I almost suffocated and collapsed last Dec school holiday.
It was Xi En’s first long school holiday ever since he started going to a kindy which practises school term breaks vs a childcare which operates through the year.
As much as I love my child and will like to spend every minute with him; too much of honey can be cloying too.
June holidays is looming approaching in just a week plus. I decided to make a list to help myself remember that there are still a variety of activities I can engage my pre-schooler. Not an exhaustive list but hope it will help those in the same boat as me! Most activities are kept at low-cost or better: FREE!
1) National Museum of Singapore (Children’s Season)
The Children’s Season returns this season with a medley of children-centric programmes. This year, the theme is Masak Masak: My Childhood.
As the title implies, it will be a learning opportunity of our yesteryear for our young ones. I like it that they always come up with interactive exhibits to make it interesting.
Image from: National Museum of Singapore
Key places to explore with free admission and activities:
PLAY@National Museum of Singapore
ArtScience Museum: Free workshop for an Architecture Adventure
Army Museum of Singapore: Free “Basic Military Training” Programme.
Asian Civilisations Museum: Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Story Tree. Interactive Exhibition for Children
Police Heritage Centre: I want to be a Police Officer! Young visitors can put on mini police uniform and have their photographs taken!
Singapore Maritime Gallery: Free admission to explore how Singapore became one of the worlds busiest port in action.
More information here.
2) Singapore Changi Airport
This is one of our favourite haunt. With 3 terminals, vast space to run, free aircon and free playgrounds , what’s there not to like!
A fellow mummy blogger Christy just blogged about The Canopy Playground at Terminal 1! It looks fun and best of all it’s FREE!
This will be one of my top to-go-places!
3) Fly with Superheroes onboard Singapore Cable Car
Singapore Cable Car came out with new thematic cabin with Superheroes such as Superman and Batman. Prices not exactly cheap but there is an early bird promotion if you “fly” by 31st May 2014.
Xi En had been asking for a cable car ride for the longest time but height-phobia Mummy is dragging her legs on this one. Let’s see….
More details here
We are regular visitors at the neighbourhood libraries. I enjoyed reading since young and felt that we are fortunate to have an established national library network in Singapore. The system and environment had also improved by leaps and bounds over the years. You get to borrow 2X extra no.of books for the June/Dec school holidays too!
There are also FREE storytelling sessions in your friendly neighbourhood libraries and even FREE craft sessions to sign up!
More details here.
If you have an active child like Xi En who cannot stay quiet/still in the library, look for one which has exhibits or greenery such as the one below to lounge and “bounce”! 🙂
5) Parks/Playgrounds Galore
It’s crowded everywhere in the holiday season. So some of the best places to move around with space to run around are P.A.R.K.S
Some of our favourites:
Pros: It’s Huge! Macs is nearby. Young ones can try catching fishes here! Kampong style!
Cons: Car-Park is not easy to come by during peak hours.
Pros: Not too crowded. Yummy food at kopitam just across the road. A small lake in the centre brings cool breeze.
Cons: Undulating grounds. Be careful when going down the slopes!
West Coast Park
Pros: Lots of new play structures after the renovation. A Macs nearby for fuel-up and several resting pavilions.
Cons: Not easy to find car-park lots during peak hours.
Gardens by the Bay (Children’s Park)
Pros: New and loads of things to play with! From bridges to slides to water park and sand play. There is something for all ages!
Cons: Because it’s so fun; it’s so crowded! Try to go on weekdays.
Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West
Located along Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 (in front of Courts).
A small playground zone but enough for 1-2 hours of play.
Pros: Macs nearby (again). Sand play and swings!
Cons: Can get pretty warm here as the trees don’t shade the playground enough.
6) Swimming/ Water Play
Xi En had been wary of water since young. He dislike water parks and basically any structures which sprout/rain down buckets of water. Now that he can express himself better, we found out he actually likes water play but not jets of water spraying at him. Our latest foray at the public kids’ swimming pool was a success. He found confidence as the water level was just at his tummy! Step by step, we hope to ease him into actual swimming which had been strongly encouraged by doctors (and well-meaning aunties) to strengthen his lungs.
If you have one who dislike water parks like mine, try gentle introduction at the babies’ pool. Bring buckets, water containers and toys along! And don’t forget your sunnies and sunblock lotion.
7) MRT/Bus Rides
Almost every pre-schooler I know LOVES, ADORES train and bus rides! It is thrilling; it is fast, it is humongous! Yes, it is bigger than Daddy’s small car.
Xi En was in the phase that he memorized the entire MRT map of Singapore. Thereafter, he asked for those which were not constructed yet!
He pored over the maps and was so engrossed over the system. Now he had progressed to maps; all kinds of maps and road signs.
You can get a free local MRT train map (pocket size) from any control stations at any MRT stations in Singapore and give it to your little ones at rest stops. This can keep them quiet for some minutes while you drink that cuppa.
Of course, after memorizing every stations, you need to bring them out for joy rides; MRT and buses alike. For buses, gun for the double-decker ones (if they are on your routes) and sit at the upper deck first (class) seats. To top it up, get the right seats so your pre-schooler can have fun staring at the bus driver’s reflection from the mirror!
8) Home-based activities
We have our “off” days too. Or rainy days; when we don’t feel like heading out. Lazy afternoons at home.
For such days, these are what we do at home:
It is always fun for the little fingers and hands to dabble into dough, help with measuring out sugar, use the egg beater and assist in making pizzas, muffins, cupcakes and bread!
I will have stock of simple ingredients at home; ready for one of those bake-out days. And the best part: Xi En will eat what he helped to bake! He always think his “self-baked/cooked” stuff are yummy! haaa!
Now, you don’t need to pay $30 to $50 for them to “learn” to make pizza or muffins. All at the comfort of your home. The cons: you need to clean up.
Magic Sand we called it. Or Kinetic Sand.
One of Xi En’s favourite activity at home; but it can get real sandy! So we restrict playing within a room and before bathing time!
It is not exactly cheap sand at $29.90 for 1KG but it is clean and re-useable!
Currently, Xi En at the age where he understood instructions and found interest in board/card games. We bought a set of kids’ monopoly and dug out old dominoes games and taught him how to play. He loved it! and he doesn’t need to always win. It is interesting to see how a kid behaves in games. Many teaching opportunities too.
After a too-early introduction to the Ipad and Iphone, we are trying to minimise using the tech-toys as nannies and engage him in more traditional play.
You can purchase the usual board games in major bookstores or toy shops. For more unique games, try checking out a mumpreneur’s online games shop – Myfirstgames.
So, those are stuff we did before and will repeat some of them to go through this long one month holiday again. If you have no plans to travel overseas, hope the above will come in useful in your planning too!
More holiday ideas from very resourceful local mom bloggers:
Kids R Simple:
Happy Holidays! May we “survive”!