With the increasingly hectic lifestyle and cost of living in Singapore, around 53% of married couples are dual-earners, according to the latest General Household Survey.
With that, many working parents want their child to become self-reliant and independent to develop their thinking and analytical skills. To improve these skills, here are some FUN activities that parents can do with their children in Singapore.
Expose your children to the arts
Music, dance, visual arts, and drama are more than just forms of recreation and entertainment. They also provide a significant contribution to a child’s creativity and critical thinking ability. Exposure to these crafts is highly recommended for young children, so that they can start exploring their artistic side and develop this talent early on in life.
By enrolling them in art schools and workshops, their potential for the arts will surely be developed. However, if you are on a tight budget, there are also alternative activities that you can encourage your children to do at home. Though formal training of these crafts is the ideal setting for your child to hone their skills properly, being a self-taught expert of what they’re good at can provide a much better learning experience.
Dancing not only builds physical strength, flexibility, and agility, it also enhances a child’s creativity and problem-solving abilities, needed for critical thinking. There is a range of dancing styles today - ballet, jazz, hip-hop, etc. They can all be learned at home. By coming up with these simple activities, there’s really no need to spend money on sending your child to expensive dancing classes:
- Human Sculptures
Let your child dance around you while you come up with a body shape and freeze. Then, ask questions that will encourage him/her to use creativity like how he/she can raise your arms like butterfly wings.
- The Shoebox Game
This activity will allow your child to use his/her imagination and see things in different perspectives. Pretend that you and your child are in a shoe store that comes with different kinds of shoes, say, ice skates or winged shoes. Then, make him/her do movements associated with the shoes.
Aside from enhancing physical movement, visual arts help develop decision-making skills, memory, and attention to detail, which are important for a child’s reading skills. If your little one shows interest and potential for painting and scribbling, art classes in Singapore can aid in developing your child’s burgeoning talent.
If you don’t want to put a hole in your wallet for painting workshops, then try these activities:
- Life-Size Self-Portraits
Use a large piece of paper and have your child lie down on it to trace the outline of his body. Once done, let him sketch the details like face, hair, clothes, etc. While drawing, he may need a mirror to look and differentiate details, which is essential in reading skills.
- Macaroni Mosaics
This activity can help develop the fine motor skills and creativity of children by encouraging them to make art out of anything. This activity is simple. In a bowl, mix together raw pasta and food colouring or watercolours. Then, let your child glue them to a cardboard as creatively as they could.
- Pudding Painting
This is a game that involves the visual senses. The main goal of this activity is to create a certain colour by combining different colours. It’s a messy game, but it’s as artsy as it could get. You can start by separating a batch of vanilla pudding into different bowls, then add different food colouring or watercolours in each bowl. Let your child paint on a plastic sheet or maybe a canvas and let him/her discover different colours.
Musical activities not only involve the use of instruments but also technical knowledge about music like beat counting, key signatures, as well as notes' values. These activities help foster Math, science, and reading skills of youngsters.
There’s no need to send your children to a music school at an early age to help them develop their passion for music. There are activities that you can do at home to aid them with this passion.
- Time to Tune
Play two music tracks from different musicians. Then ask your child the differences between the two tracks like the tempo, pitch, the musical instruments used, etc. With that, your child will have an ear to recognize sounds, which is essential in language and listening.
- Build a band
This is an activity that also provides a lesson in recycling and being resourceful. Simply help your child create musical instruments using your available resources inside your house.
There’s more to drama than just showing your acting skills. It also develops children’s aptitude for vocabulary, storytelling, and language proficiency.
Your child doesn’t need to be in a drama class to be a good actor or actress, he/she can develop it at home with the following fun activities:
- Bring characters to life
Pick two characters from your child’s favorite book and do a role play together. By recalling what lines to say next, your child will be encouraged to use his/her memory, needed for thinking skills.
- ID the object
This is an easier version of an impromptu speech. The mechanics of this activity is simple:
- Collect different items from around your house and stash them in a bag.
- Take an item from the stash without your child looking.
- Use the object in a most creative way, then let your child explain what else he/she can imagine with that object.
This encourages thinking outside the box and helping your children to think on the fly and on their feet.
- Take a trip
This is simply reliving an experience. Flip through a photo album or your iPad’s gallery, and ask your child to tell a story out of a picture. Encourage him/her to act out the story the best that he/she could and provide sensory-rich details like describing the taste and smell of his/her favourite food or how frightening (or fun) his/her first Ferris wheel experience was. This activity teaches a child to have a mental picture of the words that they’re saying, which is an essential skill for reading.
Visit educational attractions
One way for parents to help their children improve creative and critical thinking abilities is to provide them guidance and opportunities to explore and play.
Museums offer immersive learning opportunities for children through interactive exhibits. With that, children will have control of their own learning and explore and fulfil their own curiosities. This helps them develop a foundation for critical thinking, creativity, and decision-making skills. Museums also immerse children with new concepts which may be relevant to their lives. These concepts promote their critical and creative thinking skills, needed for their future success.
In Singapore, there are many art and science museums that will spark your child’s thinking skills. One of the most visited interactive museums is the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. It displays spectacular exhibits that are not only visually stunning but also the perfect avenue for kids’ learning.
Another one of the stunning exhibits is the Future World whose interactive facilities enable your children to design a network, create sketches, and make their own virtual game. The ArtScience Museum is a perfect avenue for kids to learn arts and science in creative yet fun ways.
Zoos can be a great educational environment for children, as they promote environmental awareness that educates them about conservation and animal care. They also spark curiosity among children when they see an animal. Some kids love to ask questions about an animal’s origins, while others simply want to ask their parents to take the animal home with them.
Zoos encourage children to explore their curiosities which in turn promotes learning and brain development. As children make new discoveries when they explore the environment, they become more self-aware. They come up with many grounded realisations like not all animals are dangerous, some animals are friendly, etc.
Singapore has one of the best zoos in the world, the Singapore Zoo. It’s a perfect place for family bonding while your kid learns more about the animal kingdom’s ecosystem.
A visit to an aquarium provides many educational benefits for your child. There are many unusual life forms under the artificial marine ecosystem that can spark children’s imagination. Marine creatures come in various colours, textures, and shapes, promoting inspiration for their brains. Another benefit of aquariums is that they help foster exploration and discovery. By drawing observations from marine animals, a child will come up with many discoveries.
The S.E.A Aquarium in Sentosa Island is home to over 100,000 marine creatures, each with a unique shape, size, and colour. This is one of the best places for family bonding as you expose your kids to the wonders and mysteries of the marine life.
Aside from being visually appealing, parks also help develop the mental well-being of children. According to a study, children who are often exposed to greenery have the ability to focus well, which is essential for critical thinking. So, it is important to let kids explore outdoors to reap the benefits that greenery provides on their health.
Singapore is teeming with parks and gardens, nature reserves, and park connectors. Bring your child to one of these green spaces to enjoy the scenery as well as its benefits.
- Botanical Gardens near Bukit Timah Road
- Gardens by the Bay
- Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
- Sengkang Riverside Park
- and many others...
Exposing children to the mentioned activities will encourage them to use their creativity and critical thinking abilities. This will allow them to think, reflect, imagine, and create things on their own. That way, not only will they develop thinking skills but also autonomy.