If you're desperate for indoor kids' activities in Shanghai, then Eday Town is good option for kids aged 3+. (Ads say it's suitable for kids aged 3-15 but I can't imagine a 15-year-old enjoying it.) Housed in a 7,000 square meter facility on the top floor of an upscale shopping mall in Minhang (outskirts of Shanghai), Eday Town is a mini-city where kids can pretend to hold all kinds of occupations.
Note: The staff speak some English but activities are conducted in Mandarin. If your kids don't speak Mandarin, they'll still enjoy the activities and will be able to ask questions in English.
Buy tickets for you and your child outside the entrance hall of Eday Town. Unfortunately, staff charge for little ones who won't participate. Children are 130rmb. Each accompanying adult is 50rmb. It is more expensive on weekends.
There are two sessions. The first goes from 10am-2pm. The second from 3:30-7pm. You will have to pay again to enter another session so it's best to get there as close as possible to the start-time to get your money's worth.
You'll be given a map of the facility in Chinese but kids will quickly figure out what they want to do. Follow along the "road" to find the different offices for the police, bank, archeology dig, dentist, electric company, fire station, hair salon, chocolate factory, airport, etc. Kids line up outside the door and adult handlers will let them in when it's time for the next session (10-15 minutes wait time max).
How it works:
Each station has its own theme. Children go inside and adult supervisors explain the occupation, e.g. police will learn how to direct traffic. Children dress the part in costumes and hats. In some cases, they'll leave the "office" to ride in the appropriate mini-vehicle (e.g. fire truck, police van) that is driven by an adult supervisor. Kids then go on their "mission", e.g. putting out the fire or securing the bank.
Each activity lasts for 10-15 minutes and kids can freely choose which activities they'd like to participate in. They get paid a "wage" in Eday cash that they can then use to buy popcorn or other snacks.
My son enjoyed being part of the bank security team so much he did it twice. The kids each wore a helmet and bullet-proof vest and carried a (fake) machine gun - just like the bank security folks in real-life here in Shanghai (who are strangely ubiquitous). One kid carried the money case and the others secured the bank door. After learning how to do this from the adult supervisors, the kids piled into a security van and drove through the mini-town to the mini-Bank of China. After their mission was complete, they walked back to the security office.
Don't worry - there are plenty of non-gun related activities as well!
5/F, Zhongsheng World Mall, 5001 Dushi Lu, Minhang (near Chunshen Lu, Metro Line 1 Xinzhuang Station) // 都市路5001号仲盛世界商城5楼近春申路, 地铁1号线莘庄站
Expect to spend 40-60 minutes by car from downtown (Puxi) Shanghai
Daily 2 Sessions: 10am-2:30pm and 3:30-7pm. Entry tickets are only valid for one session.
Food: There is a snack area where you can sit and have lunch (I recommend bringing your own). You can also buy cheap snacks and drinks from a little shop but the selection is small. The day we went popcorn was for sale for 20 Eday Yuan. Kids typically "earn" 5 Eday Yuan for every occupational activity so after four, they can buy a snack!
Toilets: There are restrooms inside the facility but bring your own tissue and hand wipes.
Rest areas: There are very few places to sit down. As a parent, picture a long day of standing around watching your kid be entertained. (Bring your camera and a magazine!)