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Children’s corner: A mini-city is an innovative edutainment experience

Combining education and entertainment for children has never been easy to achieve. But KidZania Egypt has an unusual and innovative approach to providing entertainment with a strong educational aspect.

KidZania is an indoor theme park built as a miniature city with paved streets, vehicles and 55 working establishments including hospitals, fire stations, beauty salon, bank, radio station, television, pizzeria and theatre.

Over the five hours of their visit, children freely choose a number of real-life jobs including doctor, police officer, journalist, fireman, and shopkeeper. The occupations have a range of difficulty levels to match the abilities and interests of kids between the ages of three to thirteen.

Tarek Zidan, KidZania's managing director, explains how the city represents a powerful learning tool that helps children become independent and develop their mental and social skills. The city can also help them discover their inclinations at a young age, according to Zidan, thus playing a significant role in shaping their personalities in the future.

The main aim of the city is realizing four "rights" for kids: the right to bring out their creative side, the right to know more about any career, the right to care about all living creatures, and the right to play while gaining fruitful learning. “Kids are born playful. While they want to explore and discover new things, they also want to play at the same time and that is our ultimate goal,” Zidan says.

The city is run by a staff of professional supervisors who aim to efficiently instruct children to get the most out of the edutainment experience. “Supervisors receive high-level training abroad before taking on the job, to guarantee professionalism and trust.”

As a result of KidZania’s record-breaking success with its 10 current operations located around the world, major corporate sponsors are thrilled to contribute in establishing new ones. Explaining why both international and local brands are planned as partners, Zidan says “They believe that it is the ideal way for feeding children’s brains based on international standards and long-time experience in the field.”

KidZania inaugurated its first location in Mexico City in 1999. With more than eight million visitors since it opened, the company decided to set up a global franchise spreading to Japan, Indonesia, Osaka, Lisbon, Dubai and Seoul. KidZania will expand its business to Mumbai, Santiago, Istanbul, Bangkok, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.

When asked if it is an appropriate time to carry out a megaproject, considering Egypt's unstable economic circumstances, Zidan said that the country is currently in dire need of new job opportunities and boosts to the investment market.

Zidan added that we need to instill in our children the importance of responsibility at young age so when they grow older they are capable enough to shape a bright future for their country.

By the end of 2012, KidZania will launch Egypt’s Cairo Festival City spanning over 7800 square meters. If the concept is well received in Egypt, the company will open more branches, such as in Giza and Alexandria, in the near future.  

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