After my first visit to Tickle Tickle at Delta Sports Complex, I was pretty looking forward to the opening of their second playground at Hougang Sports Hall, since Hougang is nearer to my place at Yishun.
Well.. It took me a while after they opened on 19 November before I went to visit, because Hougang Sports Hall is not really near the MRT and being 8 months pregnant, I was simply too lazy to walk. Until one day, my friend asked me along for a play date and hubby happened to be free that day so we could drive there, that I finally found the motivation to make the trip there.
First impression upon stepping into Tickle Tickle at Hougang: It’s so small! I guess because of my experience at Delta, I had high expectations. Tickle Tickle at Hougang is so much smaller, cramp and no proper resting place for parents. We were there on a weekday when there was no party going on, so the staff told us we could rest in the party room. I cannot imagine being here when there is a party going on, it will be utter nightmare.
The first place we explored was the toys room attached to the party room. Inside, there was a train table, a doll house and Happy Land play sets. The parts for the train set were kept inside a huge box and hubby and I spent some time fixing up the train set ourselves for the kids to play. The Happy Land play sets were also all over the place, I was the one who went to arrange them nicely to take a photo. Seriously, with so little toys and barely any crowd on a weekday, I thought the staff should do a better job keeping this small room in order.
In the main play area, there is a small corridor where they store the cars and there are two activity boards on the wall.
With the playground being so small, there was hardly any place to go with the toy cars. The kids ended up pushing them into the party room, and banging into all the tables, chairs, parents and other kids resting there.
There are only two toy houses here, compared to four at Delta, which was a bit disappointing because these toy houses were my favourite part of Tickle Tickle playground. The themes of the toys houses here are ‘Restaurant’ and ‘Toy Shop’.
In the ‘Restaurant’ toy house, you will find two kitchen sets, a dining table with chairs and many Melissa and Doug food play sets. However, when I was there, some kids emptied the whole shelf of toys and brought them into the active play area, leaving the toy house almost empty.
In the ‘Toy Shop’, there are… well, toys. It’s like random toys put into the play house, which I felt defeated the whole idea of having themed houses and didn’t serve any purpose for pretend play. What’s the difference between putting random toys in a theme house called ‘Toy Shop’ and putting them in the toys room, I wonder. I very much prefer the branch at Delta where the toys are nicely categorized into themes like ‘Supermarket’ and ‘Repair shop’.
Moving on to the active play zone, it is not very big, but has all the typical slides, tunnel, ball pit and obstacle courses.
MF’s favourite part of the active play area is the tunnel, which has a steering wheel inside which, when turned, will churn balls around like a spinning washing machine and make a lot of noise. Well… MF loves anything that is noisy. -_-
He also had a good time hiding inside the ball pit. He happened to be dressed in green that day and camouflaged pretty well!
Usually MF loves playing with slides, but during our visit, he didn’t manage to play with the slides much because some kids had taken all the toys from the toy house and scattered them all over the active play zone and they basically blocked the access to the slides. When they were done playing, they just left the toys there and nobody bothered to put them back. And I refused to be the one doing the cleaning up, especially after I had already helped to tidy up the toys room earlier.
The main saving grace for this place is that there is a cafeteria nearby which serves pretty decent and reasonably priced food, so I didn’t need to starve like the time I went to the branch at Delta. After I treated myself to a bowl of laksa at the cafeteria, I bought a cup of bubble tea and brought it back to the playground’s party room to drink there. Another parent also bought some buns and brought it back to the party room for the kids to have their tea break. We were like having a mini party.
With that being said, if there is a party (you can check their website or facebook page for their party schedule), please AVOID. You really DO NOT want to be there when there is a party. Without the party room, there is no place for parents and kids to rest or eat. The toys room is also attached to the party room, so it will probably not be available when there is a party going on. And with all the party kids in such a small area, no way your kid will be able to play.
Also note that, just like the branch at Delta, there is no nursing or diaper-changing facility here.
Overall, the visit was not a very pleasant one. I was there on a weekday where there were only 6-8 kids at any one time, and it already felt cramped and messy. And considering that the place is not that big, the staff could have done a better job by going around constantly to pack up and put the toys back to the correct places like what staff at Royce and Hokey Pokey would do from time to time. I was there for about 3 hours and I never saw any staff attempting to return the toys to the original places. It was quite a disappointment, especially since MF had a lot more fun at the branch at Delta which was much more spacious and well-maintained in comparison.
Address: Hougang Sports Hall (93 Hougang Ave 4, #01-04, Singapore 538832)
Opening Hours: 10am – 7.30pm daily
Play rate: $12 for weekday / $14 for weekend and public holidays, unlimited play time.