This week sees the arrival of Kidtropolis in the UK for the first time. The event runs from Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th October at London ExCeL…and today we got to visit!
We made the journey up to London from Sussex, travelling to London Bridge via rail, Canning Town by Underground and Custom House by Docklands Light Railway. Finally we reached the cavernous ExCeL centre and followed the signs guiding us to the much hyped Kidtropolis.
After a long walk past numbered exhibition halls there was no mistaking reaching our destination. The entrance was teeming with children carrying character balloons, branded toy bags and weary parents. A blend of music beats, MC’s and excited children buzzed out of the venue. After organising our tickets we joined the chaos.
I was accompanied by my Daughter Daisy, 7 and my Step-sons Morris 12 and Leon 10. The boys were keen to head to the Gaming Zone with Daisy dragging me in the opposite direction. The exhibition hall was small enough that I was happy to arrange a time and place to meet the boys so that Daisy could explore the ‘bouncy apparatus’.
Daisy and I went to tackle the Boot Camp Challenge – inflatable assault course which was great fun! Despite the queue looking daunting we only waited a couple of minutes to have a turn at clambering over obstacles, swings on ropes and whizzing down slides. A great activity for us to do together…Daisy had about another 10 goes. I did not! (Bootcamp = hardwork however they disguise it!)
We moved on to a much calmer activity over at the PopJam area. Daisy was invited to colour and design emoji’s and Internet safety posters whilst learning about the child friendly PopJam app. PopJam is a fun app wher kids can create art and share photos in a child friendly environment. The staff here were incredibly friendly and spoke about their app with great passion.
We decided we ought to check in on the boys in their gaming bubble as we passed…they were clearly in their element! Playing 4 player Minecraft and checking out the latest FIFA games (I hope those details are accurate – gaming is not my strong point!) Whilst we were over in the gaming area we bumped into the Angry Birds! We were thrilled to see there was no queue at all to sneak a quick piccy with Chuck himself!
The boys were more than happy gaming away so Daisy and I carried on exploring. We visited the Night Zoo Keeper stand next. The Night Zoo Keeper is a set of magical story books that encourage the readers to engage their imaginations and get involved in the story telling through digital resources linked to the story. Daisy struggles to engage with anything academic, she’s more of a run at it and swing from it kind of child…but here I saw her creating characters, writing descriptions and spelling independently with the guidance of The Night Zoo Keeper team. As a teacher I’m aware of many a reading programme with the same set up, but not digital programmes that support writing skills. An inspiring idea!
We continued to moved around the exhibition hall watching live entertainment on the stage, wishing we had Amazing Arabella’s wardrobe and feeling tiny next to Optimus Prime. There certainly was a lot going on at Kidtropolis today. We didn’t get to see a lot of the features we were really looking forward to seeing due to the vast queues. The My Little Pony Bus, Nerf, the Roller Disco were just too popular. Daisy would have loved to try the climbing or Parkour but we weren’t able to book a slot.
We had a great time. There was an element of disappointment in not being able to get involved in some of the busy activities but there was plenty to enjoy besides these.
Tips for a visit….
- arrive early for the morning session or late for the evening session as these seem to be the quieter periods
- If you are determined to enjoy the busy attractions be prepared to queue, take snacks or treats to keep the little ones happy whilst they wait
- Talk to the smaller stands. The smaller names don’t get so much attention so will have more energy to give to you!
- Get a map from the entrance and plan what you really want to see before you get in
- Watch the live stage shows, there were plenty of giveaways today including Furby’s
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did…let me know what you thought in the comments below…
We were given free tickets to this event for the purpose of writing a review. Tickets are £13.50 online or £15 at the door.