8 Places in Cairo That Are Making Learning Fun Again
Ever wondered what it would be like to learn biology by planting a tree instead of sitting in a classroom?
Let’s face it, parents – selling your kids, no matter their age, on the benefits of knuckling down and working hard at school is near impossible. But as the worlds of education and entertainment mélange more and more together, new avenues for learning have begun to come to the forefront in an Egypt whose traditional education avenues, from public schools, to private tutors, just don’t cut it.
While there are still plenty of loyalists who swear by the old-school approach of burying your head in books, the benefits of infusing education with real-life application, real-word experience and maybe even a little bit of fun are undeniable, as these eight places in Cairo show.
“Formal schooling is a way in which your children learn, and this is one of many lenses of exploration that can fundamentally alter the way in which they view the world,” states Kin Institute’s website on the importance of learning outside traditional confines. An advocate of informal education, the institute has been conceived as a hub of creativity that encourages kids to learn subjects like geometry, history, science, architecture and more in an interactive setting. The institute even offers workshops for puppet making, creative writing, and Maquette-making – but not without good reason.
The Maquette workshops, for example, merge art, geometry and lateral thinking, while also leaving plenty of room for self-expression. There are similar approaches to other subjects such as history; Kin often take their students on trips through Old Cairo and show the kids rather than just telling them – a philosophy that sits at the heart of the institute’s approach.
Check them out on Instagram and Facebook.
Datifa is all about interactive exploration in offering what they call ‘cultural trips’ all over Egypt. Again, the idea here is to step away from textbooks and actually engage children by putting them in the thick of it. The trips are carefully selected, too, and in themselves are creative. Yes, the standard trip to the likes of the Great Pyramids are available, but also more interesting trips from everything to Cairo Opera House and the Citadel, to Sakkara and even the Airforce Museum, number among the possibilities.
All trips are led by a guide and the children are provided with food, drinks and water; but these are just the trimmings around a unique service that makes education a social experience.
Head over to Instagram and Facebook fore more information.
Born of a mindset that celebrates diversity and talent, Sane Egypt started as a vision in 2014 and has evolved into one of the most popular educational institutions of its kind. It uses experimental learning methods to promote artistic and cultural development, doing so by providing probably the widest variety of workshops on this list – everything from music production, to etiquette classes, all under the watchful hand of experts. The idea here is twofold; to enhance communication skills and, in the larger scope of things, teach children how to unlock their creativity. Sane also offers classes for adults, which range from first-aid workshops, to drawing classes and more.
Check them Stay up-to-date on all of Sane Egypt's activities and workshops on Instagram and Facebook.
While ClubLiko offers a familiar range of workshops and classes, what makes it stands out is that it goes one step further in being a valuable resource for the parents themselves and even dares to tackle mental health early on by assigning very specific exercises and sessions geared towards encouraging children to process and express feelings and opinions in healthy ways. It also offers classes for parents that address a variety of topics, including dealing with sibling rivalry and parenting toddlers, among other topics. Describing itself as the ‘ultimate family destination where child development and fun are one’, ClubLiko boasts indoor and outdoor facilities that allow it to host everything from gymnastic classes, to arts and crafts.
Check them out on Instagram and Facebook.
ENGINEERING FOR KIDS EGYPT
This one’s rather specific, but no less intriguing. As part of international initiative that has thus far being implemented in both Cairo and Alexandria, Engineering for Kids offers parents the opportunity to put their children on the fast track to a career in engineering by offering classes in science, technology, engineering and math. While these are usually the cornerstones of many a child’s school-based misery, Engineering for Kids, applies these subjects in the most creative of ways. For example, one exercise runs the children through the scenario of ‘the big bad wolf coming to get them’, before asking them to build a house out of various material to protect themselves. Simple, but brilliant.
For more information, visit Engineering for Kids on Instagram and Facebook.
Inspired by children’s writer and illustrator, Adli Rizkallah, the Rizkallah Foundation’s slogan is ‘Play and Learn Through Art’ – and they practice what they preach. “Through art, we want to teach kids essential life skills,” founder Dalia Rizkallah told the Your Child Expo in 2016, where it made a big impact. At its heart, its possibly one of the most committed to alternative learning methods in its belief that art can indeed help to not only nurture children’s creative skills, but also their scientific thinking. So, it’s not all throwing paint at canvas – the Rizkallah Foundation teaches children art as a discipline, too.
You can follow the Rizkallah Foundation on Instagram and Facebook.
Imagine that – being an adult without having to worry about actually ‘being adult’. This is exactly what Kidzania offers – children get to embody a career of their choice and live out their fantasies by actually doing the jobs first hand. As a world within a world, so to speak, Kidzania is built as a small city where kids can perform the duties of a range of different professions, be they journalists, bankers or chefs – they even get paid in Kidzania’s currency, Kidzos. They can then spend their Kidzos on various shops around the town and even open a bank account. But this is not about playing dress-up; each activity aims to sharpen one or more of particular set of skills; logic, linguistic, corporal, kinetic, spatial, musical and interpersonal skills. The kids are also left to make their own decisions, with a view to fostering an autonomy and independence. Plus, they look adorable wearing adult clothes.
You can find out more on Instagram and Facebook.
THE CREATIVE CRADLE
The suitably named Creative Cradle is an after-school center that simply lets kids let loose and explore the farthest, deepest parts of their creative mind. While possibly less-structured than the other mentions on this list, it’s this fluid and free approach that makes the Creative Cradle standout – in fact they very readily refer to their activities as ‘messy play’. The idea here is that, given the freedom to express themselves intuitively and instinctively, kids will only go on to enjoy learning more by being able to perceive, analyse and apply much more organically – and what better way to do that than through art?
Check out the Creative Cradle's 'messy play' on Instagram.
Playing dress up to breed engineers, exploring the city to give birth to historians, and painting canvases to nurture artists, are just a few of the methods these organizations are using to teach future generations. We're excited to see what they come up with next!