Last Saturday, Francis and I decided to take Sprout to Kidzoona at SM Cabanatuan. It’s her – and our – first time at the play facility, and we thought she and Francis had to bond, since her father will be gone for a week due to his duties at the regional athletic meet at Bataan and another seminar at San Fernando, Pampanga.

I used to manage a similar, though less luxurious, play facility at the Division of San Jose City Library Hub, built to raise awareness of various careers among young learners. Unfortunately, it’s currently not operational because of the pandemic, but back then, our Kiddie Career Center provided a great opportunity for our underprivileged learners in public schools to experience something similar to Kidzoona for free. I actually wrote the proposal for that back in 2017, and up to now, I still feel it’s one of the greatest services our Division had ever given.

(Unfortunately, we’re most likely closing Kiddie Career Center permanently due to funding reasons.)

Anyway, I mentioned that because part of the guidelines we used to implement was to allow the kids to freely choose where and what they want to play. That’s how we gauged which career options our learners found interesting at their age. We decided to do the same, and just let Sprout go wherever she went.

(Not that we think she’s going to pursue the first career she chose at Kidzoona. But it’s fun to see where her interests lie right now.)

After looking around, Sprout first went to the ball pit. We would find out later that she enjoyed the slide and ball pit more than anything else. As for me, I was just so scared that she would break her neck or something, so I actually wanted her to play in the booths (or whatever they’re called).

After her initial playtime in the ball pool, Sprout saw the tricycles. She had been in “bike” mode for sometime, only ever interested in YouTube videos of kids learning to ride the bicycle. So, we guided her in there. It seemed she’s not yet ready to ride a bicycle on her own. But she later returned to this place twice more.

Then, she ran straight to the kitchen. She didn’t spend a lot of time there. I think it’s because she has a kitchen playset at her Lola M’s house (where she stays on weekdays). She also went to the florist station, the beauty shop, the pizzeria, and her favorite among the jobs, the hospital.

We also went to the building area where the legos and stuff were. But she’s just 20 months, so it’s understandable she didn’t get what she was supposed to do there. I also have this feeling she’s not interested in dollhouses.

Our last stop was at the ball pit again. She really loved sliding and falling into the balls that she’s show this video to everyone for the whole next week.

All in all, our first time at Kidzoona was a blast. Even though Sprout had no playmates, we saw that she really had fun.

Kidzoona is located at the third floor of the left wing of SM Cabanatuan.

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