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Ayuni A.

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BLOKKE, in Citta Mall, Ara Damansara, has been a hit among parents and children from the day it opened its doors. This was thanks to its unique LEGO-inspired play centre.

However in April this year, BLOKKE underwent a major renovation to improve its facilities and revamp its premise.  After months of progress, it finally reopened on July 2018. Now it has a completely different look, intent and feel. Can you imagine it any better than it was?

I was eager to see the changes and updates, so I took my children to visit the new BLOKKE. While there, I had a revealing chat with its owner,  Sheahnee Iman Lee.

A space made for families

Upon entering the new BLOKKE, we were greeted by its huge restaurant. I could immediately feel the LEGO vibes from the colour scheme –the bright distinctive colours of LEGO blocks assailed us.  I love that the space feels family-friendly too, with ample floor space to move about. It’s perfect for parents with a stroller or many children.

According to Sheahnee, they want to encourage parents to gather with family or friends at BLOKKE. It was with this intent that much space has been allocated in the setup.

Watch the children play

Everything at BLOKKE revolves around playing LEGO. Sheahnee said they worked closely with their own children to get ideas on what they would love in a play area. These ideas turned out to be brilliant.

There is a small nook near the window for the children to play with LEGO blocks, with a row of seating spaces for parents who wish to supervise their children closely. This is definitely a great option for younger children who can’t be left alone in the playland.

In essence, the play area comprises a few ‘stations’ with specific activities – for example, a giant ball pool, a construction station to mobilise soft giant LEGO blocks, a fire station, a trampoline and many others.

Many think that BLOKKE is a franchise business, but it’s actually an original idea by Sheahnee, her husband and her brother. It’s great to know that these parents put much thought into creating the concept.

Safety first!

Children who enter the playland are given tags for security. The whole area is secured with only one entry  and exit point for easy monitoring. There is also a hand sanitiser at the entrance, manning staff and very clear house rules.

In terms of hygiene and cleanliness, Sheahnee said regular cleanings are scheduled daily, weekly and monthly. As a parent, she wants to ensure that BLOKKE is safe even for her own children. As such they do go the extra mile to ensure that their centre is clean and safe for children.

It’s also good to know that all surfaces in BLOKKE are protected with the latest anti-bacterial coating technology. This helps to keep the space clean aside from their regular scheduled cleanings. This was definitely reassuring for me to hear as a parent.

Monitor while dining

There is one thing that I fancy less with the updated BLOKKE – the playland and restaurant area are separated. Before, parents were able to dine while watching their children play. We can no longer do so.

However, it was good to discover that there is a live CCTV feed of the playland. The feed, showing a few different angles, is projected in the restaurant. This is helpful if you have older children who do not need to be supervised.

A new menu: now anyone can eat

The BLOKKE restaurant now has its own kitchen, with an experienced chef to run it. They have a huge menu suitable for children and adults. It also caters for all manner of diets– for the healthy eaters, vegetarians, meat-lovers and even those with allergy concerns.

There’s a special monthly menu to try, and for dessert, an in-house pastry chef prepares something sumptuous every day.

With such a menu, the owners hope to attract family and friends to gather for a pleasant time over food at their restaurant.

What I loved about the restaurant is that their kids menu is so well thought out. Kids meals come in a complete set with drinks, and served with child-friendly plates and cutlery.

Space for private events

The new BLOKKE also has a dedicated space for private events -something they did not have before. This serves walk-in patrons well. They will be able to dine in peace – without intruding on the event, or being disrupted by it.

Nurturing creativity through BLOKKE Labs

Across from the main premise is BLOKKE Labs. Here, interesting LEGO-themed classes for kids aged 2 and above are on offer. BLOKKE Labs aims to nurture the love for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) among children, through specially curated modules depending on the age group.

BLOKKE Labs also offers BLOKKETherapy for Autism. This programme is endorsed by Dr Daniel B.LeGoff, a paediatric neuropsychologist and founder of LEGO Therapy for autistic children.

Parents will love it too

All in all, as a parent, I feel BLOKKE is a great space for my children to play. The kids can play on their own or with a play date. As a mom who works from home, it allows me to do several things at the same time. I can do some work on my laptop. I can enjoy a cup of coffee and some silent ‘me’ time; all while my children are well occupied, safe and enjoying themselves.

Rating: ★★★★☆

For more information and updates about BLOKKE, visit them on their website and Facebook page.

Sewing and crafting can be an excellent way for parents to bond with their children. The timeless pastime comes in a variety of activities, such as doing hand embroidery, cross-stitching, simple sewing projects and even fabric painting. While it does take practice, it is relatively easy to teach basic skills to children once they are good at following sequential instructions.

A community of modern sewists came together over Instagram, subsequently working together to organise the the first Modern Sewing Market in 2017. On 28 April 2018, team makchic checked out this year’s market in Passion 3 Petaling Jaya!

First Of Its Kind

The Modern Sewing Market aims to celebrate the sewing and crafting community in Malaysia. The one-day event brings sewing and crafting entrepreneurs, hobbyist and instructors together, allowing them to exchange ideas, gifts and expand their network.

This year’s offering saw booths selling a variety of beautiful and rare fabrics like African cotton and Kimono silks. There was also a myriad of workshops designed for beginners such as a fabric painting and learning Shibori tie-dye. There was of course, lessons on embroidery, patchwork, basic sewing and also cross-stitch for kids!

Workshops for children

Children were enrolled into the basic sewing and cross-stitch workshop. Dedicated instructors taught them basic skills to make a simple tote-bag and mini cross-stitch project.

Mummies were able to learn more sewing and crafting skills at other workshops too. They were also able to acquire beautiful fabrics for future projects at the market!

Congratulations to the organising team of Modern Sewing Market 2018. We had a splendid time at the event and we look forward to a more exciting round next year! To get updates on next year’s Modern Sewing Market and more, check out their website here.

Photo credit: @modernsewists on Instagram and author’s own photos

Dino-loving kids, you’re in for a treat. A brand new interactive and dinosaur-themed educational centre was recently launched at the Gardens Mall in conjunction with Earth Day 2018. Team makchic was at the launch of Jurassica, a place you may want to take your kids to next!

Jurassica takes their young visitors, also nicknamed Earth Cadets,  through a mesmerising time-vortex. It sends them back to million years ago, where dinosaurs roam free in a neon-splattered prehistoric setup. Their mission is to advocate for ecological conservation, and educate society about Planet Earth’s environmental plight.

An immersive and interactive experience

Here, visitors get their own personal tag to check-in at every activity and dinosaur encounter. The activities include interaction with lifesized animatronic dinosaurs,  RFID Scavenger hunt and a data and sample collection. There is also a zip line, a three-storey play zone and an exotic animal exhibition to thrill young explorers.

The points collected during every check-in will enable kids to redeem fabulous gifts at the check-out counter!

To date, Jurassica has collaborated successfully with various organisations such as The Malaysian Nature Society and the World Wildlife Fund. They have come together for meaningful projects to advocate for Earth conversation and promote a love for nature. The centre is looking forward to more collaborations in the future, which will definitely add to its array of exciting activities.

Besides permanent exhibitions, there is also a line up of educational activities and workshop prepared for 2018. Among these are recycling programs, a Pitcher Plant Workshop, Young Geologist, and a Hornbill Workshop and Tour.

Earth conservation campaigns

Showing that they can walk the walk, Jurassica has recently launched a few campaigns to contribute to environmental causes. One is the ‘Save our Planet Program with Hi-5’, the popular preschool edutainment pop group from Australia.  In this campaign, the group has become the official ambassadors of the program, in hopes of spreading the message of planet conservation to a global audience. 10% of any Hi-5 merchandise sales at Jurassica will also go towards planet conservation.

To encourage more people to recycle plastic, another campaign named the ‘Unplastic Program’ has also been launched this year. From 18 April 2018 to end of December 2018, visitors may redeem one free ticket whenever they bring in 30 plastic bottles to be recycled at Jurassica.

Visit Jurassica’s social media and website for more information:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jurassica.com.my

Website: www.jurassica.com.my