Boasting 97 interactive activities under one roof, Little Explorers is making waves in the kiddie community. Alex Pilmore took her tiny tot along to investigate and inadvertently rediscovered her love for obstacle courses in the process.
Little Explorers is located in Mirdif City Centre, which is both easy to find and easy to get to and with a wealth of other facilities on site, I thought it was the perfect spot for my son Thomas and I to spend a few hours. He is 26 months old now, very busy and loves to experience new things so the idea of a huge play area with lots of activities and different play sections really appealed to me. Getting there, as I mentioned, was pretty easy and parking on site is plentiful and free. The best place to park is near the South Entrance on the 1st floor. You walk inside and go straight ahead past Debenhams, then past VOX cinemas and Little Explorers is on your right - you can’t miss it.
The first thing that struck me about Little Explorers is how spacious, clean and bright it is. As they cater for 2-7 years old, I expected it to be messy and verging on chaos but it was really relaxed and tidy. The staff were really attentive and we were greeted at the entrance by Mary, who talked us through the different areas and explained how the different activities worked. She showed Thomas how to do/use each activity and told me about the educational benefits e.g. this is for balance, hand and eye coordination, learning about the body etc.
Little Explorers is divided into five different zones; I Discover Myself; I Can Do; I Locate Myself; All Together and I Experiment. The idea is that each of the five areas is packed with different activities (there are 97 in total!) and encourages different things like trying their hand at technical experiments, increasing their social awareness and wanting to know more about the world and so on. What’s nice is that there is no specific path for the children to follow - although there are five zones, they can explore whatever takes their fancy, go back and forth and when they get bored of something, they move on to the next activity - which is exactly what Thomas did. Although he ventured into all the different zones, we spent most of our time in I Locate Myself, which was basically an obstacle course – every kid’s dream, right?
The activities in this zone ranged from crawling through tunnels to walking a balance beam, walking backwards, walking over uneven ground and best of all, trying to master the balancing steps. A bunch of different sized round steps are raised up from the ground that are ‘wobbly’ and Thomas had the time of his life trying to walk across them. Sadly, there was no obstacle course for big kids (like me!) as it looked like so much fun although if there had been one, I might have got some funny looks. He absolutely loved I Locate Myself and went back and did the course several times. He was shown how to go through the course by Mary, she was very helpful and took him through it the first few times until he was able to do it by himself. In addition to the play zones we also discovered a workshop room; it’s really cute and colourful and packed with little tables and chairs and materials for arts and crafts.
Again, the kids can come and go as they wish as the workshops start every hour, which is great however; there is a small charge in addition to the entry fee to avail of this. There is a different theme workshop every month and this month it was ‘Plant a flower’; the kids get to play with craft flower pots, take a real flower home and learn some gardening tricks.
Overall, it was a great experience and in total, we spent over 2.5 hours there. We only left because Thomas was so exhausted from all the excitement, he needed a sleep!
I found it very relaxing and Thomas thoroughly enjoyed himself. We went at 10 in the morning, which is when they open - personally I think it would be great if they opened earlier, say 9am, but like everything else in the Middle East, nothing seems to starts until 10am!
Dhs130 (for kids aged 2-7), first accompanying adult is free and additional adults pay Dhs60. Open Sat-Wed, 10am to 10pm, Thurs and Fri 10am to midnight. Playnation, Mirdif City Centre. www.littleexplorersme.com