28 April 2014, by Kelvin Ang
Singapore is such an expensive place to raise a child. Sounds familiar? While I would not totally deny that there is an element of truth to that statement, I am not entirely buying it either. Because a day out with the children need not necessarily consist of theme parks, cinemas, children’s plays or even the zoo. There are free activities in Singapore that you can do together with your young child… if you know what and where to look.
1. Go to the library
Our libraries are such great resources not just for books, for but DVDs and CDs as well. And they are pretty accessible in almost every HDB estate too. Most libraries also organise kids-centric activities that will keep your children busy during the weekends or when the school holidays roll along.
2. Go to the Parks
Nearly 47% of our island is shrouded in green and there is more to our beautiful parks than just colourful flowers. Take a walk through the many parks around Singapore and look for all the natural things that you can find. Point out birds and plants. Talk about the weather. Collect dried leaves or flowers. Spend some time watching ants or other insects. Little ones’ imaginations can be captured by the seemingly smallest things.
3. Go wild at the Outdoor Playgrounds
Speaking of the Parks, there are no shortages of awesome playgrounds located at the outdoor parks. Think climbing structures at West Coast Park, Woodlands Waterfront and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, or the giant board game at Jurong Central Park, or even the Train at Tiong Bahru Park or Battleship at Sembawang Park, and you can see that the children will be spoilt for choices. Oh, and how can anyone forget the Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay?
4. Be a Fireman for a day
Every Saturday mornings between 9am and 11am, ALL fire stations, except Jurong Island Fire Station, in Singapore will be open to the public. There will be live demonstrations of firemen in action and children will get a chance to use the water hose to ‘fight fire’ as well! And it is all free!
5. Go on a Nature Boardwalk
To expose children to the world of nature, one need not look further than the marine life that appears whenever the sea tide recedes below the boardwalk. There are a few that parents can bring their children to – Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin, Changi Point and Sungei Buloh. But for beginners, the Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk will be the best choice. It is suitable for people of all ages — it’s even stroller-friendly! This is a definite thrill for the families who are up for some crab or mudskipper-spotting.
6. Visit the museums
Singaporeans and PRs get FREE entry to most museums every single day, so why waste this special privilege of ours? For the young ones, the Singapore Art Musuem or the Singapore Philatelic Museum is a good place to start.
But what if the weather is a bummer and everyone is forced to stay at home? Fret not, as there are ample free activities to accomplish from the comfort of your home too!
7. Do crafts
Even if you’re not very crafty, children can possibly conjure up anything from anything. Because chances are, you have already got plenty of supplies lying around in your house already — cotton balls, ice cream sticks, tissue paper. Young children don’t need much in the way of craft supplies or ideas to get their creative juices flowing.
8. Draw together
Okay, so you are not into arts and crafts but sometimes just sitting and drawing or finger-painting with your little ones can be just as fun. And the most amazing part? No matter how bad your drawing might be, your child is not going to realize it.
9. Build a blanket hideout
A good old-fashioned blanket hideout can be a great way to kill a rainy day. Set up some chairs facing each other, toss some sheets or blankets over top, and fill the inside with some comfy cushions. This can be a cosy place to have a good read together as well.
10. Write letters and mail them out
With the proliferation of technology, the sad reality is that hardly anyone writes letters nowadays. But that is not to say that people will not enjoy receiving a piece of mail! Let your children pen a letter, or even draw a picture and have them mail it to family members or friends. You can be sure that Grandma and Grandpa will love getting a piece of mail from your little one.