When I heard about the Kids Screen at our new Odeon in Milton Keynes, and that it had a soft play in the cinema, I couldn’t wait to check it out, it sounded like an ingenious idea and as an avid cinema goer I love to check out new screens, screenings and movies, and one that made it easier for younger children to enjoy the cinema was very exciting for me.
At 3.5 years old, Nate has already seen about 20 movies, so he is pretty comfortable at the cinema and watches most movies to the end, though sometimes he does get antsy (he is a boy and a pre-schooler), AND I am fully aware that children at this age and younger struggle to sit still for 2 hours in a dark room. So why should they have to?
Odeon is enhancing the film experience for children, and for adults too, because when they are happy, we are happy.
Kids Screen Explained
The kids screen is a small auditorium of c60 seats with a soft play section at the front. I tested out several seats, including the ones at the back and you can see the soft play from every seat, meaning that you are able to both, watch the movie and keep an eye on your child as they play. There is a very real danger that I might just move in!
You are also more able to see because they keep the lights on (down low) throughout the movie. I don’t know about you but one of my main bugbears about taking children to the cinema is the sound, I find most movies actually hurt my ears, so you can imagine how loud and scary it is for children. Well in the kids screen they turn the sound down too, major benefit for us as Nate has just started to become scared of loud sounds and walked out of Inside Out a few weeks ago due to the sound.
The soft pieces of play equipment are in clever movie designs, which include a directors chair (very popular), a clapper, a movie camera and some big cushions and bikes to rock on (Nate’s favourite). The manager suggested that they might be able to, eventually, order some play equipment linked to actual movies, such as Frozen, or minions. I know my son would love that.
They have really thought about safety too. The entire soft play area is padded and there are crash mats to the sides and back, in case of a child climbing out. They also have netting below the movie screen to prevent children going where they shouldn’t, and to top it all off they have video cameras pointed directly at the soft play (and the exits), which is closely monitored. I felt like I could relax and let him play safely.
Finally, and importantly, adults pay kids prices and they are showing the latest releases in the kids screen.
Like any soft play there are rules that should be followed so that all children can play safely, these are the rules for the play area not the rest of the cinema auditorium:
- No children over 1.3 metres (130cm) in height
- No shoes – but socks should be worn (just like any soft play centre)
- No food or drink (in the soft play section)
- Children to be accompanied and supervised by an adult
We arrived a bit early, just before the adverts started and Nate was so excited, jumped straight in before I could even put my bag down. I had to remind him to take his shoes off. He had a great time playing in the soft play during the adverts, then came and watched the Minion movie. I asked him if he wanted to play while the movie was on but he was quite happy enjoying the minions.
While I was watching, a saw a young woman with two children, she was sat in the soft play, she had her baby on her lap and was feeding the baby a bottle, while her c4year old sat in the soft play seat and watched the movie, then the baby crawled around and they all seemed really happy. That is exactly what the perfect cinema experience should be like, just like you are watching a movie at home, except even better.
As soon as the credits started rolling all of the children, including mine, ran straight down to the soft play section and began to play. Nate loved jumping from the outside onto giant cushions and proceeded to do that over and over again. My best friend and I sat and chatted through the credits and another 15 minutes after the movie whilst our children played happily. It was fabulous because it extended our outing and gave us a chance to chat, which you obviously cannot do during a movie.
I would highly recommend anyone in the Milton Keynes/Buckinghamshire area to try this new cinema experience. We had three children on the day aged 3, 5 and 7 and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. If this goes well and becomes popular maybe Odeon will roll this out around the country? I certainly hope so because I feel that this idea puts children at the centre, the cinema is more accessible and enjoyable for young children as it should be.
The lovely Odeon are very kindly offering my readers family tickets to the film of your choice. That means I have 4 tickets that can be used in 2d or 3d, standard or premier seating, for anyone (adult, child, student or senior), any movie (except for a few major releases during the first 2 weeks) at any Odeon. If you live nearby though, I highly recommend using them for the Kids Screen. They can also be used in the IMAX screen, and I visited that screen too and it is a sight to be seen!
Terms and Conditions of entry:
- You must be a UK resident to enter.
- The prize on offer is 4 Odeon tickets and there are 1×4 tickets up for grabs.
- The tickets can be used in any of the following formats: standard, premier, 3D, ISENSE and IMAX.
- The tickets will expire 31/12/2015
- The prize will be sent by myself. Please allow up to 14 days for receipt of prize.
- The tickets cannot be used for Free List Suspended movies (free tickets cannot be used on some big blockbusters for approximately 1-2 weeks after they are released, current list includes Pan, Hotel Transylvania 2 and Spectre).
- The tickets do not allow access into “The Gallery” or “The Lounge”.
- You must enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and perform the task(s) correctly (for example, if you enter your email address to subscribe, ensure when you receive the confirmation email that you accept the subscription too), for each task completed you will gain more entries into the competition.
- You must enter a valid email address into Rafflecopter so that you can be contacted if you are a winner.
- This is a sponsored post, and the organisation “Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group” has provided the tickets.
- The competition will run for 16 days and the winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter after the closing date (11th October 2015), the winner will be contacted via email and announced soon thereafter. If the winner does not respond within 14 days another winner shall be chosen.
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Check back to this page to see the winner, it will also be announced on twitter.
Do you think your kids would like this?
*Sponsored post: I was given free entry in exchange for my honest review.