Holidays — kids love the word as it speaks to them of freedom and fun.
Parents on the other hand, may have a love-hate relationship with the school break. While the holidays may give parents a temporary respite from the school routine, finding activities to keep the kids occupied can be a nightmare, especially for working parents.
Before you stress out about planning for these, remember this: it is not where you go or what you do that makes your child happy. What children crave for the most is the undivided attention of their parents.
Here are some tips to help you keep your kids engaged and happy throughout the holiday break in Singapore.
Explore the Neighbourhood
Many of us are creatures of habit – we tend to stick to a daily routine. Why not take the unexplored routes for a change to explore more of your neighbourhood. Go on walking trails, spot the new play areas and draw out a simple map to mark out the new discoveries.
With older kids you can take the MRT or the bus and explore the other neighbourhoods in the heartlands. Kids can learn to journal these trips with an old-fashioned diary or a blog. Get your child to use a kid-friendly digital camera to capture these experiences in photos.
Fun Science and History Lessons
Learning does not have to stop during the school holidays. Visit the Singapore Science Centre or the Singapore Discovery Museum to let your kids learn about fun tidbits about science and Singapore history, outside of the classroom.
Or do a walking tour – walk down Chinatown, Geylang Serai or Little India for a cultural immersion excursion. As a parent, your task does not end by just getting the kids to these locations. Participate in these activities with your kids and see the world through their curious eyes.
Close Encounters with Birds and Beasts
Visit the Singapore Zoo, Bird Park, Crocodile Farm or the Underwater World. While these can be a tad expensive, you can achieve the same goal by visiting local farms for a much lower price.
Yes, there are farms you can visit, even in our busy city. Children can learn about how vegetables and fruit and animals like goats, quails and frogs grow. Most are off Lim Chu Kang, so find out more about these farms to learn how you can prep ahead for each visit.
Beaches and Parks
Singapore has many accessible beaches, parks and reserves. Kids can enjoy a day of clean fresh air in these ‘green lungs’ all for free. Come prepared with water, sun hats and sunscreen. Bring outdoor game equipment like balls, frisbee or a fishing line to make the day enjoyable.
Assign a room to each family member to clean and make tidying up your home a game, to make this less of a chore. If you come across an old family album whilst spring cleaning, use this as a chance to tell your kids more about your roots and childhood. These special moments will create a canvas of new memories to last a lifetime.
Get the kids into the kitchen. This real-life lab is a great place to have fun and learn important life skills. You do not have to cook like a gourmet chef to teach your kids how to whip up a simple meal.
Pull out the drawing block, crayons, paints and coloured paper for kid-friendly art projects. Work together with your children to create family art pieces that you can proudly archive. Change the theme or the art medium regularly, to make each session fun and memorable.
Board and Card Games
Good old-fashion board and card games are a great way to keep kids from getting bored. Monopoly, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, Checkers, and Snap are great games for players of all ages.
Music and Drama
Set kids out to put up a play or a musical at the end of the holiday. You may invite proud grandparents, aunts and uncles to watch the show.
Teach your children new songs, easy dance steps, simple dialogue that they can perform, as part of a small play. Create costumes and backdrops to host the event. By the end of the school holidays, your little one would have learnt so many skills; fun performances can be a confidence booster too!