Think Singapore is boring? Ran out of ideas on what to do over the weekend? Here are ways to make the coming year a spectacular one of new discoveries.
- Discover a new hobby
If your child has been hankering after a pair of blades, now is a great time to get started on the sport. Or sign your kids up for baking, drama, dance or art classes or camps, where they’ll get to pick up a new skill and meet new friends, and possibly free you up for an hour or more to do your own thing.
- Discover a new culture
Introduce your kids to a different slice of life. Here in Singapore, we are pretty well acquainted with the Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian culture, but how about getting to know what the Mexicans, Africans, Swedish or Icelanders are like? Understand a different culture, taste their cuisine, try your hand at their handicrafts and watch a documentary or two. If you’re wondering where to start, the library is a great first step, followed by food blog recommendations.
See also: Child-friendly libraries in Singapore
- Discover a new park or playground
Fun for free is available islandwide at the many playgrounds dotted around the neighbourhoods. Take a break from your regular haunts on the weekends and try visiting new playgrounds and park. The National Parks Board website is a great online resource to get you started!
- Discover an island
Did you know that you can go “overseas” without ever taking a plane ride? You won’t even need your passport. Simply leave the murky waters of our East Coast Park beach behind and tread into the blue depths of the sea on one of the offshore islands in our territory. Adventures await you on Chek Java, Kusu Island, Sisters’ Island, St John’s Island, Lazarus Island, and more!
- Discover Singapore’s heritage
Visit the iconic sites of our little nation, and take a step back in time to appreciate the past. Let your children have a taste of what their grandparents’ life was like with a morning spent at Kampong Lorong Buangkok, the last surviving kampong which was built in 1956 and is still around today.
If your children are slightly older, sign up for a walking tour to explore a neighbourhood in Singapore, such as Toa Payoh, Tiong Bahru or Kampong Glam. You’ll be surprised by the treasures of information and experiences that are waiting to be discovered. For more info on the walking tours, go to Your Singapore walking tour or Singapore footprints walking routes.
- Discover new heights
It’s time to scale new heights and take in the view of our Little Red Dot! Check out the 56th storey of ION Orchard the next time you’re in town, and you’ll be surprised by the amazing view the observatory (ION Sky) affords – for free.
Another great spot you might want to try is The Pinnacle@Duxton, one of Singapore’s most iconic residential buildings located in Tanjong Pagar. For $5 per person, you can access to the 50th storey skypark which gives you a great view of the city. Only 1000 people are allowed on the skybridge at any one time, so be prepared for some waiting during peak periods!
- Discover the Arts
The holidays are a great time to catch some performances and exhibitions, and expose your children to the Arts. The Esplanade is one our top picks to check out for free concerts and their extensive library is worth a visit while you’re there.
If museums are more your thing, visit the ION Art Gallery, located at the 4th floor of ION Orchard, to admire contemporary works by local and international artists, or The Arts House, to catch lesser-known films or watch a play.
Let your kids have the creative license to “vandalise” legally over at Somerset Skate Park (beside Somerset MRT Station). Over there, it is actually legal to doodle or draw on the walls and skateboarding ramps – in broad daylight! Spray paints not included.
- Discover how something is made
Teach your children to appreciate the work that goes into the manufacturing process. From seeing how bread is made the old-school way in a traditional bakery, to finding out Yakult is manufacture, or how water is recycled at the NEWater Visitor Centre, make time for these precious lessons of a different kind. You might even learn a few things yourself, or correct some long-held misconceptions.
- Discover nature
Few Singaporeans know about the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a pocket of nature on our little island that boasts a great variety of wildlife creature and bird species. Children will also get to encounter mangrove swamps and lots of greenery, which is definitely a rare sight in our concrete jungle city.
Bring insect repellent and lots of water to combat the mosquitoes and the heat. The reserve may be a bit tricky to find, but it’s more than worth the trip. Find it at 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925. Entry is free on weekdays, but a charge of $1.00 for adults and $0.50 for children is applicable on weekends and public holidays.
- Discover sustainable living
Get in touch with your roots and renew your connection with the land and with others through a variety of tasks to upkeep Kampung Kampus (formerly known as Bottle Tree Park) located in Yishun. It is currently being built up by volunteers from all walks of life by Ground-Up Initiative.
Balik Kampung (meaning ‘going home’ in Malay) happens every Saturday and is their flagship community programme. Volunteers work on the land together through farming, cooking and housekeeping to build up and maintain the space. Registration is free.
By Dorothea Chow
Did we miss out on an exciting place? Share them with us in our comments below!
This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine.