Things to Do with your Kids

Part 4

By Loo Pei FenEvents - 03 July 2009 12:00 AM | Updated 09 June 2010

Part 4

I Only Have... 1 HOUR:

Marina Barrage
260 Marina Way
Admission is free

Young city-slickers can now enjoy a reservoir right in the city, and you don't even have to drive to the outskirts or heartland for it. Let the kids be awed by the massive barrage, and be sure to take them to the green rooftop garden for a rolling view of the Singapore skyline. You can even pack a quick picnic basket while taking in the cityscape view on the garden.

It's hard to imagine a venue or activity being free, especially right smack in the city. But the Barrage promises to entertain for nothing. At the central courtyard, a fountain and community water playground means your kids can enjoy a splash in the hot afternoon. If you prefer to keep dry and cool, the Sustainable Singapore exhibition gallery explores the theme of environmental sustainability in a kid-friendly concept. Don't miss the viewing decks in the gallery as well.

Best enjoyed by kids of any age.

I Only Have... 3 HOURS:

Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market
8 Wholesale Centre
Admission is free

If you're stretching your 3 hours here, make a trip to the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market at night. Open 24 hours a day, it's a great alternative to malls with extended shopping hours.

Don't worry if your kids shun going to slimy and smelly wet markets. Here, the floors are clean, the produce fresh and carefully-packed, and things are orderly. Things start bustling only in the evenings. Regulars advise visiting from 8pm, which is when the night market vendors have finished setting up their stalls.  

Fresh fruits, vegetables and dried foods are some of the wares available for sale. Even if you don't fit the usual consumer profile of a volume-buying restaurant owner or wet market vendor, it's still good fun to bring the kids to check out the market. You'll even see some exotic vegetables on sale.

Best enjoyed by kids aged 6 years and up.

I Only Have... 5 HOURS:

Arab Street (main thoroughfare)
Between Beach Road and Victoria Street
Admission is free
Arab Street is arguably the area in the Kampong Glam district where all the action is. It's easy to let your eyes wander up and down when there are colours, sounds and smells pervading the shops. Check out trinkets, traditional household items, and bales of batik and other fabrics for home sewing projects here. You can even try bargaining for some of your purchases, which is a rarely-experienced "retail concept" for the kids.  

Culture and Kampong Glam will no longer be confined to the textbooks once you dig deeper into this area. There are vintage stores, kitschy homeware shops, and even a retro toy store that beats the pants off today's electronic gaming consoles. Show your kids the games from your time: Five stones and the sepak takraw ball are some fond memories you can share with them. Check out nearby Haji Lane for the one-of-a-kind fashion finds, and Bussorah Street to admire the beautifully restored colonial houses.

End off the shopping trip with a teh tarik for you and an iced Milo for the kids at one of the several coffeeshops that line the street. You can even pick up some snacks like kebabs if you're feeling peckish.

Best enjoyed by kids aged 4 years and up.


Your home
Admission is free

One of the most obvious places where parent-child bonding can take place is actually right in your own home. We often plan outings and hurry out the door when all we need is simply a day to kick back and chill out at home.

Start by having the kids do something adult: Making breakfast for everyone. Pancakes or French toast, the goal is just to have them complete it. Resist the urge to lose your cool if your kitchen gets thrashed during the process. Encouragement goes a long way here.

Afterwards, spend a lazy morning reading the newspapers while the kids hog the comic section or flip through their magazines. For lunch, rummage through your fridge and cook up anything that doesn't require too much work. Spend the rest of the day playing board games or Wii, going for a walk at the nearby park or baking cookies from scratch together. For dinner, take the kids to their favourite fast-food joint. Go ahead-they're not eating junk food all the time anyway.

It may seem like you've done nothing activity-wise as a family, but the time spent in one another's presence goes a long way. When the next flurry of activities comes up again, you'll look upon this day fondly. Now, that's truly a memory that money can't buy.

Best enjoyed by kids of all ages.