Live in Singapore and have young kids? As the months of June/July approach, are you looking for ways to engage the kids in a meaningful way-as far away from the iPad, iPhone, television and other electronics as can be? Alternately, is the family revisiting this summer and you are wondering where to take them beyond the usual Universal Studios, Adventure Cove, Singapore Zoo and the River Safari? Well, you have come to the right place! I have two kids aged 7 and 11 and every summer I make a conscious effort to seek out interesting exploratory activities that Singapore has to offer and take them for as many of those as possible. Camps are one great option, however I like to give my kids flexibility and some downtime in the holidays, so individual day trips/ outing work great for our family. If you have signed up kids for summer camps, but have weeks where they are free, try out some of these activities and exhibitions listed here, you will not regret it- that I can guarantee!
1. Some of the listed exhibitions and activities are free, some come at a price but are definitely well worth the wealth of experience that they offer to the entire family.
2. Age relevance: While there is a general guidance on each event with respect to the age it is appropriate for, I don’t believe in following it strictly as the kids of this current generation are very aware and can surprise you with all that they are prepared for.
Singapore Art Museum(SAM), 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555. Tel 6332 3222. www.singaporeartmuseum.sg
Love sea life and want to experience it with your kids without getting wet? Head over to SAM between 14th May and 28th Aug 2016 and visit Imaginarium over the ocean, under the sea to try out multiple creative experiences as you take a virtual journey underwater! Get a feel of the Great Pacific Garbage patch which has been recreated at the “Plastic Ocean” exhibit using over 20,000 pieces of discarded plastic. Pop by at the Moving Image Galley at SAM to witness the screening of some beautifully crafted short films about tales and adventures under the sea. Various art and creativity workshops to create under sea creatures and corals – few of them with the concepts of recycling cleverly integrated – will also be held for parents and kids at SAM this summer. Click here to see what suits you and your child the best.
Mint museum of toys, 26 Seah Street, Singapore 188382. Tel 63390660. www.emint.com
In addition to the coveted collection of vintage toys and collectibles from the world over, the mint museum has a wide array of workshops for kids aged 5 – 12 all of June this year (click here to see list ). Each activity is age specific and is facilitated by the staff of the museum or external experts. From clay art to sewing to drawing and traveling around the world in 80 mins – all the activities sound very stimulating. While you are there with the kids, you can reward yourself too by planning in sun downers or lunch at the Mr. Punch restaurant!
National Parks, Singapore, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569. Tel 1800 471 7300. www.nparks.gov.sg
The National parks board of Singapore has a wide repertoire of experiential activities for kids beginning May 30th through the end of June 2016 almost every week either in the Singapore Botanical garden or the Hort Park Services centre. They can role play to be treasure hunters, learn about native reptiles in Singapore, discover maths in nature or be plant detectives! There is no better way to get in touch with nature than experiencing it first hand. Click here for the schedule of events over Summer 2016.
Palau Ubin, a 15 min bumboat ride from Changi Ferry Terminal
Catch the celebration of Pesta Ubin or Festival Ubin at Palau Ubin which is on from May 14th to 12th June, 2016 as early as you can. Explore the glorious kampung spirit of Singapore, go for wildlife trails, nature walks, beach clean ups, treasure hunts, Kayaking and more! There is a promise of up to 50 activities day and night, so what are you waiting for? Read more on the event here.
Imagin8ors, Singapore. www.imagin8ors.com
If your kid is a tech geek or you want her/ him to become one, Imagin8ors, Singapore has a great platform to start them off on. Their summer camps cater to kids of age ranging between 3 and 12 yrs and the details can be found here. The team offers regular programs throughout the year too, so just follow them on Facebook and get on their mailing list to be in the loop. The part that is most interesting about the workshops organized by this team of educators, innovators, creative makers and technologists is that in every workshop there is an element of art and craft -involving recycling at times- into which amalgamates the technology with easy-to-make circuits and some basic coding.
Other must-visit places with kids in Singapore, if you have not already taken them and that are available all year through, are
Arts and Science museum, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974. Tel 6688 8888. www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html
The Future World exhibition at the Arts and Science museum, aptly described as one “Where Art meets Science”, is going to be here for 3 yrs, with the exhibits regularly updated to make it engaging for kids and adults alike. This is an interactive show and if you have not been yet, mark it down as a must do with your kids. Taking you through four key areas – nature, town, park and space, Future World is great for a day when you want to reward the kids for 1½ – 2 hrs , rather than spend an entire day out. Best to purchase tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Singapore Science Centre, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081. Tel 6425 2500. www.science.edu.sg
I have taken my kids to the Science museum multiple times in the last three years and we have still not finished exploring all of it. So if you have not been yet, plan it in your summer itinerary for sure. There is something for everyone to enjoy. While I have listed a few highlights here, the list is certainly not exhaustive. The reality is that the Science Centre has so much to offer, I can write an entire piece on it alone :-)!
– Water works– An outdoor water play area where kids can play and try the hands-on exhibits (don’t forget swimmers and a change of clothes)
– Human body exhibit– Let them learn about the human body by walking through it, literally. I would not recommend it if you kids are uncomfortable in the dark though. My son refused to go in when he was 6, while my daughter revisited the human body about 5 times when she was 9, so please take the call according to how adventurous your child is.
-Go stargazing with your little ones at the Science Centre any Friday between 7:45- 10 pm. If you want to get an introduction to Astronomy and then go stargazing, sign up for the Astronomy 101 series talks which last for 20 mins from 8-9pm every second Friday of the month at no cost!
–Eco Garden– Home to a wide variety of plants and animals and a very cool tree house, this is on top of our agenda to cover over the 2016 school holidays.
– Scientist for a day– Take your kids into this part of the Science Centre for some hands-on scientific experiments. There is an on site DIY lab facilitator (daily from 10:30am- 12:30 pm and then again from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm) who sets up experiments for the visitors to practice some scientific principles
National museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897. Tel 6332 3659. nationalmuseum.sg
If you have not been to the Singapore History Gallery exhibition at the National Museum, then do it this summer break! It would be a wonderful half-day outing for you and your kids. This exhibit tracks the 700 years of Singapore’s history through exhibits and activities- where it all began and where the country stands today. I am definitely taking my kids to this one!
Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807. Tel 63373888. spm.org.sg
Do you or your kids love to collect stamps? If so, then you would surely have been to this museum a few times! Even if there is no particular love for stamps there, take family to visit the recently opened “Shaking it with Shakespeare Exhibition” at the museum. All of you can get a crash course on the life of Shakespeare and the era he lived in, what he looked like, listen to songs from his plays and other day-to-day objects from his times, role play dressed like a character from those days and of course enjoy stamps that showcase Shakespeare and his works from the world over.
Marina barrage, 8 Marina Gardens Drive Singapore 018951. Tel 6514 5959. www.pub.gov.sg/marina
Can a dam be an exciting place for kids? You need to visit Marina Barrage, to witness it can! Marina Barrage is Singapore’s 15th reservoir which meets 10% of the country’s water needs, to see how PUB manages water while at the same time creating a great area for a family outing- kayaking or kite flying or just soaking in the fun at a picnic in the green expanse of grass. Pssst, did you know that Marina Barrage’s solar park boasts of one of the largest collection of Solar panels in the country and meets almost 50% of the electricity needs of the facility? Go check it out while you are there.
I have written a wide variety of pieces for Secondsguru, but this one is one of my personal favourites. I did not realise all that our glorious city has to offer, until I started scratching beneath the surface. I would like to thank Fauzana from National Parks board, Aisya from Mint Museum of toys, Nathania from Imagin8ors and my lovely business partner Anuja for sharing their pictures which have been used in this article.