Your kids are thrilled that their school break has just begun; you on the other hand may be feeling daunted at the prospect of having to keep them engaged for the coming weeks! To give you a hand, we have compiled some great ideas to keep both younger and older kids happy come, rain or shine.
Theme park fun
Pack sun hats, sun cream and your camera and visit Malaysia’s much talked about LEGOLAND. Wonderful Lego creations fill the huge park, there are plenty of playgrounds and roller-coasters to entertain the older kids (for most rides kids must be at least 1-metre tall). “Miniland” featuring Asian landmarks in Lego bricks—think colourful renditions of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Petronas Towers—is a sight to behold. LEGOLAND is an hour by car or direct bus (every 30 minutes from the Singapore Flyer, $20 per person).
Ten minutes down the road, brand new Sanrio Hello Kitty Town—the first Hello Kitty theme park outside Japan—will keep fans enthralled with interactive rides, tours around a Hello Kitty House, live performances, plus dress-up, nail art and jewellery making corners.
Part of the same four level building of Hello Kitty Town is The Little Big Club, where Bob the Builder, Pingu and Barney reign, complete with rides, performances and activities in the theme of each character. Fans of Angelina Ballerina can head to dance classes on level 2, while Thomas the Tank Engine friends can check out level 3 where themed rides, bumper cars and a model train set complete the fun.
LEGOLAND | Address: Medini, Nusajaya, Johor Bahru | Tel: 07-597-8888 | Opening hours: Daily 10am–6pm | Admission: Adult day ticket MYR140/S$56 (online MYR 105/$42); Child (3–11yrs) MYR110/S$44 (online MYR82.50/S$33)
Sanrio Hello Kitty Town & The Little Big Club | Address: Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park, Nusajaya, Johor Bahru | Admission: MYR65/S$26 (1 park); MYR110/S$44 (2 parks); free for kids under 3 years old
Hit the Beach
Pack a picnic and spend the morning building sandcastles at Palawan beach, Sentosa. Special activities will be held on different days—from “Boogie with Captain Palawan” (every Wed–Sun 28 Nov – 31 Dec, 4–8pm) to arts and craft sessions (daily from 24th – 31 Dec, 2.30pm, $10), and displays of fun figurines like fire engines, knights in shining armour, pirates and magical fairies (24 Nov–31 Dec).
Wild Wild Wet
Cool off at the water area at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden after some fun in the sandpit or make a beeline to Wild Wild Wet for a full day of water play, slides, tsunami wave machines and more in the newly reopened water theme park.
Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden │ Address: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Bukit Timah Road entrance │ Tel: 6473 7983 (Singapore Botanic Gardens Visitors’ Centre) │ Opening hours: Daily 8am–7pm │ Admission: Free
Wild Wild Wet │ Address: Downtown East, 1 Pasir Ris Close │ Tel: 6581 9128) │ Opening hours: Mon, Wed–Fri 1–7pm ; Sat, Sun, school holidays and public holidays 10am–7pm │ Admission: $19 (adults), $14 (child, aged 3–12 years)
Catch a show!
Where can you see Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Goofy, Tigger, Cinderella and Buzz Lightyear all in one show? At Marina Bay Sands, whereDisney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show and Santa Claus the Musical will both be staged. Or head over to the DBS Arts Centre to catch Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show | Date: 27 Nov–2 Dec | Time: Tue 3pm; Wed–Fri 3pm, 6.45pm; Sat 11am, 3pm, 6.45pm; Sun 11am, 3pm | Venue: Grand Theatre, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue | Tel: 6688 8868 | Tickets: $45–$125
Santa Claus the Musical | Date: 14–25; 27–30 Dec | Time: Tue–Fri 7.30pm; Sat & Sun 1pm & 5pm; 24 & 25 Dec, 1pm & 5pm; 27 Dec, 7.30pm; 28 & 29 Dec, 1.30pm & 7.30pm; 30 Dec, 1pm & 5pm | Venue: Grand Theatre, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue | Tel: 6688 8868 | Tickets: $35–$135
Fantastic Mr. Fox | Date: Through 9 Dec | Time: Tue–Fri, 10am; Sat 11am; Sun and public holidays 11am & 2pm; extra 2pm shows on 3 Nov, 1 Dec and 8 Dec | Venue: DBS Arts Centre—Home of SRT, 20 Merbau Road | Tel: 6733 8166 | Tickets: $28–38
For free performances brave the crowds and head to the malls (Plaza Singapura, Forum, United Square and Vivocity) for shows featuring much loved cartoon characters. Check their websites for timings.
Storytelling and Art
The Science Centre will be holding special school holiday activities in addition to their usual exhibitions and interactive learning experiences—amongst them is Chinese storytelling (27 Nov 3-33-pm,ages 4-7yrs). Bookshop Bookaburra (#02-03/04 Forum the Shopping Mall) hosts English storytelling sessions at Forum (weekly Wed 4-5pm Tel. 6235 9232) and United Square (weekly Sat 2-4pm Tel. 62596340) call first to confirm that it is going ahead.
For budding artists Scoop of Art (#01-03Marine Parade Community Club, 278 Marine Parade Rd) is a great ice-cream cafe where kids can paint and be creative whileHappy Willow(#B1-06 Fusionopolis, Connexis Tower, 1 Fusionopolis Way) has a book burrow for cosy reading plus art corners and play areas for toddlers and kids.
Get your kids to make their own Christmas cards, stockings or Christmas decorations! Spotlight has plenty of jazzy material, sparkles, decorations and great card making kits.
Bauble Christmas Card
You will need
● craft card cut into greeting card size
● wrapping paper
● paper glue
● gold pen
- Cut out bauble shapes from wrapping paper.
- Glue the top of the bauble to your craft card – allow the bottom of the bauble to hang free.
- Cut a short length of string and tie into a bow.
- Glue a line of string from the top of your bauble over the top of the card.
- Now glue your bow where the bauble and string join.
- Repeat with a second smaller bauble beside this. Write “Merry Christmas” on the front page and your personalized message inside with gold pen.
- Fold the thread in half. Then scrunch a strip of foil into a ball, around the ends of the thread. Squeeze the foil tightly.
Make Your Own Sparkly Baubles
- Cut a piece of thread about 20cm (8in) long. Then cut eight strips of foil about the same length.
- Scrunch the other strips of foil around the ball one at a time. Then roll it under your hand to make the surface smooth.
- Brush part of the ball with PVA glue. Then press on strips of white tissue paper. Do this until the ball is covered.
- When the glue is dry, glue on lots of strips of coloured tissue paper in the same way
- until the ball is completely covered.
- Decorate your bauble with sequins, stickers or glitter.
- To finish brush PVA glue all over it. The glue will go clear when it dries and act like a varnish.To finish brush PVA glue all over it. The glue will go clear when it dries and act like a varnish.
Extracted from the Usborne Book of Christmas Ideas (£9.99) by Fiona Watt, published by Usborne Publishing Ltd.
From basic Christmas cookies to elaborate ginger bread houses - baking (and licking the cookie mixture off the spatula!) goes down well even with the older kids.
Martha Stewarts Gingerbread Reindeer
Tip: Ikea often sells themed cookie cutters at Christmas
- Prep Time 55 minutes
- Total Time 1 hour, 15 minutes plus chilling
- Yield Makes 18
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (leveled), plus more for rolling
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 4 teaspoons powdered egg whites (meringue powder)
- Whisk together flour, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- Separately, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg and molasses. Then slowly add flour mixture mixing until just combined.
- Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll disks out to a 1/8 inch thickness, dusting lightly with flour as needed. Freeze on parchment paper, until firm, about 20 minutes.
- Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
- Bake 8 minutes (soft cookies) or up to 12 minutes for crunchier cookies, rotating sheets halfway through. Cool on wire rack.
- Make icing: Whisk together icing sugar, egg whites, and 1/4 cup water (if needed). Transfer icing to a pastry bag with a small tip, and decorate cookies as desired.
Unleash their inner pop star – make microphones from foil covered kitchen rolls topped with a tennis ball, rehearse songs (complete with costumes) and perform for the parents.
Having grown up in the sunshine (East Africa) Beate is happy be back in the Tropics, after a 10 year stint in a distinctly less sunny London. A love of fruit and veg markets, travel and spicy food makes Singapore a good place to be and when she is not chasing after her mischievous one year old she is experimenting with exotic looking ingredients in the kitchen.