• April 23, 2024

When kids are on Christmas break, there’s a lot of pressure to keep them occupied and entertained. We’d rather have them running, climbing, jumping, and sliding than parked in front of a screen. But as much as we want them to get lots of exercise and release all that pent-up energy, not all of us have access to an outdoor playground where we live. 

Thank heavens for indoor playgrounds popping up in malls, hotels, and places that are accessible for parents and the whole family. Most, if not all of them, make use of digital and audio-visual technology to enhance play—something most outdoor playgrounds cannot do. It’s fun for both kids and adults, so it’s great for family bonding and creating more core memories, especially during the holiday season.

Here are indoor playgrounds we frequent with our toddler in Metro Manila (and one beyond), which I’m sure parents and kids of all ages would love:

1. SuperPark: Combining physical and digital play

4F Eastwood Mall, Quezon City

If you worry that your child spends too much time in front of a screen and not enough time moving around and interacting, this indoor multi-activity park that combines an indoor playground with digital games is one of the best compromises. Think typical indoor playground activities—but with a video game component. It’s ideal for bigger kids and teenagers, but it does have some toddler-friendly areas like a ball game, an obstacle playground with slides, and a couple of wall-climbing activities.

The highlights are a giant airbag and professional-grade trampolines, a couple of which involve a digital game where they bounce around to complete missions (Valo Jump) for bigger kids. There’s an entire area for sports-themed activities that are fully augmented with digital components, like Cyclobeat, which gives them a good cycling workout with a friend; and the crowd favorite Super Pinball that’s loads of fun for the whole family.

2. Artboom: Combining play and crafts—that you get to bring home

4F, Eastwood Mall, Quezon City

Photo from Artboom Facebook

If your child loves painting, crafts, slime, baking, and even pretending to be a chemist mixing potions, then Artboom is the playground of her dreams.

Besides the colorful interiors, what initially drew us in was what we thought was an ice cream station—which turned out to be the “Slime Creamerie,” where your child can pick her own slime base and design it her way, complete with glitter, charms, colors, and scents. 

The other fun and creative activity my child enjoyed was mixing ingredients to make her own goat’s milk soap with a scent of her choosing—all while garbed in safety goggles, gloves, and an apron provided. 

Our hands-down favorite was the “Sugargasm” station, where she baked and decorated her own cupcakes. She chose her cupcake base flavor, was given all the ingredients and instructions for mixing them together (with mommy’s help), put them in the oven herself (complete with oven mitts and apron), and frosted and decorated them with toppers of her choosing.

3. Play at Okada Manila: Toddler-friendly

Okada Manila

Indoor playgrounds are meant for kids of all ages, but sometimes, toddlers are edged out by bigger kids. While Play is meant for kids 0 to 16 years old, what I appreciate is its many dedicated toddler areas where they don’t have to compete for space with bigger kids. The Mini Steps & Me area is strictly for kids 0 to 3 years old. There’s also Little Park, a two-level playground and maze for toddlers. Little kids will also enjoy Little Town, where they can engage in pretend play in a miniature bank, post office, and grocery, complete with little cars they can drive around the space. 

4. DreamPlay, City of Dreams Manila: Great for big kids

City of Dreams Manila

If you and your child are into DreamWorks animated films like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and Trolls, then the world’s first DreamWorks-inspired technology-rich, multi-level play space is for you. There’s a space where Master Shifu and Po teach kids kung fu, a kitchen where they can cook and bake with Gingy, and the How To Train Your Dragon area where they can fly their own toy dragons and twist and turn themselves through roller-coaster-like slides.

What I personally loved about DreamPlay is the option to pay a lower ticket price (only P350) if you have toddlers or smaller kids who can’t yet participate in all the activities, versus the participant ticket price that grants access to all attractions for P1,500. 

5. The Dessert Museum: Fun, family portrait-worthy ways to enjoy sweet treats

S Maison at Conrad Hotel Manila

The whole family will definitely enjoy the dessert- and candy-themed rooms in a 12,000-square-foot space where kids and kids-at-heart can play, take countless photos at various sugar fantasyland installations in eight themed rooms, and even get three to four real sweet treats.

During our visit, my daughter enjoyed the slides (you actually slide right into the first area, the Donut Hole), ball pools, inflatables, marshmallow area, Haagen-Dazs room, and a giant human claw machine and “room of never-ending bubbles.” At the end of your two-hour tour, you can buy actual candies and other sweet treats at their shop.

6. Kidzoona: Accessible, with plenty of branches all over the country

Photo from Kidzoona Facebook

If you’re a parent, Kidzoona is the top-of-mind indoor playground, so I had to include it because it’s in all major malls all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. If you’re talking accessibility and convenience, Kidzoona takes the cake. If you have mall errands, just plan them around a mall that has a branch, where Kidzoona can be a reward or a way for them to expend all that energy so they just nap in their stroller while you get things done.

Kidzoona branches vary in floor areas and activities offered, but most (if not all) of them have ball pits, slides, inflatables, and blocks of all sizes. With the addition of function rooms, it’s no wonder Kidzoona is also a popular choice for parties.

Words Trixie Reyna-Benedicto

This article first appeared in the Speed December 2023 issue, which you can read here.

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