Days Out · Family · Gaming

Tips for Preparing an Entertainment Centre in London

Tips for Preparing an Entertainment Centre in London
Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

The evolution of family centres in London has been greater than anyone could imagine. From arcades and playgrounds to laser tag, miniature golf courses and trampoline parks, family entertainment centres have evolved from occasional stops on the way to must-see destinations.

This profitable industry has continued to grow in recent years, even with advancements and access to technology. With smartphones and computers consolidating their presence in everyday life, the need for quality time in families is increasing. Creating a family entertainment centre is a fun and timeless way to profit while giving back to the community.

What is a family entertainment centre?

Many structures fall into this category, but few people understand what a family entertainment centre really is and how it can bring enormous value. A family entertainment centre (CEF) is a small-scale amusement park, usually indoors, that combines traditional play elements with innovative and creative structures that all children dream of. FECs incorporate elements that are mentally and physically challenging for children, with multiple levels, tunnels, ropes, water, and other design components that tap into children’s imaginations. These centres are usually independent structures or extensions of existing ones.

Types of Family Entertainment Centres found in London

Although you may not have heard the specific terminology of family entertainment centre before, you have been watching and playing them for a lifetime. Mini golf courses, laser tag centres, go-kart tracks, zip lines, and bowling alleys are examples of different FECs. The spaces have evolved into larger and more exciting experiences that have elevated the entertainment industry in London. With modern designs and innovative concepts, there is much more to consider when creating a CEF. Possible entertainment centre options include:

  • Children’s Museums: With interactive designs, children’s museums can encourage children to explore and learn in location-based centres.
  • Trampoline parks: As one of the most recent advancements in the evolution of CEFs, trampoline parks offer a way to exercise while improving balance and concentration.
  • Arcades: Get back to the classics with this old CEF. A game-filled environment encourages social participation and active play for the whole family.
  • Inflatable centres: Inflatable centres are one of the easiest structures to add to any indoor or outdoor environment. With soft foam play areas, you can offer obstacle courses and games within a creative play space.
  • Children’s Discovery Centres: This inquiry-based environment can foster independent discovery, exploration, hands-on learning, collaboration, and problem solving. These elements are the main attractions of discovery entertainment centres for children.

Tips for Creating a Family Entertainment Centre

Like any other industry, family-oriented entertainment has its own advantages and considerations. Fortunately, there are specific tips and tricks that will help bring your visions to life. Now that you know the basics of the industry and your creative wheels are turning, let’s dive into the best ways to start your FEC.

First you need to investigate. Although this advice may seem like a no-brainer, many entrepreneurs in the family entertainment industry fall short on the little details. Research begins with identifying your target audience and creating an in-depth analysis of their interests and ends with finding financial backers and obtaining building permits.

Build a Presence in Your Community

The decisive factor in the success of your CEF will be in the strength of your surrounding community. Trust, reliability and a supreme customer experience are crucial when building a strong relationship with your clientele. Do this by focusing on local marketing efforts, offering special discounts, and partnering with other businesses and schools to sponsor neighbourhood clubs and events. Another good way to create a lasting presence in your area is to organize special events, such as birthday parties and school field trips. The possibilities of involving your neighbours are endless. But one thing is for sure: if you invest in your neighbourhood, people will invest in your business.

Seek Professional Help for Setting Up Your FEC in London

When setting up your own family entertainment centre, if it’s your first time, it’s advisable to seek professional help in order to receive some guidance. This can be in the form of a business advisor or even an expert and renowned firm in the industry of family entertainment such as the crazy golf theme design offered by Plonk Golf Studios.

Interactive Challenge Courses

Building an interactive challenge circuit will appeal to older audiences and differentiate your business from the competition. This type of family entertainment centre differs from the others in that it offers the thrill of an adventure ride while staying within a contained play area. A structure like The Hive uses obstacle-based challenges with a friendly competitive edge for teens and young adults. Other structures like adventure spheres use climbing patterns, interactive light shows, and colourful designs to immerse younger guests.

Money

Made to Thrill: Best Halloween Slot Games for 2019

Okay, we’ll admit it: we’ve got a soft spot for Halloween. But who could say no to a day of carving pumpkins, dressing like vampires, and gorging on enough candy to satisfy even the sweetest tooth? What’s more, if (like us) you’re a sucker for slot games, you can’t have failed to notice that Halloween’s inspired more slots than Christmas and all the other holidays combined.  

Every year around October 31st, online casinos treat us to hundreds of top-notch Halloween slots, ranging from the mildly creepy to the down-right disturbing. This year is no exception. Already, serious thrill seekers are trying their luck with Halloween Jack, a highly-volatile slot with graphics as terrifying as its spin speeds. Meanwhile, those who jump easily are enjoying the likes of Pumpkin Bonanza and Halloween Fortune, with their cute cartoon animations and steady returns.

Want to read more about the spookiest online slots of 2019? Check out the below guide put together by the team from the online casino bgo.com. It gives you a brief run down of 6 Halloween slots well worth a spin this year.

Family

Tabletop Games: A Fun Way for Parents to Teach Children a Plethora of Skills

Kids love games of all kinds, whether outdoors or in, a sports or video games. These days, children of all ages are captivated more by the digital than the analog, leaving something to be desired for the developing brain.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, children who play with board games have an advantage when it comes to a specific set of cognitive skills like spatial reasoning. Additionally, playing games can play a major role in social development and the soft skills needed to navigate through the future.

Here’s a look at the some of the board game benefits that go beyond fun.

Cultivating Critical Thinking

Most children are naturally curious, and board games can help foster a greater sense of big picture thinking. A game with an age-appropriate level of strategic thinking offers an opportunity for kids to think outside the box.

Developing Motor Skills and More

Motor skill development from games is largely dependent on the age of the child in question. Small children or toddlers can benefit from the hand-eye coordination required to play the game. Rolling the dice and precisely moving a game piece across the board gives the littlest players a chance to develop a sense space, balance and hand-eye coordination.

Games that feature building blocks require a steady hand to keep pieces from toppling over, while games with a drawing component allows kids to think about how to represent something with a limited amount of time and tools available, and others still, have a focus on math and counting, helping with numerical development.

Other tabletop games may ask players to count quickly or solve a puzzle, all things that boost skills in the classroom, as well as out.

Enabling Social Development

From following directions to taking turns and losing with grace, board games can teach children a lot about being good citizens. For example, smaller children playing games will learn firsthand the give and take required to play games or work together with other people.

Board games also encourage children to vocalize needs and wants, whether it’s expressing a desire to win or getting that right card or position on the board, it opens up an opportunity to chat about expectations, as well as fosters a sense of understanding the instructions, or the nuances specific to trying to outsmart a competitor.

Building Confidence

As adults, we underestimate the power in feeling like we accomplished something. For children, successfully playing a game, win or lose, is an accomplishment—they may have learned a new skill, and now have knowledge that can be applied elsewhere.

If parents are playing, too, games are a great opportunity to offer praise for things like their creativity, curiosity, reading skills, etc., all things that boost confidence in a healthy way, which carries through to school and beyond.

Keep the Focus on Fun

Games don’t need to be intentionally educational to provide an enriching experience. A game designed with fun at its core still boosts brain development. Puzzles, word games and basic board games offer a wide range of opportunity for growth. Be it Monopoly or Chess, Chutes and Ladders or Candyland, anything your child chooses has benefits.

Opinion · Parenting · Personal · Technology

Why Are Electronic Devices for Kids Still Frowned Upon?

Child playing on an iPadI was at the hospital yesterday, waiting for an appointment and whilst in the busy waiting room, I overheard a conversation. There were several mums with their kids and one child was happily playing on an iPad whilst his mum waited for her appointment, whilst another boy of about 8 was looking on with interest. At this point, I got called into a sub-waiting area, but about five minutes later the mum and child without the iPad got called through to where I was sitting (bear with me, this is going somewhere…)

As they walked through, the boy was asking his Mum if he could play on her phone, seeing as he didn’t have an iPad to play with, and she turned to him and said “Don’t be ridiculous, stop asking for my phone, YOU don’t need to stare at an electronic device to keep you entertained, I raised you better than that!”.

I was quite shocked by her reaction (shocked enough to put the phone that I’d been contentedly engrossed in, whiling away the wait with a few games of ‘Where’s my Water’), but her words really got me thinking; is a child’s need for entertainment really about their upbringing? And why are electronic devices frowned upon?

I’m well aware that there’s an obesity epidemic in children that people claim to have been directly related to time spent playing computer games, but with children able to play outside less and less, is it really that much of a surprise that they look for entertainment elsewhere? And surely it’s not about the devices themselves, but the parental moderation involved?

Sausage owns a Nexus 7, a Chromebook, a Nintendo DS and Wii, an Xbox, an iPod Touch…but despite that, she doesn’t spend all of her time glued to a device because we simply wouldn’t allow it. I can’t stand the implication that once we give our kids consoles or gadgets, we relinquish all control over how they spend their time, or their wellbeing. Nor can I abide the assumption from a small amount of parents who feel like giving kids something with a screen is a substitute for parenting.

The other thing that bothered me about what the mum said was that if you need entertainment during down-time, you must’ve been raised badly. Surely the need for entertainment is a trait that’s shared by all humans? Of course, the type of entertainment varies from person to person…I love to read and blog, others watch TV, others play an instrument, others play games. There’s no right way to be entertained, but surely training a child to sit quietly with their hands in their laps instead of stimulating their brain in some way is limiting them? There’s a lot to be said for quiet contemplation, but I can’t get my head around the thought that a bored kid is a bad kid. It just doesn’t compute.

The real irony of the situation is that after that comment, the mum in question checked her phone no less than a dozen times in the period that we were sitting in that area, completely negating her own argument. Obviously, her comments got my back up on a personal level, seeing as I was sitting there on my phone at the exact moment she said it, but the urge to ask her if she’d also been raised badly after the 10th time of staring at her screen did get rather overwhelming!

The flipside of this is that, in my humble opinion, limiting a child’s access to computing is setting them back, in this day and age. We live in a world where computers are everything, and kids who aren’t highly computer literate are simply going to fall behind. Given that we now teach elementary coding in Primary Schools, we should be giving our kids more screen time in the hope that computer literacy is second nature, not something that’s like pulling teeth, which is how it seems to be for older generations for whom computers simply didn’t exist when they were young enough to soak things up like a sponge.

Aside from all of that, gaming needn’t be mindless – there are myriad apps and games out there which encourage literacy, numeracy, fine motor skills, languages and so much more. We’re happy for these things to be taught in schools, so surely we should embrace anything that broadens our children’s minds?

What do you think? Do your kids have electronic devices? Do you think that a child’s need for entertainment means that they haven’t been raised correctly? Leave me a comment below.