Stuck in Singapore this summer? We get it, but the proverbial grass is pretty green right here in the little red dot too. This is a perfect opportunity to slow down, learn a new skill with your kids at home or venture into the city and get to know a new niche part of Singapore with your family. To give you a gentle push, we’ve listed 10 unique activities for when you are stuck in Singapore, from home DIY projects and crafts workshops to city tours, quirky museums, and unique cultural spaces that might have stayed under your radar – until now!
Haw Par Villa is now reopened after a nine-month closure for upgrading! If you’re looking for an unconventional cultural experience, look no further than the eclectic “outdoor art gallery” that is Haw Par Villa, home to over a thousand statues and dioramas portraying images and ideas from Chinese mythology, folklore, and Confucianism. Some of the park’s attractions like the upcoming Hell’s Museum and the infamous 10 Courts of Hell are neither for kids nor for the faint of heart, but there’s plenty to see, learn and marvel at for visitors of all ages and dispositions! There are still some outstanding repairs to the park to be completed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) that are slated to be done by September.
Haw Par Villa, www.hawparvilla.sg
One of the ideas comes from Crafune, a local business and creative space that promotes craftsmanship by providing a stress-relieving, therapeutic experience of leathercraft to curious hands of all ages. Besides hosting workshops (regularly attended by 9-year-olds and up), Crafune sells DYI kits with elaborate step-by-step instructions with images that will leave you with a first-hand-made bag, wallet, pencil case or pouch and more – as well as a 15% discount off their standard workshops!
Despite its size, all of Singapore’s cultural quirkiness doesn’t fit inside the spacious confines of Haw Par Villa. Singapore has some pretty offbeat museums that are perfect for family outings. We’d single out The Gem Museum Singapore, which, besides a fascinating and well-curated collection of minerals, gems and rocks, has a children’s department – Junior Rockstar, featuring workshops and kids’ tours with hands-on experiences.
Another favorite of ours is the Vintage Camera’s Museum with around 1000 cameras on display – from a replica of the world’s biggest camera to pigeon cameras. This may be especially interesting and educational to kids from the perspective of today’s Instagram culture and unlimited, instant digital photography.
The Gem Museum, 26 Kandahar Street, Level 2 & 3, Singapore 198888, +65 6734 3172, thegemmuseum.gallery
Vintage Camera's Museum, No. 8c & 8D Jalan Kledek, Singapore 199263, +65 6291 2278, www.vintagecamerasmuseumsg.com
The Little Things is all about the shaping of self-savvy children (from as early as 2!) through giving them the tools – and the ingredients – to prepare their own meals. In addition to offering various workshops, The Little Things also pioneered baking kits for kids, fine-tuned through experimentation and feedback from their little chefs. It helps you spend super quality time with your kiddo in your kitchen hassle-free as you have everything you need and nothing less nor more. Maybe you’ll learn something new as well, and then get the sweetest reward – food and pride in all involved!
The Little Things, www.littlethings.sg/littlebakingkit
Go back in time and back to nature by visiting the kampung on the island of Pulau Ubin and Kampong Lorong Buangkok, the last surviving village in mainland Singapore. Protected from redeveloped and frozen in the 60s, these kampungs are a live, hands-on history lesson. Kids will enjoy exploring their dirt roads along with domestic animals that freely walk around, all wrapped up in the kampung spirit of solidarity and camaraderie.
While Kampong Lorong Buangkok is a mainland “island” amidst modern developments, Pulau Ubin’s 1,020 hectares provide opportunities for boat rides, hikes, bike rentals (children’s bikes and special seats for babies and toddlers included), exploring the island’s mangroves, gardens, wetlands and trails – read more about exploring Pulau Ubin with kids here!
LEGO® bricks are an unprecedented and unrepeated favorite among kids (and parents) of all ages and genders. Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls published 100+ Lego Building Projects for Kids, a list that contains challenges, instructions, games and more. These projects make the most out of LEGO® bricks’ open-ended potential for facilitating hand-eye coordination, logic, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Each project has a separate blog post with clear instructions – from candy machines and operational machinery to toys and decorative items, this list has a project that will kickstart everyone’s love of LEGO®!
LEGO® Projects, www.frugalfun4boys.com/lego-projects-for-kids
Now something for outgoing, adventurous families: Singapore Sidecars offers the world’s first vintage Vespa sidecar tours – and channels profits to good causes. There’s no room for feeling stuck in Singapore if you can explore it in a uniquely fun way, so jump into the sidecar of a vintage Vespa and enjoy an intimate, exciting tour of heritage sights, vibrant communities and neighborhoods, along with your 10-and-over-year-old, while younger kids can join in a jeep or retro wagon. There’s a variety of tours with different focuses, so pick the one that sparks the most excitement – or create your own!
Singapore Sidecars, www.sideways.sg
Gardening and plant care are things kids love to do – kids love our planet as much as they love to dig in, especially with good instruction. The wonderful Green Capsule's love of flora is evident in their workshops (of which there is a wide variety). These include the Close Terrarium Workshop for kids, a 1-hour hands-on lesson in plant care and responsibility delivered seamlessly through the making of their own story jars. This kids’ terrarium workshop is ideal for parents and kids who need something calm and deeply engaging to break the routine!
Science experiments, especially with materials you already have on hand, are a simple, highly advantageous pastime for the whole family. Experimenting with vigorous interactions between everyday things and testing the laws of physics will open your kids’ eyes to what they usually take for granted. This sparks curiosity and appreciation for the world around them and opens them up to more learning, giving you an opportunity to immerse yourself in a small project and seamlessly bond with them along the way. Here are 55 ideas for you to try right now!
Hands-On Science Experiments, www.weareteachers.com/easy-science-experiments
The Common Bench invites you to join one of their workshops to hone your kinesthetic abilities or simply have relaxing fun! They have a Family Wood Construction workshop designed for families and appropriate for kids aged 4-12. You will learn the basics of woodworking and create a completely original wooden item, a toy perhaps, or a handy tool straight from your kiddo’s imagination. If you’re looking for something to do at home, check out their wonderful DIY kits. The Common Bench also offers Kids Pottery classes and a wonderful 2-day Kids Holiday Camp!
The Common Bench, www.thecommonbench.com/workshops