Open-ended free play with Little Llama

With three boys at home, I have gone through enough toys to learn that the best toys for my children are not necessarily the most expensive or fancy toys with all the flashing lights, bells and whistles.

Rather, the select few toys that my boys always return to are always the ones that leave room for imagination and encourage creativity and free play.

Such toys are hard to come by  and that is why I was very happy to hear about Little Llama. 

The founders of Little Llama believe very strongly in the power of engagement and open-ended free play in early childhood development. They pride themselves in sourcing globally for the best books, games and toys and bringing them right to our doorsteps.

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Bilibo by MOLUK

My boys were delighted to receive a generous toy package from Little Llama.

The first thing that caught their eyes was the peculiarly-shaped Bilibo by award-winning Swiss toy designer MOLUK

Driven by a passion for great design, MOLUK strives to create innovative, sustainable products that don’t just entertain kids on a superficial level, but invite real interaction. In a time where everything is getting more virtual, MOLUK offers toys that are totally manual, toys that get children to move and explore, toys that stimulate their senses and minds.

Made from non-toxic and shatterproof polyethylene, there is no right or fixed way to play with the Bilibo. I gave it to my boys without telling them what it was – I wanted to see what they would do with it 🙂

Of course, the first thing they did was plonk their little bums inside for a spin. So far, they have had numerous spinning competitions to see who can spin the most number of rounds. Lots of dramatic spills and giggles guaranteed. (Alas, why is my bum not child-sized?)

Besides spinning, the Bilibo has also doubled as a hat/helmet (it has two little holes for peering out), a tortoise shell, a chair, a cot for Jo’s doll and even a wok for their masak-masak escapades.

That’s pretty good mileage for a deceptively simple toy with zero buttons or blinking lights. Bonus points for how hardy and easily cleanable it is too.

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The other day, my boys decided to bring the Bilibo along to the pool. Sean donned it as a spy helmet, swimming stealthily in the water to scare his hapless mother (that would be me). Ryan used it as a giant scoop and sweet Jo used it as his soup pot and served up a decent ‘cheeken’ soup 🙂

Isn’t it amazing that all three boys of varying ages (from 2 to 7) can come up with endless ways to play with it?

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Bilibo Game Box by MOLUK

Then there’s the Bilibo Game Box. It comes with 6 miniature Bilibos in different colours, 36 game chips and a customizable dice. The amazing thing is, there are no rules or instructions on how to play with it. It is entirely up to the children to dream up of ways to play with it. They are limited only by their own imagination!

Jo (aged 2.5) was happy naming the colours of the mini Bilibos (boo, geen, yewo, purpur, owange and pink!). I played a little sorting and counting game with him – he sorted the game chips by colour and practiced counting. You can even stack the mini Bilibos or try to balance them on top of each other (two Bilibos can fit nicely to form a ball-like shape).

Within minutes of trying the game out, the older boys Sean and Ryan invented a game where they would collect game chips and advance their mini Bilibos whenever their selected colours show up on the dice. Pretty ingenious!

So far, I have also seen them use the mini Bilibos as containers for snacks and as ‘Ninja Turtle’ puppets to fight the baddies 🙂

Here are some other ways you can play with the Bilibo Game Box:

It is obvious a lot of thought and care has gone into the making of this toy set.

Truly a toy that promotes hand-eye coordination and open-ended play and I am sure my boys will think of many other ways to play with the set in time to come. (A word of caution though: the small pieces may be a choking hazard for babies so the toy is best suited for children aged 1 and above.)

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Look Ma, it’s raining!

Lastly, my boys loved the adorable Plui Rain Cloud. You can fill it up by submerging it in water and then, TA-DA you get rain droplets from a rain cloud!

It is actually a good way to introduce children to ArchimedesPrinciple (do you know it too?). In layman terms, it means once you stop seeing bubbles emerging from the cloud, it means the cloud is full!

The best part is, instead of whining about bath time, my boys are always more than eager to take a shower now because it means they can play the weatherman and make rain 🙂

You can check out the many cool toys that Little Llama carries at their website. They also have a good selection of children’s books (with some of our favourite titles like How to Catch A Star, Press Here and The Day The Crayons Quit) and very reasonably priced gift bundles filled with their best-selling toys and books. What’s more, you can ‘like’ them on Facebook or join their mailing list to get 15% discount code.

If you want to have a feel of the toys before purchasing, Little Llama will be at Kids World Fair 2016 (booth D21). The fair is on from 2-4 September 2016 at Suntec City.  Do go down to discover the MOLUK range through hands-on sessions, and enjoy some fair-only discounts while you are there!

Giveaway

Little Llama has kindly agreed to do a little giveaway of the Plui Rain Cloud and the Plui Rainball to two readers. Plui_RainCloud_package_258ee978-98d1-45cb-bf37-61015becfb6f_large

CTP_5587_1024x1024To participate, all you have to do is:

1) Visit and ‘like’ both the Olimomok and Little Llama Facebook pages.

Optional entries:

2) Leave me a blog post comment telling me which toy you like to win (the Plui Rain Cloud or the Plui Rainball) and why. Don’t forget to leave your name, FB name and email.

3) ‘Like’ and ‘share’ my Facebook post on Little Llama and tag 2 friends in the comments.

4) Add me (‘Olimomok’) on Instagram.

Then complete the steps in the following Little Llama raffle by 31 August (next Wednesday) end of day (Singapore time). This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only. I will be picking 2 winners – good luck!

Disclaimer: We received the toys for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received. The pleasure was all ours 🙂

A Father and Son adventure to remember

Sean and Foops attended an overnight Father-Son camp back in May. It is a yearly event organized by the Parent-Teachers group (for P1-P6 children), and a very popular one at that (we had to ballot for slots)!

Bright and early, I sent the boys to school. Sean met two of his classmates (and their fathers) and they quickly banded together to form a group. Once they had settled all the admin matters and dropped off their overnight bags (they would be spending the night in school), the group set off in a bus headed to Pulau Ubin.

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(Throughout the day, I got little updates and pictures from the Whatsapp chat group the fathers had set up. These pics are from the chat.)

The group took a bumboat to Pulau Ubin. Must have been quite an experience for the boys – I know Sean was very nervous about the boat ride!

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Then they did a Running Man challenge around the island. They trekked rather long distances to get to each station where they were expected to carry out an activity as a father-son team together. They trekked through the jungle, abseiled down a cliff (!) and pulled themselves along a zipline to cross a river (Sean: Mama, my feet couldn’t touch the floor. It was very fun!), and finally they had a well-deserved chicken rice for lunch.

Definitely many firsts for our 7-year-olds – what an amazing experience it must have been!

According to Foops, they did not manage to reach most of the stations because the distance between the stops was very long!

In the evening, they returned back to school for a campfire. They had a barbecued dinner and did some father-son bonding activities (they brought a loofah back and said they used it to ‘bathe’ each other. Hmm). They only got to bed past 11pm (not surprising when fathers are in charge)!

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Next morning, they played more games including a Nerf gun challenge. They were all tired out but all smiles when I brought the younger boys to pick them up. Seemed like they had a lot of fun!

It was such a valuable bonding experience for Sean and Papa. I sure hope it won’t be their last Father-Son camp – how fun would it be for Foops to bring all 3 of them together one day (if he can be persuaded to take all of them, that is)? 🙂

PLAYtime! at The Esplanade – The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights

Last weekend, I brought Ryan and Jo for a special little treat to watch the latest Esplanade’s PLAYtime! offering – The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights.

I have been to previous PLAYtime! plays (Hello Paige! and A Magic Treetop) with Sean before and  enjoyed them thoroughly. So it seemed like a rite of passage of sorts watching a new PLAYtime! play with my younger boys now (Sean went Pokemon-hunting around the Esplanade while we were at the show).

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My boys were enraptured right from the start.

The lively cast got the children warmed up by teaching them some of the songs (complete with actions) from the play. My boys couldn’t stop singing the ‘Rambutan, Mango, Chiku,’ song the entire day!

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Adapted from the book by Farah Bagharib-Kaltz, the story centers around Eddie, a lovable mynah who is afraid of heights. Thought it was hilarious how he got round by hopping on the audience members’ heads 😉

When Eddie’s friend, Matt the rat, is captured by the big, black crow, Eddie has to go to his rescue. What does Eddie have to do to save his best friend? Will he have the courage to do it?

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The heartwarming story appealed greatly to the young audience with its action-packed storyline and effective use of puppetry, costumes, simple props and music (I loved the tinkling on the little toy piano!). The interactive elements of the show – like getting the children to sing and dance along, or look for chiku, rambutans and mangoes around them – also kept the children plenty entertained.

My boys couldn’t stop talking about the show all the way home. I think the tickets are very reasonably priced and I would definitely recommend it for young children aged 2 to 4.

If you are going for the show, don’t forget to check out Pip’s Playbox next door.

Show details

Show name: The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights

Venue: Esplanade Theatre Studio

Duration: 40min

Show dates/timings: 12 to 28 Aug (Weekday timings: 9.30am & 11am; Weekend timings: 11am & 4pm; No shows on 15 & 22 Aug, Mon)

Sensory-friendly shows: 23 Aug, Tue, 11am & 2.30pm 27 Aug, Sat, 11am

Ryan’s first Sports Day

Last weekend (just before Sean’s birthday party), we attended Ryan’s school Sports Day.

In the days leading up to the event, Ryan (being Ryan) told me exactly what he would be doing with his class, right down to how he has to cheer his group on (Jia you! Jia you!) after he was done with his turn. (I remember I had zero clue what Sean (being Sean) was doing for his Sports Day until the actual day itself when he was at the same age).

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The event started around the same time as Joseph Schooling’s momentous 100m fly swim in Rio so everyone was a bit distracted when the teachers and children were marching in. (But how awesome was Schooling’s swim?!)

The children opened with three rousing songs. I hardly see Ryan in school nowadays so it was really nice to see him singing and having fun with his friends and teachers – and he did ALL the actions and sang every word. That’s my Mr Perfect for you!

His class was up first. Every child did a little circuit medley which required gymnastics moves they have been learning during gym class – egg roll down a small slope, balance on a beam, scurry through a tunnel, jumping routine, more balancing then tossing a bean bag. It looked a bit too easy for Ryan. HAHA!

There was also a parents race but I didn’t manage to get a slot 🙁
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Finally, they rounded up with 3 more songs and the children were given prizes for their participation. Yay all the children did so great! Jo’s turn next (in 2 years)!

Sean turns 7!

My dear Sean turned 7 on 15 August. I can still remember the day he was born – and now he is a dreamy, sweet boy who is all limbs and always has his nose in a book. Time really does fly 🙂

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We celebrated his birthday last weekend with a party at home. Besides family, we also invited some of his old kindergarten friends whom he hasn’t seen since starting P1. It was a nice little reunion for them (and for us mummies too).

After much deliberation, I settled on a simple enough ‘kampung’ theme for the party.

(The boys actually really like Yokai Watch now (a Japanese cartoon series that Sean really likes) but I didn’t think many of the kids would even know what it was so I promised them I would try to weave some elements of the cartoon to the party.)

I had envisioned the boys in singlets and shorts and slippers and girls in cheongsam tops and plaits but everyone took the theme literally and came dressed very, very casually, haha.

I put Jo in a cute romper I made before (all three boys have worn it). Ryan refused to wear his matching one (he claimed it was a dress!) so he wore his Japanese jinbei and Sean just wore a singlet and berms. Ah well, at least I tried!

We had glorious weather for the party. So happy because it was raining cats and dogs just the weekend before, and I had no contingency plan if it had rained (besides squeezing 30-40 people into my living room)!

My mum and helper prepared beehoon, stir-fried veggies, fish/sotong balls chin-chow drink and orange-lime juice. We also got a barbeque package (from City Satay) and waaay too much food – satay, chicken cutlet, longtong, etc. Many thanks to my brother and Foops for manning the barbeque and feeding us the whole night!

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For starters, I set up a ‘kachang puteh’ station (with pinwheels, gem biscuits, White Rabbit sweets, milk biscuits that melt in your mouth), a DIY tattoo and old-school balloon station. No craft station this time round. The kids had fun applying temporary tattoos and trying their hand at blowing balloons (you know the gooey substance that you squeeze out of a small metal tube and you blow with a small straw – good stuff). I didn’t realize most kids have never played with it!

I also put a tub of sand (from our pirate party earlier this year), with no treasure though. Throughout the party, I would always find a kid or two playing quietly with it 🙂

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We played the same old games – why change something that works, right?

First up, passing the parcel to the tune of a Yokai Watch song that Foops downloaded. The kids like this game coz it works for all ages and is not intimidating or competitive so I came up with 12 ‘forfeits’ (up from the usual 10) to make the game last longer. Simple forfeits like ‘play tic tac toe’ with your neighbour’, do 7 star jumps, sing a local song you have learnt in school, give the birthday boy a hug 🙂

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Then we had the station games. Basically the children have to complete 5 stations – zero point, tic tac toe, hopscotch (drawn with chalk on the floor), eraser game and chapteh – to get a prize (a ring sweet).

Quite fun seeing the kids attempt the games because it was the first time for most of them. Seeing chubby little Jo do the hopscotch was the cutest thing. Lots of fun!

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We did the cake-cutting next because I was afraid it would be too dark for pictures by the time we were done with all the games.

My proudest achievement this party was baking the birthday cake so let me rattle about it a bit here. The boys gave me an impossible task of making a Yokai Watch cake. Very flattered they think so highly of my unpredictable baking skills. They even helped me choose an ‘easy-looking’ Yokai to bake 😉

I stressed over the mechanics of baking and frosting the cake for days. I started baking the lemon cake the night before (using this recipe, which is very good by the way) with my Le Creuset pot to give it its domed shape and then I made the buttercream frosting (using a new recipe, so nerve-racking) and prepared the different colours for frosting the next day. I was up till 330am!

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Next day, I carved out the ears, stuck them on the cake with satay sticks and quickly started on frosting the whole cake. The buttercream held up really well in the heat (my first successful attempt) and the cake came together nicely. I was done with the cake just two hours before the party. Phew! Sean was very happy when he saw the completed Jibanyan cake he gave me a big hug. According to Sean, Jibanyan is a Yokai who makes you cross the road without looking, if you wanted to know 😉

Here are the kids singing Sean the birthday song – the candles were no match for the wind that day!

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The treasure hunt was up next.

I handed out the goodie bags. My sis drew cute little kids in sarongs on the bags and I filled them with a tube of colour pencils for the older kids and a toy boat for the younger ones.

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The kids love the treasure hunt so we went a little overboard buying things for the kids to find. Mostly small packs of snacks, Play Doh, Capri Sun drink, Kinder eggs, etc. To make it fair for the younger ones, I got my sis to draw up a treasure map so there was a specific list of things to look for. Because we had more than enough goodies to go round, the kids went another round to look for leftover ‘treasures’ and all came back with bulging bags 😉

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Lastly we had the piñata. I realize I derive more joy from the traditional balloon-shaped piñatas (as opposed with cardboard ones) so I made Whisper, a cheeky Yokai butler. Sean said I didn’t get his top and bottom quite right – it is supposed to look like icecream. Close enough!

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I tried not to make the pinata too thick – because the husband said it always took forever for them to break it open – but I forgot to take into account that the kids are bigger and stronger now. Didn’t take many rounds to bash it to smithereens, and they didn’t even need any help this time round! Pinata was filled with mini Tic-tacs, Haribo gummies, Hi-chew sweets, mini Chupa Chups and old-school balloons. I had to confiscate my kids’ loot because they are still coughing badly. Next time will definitely try to incorporate more healthy offerings and less sweets!

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And that was it for the party. It is my little labour of love for my boys because they look forward to and enjoy the parties so much. I hope everyone had fun. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us!

For this party, I made a special request to our party guests for no toys because the boys really have a lot already. Instead, I asked for books or book vouchers or even angpows. I didn’t tell Sean about this beforehand. On the day itself, I explained to him and told him he could save the angpows for a new big boy bicycle. He seemed pretty happy with that. I did prepare a few toys and books for him (he is still a kid after all) which he will slowly open with his brothers over the next few days 🙂

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Sean’s only request for his birthday was to go to Pororo Park. Which we did on Sunday. They had fun but I think they would have been just as happy going to a park or playground (think of the money I could have saved!). So I don’t think we will be returning anytime soon!

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At 7 years old, Sean is sensitive, sweet, curious, dreamy, like doing math sums in his head, is a bit obsessed with Yokai Watch and Pokemon, loves playing soccer, has lost 2 baby teeth, likes doodling and always has his nose in a book (usually comics – I am still trying to encourage him to read proper chapter books).

Happy 7th birthday, my dear Sean. May you grow up to be wise and brave, with a heart for everyone.

Love always, Mama

PS. If you are keen to look back on our past birthday parties, click on the tag ‘party’.

8 years

We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary recently (06Jul16) which serendipitiously happened to fall on Hari Raya public holiday.

My helper took the day off so we had no choice but to bring along our three noisy little lightbulbs along for our anniversary lunch (weekday dinners are out of the question for us).

Capella1 We settled on a lovely peaceful lunch at The Knolls at the ever-gorgeous Capella, just next door to Amara Sanctuary where we tied the knot 8 years ago (we don’t fancy their restaurants haha). [I really wanted to do a staycation at one of these hotels but Foops said it would probably be more worthwhile to fly off somewhere nearby at the same cost. True that.]

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The servers, who must have overheard us telling the kids it was our anniversary, surprised us with a molten chocolate cake. So nice of them 🙂 Foops got me an Apple watch – so that I will never miss his calls. Hmm, I should get him one too 😉

Happy 8th anniversary, my love. To many more happy years together.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

SRT presents The Three Little Pigs

Are you up for an endearing tale that will huff, puff and blow you away?

This August, we are very excited to watch The Three Little Pigs, one of Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Little Company’s most loved children’s musicals.

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Since its world-premiere in Singapore in 2012, The Three Little Pigs has gone on to be staged in numerous languages and countries, from Finland, to New York, Sydney and even various cities in China. It was a very proud moment for SRT when The Three Little Pigs opened in London’s West End last summer. Having huffed, puffed and blown its way around the world, we are thrilled to welcome Three Little Pigs home to Singapore where the journey first started.

The Three Little Pigs centers around three little superstar piglets, their devoted single-parent Mum and a misunderstood Big Bad Wolf. Embark on an adventure with the three little pigs as they battle the big bad wolf with their charming and witty ways!

An original adaptation of the classic fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs teaches little ones how success can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.

This musical is recommended for children aged 3 and above.

Here’s a little sneak peek of the play:

Quoting Anthony Drewe of the Laurence Olivier Award-winning creative team, “With The Three Little Pigs (whom we have named Cha, Siu and Bao!) most children will know the basic story, so our job was to reinvent it in a theatrical way with hummable, memorable songs and with fleshed-out characters the audience will empathise with. Writing for younger audiences is a great responsibility and one we take very seriously, since we know for some this will be their first visit to the theatre and we want to encourage and nurture audiences of the future by making sure their first experiences are wonderful.”

DATES: From 4th August 2016, Monday to Friday 10am; Saturdays 11am and 2pm

PRICES: From $25 excluding SISTIC fee. Group discounts/ Family Packages available

VENUE: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT

TICKETING: SISTIC (or call 6348 5555)

If the quality of SRT’s past plays are anything to go by (Three Billy Goats Gruff, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Nightingale, Junior Claus), we can be sure to expect a fun-filled show with a lot of heart and packs a punch. We can’t wait! Hope to see you there!

 

Celebrating Racial Harmony Day (and my first experience as a parent volunteer)

Sean and Ryan celebrated Racial Harmony Day (Jul 21) in their respective schools last week. They wore their new Chinese ‘kungfu outfits’ (according to them) which my sis got from HK. They will likely be wearing them again for CNY reunion next year 😉

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Ryan had a little celebration in school – we contributed fish balls (our default party food besides pandan cake). Wish I could have been there to snap some pics of him and his cute little friends!

Sean was very self-conscious about wearing such a bright costume and refused to get off the car at drop-off in the morning. Later he told me only a handful of his classmates were in traditional costumes. Think he will be going in PE t-shirt from next year onwards.

Since Sean has been complaining that he never sees me at school events, I decided to volunteer to help out with some Racial Harmony Day games in his school.

I actually had a lot of fun volunteering and don’t mind doing it again. I helped to prepare the gem biscuit snacks and manned the chapteh games station. Sean was very happy to see me during recess time and helped me hand out the chaptehs and stamp the games card at the station. I also had the help of a few very friendly ‘National Education ambassadors’. I enjoyed meeting all the boys who were all very polite and sweet 🙂 and woah they really went all out playing with the chapteh! The place was looked like a chicken coop covered with feathers when we were done 😉

The state of the world these days scares and saddens me on some days. We can only pray for more love, understanding and acceptance in the world and hope that we can snuff out the good will snuff out the bad.

Happy Racial Harmony Day! Love and peace to all.

A visit to the National Gallery (and the Keppel Centre for Art Education)

I have been meaning to visit the National Gallery for the longest time and we finally did over the weekend.

National Gallery is housed in two national monuments—the former Supreme Court and City Hall — that have been beautifully restored to become new visual arts institution. The place is arrestingly beautiful with its stately architecture and high ceilings. Lots of space for children to run around and you will be guaranteed lovely pictures from the amount of natural light streaming in 🙂

We were really there to check out the Keppel Centre for Art Education for the kids. The first dedicated art facility of its kind in Singapore and the region, it features four vibrant spaces conceptualised by artists with an exciting line-up of art programmes for children and families all year round.

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My boys really liked The Enchanted Tree House, a fantastical play area with elaborate, painted landscapes by artist Sandra Lee. It really felt like we had walked into the pages of an illustrated storybook!

‘Thrown out of the sea by a tornado, Fynn the Fish-on-Sticks, and his forest friends go on a journey to save their forest home from destruction. Discover mysteries, unexpected surprises and stories of friendship and courage along the way!’

I thought the boys would get bored quickly since everything is a bit, err, cold and two-dimensional but they loved it.

They were running amok through magical forests, peering through the periscope, shouting at each other through the pipe ‘telephones’, scurrying through tunnels and hiding in nooks and crannies. Jo kept inviting him into his two-feet high ‘house’ even though I told him it was too small for me!

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Next up was Home-a-Sapiens, designed to inspire visitors to imagine future dwelling spaces. I liked the interesting hanging artwork – a hanging Viking-like ship with arms as oars, a flying house with lots of laundry poles (like something out of a storybook) and cute fat blimps.

The boys doodled for a bit on the activity kits to design their own homes. You can also get special activity kits ($4) to make The Nomadic Bus or Boat in the Sky. Probably more suited to older children who can sit still for long periods (not mine).

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My boys spent a great deal of time in the play area of Children’s Museum.

Ryan and Jo enjoyed playing with the Magnatiles on the light boxes and magnetic board while Sean kept himself busy building a wall with GIGI Bloks (think LEGO blocks made out of cardboard).

There were also other activities like creating your own postcards and making your own mini art sculpture from recycled materials but my boys were having too much fun already.

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The husband and I took turns having cupcakes at Plain Vanilla Bakery and browsing the thoughtfully curated products at Gallery & Co. So happy to see many homegrown brands there including Le Petit Society (with their newest Summer Escape collection), great hard-to-find toys (Magnatiles, PlusPlus, GIGI Bloks, etc) and books on encouraging creativity.

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As we were leaving, we also came across an interactive multi-media installation Who’s in the Woods? The boys enjoyed creating their own animals and seeing them translated to the big screen. Ryan was reluctant to leave his polka-dotted rainbow monkey behind so he made me take a picture of them together.

The Keppel Centre for Art Education is open all year round and definitely worth a visit! You can expect to spend a good few hours there so you can bring a book and have a coffee and cupcakes while the children play 😉

Masak Masak 2016 at National Museum

We had a free weekend (when soccer and swimming lessons got cancelled because of the rain) so we decided to finally check out Masak Masak 2016 at the National Museum. We were so busy over the June hols we completely missed out on all the Children’s Season activities at the museums!

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The first installation that caught our eye was Block Up! on the front lawn of the National Museum.

The boys and I were very drawn to the vibrant patterns and colours on this larger-than-life installation which was inspired by the museum’s physical silhouette and ideological philosophy. Too bad the ground was a bit muddy from the rain so the boys couldn’t really play with the dragon slides.

Next up was Let’s Play! which was essentially Snakes & Ladders and Ludo transformed into an interactive life-sized three-dimensional journey.

Sean and Ryan happily played along as human tokens, tossing the giant dice and actually completed a game. Jo was happy just stomping up and down the stairs and going down the slides.

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Then there was Toysaurse created by a Japanese artist. My boys and I had fun examining (from afar) the T-rexes which were painstakingly put together from old discarded toys.

For this installation, visitors are invited to build on to the artwork by contributing their own unwanted toys. Probably to make the installation seem more interactive since we were not allowed to touch anything. We didn’t bring any – but the boys were encouraged to pick a toy from a basket and add them to the installation by their colour.

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Up on the second floor, we came across Le Bestiaire created by 14 French artists and designers. The abstract art installation was inspired by creatures from the majestic animal kingdom and beyond.

The boys decided they wanted to create their own monster costume as well (for $2) so they worked together and came up with a monster costume with a lion’s mane complete with claws and a superhero belt. Haha, it was actually quite cute even though Jo looked more like a loaf of bread than a monster.

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Clumsy Dumpty on the Wall is an interactive installation inspired by the familiar shape sorter play toy. I didn’t think too much of the installation but the boys had some laughs working together in making sure the pieces did not slide back out. (I didn’t even realize they were designed to slide out. I thought they were just not adhering properly!)

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I think we had our most fun at FunCycling by local bike enthusiast group Bikes 4 Fun.

We had a fun time trying out the different bicycles which have been creatively transformed and re-invented into bubble machines, a washing machine, a balloon blower, etc. The boys enjoyed cycling to create their own spin art masterpiece too. Our favourite installation by far!

While the installations are a bit underwhelming and less interactive this year, I think Masak Masak 2016 at the National Museum is still worth checking out. There is hardly a crowd even on weekends. It will be ending this week (Jul 31)!