One of the great things about living in Islamabad is that there are a few indoor play places for kids. These amusement centres are much like an arcade with games and motion rides, as well as having a large play structure for kids to climb much like an indoor playground. Because the weather is so brutally hot and humid in the summers, most people avoid going outdoors until the evenings which is not always convenient with young, tired children. Anyone with kids knows you can’t possibly stay home with your kids all day every day; they have so much energy and finding an outlet for that energy is crucial for everyone’s sanity.Therefore, these play structures are a great way for kids to get exercise while avoiding the heat outdoors.
When we first arrived, we went to check out the mall: Centaurus. They have a Fun City on the top floor. Unfortunately, we were only there for about half an hour because all of the rides and play area had either height or age restrictions which Sulayman did not meet. As a 2.5 year old, he was either too young or short for majority of the attractions. He did ride some of those motion rides that basically rock you back and forth but he was not impressed. My kids already get enough screen time at home and I’d prefer not to waste a lot of money on two minutes of entertainment, so the arcade does not appeal to us. In the end, we found it a bit disappointing and have not returned since. With that being said, I do think that it would be a fun outing when my children are able to use the play structure.
The second amusement centre we went to was We Play in E-11. This time Sulayman was 3 years old and could go into the play structure with supervision. Men are not allowed in the play structure so, unfortunately, this prevents any fathers from taking their children inside- super sexist especially because the reasoning is for “safety”. Therefore, I went in to accompany Sulayman and I’m not going to lie, it was definitely a workout for me- climbing up and crawling through tubes and balancing on beams.
On the other hand, Zakariyah was obviously too young to go in the play structure being only one year old. Although there is a soft corner for younger children, there are not any toys or games to occupy him which was pretty disappointing. The biggest disincentive is that I would not be able to take both my children alone; there is no way to supervise Zakariyah while also accompanying Sulayman. Furthermore, the toddler area is on the other side of the building. Even if your child could go in the play structure alone, you would not be able to supervise your child in the play structure and your other child in the toddler area at the same time. Conclusively, We Play falls short of entertaining toddlers and sufficiently accommodating mothers with multiple children who are at different stages. Similar to Fun City in Centaurus, We Play is better suited for older children.
Finally, we took a trip to Giga Mall to check out the Fun City there. This was by far the best amusement centre for toddlers. Inside the café area there was a small area for toddlers that had a slide, ball pit, big bouncy ball, and a teeter totter. Parents are not allowed in the area which makes it a little difficult to help your child get adjusted if they are a bit shy. Once they’re inside, you can sit in the café and enjoy some food and drinks while clearly seeing your toddler play around.
The café also has a big window adjacent to the large play structure which allows you to watch your older children playing all from the same seat. Literally all my concerns from other amusement centres were solved. Although it is a bit more expensive compared to We Play, 300rs more for the big play structure and 250rs for the toddler area compared to the free toddler area at We Play– no one would pay to sit on a cushion in the toddler area of We Play– I think the price is worth the peace of mind that you can relax while supervising your children. Also, if you wanted to arrange a playdate, you would actually be able to chat with the other moms instead of chasing your toddler around.
Overall, it’s difficult to find things to do with children under 5 years old and especially if you have multiple children. Amusement centres are a fun outing for family when you’re options are limited.
Where do you like to take your kids for entertainment?