While we might all have once scoffed at the phrase 'Learning is fun,' we were born in a different era from the tots of today.
Children's Season is an amazing annual festival by the National Heritage Board and the Museums Roundtable that assaults the short attention spans of young 'uns with such a multi-sensory plethora of activities; from meeting actors in character to experiencing high-tech installations and even making or tasting subject-specific foods; they emerge both educated and enthralled.
For the fifth year of Children's Season, there's such an overwhelming number of fantastic offerings, we thought it best to pick five favourites that your child can visit.
A Child's War
The Changi Museum, 18 May-24 Jun. 10am-1pm & 2-5pm. $21, for ages 11 and up. Call 6214 2451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register
If you've constantly told your unimpressed children “you don't know how lucky you are,” gently prove your point by letting them attend this special, sobering program at the Changi Museum (which is a replica of the Changi Prison Chapel built by prisoners of the Changi Gaol during World War II). This guided tour tells how the hardships of war affected children during the Japanese Occupation. The seriousness is ameliorated by activities like quizzes and games, and also making World War II relevant crafts and also sampling authentic World War II food, which can actually be pretty pleasant.
National Museum of Singapore, 26 May-22 Jul. 10am-6pm (last admission at 5pm). $5, for all ages.
Kids not feeling hot about history? They may find that what's boring on the books is riveting in real life. The National Museum, with award-winning local playwright Chong Tze Chien and local designers from Gosh Design take them through a resurrected Singapore through the 19th and 20th century. They'll experience hopping on a Singapore-bound boat in 1820 as Chinese merchants, Indian chettiars or European surveyors. Then they'll watch their surroundings evolve from kampung to shipping emporium, meet more ambitious immigrants and try their hands at being letter-writers, cobblers or street hawkers, or even help design and build Singapore throughout the years. On select weekends, there'll also be storytelling, song-and-dance and roving actors to thrill tots.
Infocomm Experience Centre, Esplanade Exchange. 14-27 May, Various times between 10am and 6pm. Free. For children aged 5-12, accompanied by parents/teachers
Who says museums have to be about the past? Help your kids feel the future through this workshop where they'll experience cutting-edge infocommunications technology through hands-on experience, and then get their hands on Next Gen Infocomm Ambassador Certificates after completing the workshop. On the weekends, there are also arts-and-crafts: high-tech style! They'll get to try out digital drawing, while revisiting old-school crafty classics like oil pastels and balloon sculpting. And all in the convenient locale of the Esplanade Exchange, the underground mall between Esplanade and City Hall MRT Stations, so you can go buy eats and treats after.
Children's Season at ACM
Children's Season at ACM
Asian Civilisations Museum. 9 & 10 Jun. Activities from 1-6pm, free admission to galleries from 9am-7pm. Free
Surely even the most hard-to-impress child would be wowed by the gorgeous Asian artefacts under lovely lighting in this museum. In this tour, kids will go on a gallery trail to discover hidden and beautiful treasures, and storytellers will tell the tales behind the unique objects. Then, Asian culture come further to life as the young ones watch colourful ethnic dance performances, and make their own attractive artefacts in the forms of 15th to 19th century Indian textile patterns. Goodie bags also available!
Design Your Own Drama
Memories at Old Ford Factory, 23 June, 10am-5pm. Free. For ages 5 and up. Limited places, email June_Pok@nhb.gov.sg to register
Ever wish you could rewrite history? Now your children can, in a manner of speaking. They'll be given charge of a drama troupe so they can create a performance about life during the Japanese Occupation during World War II. Under the guidance of facilitators, they'll do a Woody Allen, having a hand in everything from designing the story and the costumes, to developing the characters; and, as is a director's prerogative, even cast themselves. The result is a performance to help them trigger parental pride, create a better appreciation of our history as well as hopefully, our present.