Learning Centers in Thailand: Letting Kids Grow Outside the Classroom

Michael Sopon New

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As the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic finally draw to a close, Thailand’s younger generation is heading back to school. But after two years of learning at home in front of a computer screen, many are finding it difficult to adjust.

Learning centers and creative spaces offer a unique take on education. They make it fun. After all, the best way to learn is often the result of a passion for something. That’s why people often excel at their hobbies.

With that said, let’s take a look at three such places in Bangkok that aim to stimulate, engage, and inspire creativity in children.

What is a learning center, anyway?

A learning center is typically a place that offers multiple ways to learn. Often, these provide various forms of engagement from more active ones like physical activities to more passive ones like artwork. At learning centers, children are able to improve a broad swathe of traits including: independence, responsibility, teamwork, communication, problem solving, and fitness—things that will set them up well for later in life.

One major advantage learning centers have is that children have the benefit of getting to choose the things they want to spend their time doing the most—something they don’t always get the opportunity to do at school. This means that they are more likely enjoying themselves.

Thailand has a strong culture of learning and a literacy rate of over 98% among ages 15–24. However, the journey to academia begins early. Young children have minds that develop quickly and respond well to safe environments that can nurture stimulation—environments like learning centers.

MEGA HarborLand

Kids playing and posing for a picture in front of the MEGA HarborLand
Source: HarborLand Group

MEGA HarborLand is an impressive 8,000-square-meter playground that offers all kinds of exciting activities and zones for kids to learn and be active.

MotorCity lets children try their hand at driving go-karts around a small circuit, improve their hand-eye coordination by bumping into their friends in the bumper car arena, and even practice actual driving in a simulator that allows them to experience being behind the wheel of a car on a highway and in a garage (hopefully their carburetor is okay!).

A kid driving an electric toy car at the MEGA HarborLand
Source: HarborLand Group

Laser tag is fun for the whole family. It’s a great way to compete and exercise while coming up with strategies. It’s also a fantastic tool for practicing communication in the heat of the moment.

MEGA HarborLand also features a trampoline zone, a rollerblading area, and even a rock-climbing and zip-lining adventure area. These activities encourage children to move in new ways, improving their coordination, their balance, and their fitness.

Finally, there is a large arcade full of carefully curated games that are designed to push creativity and problem solving.

Playville

Kids playing in a ball pit with two adults at Playville
Source: Playville Facebook Page

Playville is a learning center that caters to children six months to six years old. It has all sorts of arts and crafts that children can try as well as a great indoor playground.

These are organized into various workshops and activities, including scavenger hunts, bug-themed guided play, baby playdates, and “Messy Play,” which lets kids get all covered in paint.

Kids creating an art piece as part of the learning program at Playville
Source: Playville Facebook Page

Creating art is an important learning tool that brings out creativity and makes children think about the world around them. What proportions make up a human face, how light bounces off different surfaces, how the sky changes color closer to the horizon, and other complex ideas can be developed early on without them even realizing it.

Get Growing Community Farm

Kids playing and posing in front of the playground area at Get Growing Community Farm
Source: Get Growing Community Farm Facebook Page

There is a certain nostalgia for many of us about going out into the forest, building tree forts, and coming back at the end of the day happily covered in scrapes and bruises. Children are a lot tougher than we think. Get Growing Community Farm is a special place that will help children learn that.

The farm is located in the Green Lung of Bangkok, a short boat ride across the river from Wat Klong Toey Nok Pier. There, you’ll be met with a life-size Trojan horse, an outdoor jungle gym, a wide variety of farm animals (as well as an ostrich!), ziplines, mud pits, and an adventure club. Tucked into the palm trees at the back is a pleasant rustic cafe for parents.

Speaking from experience, there’s always a chance of kids getting a scraped knee or two while enjoying the attractions. But, as one of the signs at the farm points out, “Children need to take risks.” They learn from those experiences and develop risk assessment and problem-solving skills. It builds character. The Get Growing Community Farm gives children this opportunity.

Honorable mentions

Bangkok isn’t the only place in Thailand that offers learning centers.

The Gymboree Play & Music Phuket offers art projects, playgrounds, and activities for young children. It’s won numerous awards for its education-based approach.

The Sirindhorn Astro Park in Chiang Mai offers all sorts of science-based interactive displays, a planetarium, mechanical building activities, and even a meteorite that children can touch!

Manta Kids in Pattaya is a beautiful facility that centers around teaching children to swim and having fun in the water. Swimming is one of the most important activities you can learn both for safety and for fun later in life.

Growing outside the classroom

Education is important. That’s a fact. However, education isn’t just courses you take in a classroom—something we too often forget.

Children should get the chance to expand their interpersonal skills, their problem-solving skills, and their creativity. Learning centers and creative spaces give them that chance, and make it fun to boot.

By taking advantage of alternative methods to learn, parents in Thailand can stimulate young minds and broaden their horizons in ways we might not even imagine, giving them the creativity to solve the problems of tomorrow. It’s also a great way to spend the day!

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Michael Sopon New

Michael graduated from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada where he studied Civil Engineering. After working in the engineering field for a few years, Michael moved to Thailand where he worked as a lecturer at Silpakorn University, a translator, a language consultant, and a construction manager before he began his acting career in 2013. Since then, he has worked in television, film, online platforms, and cartoons as an actor, writer, and producer.

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