Got a long weekend off school lurking on your hands? Keep the kids occupied (for as long as an entire week) with these activities and have a fantastic time!
Escape to the Beach : Lazarus Island
Kick-start the nine-day break with a getaway to Lazarus Island, one of Singapore’s less well-known Southern Islands. It is home to white, sandy beaches with clear waters – something you won’t find on the main island.
Head over to Marina South Pier and purchase your ferry tickets at the Singapore Island Cruise ticket booth ($18 for adults, $12 for children aged one to 12). Take the earliest ferry to St John’s Island at 9am; the last ferry departs St John’s Island at 3.45pm. Once you alight at St John’s Island after a 30-minute ferry ride, turn left to find the connecting bridge to Lazarus Island. You’ll see a small beach; walk on further until you find a nice long stretch of sand. Slap on some sunscreen, set down your picnic mats and watch the kids splash away in the calm waters.
Use the toilet or shower at St John’s Island as Lazarus Island lacks modern facilities.
There are no places selling food on the island, so bring food and drinks.
Re-apply sunscreen every two hours. The beach on Lazarus Island does not have much shade, and there are few pavilions nearby. You may want to take along a large umbrella just in case.
Find joy in the little things
Make a paper theatre
Kids aged 7-12 years old can learn how to make a mini 3-D paper theatre and puppets for Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, Thumbelina, at the Artseen Mini Puppets and the Paper Theatre workshop. It’s from 11am-1pm at the Changi Room in Tampines Regional Library. Admission is free but you need to register at library e-kiosks or online at www.nlb.gov.sg/golibrary
Visit the toy museum
Head to the Mint Museum of Toys and get the kids immersed in the thousands of vintage toys. Although visitors are not allowed to touch or play with the exhibits, as they are all hard-to-come-by items, the toys will surely jog some childhood memories that you can share with your kids. Admission is $15 for adults, $7.50 for children aged 2-12 and free for those below two.
Craft projects are a good way to keep kids occupied. Try Lollibox, a themed craft box subscription service that does all the prep work for you. With themes like My Robot Buddy and Music & Me, each box comes with materials for more than one craft project, as well as instructions for educational activities you can do with the crafts. You can also buy the craft boxes individually at www.lollibox.sg for $28.90 each (not including shipping fees).
Make a felt monster
Let the kids design and create their own original monster plushies. Check out how to do it at http://goo.gl/NBr1Fw. Make sure you or another adult is around to help them with the sewing.
Mix work and play
Get homework out of the way
Nothing sucks fun out of holidays more than homework, so get your kids to finish theirs early. Create a timetable with specific times for each subject. Make time for breaks too – let the kids rest their eyes and stretch. Or they can have time for some games:
Hopscotch: Arm your kids with colourful paper, markers and tape, and get them to make their own hopscotch – then have a go at it for a few rounds.
Online games: If they want to use the computer, let them log on to www.knowledgeadventure.com. It has 100 free educational games, categorised according to age and subject.
Inspire little chefs
Have the kids help prepare a simple but hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. After the meal, get them to do the washing up as well.
Make biscuit wands
Biscuit wands are basically biscuits on ice-cream sticks. Kids will enjoy cutting out different shapes and waving the biscuits around. Check out the recipe on http://goo.gl/JKGfxf
A swim and a movie
Pop over to the swimming complex at Pasir Ris Sports Centre. The water playground and two fun slides will be a hit with the kids, while you and Hubby can relax in the jacuzzi pool. Admission fee on weekdays is $1.50 for adults and 80 cents for kids.
Have your own home theatre
Switch off the lights, draw the curtains, pile up pillows on the floor in front of the television and you’ll have a cosy theatre right in your living room. Make some popcorn and pick a DVD, and let the kids enjoy.
Make packing up fun
Put on a fashion show
Time to de-clutter the kids’ closets! To make this task more fun, get the children to stage their own fashion show. Take out the clothes and get the kids to mix and match, then strut down an imaginary runway. It’s a good way to help them decide which clothes they want to keep or donate.
Organise toys, books and stationery
Put on some music while everybody pitches in to clean up. You’ll get things sorted before you know it!
Take the kids to the Play@NMS gallery at the National Museum of Singapore. There, they can learn about local dishes and try their hand at pretend-cooking them in The Kitchen section. Another interesting section is the Bedroom – it showcases Singapore’s traditional costumes on mirrors, which allows kids to “dress up” and look at their reflections. Admission is free.
Appreciate our heritage and the arts
Visit a fire station
Almost all fire stations in Singapore have a free Open House every Saturday morning from 9-11am. We recommend going to the historic Central Fire Station on Hill Street which also houses a gallery you can pop by after. The tour will teach you more about what happens in a fire station, and the kids will have tons of fun exploring the fire engines and even trying out the fire hose!
Learn about Singapore’s civil defence
Check out the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery to learn more about the history of Singapore’s civil defence. The vintage fire engines on display are great photo-ops and interactive exhibits will keep the kids occupied.
Get ready for school
Take a scenic walk
After a week of fun, the kids may be feeling a little sluggish, so get them re-energised with some morning exercise at the Bukit Timah Rail Corridor. You can access the well-hidden railway tracks from the slope at the southern end of the Rail Mall on Upper Bukit Timah Road. Go for a 30-minute walk and head back before the kids get too tired and sweaty.
Fun with pancakes
Take a short drive to The Grandstand for brunch at Slappy Cakes (#01-20/21 The Grandstand), where the kids can have fun cooking and customising their own pancakes. If the walk earlier made you and Hubby ravenous, the restaurant also has a full-day breakfast menu that offers dishes like Country Fried Steak and Classic Breakfast.
Get ready for school
Have the kids pack their bags for school. Look through their holiday homework and help them out with problems they don’t know how to solve. Finally, get them to bed early for a good night’s rest.
By Andrea Kee, Simply Her, March 2015