A child holds a Canon camera, obscuring his/her face

Trying adulthood for size

A little city, full of children trying adulthood out for size. That’s the premise behind KidZania, which has 27 ‘interactive cities’ around the world, where youngsters can role-play the adult world in a safe environment, with the chance to try out over 100 different types of career – and earn as they play. Want to be a firefighter? Go for it! A fashion designer? Of course! How about a photographer? Or social media whizz kid? Well, let’s get started!

Role playing is an important part of growing up. It helps children to build confidence and solve problems, supports physical development and gives them a chance to develop socially and emotionally, growing in empathy as they tackle situations alongside others. It’s a really low-risk way for children to learn the valuable lessons that they need to navigate life. In short, playing is learning. But beneath the world of play at KidZania children experience ‘macro concepts’ and challenges that allow them to form an innate understanding of the kind of world they want to live in and learn ways to make it happen. For example, youngsters can earn ‘kidZos’, the currency of KidZania, but crucially they can learn how to earn, spend, save and even donate to good causes. Work is not just restricted to corporations, there are government and non-profit roles to enjoy. And they learn not just about work, but how they occupy and interact with their environment, stay safe and be a good citizen of KidZania. It’s an educational experience, but the children who visit KidZania simply want to have fun! Who wouldn’t want to try being a pilot? Or a TV presenter?

Children assemble printed sheets to create a large poster
KidZania Dubai welcomed ‘Canon on the Road’ for creative sessions in photography, social media, print and the environment.

In July, KidZania Dubai opened its doors to a new career experience and youngsters aged 11-14 got stuck into Canon Middle East’s Academy Workshops, where they learnt photography basics with professional kit and learnt to create social media stories, while learning about safe sharing and how to deal with online bullying. But while online played a big part, the ‘hands on’ experience continued with a printed project and the students learnt about the best ways to bring their masterpieces to life in print, with a choice of PIXMA, Selphy or Zoemini printers on which to produce a keepsake to take home to the real world.

Importantly, the learning experience was varied and fun, with a mixture of group activities, individual creativity and, most crucially – play. This proved to be essential when working with the youngsters on environmental awareness. For today’s young people, understanding the collective responsibility to the planet goes hand in hand with thinking about what they would like to do when they grow up. It’s absolutely important to consider the impact of what we do, so a session on waste and recycling made up the final activity, again with a hands-on chance to break down the materials in products and using the familiar sight of Burj Khalifa as an astonishing unit of measurement. Mai Youssef, Corporate Communications & Marketing Services Director, ‎Canon Middle East and Central and North Africa, said: “Canon on the Road is a very unique, one-of-a-kind programme because of the way it approaches education through new teaching methods, which address topics that are relevant for the future.”

Future ‘Canon On The Road’ sessions are in the pipeline, so find out where they will visit next on Canon Middle East’s Facebook page.

Written by Ghofran Murad

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