Spending quality time together is key to happy families. Thankfully, parents in Singapore today are spoilt for choice when it comes to participating in fresh and different types of activities with your little ones and introducing them to new experiences in life.
How do we keep our families happy and spend quality time together? Yes, it may not always be possible for us to go on adventurous, exciting holidays around the world. One perfect way, though, to ensure our children don’t lose out on great life experiences is through the world of art.
Art plays a vital role in making our lives meaningful and enjoyable. Paintings, music, novels, ballads, songs, films—there are so many art forms that make our hearts soar when we engage with them.
If you want to re-connect with your family, and enjoy meaningful interactions with them, then we suggest these art-related activities—right here in Singapore!
Experiencing Arts in Singapore
Thankfully, Singapore has grown richer in the arena of arts and culture over the years. As parents, we should take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity to expose our kids to the possibilities that the world of arts offers.
Here are some inexpensive and accessible arts and cultural activities, ranging from visual arts to performance arts, that provides an enriching family time for you and your little ones in 2018.
1. Try your hand at calligraphy or paper cutting this New Year
One of the fun aspects of engaging in arts and crafts is that it can be a hands-on experience that the whole family can enjoy.
One such programme to look out for is the SCCC Lunar New Year Carnival and Concert. The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) is holding this festive carnival and concert during the second weekend of CNY.
Together with your kids, you can try your hand at traditional crafts ranging from calligraphy and Chinese knot making to paper cutting and silkscreen making. Nibble on traditional delicacies such as dragon beard candy and muah chee at the food stalls too!
There will also be cultural performances such as dragon dance, wushu, contortionist acts and mask change performances. Doesn’t that sound fun?
What: SCCC Lunar New Year Carnival & Concert
When: 24 – 25 Feb 2018, 2pm – 8pm (Lunar New Year Concert on 25 Feb from 7pm – 10pm)
Where: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
2. Celebrate a weekend with words at The Arts House
Experiencing arts need not only be through musicals or carnivals. Words—in the form of story or poetry—breathe life into the vast breadth of human thought and feeling, whether spoken or written.
If you are keen to explore text-based arts with your kids, check out this event, “Textures – A Weekend with Words” that celebrates the power and beauty of words. It includes over 30 programmes that span different forms and genres, melding fiction and theatre, music and poetry, and crossing cultures and languages.
For example, take your child on an adventure back to 1960s Chinatown with little Wei at “Go Trishaw Go: Read and Play!”, as he pursues his naughty teddy bear through the pages of Francis Wong Hooe Wai’s «虎威». Or, if your child is interested in comics, bring him to a workshop on this subject: Making Comics—Working with Others in the Sequential Arts.
Need books for your family? Do check out the #BuySinglit Bazaar held throughout the weekend, and bring home the best of Singapore’s literature to expand your little one’s reading repertoire.
For more details, download the festival booklet here.
What: Textures – A Weekend with Words
When: 9-11 March
Where: The Arts House
1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429
Learn more: https://a-list.sg/events/a-weekend-with-words/
3. Relive your favourite childhood songs and memories with your kids
Reliving your childhood memories with your kids is a great way to bond. You will have lots of fun revisiting the past, and also get to share your nostalgia with your kids!
One such event that can transport you to your nostalgic past is PressPlay.
Organised by the National Library Board, PressPlay is an annual arts festival that invites you to discover, explore, connect, make an impact and have loads of fun.
In its fifth season, this year’s event reconnects you with your childhood memories and classics, inspired by the aesthetics of the 80s and 90s. Wouldn’t it be just perfect to put your own spin on classical icons with local studios, independent artists and musicians, and reminisce about the music anthems of your teenage years!
When: 11 February to 10 March 2018
Where: Various Library Venues
Learn More: http://a-list.sg/events/pressplay-5/
4. Experience the performing arts up close
Nothing matches the rush of attending a live performance, right? And there’s nothing quite as thrilling as watching a circus act, from awe-inspiring stunts to mind-boggling magic!
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a circus, get ready to uncover all its secrets at “Circus! Science Under The Big Top”, held at the Science Centre Singapore.
Here, you’ll get to learn how the circus relies on a mix of science and artistry to constantly amaze, tease and thrill its audiences. Check out the ‘Elastic Acrobatics’ exhibit, which lets you perform your own tricks in mid-air with a safety harness, and ‘Circus Costumes and Play’, which gives you the chance to role-play and dress up as circus characters. What’s more, challenge your child’s critical thinking skills by holding various circus acts up to scrutiny, investigating illusion versus reality and pseudo-science versus science.
What: Circus! Science Under The Big Top
Where: Science Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081
When: 28 October 2017 to 18 March 2018 (10am – 6pm)
Learn More: http://a-list.sg/events/a-weekend-with-words/
5. Explore the heritage of Singapore
As an art-loving family, you may not always want to be at a performance or a show. Sometimes, you might prefer quieter bonding time, while still enjoying a fun experience with arts and learning!
One such activity is to explore the heritage of Singapore. Singapore boasts world-class museums and you might have visited the National Museum of Singapore or Singapore Art Museum. For a change, we recommend this little museum tucked away in Neil Road: the NUS Baba House.
Built around 1895, the NUS Baba House was once the ancestral home of a Peranakan Chinese family. Now, it has been restored as a heritage house that presents Straits Chinese history and culture within a domestic setting.
During the one-hour tour, your family will be introduced to the history and architectural features of the House. Get set for an experiential trip to a Straits Chinese family home of the early 20th century, furnished with heirlooms from its previous owners and other donors!
(Tours and self-guided visits are available for online booking from the 15th of every month, two months ahead. Email [email protected] to reserve spaces.)
What: NUS Baba House
When: Tuesday – Friday, 10am (Heritage Tours); Saturday, various timings (Self-Guided Visits)
Where: 157 Neil Road, Singapore 088883
Tips for parents about planning such activities with kids
If you are planning such bonding activities with your kids, remember these following tips:
- Plan in advance to visit a show, concert, performance or cultural programme.
- For advance planning, use resources like A-List, an online arts and culture guide by the National Arts Council, where all arts related activities are listed. Simply click the ‘Events’ tab and select the ‘Family’ category. You can also subscribe to their free newsletter by signing up to be included in their mailing list!
- While on an outing at museums or arts spaces, remind your kids to be considerate towards others and keep silent when required, or speak softly during a live performance.
- If it’s a performance lasting 1-2 hours, make sure your kids have eaten something before the start of the programme or have taken the necessary bathroom breaks.
- Bring a bottle of water and snacks for your little ones.
- Wear appropriate clothing—light clothing with sun protection for outdoor events; a light cardigan or jacket for indoor performances (as the auditoriums could be air-conditioned).
Mums and dads, we hope we’ve opened your eyes to the marvelous array of family-friendly artistic events for you to enjoy, right here in Singapore. Plan your visits right now using the A- List website, and enjoy this precious family time together!