Earlier last month, my little man turned four. I’m not going to go into a spiel about how fast he has grown and just how short the years have been. I won’t, sniffs. But I’ll bet you already understand it anyway.

As husband had to travel out of town for a business trip on the day itself, we decided to celebrate it with Aidan a day earlier. Unfortunately, it coincided with a nasty bout of cough that the boys were suffering from and the morning was spent at the paediatrician’s clinic where we paid a mini fortune and emerged with a bag full of medicines.

Undeterred, we decided to go somewhere indoors to play. I had read on social media that Pip’s Playbox had recently opened at the Esplanade and thought it would be a good place to explore.

And I was so right.

It being a Friday, the place was not too crowded when we were there. I love everything about it – from the high ceilings to the ceiling-to-floor windows that let in copious of light to the craft table where kids could construct bunny nose and whiskers (in line with the PLAYtime! show of the moment).

Mostly, though, I loved the spaces that the Esplanade management had thoughtfully carved out within. There was a corner filled with train tracks, magnetic wooden blocks and large jigsaw puzzles for the kids to mess around with. There was a little nook with cushion seating that allowed kids to bring books in to read. And oh, the books – shelves and shelves of children’s literature written by local authors. It was amazing.

There was also an area with an old overhead projector – you know, the sort we had back in primary school – where the kids would indulge in shadow puppet play. That was really cool! There were animal cutouts provided and we showed the boys how to angle the mirror to let the light hit the wall, and they were gleefully projecting the shadows and having fun.

When they were done horsing around (heh heh), Aidan and I spent a quiet moment making bunny noses and colouring at the craft table. Meanwhile, Zac was busying himself by moving the stools around.

It was a very large and airy space, and we spent easily upwards of two hours there. We ended up dragging them off because they refused to leave. And you know what? I could totally see why. I would have been happy as a kid to spend my day there.

The icing on the cake? Entrance to the play area is completely free. Yes, FREE. Not a single cent. Shocking really, seeing how thoughtfully curated it was and how imaginative it allowed the kids to be.

I can foresee the place being crazy crowded during the weekends so I am guessing we won’t be back so soon. But we will definitely be back again.

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