Review: Tayo Station at Downtown East

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Beep Beep! Tayo Station has opened!

Tayo Station is the sister spinoff of Pororo Park at Marina Square. So who or what is Tayo? If you don't know, you aren't alone! My kids and I had no clue either! Yes, they are that deprived of screen time. All I knew was Small K likes buses and cars, so this playground seemed to be a must-go for us! Tayo is actually a South Korean computer animated television series about the adventures of a little bus. You can check out some clips on You Tube. I checked it out and the series about Tayo promotes positive and respectful behaviour. Sounds good. Through the show, little ones can learn about road safety as Tayo and his bus friends practice road safety at all times. Lastly, Tayo emphasises kindness and friendship. Time for me to let them watch some Tayo! With such positivities, no wonder an indoor playground themed around it!

Tayo Station is nestled at E!hub at Downtown East, right next to the chalets. Boosting a space of 10000 sq ft, it is a place which integrates indoor playground attractions, edutainment area and sensory play space for young children from 1 to 12 years old.

Tayo's Road Circuit

(Suitable for 18 months & above)

This road circuit is the highlight of the playground.  The colourful background is similar to a scene off the animated series. To add a little local flavour, icons of Singapore were also painted onto the background.  Things can get a little crowded especially on weekends but fret not, the road marshals will do a bit of crowd control. There will be a maximum number of children inside at any one time and each session is limited to 20minutes. You may of course queue for a second round. 

Parents are able to enter and sit by the benches while their little ones drive around. Parents can also retire to the chill area adjacent to the circuit, which oversees the circuit. There are plans to have a little snack corner so parents can relax while their kids have fun. 

Prior to play time, the children are briefed on some rules. The children are also introduced to different road signs. A great way to sneak in a little road safety knowledge from the real world.

Kids are able to zoom around on the swing cars or Tayo buses. The older ones get to use the swing cars while the buses are generally for children 4yo and below. However, as you can see, my 7yo could not resist the adorable little Tayo bus! Thank goodness she is petite and fits nicely. I saw some adults swinging in the cars together with their little ones as well! These cars are pretty hardy and can withhold a load weight of approximately 140kg.

This street scene is complete with a Wash n’ Go. While there may not be real water, the rollers are made out of synthetic carpet grass material which offers sensory education. 

The little drivers are also able to head over to the Gas Pump Kiosk to pump some gas! The details on each pump looked so real, it wasn't hard to fall in love with them. 

To encourage pretend play and to stretch the child's imagination, a garage is also set up for little mechanic-wannabes to fix a loose screw or hammer a nail. Watching them zoom past in this colourful background really delighted me. Take note though, you may want to put on thicker socks as due to all the kicking and rolling, we heard feedbacks that some kids went back with holes in their socks!

The Rainbow Lounge

After all the action, the kids may want to take five at the rainbow lounge where the cartoon series, Tayo, is shown. Small K was immediately drawn to this chillax corner! This is perhaps also Daddy's favourite corner as he can just take a back seat.

Poco's Hinoki Play

(Parental supervision required for children 3 & below)

This corner is both a sensory and aromatic experience for the children. The smell emitted by these cubes are said to uplift the child's mood. Well, it's no wonder my children refused to leave that play area. Hinoki wood cubes were imported from South Korea. It is a clever way to mimic sand as we all know how messy sand can get. While the little ones had their digging fun and didn't mind those cubes, the adults found it somewhat like foot reflexology. The husband was hopping and wincing as he ploughed through the Hinoki cubes. I, on the other hand, loved the mini foot reflexology sensation.

It was pretty tough to pry my kids away from this area. They can dig all day!

Toddler Play

(Suitable for babies and toddlers up to 3 years old)

This is a perfect corner for children below the age of 4. It is specially designed to provide a safe and spacious area for toddlers and babies to crawl and tot around amidst the colourful and fun murals. With soft paddings all round, parents do not have to be worried that their child will be injured. 

Gani's Playground

There are many challenging stations at this three-storey playground. Another highlight. It is an obstacle course with several tunnels to crawl through. So if you intend to follow your little ones, please remember to put on a comfortable pair of jeans or shorts. It can be quite a workout. I thought we would be out of the place in an hour, but this multi-layered climbing structure was a game changer. We spent a total of 2.5hours at the playground! Unbelievable! 

The highlight of the Gani's playground is this steep slide. On first look, it doesn't seem intimidating. Afterall, it's all padded and it is a children's playground right? Well, wrong! It isn't for the faint hearted little ones. The ride down can be really fast for them. I had to coax Small K for a while before he decided to give it a try. He tried. Once. And that was it. Big K on the other hand, was more of a dare devil. She conquered the slide several times. Even the hubs gave it a try. A note of caution however, is not for you to crowd at the end of the slide. The person sliding down may bang into you. Generally a marshal will be stationed there to ensure that safety rules are abided by.

Cliff Ball Pool 

Right beside the playground, there is a stretch of balls. Which child can resist a ball pit? I know mine couldn't as they swam continuously in the sea of balls. I saw several children diving into the pit. Parents may want to caution their child that it isn't very deep, though the base is sufficiently padded. Along the wall of the ball pit stands a rock climbing feature. I think this is more of a feature wall as it wasn't that easy to get up. Not unless an adult helps you. Furthermore, there wasn't any ropes or safety equipment to facilitate the climb. 

Lani's & Rogi's Party Rooms

There are two party rooms located within the playground. I think these would be a big hit in time to come. They've got two packages -- Petite Package ($499) and Power Deal package ($899). The latter includes a dessert table set up provided by The Little House of Dreams! We love the cakes there! The Tayo mascot will also appear during cake cutting. The room is good for 10 kids and 20 adults and party add-ons like photography and adult buffets are also available. Hope over to their website here to check it out. You may also contact them directly by phone at +65 62837900 or by email at

Plan your next birthday party or go on an adventure with your friends at Tayo Station today!

E!Hub at Downtown East, Level 3, 1 Pasir Ris Close, Singapore 519599
Opening hours: 11am - 8pm (Mondays to Fridays)
10am - 9pm (weekends, PH and school holidays)
Admission charges: Click here

Disclosure: We were invited by TAYO Station to review their indoor playground. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/ services.

3D Printing Holiday Workshop with MAKE

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

This is our second visit to MAKE's studio. The first round where Big K was introduced to the concept of density, left a deep impression on the kids. Their walls were interestingly plastered with a material which one can sprawl all over, this was probably a way of letting us know that creativity is boundless and should not be inhibited. The place is also thoughtfully decorated with an aquarium and a little corner where various greens were planted! The kids were mesmerised and when I told them we were going back for a 3D printing workshop, they were ecstatic! ok, technically only Big K as Small K was too young for this. I have always been interested in a 3D printing machine. Bringing our imagination to life is such a dream! 

The class of ten started with Coach Chee Wee doing some ice-breaker activities. That didn't go very well with Big K who was perhaps a little overwhelmed that morning. She didn't want to participate or speak up. Thankfully Coach Chee Wee had his ways. Being a father himself, he definitely understood children. 

With patience, Big K slowly got into momentum and was speaking up and became her jolly self.

See what's printing?

Next came the introduction of the different parts of the 3D printing machine -- Extruder, Plastic Filament, Print nozzle and Heater block. Say what? You might think that a child as young as Big K (6.5yo) will not remember or even understand, but she did! She even won a prize for remembering where the filament was! It did help that I previously exposed her to a 3D doodler pen but that was a different level altogether. This 3D printer is way cooler! 

After the children were introduced to how a 3D printer works, then came the computer modelling bit. Using an online software, the children were able to learn how to add shapes, resize objects, zoom and rotate views. This was never taught to Big K and I guess it was great exposure. 

Being one of the youngest, she paired up with another 6yo for the project. Through it, they learned how to work as a team. Not rushing for a go at the laptop and not screaming bloody murder when her partner didn't like the colour she chose. Don't underestimate these little subtle moves. It moulds their character. I'm hoping that through such exposure, it will extend to things at home. She will learn to share and give in to her little brother. She does, but just not all the time. We want to cultivate greater empathy here.

So they clicked and they dragged and sliced their creation into layers before sending it to print. She was mighty proud of her bookmark. 

Another creation of hers. She said it was a snowflake which transformed into a dandelion. 

Next came the modelling exercise. They went on to design a house. As 3D printing takes a long while, such a project would probably need hours, hence they were only allowed to design the house. To be able to see a shape in it's 3D form is an excellent exercise for visualisation. Many Math (area and circle) questions these days involve rotational skills and seeing objects from different angles. As you move further down the road, during secondary school, there are even concepts of 3D being applied to topics on Trigonometry. If a child has poor 3D visualising skills, it would be tough to rectify when the time comes. 

The last step of the workshop is the Problem-Solving stage. During this segment, the children are split into teams. The older children get to be in the same team while the younger ones are in a team. The problem faced is the same. It really doesn't matter that you are older. Being older doesn't make you any more creative. A problem was presented to the children. in this case, the children were given a straw, a rubber band and a bottle with a marble in it. Their task was to create something with the 3D printing machine, to help in scooping the marble out. It was more straight-forward for the older kids who decided on making a scoop, shaped like a spoon. Interestingly, the younger children came up with a squarish shaped scoop with a hole at the end, for the straw to be poked through. How creative! Whether it works or not isn't the key. What is paramount is the thought process. They were taught to build a prototype and test it under different conditions. When things didn't go the way that it should, they had to think about how to make the solution even better. Slowly but surely, they team made small adjustments and tested frequently until finally, they succeeded in getting the marble out! This is a real like situation as with us adults who are out at work. Often, we have meetings to brainstorm for ideas. We don't always get the perfect solution, but no idea is too silly or crazy and one should not judge. Teamwork is an essential skill during this stage as it involved more than 2 children. I was expecting these children to be rushing for a go at scooping and probably someone would start snatching. But nooooo, none of these happened! I was appalled as if this were the situation at home, I'm pretty sure Big and Small K would be killing each other and screaming their heads off. Hence, environment and peer pressure does help in moulding a person's character!

At the end of the workshop, there was a simple ceremony where the certificates were presented. It wasn't just a piece of paper with her name written on it. It was an acknowledgement that she has done a good job. No matter whether a child is successful or not, over at MAKE, they praise. The important takeaway is that it is the process and not the product.

Big K has always enjoyed creating things. Creativity is not a competition. Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. I believe we are all born creative and curious, but our environment and sometimes parenting styles, stifles and throws everything out of the window. Undeniably, academics is important but I feel there is a need to marry play and learning. At least at a tender young age.That's when MAKE come into play. MAKE knows that the little ones' future will demand beyond academic excellence, a deep sense of creativity and problem-solving competencies. We want out kids to not only achieve in grades, but equally in character and life skills. How often is it that you see a child, incapable of even pouring water from a pitcher into a cup? I have seen it myself! Yet at the same time, we also hope to see our little ones do well in school. Such ironies right? And sounds really tough to achieve? Well,  it is tough if you don't provide the right environment for your child and continue to spoonfeed him/ her. At MAKE, they have created a program to help nurture the little ones. Children are very impressionable at a young age and between the ages of 7-12, they start developing lifelong mindsets and attitudes. If we do not provide the right assistance and environment, they may end up being textbook smart but not street smart.

After class, we hung around to admire some of the 3D printed objects created by the coaches. They are so cool don't your think?

These days, the exam questions have evolved. No longer do we have tons of questions which require you to regurgitate the paragraphs from the textbooks. Rote learning is passe. Students who learn purely by memory will not be able to visualise as soon as a twist is incorporated into the question. Many students there days are very one-track minded. In Math especially, there may be more than one method, but students often fail to discover them. They simply wait for someone to give them the model answers. Self-discovery is a more fulfilling path which will deepen their concepts.

Aligned with MOE's curriculum for Maths and Science, their program is divided into three sections: REFRESH, where children's understanding of key concepts are reinforced
MAKE. A core component where the child see theories come to life with their creations
SOLVE. Children will put their knowledge to the test in higher-order problem solving.

I'm really glad that there is now an enrichment centre which doesn't focus wholly on textbook knowledge, but has a more holistic approach.
For more details on their program, drop them a note today at or check out their facebook or instagram pages.

For you, my readers, 

Quote the code: MISH&MAKE when you give them a call, valid till 31 July 2018

What are you waiting for? Let your little ones MAKE something today!

Disclosure: We were invited by MAKE to review their workshop. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/ services.