Stepping out of the Movement Control Order’s (MCO) mundane routine for me must be done through phases. Getting into heavy physical activities is not a smart move for me and therefore, to reignite my brain cells and move my muscles lightly could only mean one thing – visiting Johor Bahru’s Petrosains PlaySmart at the Johor Public Library Corporation.
It was a usual working day when I went to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) play zone, accompanied by Asma Hani, the Head of Petrosains PlaySmart, Johor Bahru who guided me through the place as this was my first time stepping in there despite it being established in 2009. Asma informed me that only those who are vaccinated are allowed to enter, and as PlaySmart is located within the library building, their operation hours and entry rules are integrated with the library.
Having re-opened on the 10th of October 2021, Asma explained that while a lot of playable stations are sealed due to safety and health reasons as it involves a lot of contacts, but the fun remains with a few single-use ones. This was proven true as I saw two young kids with their guardians, both enjoying their time at the PlaySmart space.
The small groups of people including myself enjoyed the flammable liquid show with the instructor who then asks questions and helps answer how and why the flame happens and how it creates sounds.
Asma then showed me the Maker Studio that is at the opposite end of the library where busy 3D printers are manufacturing small parts for medium size projects. This is definitely for those who like hands-on activities and being creative.
There is a complete state of the art equipment for visitors to try making small projects. For children, there are levels involved and adults can freely choose any stations they would like to start with.
Asma said their doors are always open to anyone with an interest in STEM, including students who need help with their projects.
The studio during the MCO period has also hosted live broadcasts and recorded videos. There are programmes for interested parties to do at home and they will send the kit and have them watch guide recorded videos at their preferred time. Just register (incurred some charges) to schedule your fun time and you are set to go!
You can bring home the fruits of your labour as a token of memory at no additional charges. As I was running out of time, I managed to take back some small pieces of work that were made by the 3D printer.
Petrosains PlaySmart and Studio Maker is open daily from Sunday to Thursday, 9 am to 5.30 pm and closed during the weekends on Friday and Saturday as well as on Public Holidays. Entry is free of charge and currently allowed for vaccinated individuals. At a given time, only 10 people including its personnel are allowed inside at once.
Group bookings can be done by getting in touch with them at email@example.com or by phone at 07 224 5498.
Special thanks to Petrosains PlaySmart Johor Bahru team for the guide during The Iskandarian’s playtime!