Saturday, February 14, 2009

A New Place For Kids To Learn

So, the TwinBeans had a birthday a week or so ago and we decided that this would be our year for big parties. As a result, when we were stopping by a pharmacy, we decided to check out the new place that had opened across the street. Ignoring the name (I'm not really a fan of this trend) we stopped into Funtastic a new home of "Edutainment" in Amman. I set aside my feelings on the name to see the place. It is awesome. Unlike the typical slide and ball pit or dress up room and faux grocery store, this place is really focused on fun learning. Here's the way it stacks up.

Exploring the Senses
In the initial area, they have a learning center that is awesome for ages 2-10. It has computer games with several levels to push learning and interaction. It has activities to explore texture, smell, sight, and sound (using musical instruments). All of the activities are fun, but teach valuable lessons.

Fine Motor Skills
The next room is a world of awesome Lego sets. They have tables and stations on the wall with Lego sets that can be built according to pattern or free form. And they have the patterns if that's what you want. I love this room as they also have 2 sets of most options. So, if your kids (like mine) want to do the same one, they can. They have an attendant in this room who helps the kids find pieces, assemble, etc.

Gross Motor Skills
For building those big muscles, these ladies have come up with a rather clever idea. They have turned one room into a Play-Doh (okay more fine motor work)/chalk-board/wall painting room. Yes, they have an entire wall that your child can paint on. Instead of having them try and draw and paint at home, take them somewhere else and let them pant on someone else's walls. At night they slap a coat of white of the previous day's art work and viola! Clean walls ready for fun and creativity. They also have good smocks to keep the kids paint-free, which is nice.

The art project room is one of my favorites. In this room, they have two types of things. First they have some neat little pins and color boards that your kids can use to form all sorts of objects from the shapes. In addition, they do a variety of different types of art projects with the kids. Mine made fridge magnets one day. After they dried, the kids got to paint them. They've also done magic wands and cars. Awesome opportunities to do a project and have someone else worry about the mess. Who can beat that?

I hear that they are waiting on dress-up clothes to arrive. However, even without this room is fun! They have set up a camera and tv to display what you will look like with a small stage. As a result, the kids have a great time just dancing and watching themselves and their friends twirl, jump, etc. Forget the clothes, I can see the Beans doing plays to see what they look like.

Given that they opened recently, the outdoors areas, though nicely groomed, don't have specific purposes yet. And, maybe they won't. Even as just a small haven of grass to twirl and fall in, I'm a fan. It's be fun to see what they do in this space.

We invited all of the kids in both classes to the party, along with friends with kids. In all, we had some 60 kids in attendance. The ladies at Funtastic far exceeded my expectations. They handled everything and helped the party run very smoothly. As a result, of their organization and skill, I was relaxed and able to visit with guests and make sure everything went smoothly.

At 5JDs per child, this place is an oasis of calm, entertaining, education in a sea of screaming madhouses ;). Oh, and a side benefit of having such a neat party, I'm a popular Mom. can you imagine? I seem to have gone from the odd-man out American mom to the cool Mom who invited kids to a neat new place. Since the party, other moms stop their cars in the street to say Hi. It's really nice. Had I know this benefit, I might have done it sooner ;). Not that the moms haven't always been nice, but I have always been the ajnabiyyeh. Maybe now I've grown into something more... we can only hope, teehee.

All in all, Funtastic is a blessing tucked into the quiet street of Umm Utheinah behind the Crowne Plaza. It's easy to get to, Mom and kid friendly, open 6 days a week, and even has a cafe for parents with free wireless internet (and a wee peek into each of the rooms via a CCTV system to set the mind at ease). How can you beat that? Oh, and their English is very good so no need to feel intimidated... Trust me, you won't be sorry if you check it out.

Happy Funtastic Times!


At 5:38 AM , Blogger Ali Dahmash said...

I never imagined myself to be happy to read this post, but since I become the guradian for my 9 year old nephew, I find Funtastic such a Fantastic place to take him there, and I guess I'll be spending time playing Lego with him, he loves it to the bones!

is it in the crown plaza shopping center or behind it?

At 7:21 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

It is an excellent place... To get there, go from the 6th circle toward Souq Umm Uthaniah street. You pass through the tiny circle just past the Crowne Plaza. At the next street, turn left. The street is called Dammam Street. There used to be a fairly visible sign for Al-Bawasel Pharmacy. Funtastic is one block ahead on the right... Hope he enjoys it!

At 12:24 PM , Blogger Khadra said...

sounds like a nice place.
Happy Belated birthday to the twin beans :)

At 12:26 PM , Blogger Khadra said...

ok my confirmation word was ousky.

I gave the kids goofy socks for valentines day. Gage got mike wisowski socks (monsters inc, and I have no idea how to spell his name lol!)

Gage keeps calling his socks...
mowshy owsky socks.

it made me laugh. It was a fitting word to get.

At 5:10 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Khadra, too cute. And, such an appropriate word to get. My kids love the Mike Wizowsky part too...

At 3:02 AM , Blogger NasEr said...

hello Momma bean,how u doing ?
i wrote this post and then i thought it'd be fun to hear ppl's stories ,your's and Kinzi's 5osoosan so i tagged you if you don't mind . so please don't show this comment hehe and if u wish me to remove your name from the post leave me a comment .
ciao ciao
hope the beans are all good


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home