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By Jennifer Stimson & Janine Rodriguez, CertifiKID Subscribers
Posted Jul 20, 2019
Posted Jul 20, 2019
Pongos Learning Lab is an educational science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) center in Crofton, Maryland that offers clubs, classes, and camps for kids of all ages (and workshops for adults, too!). Pongos recently opened a BRAND NEW Little Learners Lab for kids under age 7 to explore, play and create on a drop-in basis. They also offer Little Learners Lab birthday parties!
We sent two of our MOM Squad ambassadors to experience Pongos Little Learners Lab with their little ones. They received free admission in exchange for providing an honest review of their experience.
Jennifer: Pongo's Learning Lab is a STEM-based play place designed for children under 7. They have three rooms: (1) the Play Lab specifically designed for kids under 3 (2) the Exploration Room and (3) the Maker Lab.
Janine: Pongos Learning Lab is a space for little kids to learn about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Older children can enjoy learning about coding and other activities like Legos and Minecraft play.
Jennifer: The Play Lab was filled with soft foam climbing type activities. My kids particularly liked the ball pit. The Maker Lab is supposed to have building type activities, like LEGOs, but we didn't find much in there. The Exploration Lab was where we spent most of our time.
There were lots of STEM-based games, a kinetic sand table, a giant Connect 4 game, a few building toys (we really liked playing with the gears!).
There was also a corner with stuffed animals and books that my 4-year old really enjoyed.
Janine: The place had about everything to learn about. It was fun for both parent and child to do the activities together.
Jennifer: This was a great place to spend a rainy afternoon. There were games and toys that we don't have at home that definitely kept my kids interest for a few hours.
Getting There and Getting In
Jennifer: It took us only 20 minutes to get there driving from Severna Park, Maryland. My GPS got me close to the location, but if I had not had the physical address and suite number written down, I would not have found it. They have VERY poor signage. There is ample free parking right out front and there was no line to get in. We did have to fill out a quick waiver, but it only took a minute. We went on a rainy Monday afternoon. I expected it to be busy, but we were the only ones there!
Janine: It took us 20 minutes to get there from Fort Meade. The facility does not have a sign to identify it, but my GPS took me directly there. There is parking available right in front of the place and it is free of charge. The staff was very friendly and took us right in with no problem as soon as we got there.
Time Recommended to Enjoy Experience
Janine: Families can spend about 1-2.5 hours here. There are a lot of different games/activities to do and learn about.
Jennifer: This is really a choose-your-own-adventure type of place. You can stay as long or as little as you like. We were there about two hours, my kids easily could have stayed longer. Less time would also have been fine. There really wasn't much to see or do. It depends on how long you and your kids can spend at each activity.
Recommended Age Range
Janine: My child is 5. The Little Learners Lab would be best for children 2-6-years old. I do believe the little ones (1 year) can enjoy the “Play Lab”.
Jennifer: I have an almost 7-year-old boy and a 4-and-a-half-year-old girl. While my 7-year-old did enjoy it, I think it is best suited for 5 and under.
Tips for Families
Jennifer: There are no onsite food or drinks. There is a corner with adult chairs and WiFi and a full view of the room. There was not a lot of stuff to do. A few different times each of my kids said they were bored, but I was able to direct them to something to keep their interest.
Janine: No food, drinks or snacks are for sale. Families can bring their own snacks and drinks and consume them in the designated room. Pack or wear socks as one of the rooms require to take the shoes off.
Would Your Family Visit Again?
Janine: We are definitely going back. It is a great place to host play dates and learn.
Jennifer: I don't think we will return. While it was a fun visit, it was a bit far for what it offered. It is definitely a decent option for a rainy afternoon, but we have better options closer to home.
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