The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

A factory line of fun

The holidays are here again. How do you keep the children happy and

The Fun Factory is quite simply a haven for both children and parents, providing “educational entertainment-just for fun” seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. From a large jungle gym with a ball pit to a quiet library corner and dramatic arts area, complete with an exciting selection of fancy dress costumes, the Fun Factory caters to young children.

Parents relax in the knowledge that their children are in a safe environment. For founder and owner Geesha Tuerk and her team, this is a priority and therefore all the equipment is sterilised on a daily basis and the maximum capacity of 50 children is never compromised.

Geesha. Pix by Nilan Maligaspe

Geesha started the Fun Factory for very personal reasons. Her own two boys Jano and Kiall would give her regular heart attacks every time they used a public play area. “Everything is so unclean! No one here bothers to clean up after kids use something. How are children meant to play on things that other children have probably licked and, even worse, urinated on?

I finally decided enough was enough and set up the Fun Factory.”
Originally launched in Union Place in August 2010, the Fun Factory has grown into a venture that holds a membership of over 1900 kids! Geesha is immensely proud of what she has accomplished in taking childcare to another level. The Fun Factory shuns the insular culture encouraged by computer and video games that so many kids are hooked on today. Instead it provides a more organic environment for children in which they are free to “just play and be kids.”

Geesha’s establishment promotes parent-child interaction instead of just raking in the cash. “If you’re leaving your kids in our supervision, it’ll cost you more and you can only do it for a maximum of four hours. We prefer it when our parents play with their kids here, and discourage them from leaving the kids as much as possible.

I’ll never lose sight of how important that parent-child interaction is,” says Geesha.
An engineer by qualification, an accountant by profession, and an entrepreneur by passion, Geesha is a British-born Sri Lankan with a love for kids and everything they love. It was when she came to Sri Lanka on vacation and fell in love with and married her German husband Sven that she seriously began to consider opening a kids’ entertainment centre. A market gap provided enough incentive for her to take up the idea, and Fun Factory was created.

Today she operates from School Lane Kotte- her mother’s former home converted into a massive play area for kids. Armed with a Montessori diploma, Geesha runs the place with utter devotion, for it is what she loves to do.

The senior members of the Fun Factory team also share a Montessori background, which when combined with the friendly demeanour of the staff, specially selected for their ability to connect and communicate with the children, makes for a wholly positive experience for children.
The Fun Factory has a walk-in play service where parents accompany their children around the facilities for Rs.250 per hour, as well as the Drop N Shop scheme, where children from 4-10 years of age can be left to play in safe hands for up to four hours for Rs. 450 per hour. Attractive membership packages are also offered as well as party packages.

For the holidays, there is an array of exciting workshops and classes, including cookery, yoga and an arts and crafts programme; enough to occupy even the most energetic child. The basic rules implemented at play mean that children begin to learn important social skills whilst thoroughly engaged by all that is on offer. Even the treats available in the Fun Factory’s café make healthy eating an enjoyable experience for kids, with a selection of tasty, fresh and simple dishes and drinks.

It may be something Sri Lanka has not seen before, but the Fun Factory’s innovative recipe for children’s entertainment is clearly worth checking out. For more information, visit www.funfactory.lk.

More fun options

Minds Alive:
Minds Alive offers a ‘camp’ experience for 6-10-year-olds in a more intimate group of up to 10 children. Fun activities are planned each day including cookery, arts and crafts, as well as karate and dancing Minds Alive will run from August 6 to August 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The programme is available at a weekly rate of Rs.5000 and at a daily rate of Rs. 1000.  For more information, contact Maria d’Almeida on 0777485994.
MusicMatters is situated smack in the middle of Colombo 7, on D.S. Senanayake Road. Their programme Music for Children & Teens, tailored specially for kids, could be the perfect musical outlet for the holiday-weary child. Conducted in age groups of 5-9, 10-14 and 15-19, sessions are conducted once a week in a two-hour slot. Call 0112686615 for more information.
Playhouse Kotte
The Playhouse Kotte is the theatre production and training arm of the Lanka Children’s and Youth Theatre Foundation. Their ‘Let’s Make a Play’ programme from August 20 – 24 is open to children aged from 7-15. Conducted by Kaushalya Fernando, Dr. Chandana Aluthge and Mayura Kanchana Perera, they aim to develop the mental and physical wellbeing of children through drama and theatre.
Fun with words
A Creative Writing Workshop for 8 – 12-year-olds, conducted by Prof Neluka Silva, founder/director of Kids @ Play, a children’s drama group, will focus on how to create and develop a plot and finally weave these elements into a story form. It will be held on Saturday, August 4 from 4.30 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. at Kithu Sevana, Bullers Road, Col 7 (opp the British High Commission). For more details, call 0777571595.
Words @ Play – A Holiday Drama and Creative Writing Workshop
Prof. Neluka Silva will also conduct a two-day workshop for 8 – 12-year-olds bringing together drama and creative writing as the participants explore drama games, movement, voice and physical exercises, as well as the elements of creative writing to devise stories. It will be held on Wednesday, August 22 and Thursday, August 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kithu Sevana. Those interested can register by calling 0777 571595.
Milk and Honey Café
Milk and Honey will be holding a one-off creative writing workshop on Saturday, August 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at their café in Barnes Place. The workshop is for 8-12-year-olds. Call 0112696286 for further details.
Floating Space Performance Intensive
The Performance Intensive, under the guidance of Ruhanie Perera (Creative Director, Floating Space), is designed to offer opportunities to explore voice and breath, acting technique and movement as approaches to performance; or build on one of these approaches over four days from August 1-4 (12-15 years and 16 and above) at the Goethe Institut, Colombo 7. You can also pop in for one session, just to see how you like it! For more information call Ruhanie Perera on 0773020269.
Cooking Lessons with Aunty Damayanthi
Let your 6-8-year-olds dabble with cooking in a safe environment under the guidance of Damayanthi, a trained cook and a patient guide. At her lessons, they will learn the basics of cooking and even more importantly, how to do it in a safe manner with instructions on how to handle kitchen equipment with caution. Damayanthi’s classes can be tailor-made to fit your date and time needs for a group of six or more. Call her on 0777649601
Vacation Bible School
Having enjoyed years of success, the Kollupitiya Methodist Church’s annual Vacation Bible School will take place this year from August 13 -18.VBS offers children of all denominations and faiths from the ages of 4-16 the opportunity to engage in a week of activities centred around Bible study. The week includes handwork activities, which will be exhibited for parents on the final day of camp, singing as well as listening to and engaging with selected speakers. For more details, call Daniel Muttiah, 0776966201.

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