updated 15 Aug 2011, 15:17
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Mon, Jun 13, 2011
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Junior gets busy during June hols
by Clara Chow

BRING out the trophies, break out the champagne. Congratulations, parents, you have survived half of the June school holidays!

The bad news: There are another two weeks to go.

As the now-exhausted "owner" of a five-year-old, Julian, and a 19-month-old, Lucien, I've been on a museum and site-visit blitz since the kindergarten break started. Here are some of the activities we've tot-tested in my educational offensive to keep boredom at bay.

Post-Office visit 

What: Julian and I were invited by SingPost to visit its mail- sorting centre at Singapore Post Centre in Eunos Road, and we were thrilled to find out about what happens to letters and parcels.

Tours are conducted by prior appointment, for groups of 20 (minimum) to 40 (maximum) people, aged above 10 years (SingPost kindly made an exception for Julian).

What the boy did: Julian gawped as the postal workers got on with their sorting and checking tasks, next to equipment like the Culler-Facer-Canceller, which filters out items too big or small to be processed by machines.

Books from public libraries are sent and sorted here, too, so that they can be returned to the branches to which they belong.

When: Inquire about this tour via SingPost's website (


Art Garden at Singapore Art Museum 

What: A series of interactive art installations to engage and inspire children.

The bold, colourful and clever works include Dancing Solar Flowers by France's Alexandre Dang, a whole wall of light-automated blooms swaying their heads. Train-mad boys will probably exclaim in recognition at an art piece of abstract patterns made with Thomas And Friends train tracks.

What the boys did: Julian and I sat down and made a paper banana out of a template, as part of Thai artist Wit Pimkamchanapong's Fruits installation.

One can either exchange the paper fruit one has finished making (choose from oranges to starfruit) for the real thing, leaving the handiwork to be displayed in a market-style setting, or take it home.

Meanwhile, Lucien ran wild in Singapore artist Justin Lee's Mummy Dearest - a whimsical room dominated by a huge "cake", to which the little ones could affix decorations with velcro.

The mix of activities encouraged both their creativity and mania. And the amazing volunteers were so good with the kids, my girlfriend and I just stood back and enjoyed the kiddy circus.

When: Until Aug 30. For more information, go to


Peranakan Museum 

What: Mums can oogle the unbelievably intricate embroidery on the exhibits in the ongoing Sarong Kebaya exhibition, while the kids busy themselves with special activities.

What the boys did: When we vi- sited last Saturday, the kids could colour their own Peranakan architectural tiles and stick them on a wall; play dress-up in kebaya, batik and beaded slippers (Lucien took a shine to a red pair and wouldn't slip them off); make cardboard furniture for a miniature Peranakan mansion; and help assemble a giant wall puzzle.

When: Every Wednesday, from 1-5pm until June 29, with special activity stations. Go to for details.


The Playdome at National Museum

What: It took some coaxing be- fore Julian would pick up some props to participate in an interactive video work, or try his hand at being part of a Chinese traditional street puppet show - both fun, temporary offerings at the museum for kids.

But he didn't need any prompting to plunge his hands into clay to make a train set, at the clay station.

And it was worth the $9 admission we each paid just to run around in its wonderfully carpet-grassed Garden, where kids can draw pictures on clear lenses and pop them into cones dotted on a platform to view against the surrounding scenery.

How much fun did we have? Let's just say that there were tears when it was time to leave.

When: Until June 26. For more information, go to www.national


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