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Mbekweni kids’ outing

Twenty youngsters from Mbekweni were treated to a magical Christmas outing recently, thanks to the Val de Vie Foundation partnering with Hope Through Action’s Mbekweni Centre.

This year’s Christmas party hosted 20 specially selected 8 to 13-year-olds at Wonderdal Edutainment Centre at Hazendal near Stellenbosch. Taking a holistic approach, Wonderdal combines high-tech and virtual reality games with interactive work and play areas.

The excitement grew from the bus ride from Mbekweni to lush Stellenbosch. All the children enjoyed a lovely lunch, followed by over an hour of edutainment at Wonderdal and interactive reading, then meeting Father Christmas for presents of backpacks with age-appropriate isiXhosa books. Who knew that learning could be so much fun?

Wonderdal develops children’s fine and gross motor skills as well as problem solving, and critical and creative thinking skills. The Amuki lead the young trailblazers through an awe-inspiring journey of discovery, starting at Kora’s Gate, the entrance to Wonderdal.

As they passed through the gate, they met their Amuki guide by activating their magical bracelet

First the magnificent Kora, the Tree of Light, which grows in the middle of Wonderdal, By playing a physical hand-cycling game, they generated motion energy.

Next stop was the Tinker Workshop.

The Workshop, sheltered by Tinker Trees, offered the opportunity to experiment with different kinds of energy and engage in tinkering activities. The Wind Tunnel then gave them the opportunity to play engineer and explore the aerodynamics of their own designs.

From the Tinker Workshop they travelled to the Wonder Garden, where the children encountered a fully immersive digital landscape that provided a fantastical experience of how plants grow. They played gardener and grew different imaginary plant types.

From growing food to preparing meals in the virtual Health Kitchen, they had to cook a meal for their Amuki friend, using basic processing methods such as chopping, frying and blending. The Amuki provided feedback and taught their human friends how to create a balanced meal.

The Mbekweni group then gathered in the cosy nooks of the Story Cave, taking a break from the buzzing activity of Wonderdal.

They listened to educational audio stories on the adventures of the Amuki and were welcomed to a book reading by Faye, a Val de Vie homeowner.

Beyond Wonderdal the last of the adventures awaited: The Wildlands. Here the children stretched their legs in this innovative outdoor play area and engaged in various physical activities.

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