Kidzania: Where children roleplay future careers

Children learn first-hand about economics, dedication & patience, as well as being a pilot, dentist, doctor as well as many other careers.

Kidzania's outdoor fire station at Siam Paragon.

Click button to listen to Kidzania Career Roleplaying download


It's A small World

The recently opened KidZania takes role-playing to the next level
5 Apr 2013
Vanniya Sriangura

Sometime around 2pm, Baramee Punyabukkana was called from his editorial desk to the scene of a fire. Equipped with the latest-model digital cameras (the office's property, of course), he and his fellow journalists ran to the location amid the sound of sirens. The town's only hotel was on fire and seven firefighters were strenuously manoeuvring the water hose trying to extinguish the flames.

The fire was successfully put out as Baramee finished taking photos. As quick as a breaking news reporter could be, he ran back to his computer, chose the best shot, wrote up the story, gave it a headline and signed off that day's article with his name. Even though it was the first time Baramee has ever published a news story, his attempt to be a good journalist didn't go unrewarded. Like the firefighters and all "employed" citizens (dentists, shopkeepers, pilots, paramedics, auto mechanics, police officers, crime scene investigators, makeup artists, sushi chefs, actors, construction workers and judges) in this 80-occupation, child-dominated town, the second-grader was paid well for his endeavour.

Providing children with the opportunity to act like grown-ups through role-playing various careers in an awe-inspiring scaled-down replica of a city, KidZania has been the world's most popular "edutainment" theme park brand since its debut in Mexico City 14 years ago. There are now 11 more branches including ones in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Dubai and Portugal.

KidZania Bangkok, an 810-million-baht investment and the newest and largest KidZania in the world, opened last week at Siam Paragon. In the 10,000m2 premises neatly decked out with streets, buildings and all the necessary utilities, children can have a taste of professions at some of the 65 establishments, including a fire station, hospital, photo studio, gas station, bottling plant, acting academy, chocolate factory, veterinary clinic, barber shop, auto repair shop, courier service, news agency, insurance company, retail store, radio station, pilot training centre, fashion boutique, pizza restaurant and car dealership.

"The concept of role-playing is a universal favourite," said Xavier Lopez Ancona, KidZania's founder and chief executive officer. 

"At KidZania, we focus on making the experience as real as possible which is why we partner with real-world organisations in setting up establishments based on reality rather than fantasy. We also provide uniforms, equipment, vehicles and even stories to make it more authentic and easy to relate to and also enjoy," he said.

Each child entering KidZania is given 50 kidzos - the currency used in this make-believe city. They can spend them on products, services and education (for example, they have to pay to learn how to drive or to become a chef), or earn more with every job they perform (each job pays differently depending on level of difficulty). Children can also open their own personal savings account at the bank and withdraw their kidzos from one of the ATMs.

At KidZania, children will have a lot of fun playing the roles of adults in the career world and at the same time they will get to practice some important behavioural and social skills including independent decision-making, teamwork and also money management," the global CEO said.

.....He also added that, through working, children will learn first-hand about economics, dedication and patience. ''As adults, we have to teach them that it's not easy to get money. Money doesn't come out from credit cards or ATMs, but is a result of work. And work takes time and dedication,'' said Lopez.

....The global CEO shared an interesting observation that although children all over the world love to role-play, children from different countries act differently when it comes to choosing their roles.

''It seems to me that Japanese children don't want to spend money, they'd rather work. So at KidZania Japan, establishments where they can earn a salary will have huge lines, while the ones where they have to spend are empty. It's the other way around in Mexico. The spots where they have to work are never popular but the ones they can spend money are a hit. As for Thai children, I'm sure they are right in the middle,'' he said.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Family, It's A small World, The recently opened KidZania takes role-playing to another level, 5 Apr 2013, Vanniya Sriangura, link

Role-playing & Education Vocabulary

Kidzania - a  chain of family entertainment centers around the world where children can learn about what future jobs when they are an adult are like, every center contains "a child-sized replica of a real city, including buildings, shops and theaters, as well as vehicles and pedestrians moving along its streets. In this city, children aged 4 through 16, work in activities from bottling Coca-Cola, working in a dentist office or working at a restaurant. The children earn KidZos (KidZania's currency) while performing the tasks, and the money is kept in the KidZania bank for children to spend at the gift shop and on KidZania activities. Inside every KidZania facility around the world, children wear electronic bracelets that allow parents to keep track of their kids remotely...Children also make up the governance of KidZania, with a 14-member group, note that one criticism of the company is that the children's activities are tied to strongly to the brands and advertisements of large companies (See Wikipedia & website)

role - what a person typically does in an organisation or activity; position, purpose or function   บทบาท
role-play -  changing the way you act or behave to be like another person (See Wikipedia)

take to the next level
the recently opened KidZania takes role-playing to the next level

editorial - an article in a newspaper that gives the opinion of the author or newspaper
fellow - used for talking about people who are similar to you or are in the same situation เพื่อนร่วมชะตากรรม

editorial desk - a desk at a newspaper 
the scene of a fire
- where a fire happens or happened 

model  - a type of product such as a car or machine รุ่น, แบบ
latest-model - the most recent model

equipped with -
having tools, equipment or something useful that people can use
Equipped with the latest-model digital cameras

property -
 belongings, assets, the things that people own  สิทธิครอบครอง, กรรมสิทธิ์
the office's property

fellow - people who do the same job or work as you do
journalist -
a person who writes news stories for a newspaper, the TV, the web, a magazine, etc นักข่าว, นักหนังสือพิมพ์, คนเขียนข่าว, ผู้สื่อข่าว
fellow journalists

sound - เสียง
siren -

amid -
happening at the same time as (this was happening)
the sound of sirens
he and his fellow journalists ran to the location amid the sound of sirens

on fire - burning การเผาผลาญ
the hotel was on fire
seven firefighters were strenuously manoeuvring the water hose trying to extinguish the flames.

journalist - a person who specialises in gathering and publishing information about news and current events, trends, issues, and people, striving for balance and a variety of viewpoints

construction - the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. การก่อสร้าง
occupation - the work or a job that one does to earn money and support one's family

- controlled ถูกควบคุม ถูกชักใย บงการ
child-dominated town

endeavour - to try very hard to do something ความพยายาม บากบั่น
paid well - earn a lot of money
she will be paid well for his endeavour

grown-ups - adults, not children

opportunity - a situation when it is possible to do something that you want to do (See glossary)
the opportunity to act like grown-ups

theme - the main subject of something ใจความสำคัญ, ประเด็นหลัก
theme park - a place with a lot of rides, games and other fun things to do for children สวนสนุก

brand - a type of product made by a particular company ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
theme park brand

the world's most popular "edutainment" theme park brand

investment - taking your money and putting it into projects to make a profit or earn interest (buying stock shares, bonds, real estate)
an 810-million-baht investment

premises - the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง ในที่นี้หมายถึงในรั้ว ในบริเวณทำเนียบรัฐบาล
the 10,000m2 premises

- an organization intended to protect and develop an art, science, language, etc., or a school which teaches a particular subject or trains people for a particular job สมาคมส่งเสริมความรู้หรือวัฒนธรรม
acting academy

veterinary medicine - medicine for animals; study of being a doctor for animals; relating to the care of animals that are ill or injured
veterinary clinic

repair - to fix something that is broken or damaged ซ่อมบำรุง
repair an auto
auto repair shop

insurance - a system of protection against loss, a person pays money every month (premiums) for a guarantee that the company will pay them money if they or their property is damaged or lost (See Wikipedia) การประกันภัย
an insurance company

retail - to sell directly to the public for their own use ขายปลีก
a retail store

training - to teach people how to do an activity or job การฝึกฝน
a pilot training centre

neatly - in a nice clean and orderly arrangement 
decked out -
decorated with things
neatly decked out with streets and buildings  

universal - involving everyone ทั่วไป
favourite -
one of the things you like best
universal favourite

concept - a principle or idea ความคิด
the concept of role-playing

the concept of role-playing is a universal favourite

founder - a person who establishes an institution, business, or organization ผู้ก่อตั้ง
KidZania's founder

Related search: Kidzania, Bangkok

About the author

Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer