breaks in between) and free locker rentals are important to me.
But overall, Tickle Tickle is a really GREAT place for kids of MF’s age. At 22 months, he could play safely on his own and he really enjoyed all the toys there. They may not have as many toys as Hokey Pokey or Royce, especially for small babies below 1, but because of the themed houses, the fun factor is multiplied! Also, their play rates ($14 for unlimited play on weekdays, 2 hour on weekends and public holidays) are cheaper compared to Hokey Pokey and Royce as they do not require an additional annual membership fee.
Tickle Tickle will be opening another branch at Hougang later this year. I’m looking forward to visiting the new branch, which is nearer to my home.. But gotta drag my hubby along so that I don’t end up starving again!