This week, I brought the boys to check out Busy Tables, a new indoor playground at Rochester Mall near Buona Vista MRT. I am not sure if I consider Busy Tables a PLAYGROUND per say. Maybe I should call it an indoor learning centre? But that would make it hard to classify it on the blog. So yeah, I’m just going to call it an indoor playground. And I can shout, “WOOHOO, we have ANOTHER new indoor playground in town!” hahaha..
Busy Tables is targeted at the children aged 0 to 5. But after bringing MF who is in K2, I thought it was good for any children below Primary School age.
Busy Tables was not a playground where you leave your kids there to run around and play on their own. It was sort of a learning centre with TONS of toys and activities for children where parent supervision was required. Very similar to Achievers Hub, but the activities here were catered more to younger children while Achievers Hub’s activities were slightly more challenging.
Adult supervision was required, not just to guide the kids on how to do the activities, but also for safety reasons. At Busy Tables, you would notice that some of the manipulatives were very tiny and could be choking hazards. Hence I stress that it is not the kind of playground where you just leave your little children there to roam and play on their own.
Busy Tables was divided into six sections with different activities. Let me bring your through them one by one.
The first section near the entrance was the Sensory Area. Inside, there was a table containing materials for sensory play. This was meant for babies and toddlers to touch and feel the materials.
Every two weeks, they would change the contents. So you may find foam balls one day and say, dried pasta the next time you visit.
Next, we came to the Dark Room which I absolutely LOVED. Inside, you would find a row of lighted learning tables.
There were different types of manipulatives in various shapes, sizes and colours where children could explore colour mixing with.
MF was super excited and kept stacking up the different colours to see what new colour would form as a result and going, “Cool! Cool! Look, I can make orange! Look I can make green!”
There were also these mini weighing machines that the boys had a lot of fun with.
Next, we reached the construction area. As the name suggested, this section was for children to construct things. You will many boxes of construction toys, carefully picked to include toys that connected in different ways to help kids develop their fine motor skills. And of course creativity!
Not that I want to brag, but MF is extremely creative when it comes to construction toys. We have lots of Lego at home and he doesn’t follow the instructions. Instead, he would come up with designs of his own.
At Busy Tables, he started by constructing a robot. And he told me, “Mama, watch! My robot is going to transform into a vacuum cleaner!”
Then he went to the next box and made himself an ice-cream.
And then he built two different types of rockets.
Other than those boxes of toys, there were also these magnetic boards.
And Lego / Mega Blocks tables.
There was also an area with these big foam Lego-style bricks which we also saw at T-Play indoor playground.
MY spotted some construction helmets and the boys decided to put them on while they did their construction!
They had a little contest to see who could build a taller tower before it toppled.
Learning Resource Library
I was frankly very impressed by the Dark Room and Construction Zone already. But we have yet to reach the highlight of Busy Tables. The most important feature of Busy Tables imo was the Learning Resource Library.
On the shelf, you will find boxes and boxes of activities, carefully labelled to indicate the age group the activity was suitable for and instructions for the activity. They were sorted by levels, with Level 1 being the easiest and Level 8 being the most challenging.
I checked with the owner if every activity on the shelf was unique and he said it was! The selection was just mind-boggling!
Let me show you some of the activities the boys tried during the two hours we were there:
Starting with a simple toy to get MY warmed up. Never mind that it was level 1 and MY was a tad overage for it, he seemed to enjoy it nevertheless!
Exploring with Clown
This level 1 activity helped to train kids’ motor skills, specifically zipping and buttoning. Although it was Level 1, MY had some difficulty with the buttons. *oops*
The boys found two different fishing sets. Each set came with two rods, so the brothers could play together!
I actually took this magnetic fruit tree out just to take a photo of it because I thought it looked really cute. But MF, who was clearly too old was this, came along and stuck all the fruits onto the tree. Oh well, as long as he had fun.
The Hungry Caterpillar Book Set
I’m sure many kids have read The Hungry Caterpillar book, right right? The set here didn’t just contain the book. It came with a figure of the caterpillar and a domino game. MY didn’t have the patience to play the domino game, but MF loved it.
Day and Night Game
This was MY’s favourite! The game came with blocks of different shapes and colours and kids were supposed to follow the pictures in the guide book to recreate the figure in the pictures.
The first time round, I had to show MY how to do it. Once he knew how to do it, he was sitting there happily completing page after page on his own and getting faster with each picture. I think it gave him a great sense of satisfaction, and I was impressed that he was flipping the pages after he completed each page to go on to the next one all on his own!
Small Engineer Game Set
While MY was engrossed in the Day and Night game, I took this engineer game set which was very similar to the Day and Night game in concept. But the box said Level 8, so I thought it would be more challenging for MF. In the end it was too simple for him. So yeah, don’t take the Level indicated on the activity too seriously.
Elephant and Dinosaur Puzzles
Instead, MF was a lot more interested in this Level 5 puzzle which kept him occupied for quite some time. There was a huge sense of achievement when he finally completed the elephant puzzle. He liked it so much that he went on to do another similar dinosaur puzzle that was in the same shelf.
Flags of the World
This was the most challenging activity we managed to find. The kids had to stick the flags onto the corresponding countries’ location on the world map provided.
MY ran out of patience after sticking like 2 flags, but MF stayed on to finish the whole thing up. TADAH!
In case you think MF is some walking atlas, he didn’t do it on his own lah. He had help from the dad. Like I said, Busy Tables was all about parent-accompanied learning.
If your child likes reading, they would probably be well occupied at the reading corner. I love the selection of baby cloth books with the touch-and-feel tabs!
And some of the books were bilingual! (Okay, I didn’t open the books to check if they were bilingual. But the cover was bilingual.)
Lastly, there was a Tots Area for the really young ones. Complete with baby seats!
There were some baby toys on the shelf there.
Which my super overgrown baby decided to help himself to for a while.
And some sort of learning resource library for babies!
At the entrance of Busy Tables you will be able to find some toys for sale.
There was also a play table there which the boys enjoyed as much as the playground and ran out to play at from time to time.
While Busy Tables does not have a party room, they are open for private booking for your big-group play dates.
Busy Tables also works with freelancers as a venue provider for workshops catered to parent and child.
Admission Fee / Play Rate (Updated Feb 2017):
I LOVE the concept behind Busy Tables. The boys were thoroughly occupied throughout the 2 hours, and there were just SO MANY activities available!! It was extremely rare for me to see my usually-hyperactive boys just sit there and play with puzzles on their own.
This is a great place to bring your preschoolers to, especially if your children are not that into active play and prefer hands-on activities. The only bad thing was that the playtime was limited to 2 hours on weekdays and 90 minutes on weekends. But they have capacity issue, so… If you can, go on a weekday! I felt the 2 hours was sufficient because, unlike other indoor playgrounds, this felt almost like a parent-accompanied enrichment centre. Would you spend more than 2 hours per session at an enrichment class? Neh… 2 hours was just nice I felt.
Information on Busy Tables:
Address: Rochester Mall #03-22, 35 Rochester Drive, Singapore 138639
Getting There: Buona Vista MRT (CC22 / EW21)
Opening Hours: 10am – 7.30pm Daily
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