30 March 2016, by Mandy Loh
“Play is the work of children”
I love this quote by Jean Piaget, a clinical psychologist known for his pioneering work in child development. Plenty of research and early childhood studies have shown that children thrive when they are given free rein to play, explore and experience the world around them.
I fully agree with this philosophy, and sometimes feel like the “odd mom out” in pressure cooker Singapore, where parents are usually more concerned about the academic progress of their children. Then again, my children are not yet in primary school, so perhaps I just haven’t gotten into the academic rat race. Nevertheless, I try not to worry too much about whether Cristan has mastered his alphabets or whether he can add or subtract. I just want my kids to enjoy their childhood and have as much fun as they possibly can.
I’m glad I found a wonderful preschool that believes in play as the foundation for early childhood development. Check out how much fun my munchkins have when they’re there!
I’m also very happy that Singapore has become a really child-friendly place, with lots of public events and activities for kids and families to enjoy. Just recently, we went to the ArtScience Museum for the Future World Exhibition, which featured interactive digital art installations. Great fun for the kiddos to see their crayon creations come to life on the digital wall!
While we were in the area, we also checked out I Light Marina Bay, which looked more like I “Bubble” Marina Bay to me!
The kids squealed with delight every time the breeze blew large bubbles towards them. Needless to say, we didn’t cover much ground around the light installations as the kids just kept playing with the bubbles!
School holidays are especially fantastic as there are always a plethora of family-friendly activities to choose from. There’s bound to be a mall show or activity that would appeal to my kids!
Even on normal days, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to having a fun day out. My personal favourites are the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden and the Far East Organisation’s Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay.
But frankly, even the neighbourhood parks are great places for skate scooting and sand play. Just this afternoon, Cristan and Caris decided to spend some time at the playground just outside their preschool. After half an hour playing in the blistering afternoon heat, Cristan joyfully declared that today was “a happy day!”
Sometimes, boredom is also a great catalyst for creative fun. We were stuck at home (in Ipoh) one day with nothing much to do, and found scraps of materials to put together our very own Transformer robot!
The best part is, kids don’t really need much fancy stuff to have awesome fun! What’s most important is that we give them the time, space and opportunity to freely play. This means giving them the freedom to come up with their own games and their own rules, their own little world where anything is possible. And sometimes, they can really surprise you with their creative problem-solving skills!