For parents hoping to instill a little smidgeon of culture into their offspring, Singapore’s abundance of art jam cafes should prove to be just the thing. The entire family can get stuck into some seriously creative activities where pretty much anything goes. One such arty café is Arteastiq, which offers an art jam studio where patrons can throw their creative talents on to canvas. This is an ideal option if, like me, you tend to avoid paints in the house due to the unavoidable and inevitable mess that seem to go hand in hand with little people and paint brushes.
Listen to a Story
If your children love books, make time for a visit to Bookaburra where resident storytellers relay all the classic favourite fairytales and stories in a fun and imaginative way. Not only entertaining, but educational too. In addition, there are also interactive activities, arts and crafts on offer where children can fuel their passion for making their own masterpieces, which they can then take home at the end of the session.
Be a Fireman for a Day
Every Saturday the Singapore Civil Defense Force opens up the country’s fire stations to the general public. Kids will love pretending to be fire fighters for the day as they play on a real fire engine, operate the fire equipment such as water guns and hoses, and get the opportunity to slide down the fire pole, just like in the movies! The tours are free and take place between 9am and 11am every Saturday morning across the country. As an added bonus, should you opt to visit the Central Fire Station, you can pop next door afterwards to check out the Civil Defense Heritage Gallery, which houses vintage fire engines and equipment plus also offers the kids a selection of interactive games and activities.
Gaze at the Stars
For little explorers who are more interested in space exploration, then take them to the fabulous Singapore Science Centre Observatory where stargazing sessions take place every Friday night between 7.50pm and 10pm. Using state-of-the-art telescopes, and with tutorials from the experts, little astronomers can learn all about the constellations and our universe.
If miniature bowling is right up your alley then head to Downtown East where you’ll find the Orchid Bowl, Singapore’s very first bowling facility to feature this fun family sport. If your little ones can handle a late night, sign up for some cosmic bowling in the evenings after 8pm, it’s loads of fun guaranteed.
Let of Steam in an Adventure Playground
If your kids need to burn off some energy, head down to West Coast Park next to the sea, where they can have fun on the swings and climbing frames dotted around the place. Once they’ve exhausted themselves on the playground equipment, whizz them over to the pedal go-kart track and challenge them to a race!
Take your little water babies along to the Sengkang Swimming Complex and pay a bargainous entry fee of just SGD2! This neighbourhood recreation centre has eight awesome water slides, including a couple for the smallest visitors who don’t yet meet the 1.2 metre height requirement for the big slides. Wet and wild fun for all the family.
Get Up Close and Personal with the Wildlife
No family visit to Singapore is complete without a trip to the Singapore Zoo. On the whole the animals appear to be well looked after, however, I personally felt quite sad when I spotted the solitary polar bear who looks a bit lonely and bored. Kids will love watching the crocodiles being fed as well as the pet show that requires audience participation. The zoo also offers a special night time wildlife experience with its very popular Night Safari, which gives you the opportunity to spot some of the nocturnal animals that may not be around during the day.
Relax in the Chinese Gardens
Enjoy the beautifully tended and perfectly manicured gardens of Singapore’s Roam Chinese Garden. While you are admiring the northern Chinese imperial style landscaping and architecture, let the kids explore the seven story pagoda with stunning views of the garden and the jurong lake district. Hike through Nature: Get your trainers on and hit the Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk. The 2.1km trail takes in the Bukit Chermin Boardwalk with gorgeous views over Keppel Harbour and the rocky cliffs of Sentosa. If you time the walk with high tide then you should be able to spot the countless schools of fish swimming happily in the water below.
Help a Stray
As volunteers at most of Singapore’s animal shelters, such as the Animal Lover’s League and HOPE Dog Rescue, need to be at least 16 years old, this is one activity for the older kids. Let them spend the day looking after and walking some of the country’s unwanted pooches while they wait patiently for someone to take them in to a new and loving home. If you have younger children, head for the SPCA, which allows mum and dad to volunteer while your younger children tag along.
Go Wild at Sentosa Island
A world of fun awaits on this man-made island dedicated to entertainment. With Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark, S.E.A. Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon, Sentosa 4D AdventureLand, MegaZip Adventure Park and Trick Eye Museum to name just a few, you might want to consider checking into a hotel on the island and setting aside at least two days to enjoy all Sentosa has to offer.