A young builder complete with helmet and high-visibility clothing grabs another brick and starts building the next floor of his skyscraper. This ambitious little builder is tackling a Lego building at least twice his height in “Kids at Work” opened by Natalia and Paul Maguire in late January in Hamburg Eppendorf with 15 staff. This ambitious couple are aiming even higher and planning more branches in Hamburg and across Germany all going well. Their business idea is to provide an adventurous play area with a hands-on learning experience for children. The aim is to stir up their imagination, curiosity and creativity and let their parents and guardians relax in the restaurant while the children play and learn.
660-square metre play and learning idea
Natalia explained: “That’s exactly what we wanted when our children were small.” A lot of heart and soul has gone into the bright adventure area decorated with fantastic Hamburg themes by artist Ole Schiesser. Children aged one to eleven years become architects on building sites, shopkeepers or scientists in the “Crazy Lab”. The programme changes every month and caters to different ages. Children can play or experiment with light, colours, prisms and translucent shapes in the “Magic Garden” or take an interest in science and technology in events like “Introduction to Electricity”, “Making Soap” or “Micro Organisms: Collecting and Breeding Bacteria”.
Modelled on children’s museums in United States
The idea behind the hands-on exhibits that children can see, touch, learn and “grow” their way through important developmental milestones originated in the United States. Based thereon, Natalia has created a truly imaginative play and learning area. “It is impossible to play here without learning something. Kids find inspiration in our different, themed areas that are suited to their age and development phase. We spark their curiosity and creativity.“
“Kids at work“ is already well visited and the couple are considering collaborations with schools and nursery schools on weekdays as well as Faszination Technik. The club stages technology-related events for children aged eight to 12 and 13+. It also co-operates with companies, colleges and universities, associations, the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg as well as authorities and associations across the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. “Joint events are imaginable,” said Natalia.
Three-pillar business model
So far, the couple have invested EUR 900,000 in “Kids at work“. Paul explained: “Our business model is based on two pillars – the entrance and membership fees as well as income from the restaurant.” A third pillar based on sponsorship will be added. “We can imagine offering a programme with events about flying and working with Airbus or Lufthansa Technik,” he said. Cultural education is another idea.
Many national holidays like the British Days and U.S. Independence Day on July 4 is also celebrated in Hamburg and offers even more occasions for celebrations and themed events at “Kids at work”. Natalia is Russian-born and Paul was born in Ireland. Both found Hamburg cosmopolitan when turning their business idea around. “The co-operation with Hamburg Invest as well as the builders and architects was great and despite our bumpy knowledge of German.”
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