Role-playing is one of the most important parts of a child's playtime activity. It allows them to stretch their imagination, gain familiarity with their surroundings and learn how to voluntarily submit their impulses to self-defined boundaries.
Designed by educational psychologists in co-operation with the not-for-profit Playright Children's Play Association, BOM City is taking this make-believe play to new levels with their indoor socio-dramatic play facility, where different pavilions with simulated environments offer children the chance to explore the skills, attitudes and values needed in different careers. They can try their hands at being doctors, dentists, models, news anchors, photographers or financial planners, with close to 30 careers on offer in all.
'The children can choose their careers simply by queuing up for any career to play. We have children of very different ages in the same group, but there is chemistry among them. Elder children are usually assigned to more comprehensive tasks and they are proud to assist the younger ones to do something difficult,' says Dominic Tong, director of BOM City, in Tai Kok Tsui, West Kowloon.
Children in the play groups are aged from three to 12. They can play three rounds of a game in one session that lasts two hours or one round lasting about 25 minutes. The language of communication is Cantonese, but English or Putonghua sessions are also available on request.
Each session is led by a coach while parents can - and should, BOM City says - observe the playtime activities through a window, to learn more about their children's needs and concerns.
'We believe every child is unique with, different characters, strengths and weaknesses, and should try more careers to explore their interests,' says Tong.