Detailed Review of Kaboodle Kids @ Big Splash
My friend who was staying in Marine Parade alerted me recently that there was a new indoor playground called Kaboodle Kids at Big Splash (East Coast Park). As I wrote recently, I really couldn’t understand why indoor playgrounds kept opening in the East. Some years back, a small indoor playground called Little Bubs Hub opened at Big Splash and closed down before I even had a chance to step into it. So I thought I better not procrastinate and go check out this new playground, lest it *touch wood* closes down too. (Sorry Kaboodle Kids, I’m not cursing you, but really, I have seen two playgrounds come and go within the short 4 years I’ve been blogging and they were both in the East.)
Location of Kaboodle Kids
I checked the website for their address before going and learned that Kaboodle Kids was located above Teh Tarik. Luckily I did that otherwise I would never have found the playground! It couldn’t be seen from the ground floor and there was no banner whatsoever screaming “KABOODLE KIDS HERE ON LEVEL 2!!”. Taking the stairs next to Teh Tarik up to the second floor, we found Kaboodle Kids on the right.
Play Area at Kaboodle Kids
From the sign-in desk, I took a glance into the playground, and this was what I saw:
My initial thought was, ‘Is this it? That’s all???’. I checked out their admission fee:
MF was above 3 years old and MY was below, so that’s a whopping $35, just to play with those blue foam blocks! We just visited KidsStop and Angry Birds Park and they both had those blue foam blocks and my kids didn’t even take a look at them! Was I supposed to pay $35 to let my kids play with them here? I was very tempted to pack the kids off and head to Polliwogs down the road instead. But heck it, I was already here and I was on a mission to visit every single indoor playground in Singapore, so I just paid the money and went in.
On a positive note, Kaboodle Kids was flexible enough to allow a 3rd adult in for free since the playground was
not crowded empty, although their rule only allowed 1 adult per kid and each additional adult was supposed to pay $10. But eventually hubby didn’t go in because he didn’t have socks and I brought the kids in with my bff (a.k.a. the kids’ godmother).
Beside the blue foam blocks, they also had a board with gears:
Don’t ask me what they were for. I asked the staff and she had a hard time trying to explain what the kids were supposed to do with them.
So we just focused on playing with the blue foam blocks. I have been to many indoor playgrounds, the last thing I expected was to have to build my own playground. If you are looking for a place to dump the kids to play while you relax at the side, this is NOT the place. Here, you need to work those muscles to build the playground. They had some samples set up to give you inspiration.
I was SO glad I didn’t decide to bring the kids here myself! This activity required A LOT of adult guidance. And my boys, well.. they were more interested in destroying than building.
The owner came over and told me, “The kids love it that they get to destroy all these structures here. At other playgrounds, they are always told that they cannot spoil things, but here it is okay to do so.” I don’t disagree with her at all, I’m SURE my boys LOVE destroying things, but I’m not sure I want those blocks falling on top of my 2 year-old’s head – they were quite heavy!
So I convinced the boys to start building a ball track by telling them it’s just like building a Thomas train track, but a super GIANT one.
Before we could test out the elevated ball track, MY came along and knocked it over. I decided to take a break before starting over and asked MF to go and play with the gears.
I was sitting at the side and getting really bored because we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with our ball track (and the staff, whom their website called ‘Play Associate’, wasn’t very helpful – if anything, she seemed as lost as we were on how to get the ball track working). Until the staff took out a file called ‘Kaboodle’s Parent Guide’ and handed it to me. Inside, there were pages and pages of things we could build. HELLO?? WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG TO BRING THIS OUT???
So I asked MF to choose a picture from the guide to build. He chose a dragon-like ball track and we got to work.
We were finally making progress! I told MF to choose a more challenging one next.
If you are wondering what those two dangly things were doing there, MF was the one who added them in. And his reason for doing so?
The way the kids’ minds work and their creativity never seizes to amaze me. So, after all that work and with petrol filled up, it was time to test out our ball track!
The first try failed as the ball bounced off the side of the track, but MF didn’t give up. He and my bff continued to work on the ball track to try to make it work. I decided to bring MY to make something else so that he didn’t accidentally knock everything over. I asked him if he wanted a motorcycle and he said yes. So I followed the picture of a motorcycle from the guide and built him one.
From our happy faces, you can tell that we were all starting to really enjoy this foam-building activity. I decided to challenge myself and not follow the guide and try to build a car. At this time, a staff member who wasn’t with us earlier joined in. She was MUCH better at facilitating the activity and helped me to put the car together, suggesting pieces I could use and showed me how I could hold pieces together. As we worked, we ran into problems (like the steering wheel not being able to stay on top) and troubleshooted together. And this was the end-product!
I was freaking proud of my car, especially the steering wheel that could be turned! And most importantly, the look on MY’s face was priceless.
After this, I tried to build a two-seater vehicle for the kids without any help. Sadly the kids weren’t impressed by it and refused to sit on it for a photo (probably because it was a bit shaky.. Lol).
So back to the ball track that my bff and MF were working on! They had finally gotten it to work!
We had only 10 minutes left to closing time and MF said he wanted to build a NEW track. So he knocked everything over and we quickly tried to put something together without referring to the guide.
We ran out of time to troubleshoot this track and had to leave it that way. We were entitled to unlimited playtime on a weekday, but we arrived late (4pm) and they closed at 6pm, so we only had 2 hours. I was sweating like crazy by the end of 2 hours, it was the first time I sweated so much bringing my kids to an indoor playground!
Overall Thoughts on Kaboodle Kids
Like I mentioned, this was not your typical playground where you could let your kids roam and play. It was a highly educational playground (I found myself teaching MF how to count, how to recognize shapes etc.) that required parental involvement – which made it great for family bonding. It also allowed kids to exercise their creativity and you would be surprised by what they could do! I think it also helped to train the kids’ perseverance and focus and taught them to learn from their mistakes and try to do things better the next round. I would recommend coming here for a family outing to try and see what your family could come up with, but more for families with older kids (at least 4 years old). The young ones would just be there to knock over whatever you have built.
I would also recommend this place for birthday parties for older kids. I can imagine a group of kids coming together and working together to try to create something awesome. You can download their party package here.
They also run art classes for 4 – 10 years olds, but I haven’t tried them out so can’t comment.
As much as I am recommending this place, I felt that Kaboodle Kids need to train their
staff Play Associates better. The girl who came later was fantastic, but the girl who was with us earlier really didn’t help much, to the point I really felt like leaving the place and never coming back. Hubby and I both agreed that for this place to succeed, the Play Associates play an extremely important role. They must be well-trained to be able to facilitate the activity effectively so that the families would enjoy themselves and feel like coming back again. This part is still lacking currently, but they are a new start-up so hopefully they would improve over time.
I also felt that they should be more active in promoting their playground. While we were there, many children and their parents passed by because of the gymanstic academy next door and they were peeking in curiously to see what we were doing. There was no attempt by the staff members to go out to talk to them and promote the playground. Or maybe they should tie up with Chiltern House downstairs or nearby kindergartens to get them to bring their children over for excursions or something.
Why am I babbling so much anyway?? It’s not my business. And anyway, if the playground got too crowded, it would probably not be fun anymore because it would mean I have less blocks and space to work with. But I would hate to see this playground go, because it is (currently) pretty one-of-a-kind, so I hope their business would pick up.
To be frank, when I first entered the playground, I told myself I’m just going to come once, review it and not come back again. But by the end of the visit, I was actually starting to enjoy it and was a bit torn whether or not it’s worth a return visit. As I was writing this post, MF kept climbing up to see the pictures and saying he wanted to go again and that it was super fun. A 4 year-old’s testimony would never lie. So I guess… I may be back after all? But probably with more adults and older kids in my company.
- Great family bonding activity
- Highly educational, a great way for children to learn-through-play
- Better staff facilitation required
- Younger kids may not be able to participate much
Information on Kaboodle Kids (new outlet)
Address: 88 East Coast Road, #02-05 Katong Square, Singapore 423371
Tel: +65 6247 7020
Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm, Closed on Tuesdays.
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