Just Playing Around at Petite Park

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

Alan W. Watts

Getting to the Petite Park play centre is, as the blurb says, ‘A walk in the Park.’ Mr. C (Official Child of janiqueel.com) and I got there via the Stadium MRT and enjoyed the short walk to the Kallang Wave Mall. Previously, for an evening performance of Cirque du Soleil – amazing!! – at the Indoor Stadium, we had a restful meal and a walk-about. Beach Volleyball being played, rowing sculls passing by, folks enjoying drinks and eats with friends – a pleasant and enjoyable corner of Singapore. This time, though, we were bound for The Petite Park where the Official Child could climb behind the wheel, enter the castle, or bounce with the balls and have some serious fun.

The small cars were a perfect fit for a 17-month old and he took to driving like the proverbial duck takes to the proverbial water. Obviously, he is a natural in a hot car. Too early to predict, I suppose, but I think the kid’s got Formula One in his future. In addition to the colorful cars, are trains, little houses, manipulative games, towers, slides, crazy swings and much more. Is there an adult version? I want to go! It’s all fun and games.

At least it seems so, but behind all these groovy attractions is a sound learning philosophy. Ms. Irene Ang was good enough to respond to janiqueel.com’s questions about the facility.  She says, ‘We believe that play is a valuable learning tool, and our playground is designed to provide children under 7 years old (or less than 130 cm in height) an imaginative, challenging, and fun yet safe environment to play and explore! The Petite Park allow kids to be kids, play and bond with their parents, in an imaginative and safe environment.’  Sound familiar? Faithful readers (I know you all are) might remember a similar philosophy voiced by Ms. Vanessa Anne at Playeum (Gillman Barracks). The ‘bonding with parents’ bit, especially. After all, adults must push the little cars through a kiddie race track, for the tyro drivers. This will change, I know, by the time Mr. C climbs into his first Formula One race car, but I’ll be there in the pits. Once bonded …

Serious fun. What I’m getting at here is that play has been recognised for the learning experience it is. Like Petite Park, many facilities and pre-schools cater to the need to play and learn in the process. In doing so, they provide experiences that optimize intellectual, as well as physical, skills. What skills? Again, from Irene Ang:

1. Cognitive Development
This is the child’s ability to learn and solve problems. This skill can definitely be enhanced when the little one visits The Petite Park and explore the safe environment with hands or eyes.
2. Social and Emotional Development
This is the child’s ability to interact with others, including helping themselves and self-control. Be it a playdate at The Petite Park or simply pop by with your little one, active and pretend play zones help engage the young one with those around them!
3. Speech and Language Development
This is the child’s ability to both understand and use language. Parents’ and caregivers will definitely have to pro-active with their little ones at The Petite Park! “Jump!” ,”Let’s cook the egg and make a hamburger for daddy!” “ Look at what I had build!”  What better way to develop speech and language skills than through play!
4. Fine Motor Skill Development
This is the child’s ability to use small muscles, specifically their hands and fingers, to pick up small objects, hold a spoon, turn pages in a book, or use a crayon to draw. Our wall lego blocks, magnetic blocks, connecting gears and reading corner, all help to build those little muscles!
5. Gross Motor Skill Development
This is the child’s ability to use large muscles. What better way to develop the gross motor skills than through our active play zone, namely mini wall climb, mini trampoline, slide and mini bouncy playhouse!

And the incorrigible Mr. C just thought he was having fun. Cognitive development was likely the last thing on his mighty little mind.

Sourced from French, German, and Singaporean vendors, the equipment, games and manipulative are all closed with development in mind. Not so incidentally, the equipment is safe, although adult supervision and guidance is a must. If you are mini, even the mini climbing wall can be vertiginous. Wouldn’t a private party here be fun? Can lah! Just call.

Part of Petite Park’s commitment to the larger community is the association with the Down’s Syndrome Association of Singapore providing free entry to kids with Down’s. To me, it’s evidence of a seriousness behind all the fun at Petite Park. For her kind assistance, I’ll give Irene Ang the last word:

‘At The Petite Park, we simply wanted the littlest ones to have some fun! A petite safe, clean and fun play space, no more jostling with the bigger boys and girls, just a safe haven for us and my mummies, daddies and caregivers!’

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