Tag Archives: children’s season

Masak Masak at National Museum of Singapore

We look forward to the Children’s Season programme at National Museum of Singapore every year and the kids always have fun even though there are usually some hits and misses. We love how Playgrounds on the Lawn looks but have never actually played on them. It’s only available for play on weekends from 10 am to 12 pm and 4 to 6 pm. Every year I give the same feedback about how the programmes and activities that are only available on weekends should be made available at least on one weekday since it’s the school holidays after all!

Masak Masak

Masak Masak

dragon playground

dragon playground

watermelon playground

watermelon playground

elephant playground

elephant playground

climbing

climbing

Spectrum of Paper

Spectrum of Paper

In the basement, you can find Memory Stations where kids can learn about the art of woodblock printing and also stamp different shapes on paper. They had fun stamping but didn’t really bother with the exhibition. I wonder if there’s a better way to connect the activity with the exhibition because I found the woodblock prints very interesting but the activity was not that similar to woodblock printing.

Memory Stations

Memory Stations

stamping

stamping

Also in the basement is Wanderlust. The enchanted forest is visually very attractive to children but there’s nothing much to do there. Before entering, the kids were told not to run and not to touch anything. I feel that art for children should be as interactive as possible and I didn’t like having to follow the kids every step of the way telling them not to touch anything.

Wanderlust

Wanderlust

they forgot they weren't suppose to run

they forgot they weren’t suppose to run

Back on Level 1, the kids spent a lot of time playing Garden Games. This was probably their favourite section. I liked how the eraser game and the retro pasar malam ring toss game were converted into giant versions in Flag Attack! and Can or Not? but I felt that the Hello, Hello? cups and string set-up could be a wee bit unhygienic. Somewhere in between were the see-no-touch Dancing Solar Flowers.

giant erasers

giant erasers

can you hear me??

can you hear me??

giant ring toss game

giant ring toss game

getting a ball through a maze

getting a ball through a maze

watching the dancing solar flowers

watching the dancing solar flowers

Anya said her favourite part was Luma-City on the 3rd floor. We had trouble finding it because it’s tucked away in a little corner, but we had it all to ourselves so the kids went quite mad pushing the vehicles around and leaving light trails in their wake.

who needs organised exercise?

who needs organised exercise?

whee!

whee!

Finally, we visited the Salon on Level 1 twice. Once on a weekend for the Queen of the Forest puppet performance, and once on a weekday to avoid the crowds. Anya is doing a school project on puppets so we spent some time there making a puppet. Before leaving for lunch, the kids did some coloring at Simple Pleasures in Life and etching at Life’s Best Journey is With the One You Love. Simple activities but the kids liked it and I did a bit of colouring too.

Spectrum of Paper

Spectrum of Paper

puppet show

puppet show

behind the scenes

behind the scenes

colouring their puppets

colouring their puppets

more colouring

more colouring

and some scraping

and some etching

Masak Masak is on at National Museum of Singapore until 10 August 2015. On the weekday that we visited, we spent about 3 hours there. Click here for more information about special programmes, workshops and activities.

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Children’s Season 2014 – Masak Masak at NMS (Part 2)

We headed upstairs to the second floor for more fun. I love the whimsical ‘Rouleaux’ by Anastassia Elias. Inspired by the theme of ‘What I Want to be When I Grow Up’, the artist created miniature dioramas in toilet rolls using just manicure scissors and tweezers. Really amazing!

Kids can attempt to make one on their own by colouring, cutting and sticking a template. It’s a great activity but I had to ask the facilitators to sharpen the colour pencils because they were all blunt or the lead had broken off. I also think it would be good to have stepping stools for kids to look at the ones that are higher up. I took photos of the ones out of Anya’s reach and showed them to her on my camera.

Rouleaux by Anastassia Elias

Rouleaux by Anastassia Elias

what's inside?

what’s inside?

amazing little dioramas in toilet rolls

amazing little dioramas in toilet rolls

making her own

making her own

‘Word Out’ by NUS Division of Industrial Design is a fun game where you literally have to spell out a word with body language. I wish I had something like this at home so I can get the kids to learn spelling AND exercise at the same time!

Word Out

Word Out

spelling out a word

spelling out a word

Our favourite section was ‘Sculpture Scribble’ by Spanish group Guixot de 8. Using materials from a recycling and composting site, they recreate works by famous 20th century artists into interactive installations that encourage play. We spent quite a bit of time here trying to achieve the objective of each sculpture. Maybe I would have been better at Physics in school if we had these sculptures to bring the various laws of Physics to life.

making the wooden cylinder roll around

making the wooden cylinder roll around

trying to open the lid by kicking the ball in

trying to open the lid by kicking the ball in

hitting the ball with the foot pedal

hitting the ball with the foot pedal

supposed to join the two pieces together without touching!

supposed to join the two pieces together without touching!

rolling the ball down

rolling the ball down

joining the pieces without looking directly at them

joining the pieces without looking directly at them

she did it!

she did it!

rolling the ball from one side to the other

rolling the ball from one side to the other

putting marbles into pots

putting marbles into pots

trying to put the finger into the nose

trying to put the finger into the nose

rolling the ball into the basket

rolling the ball into the basket

manipulating the ball onto the other end

manipulating the ball onto the other end

catching the egg

catching the egg

You can also check out this post by Olimomok!

Children’s Season 2014 – Masak Masak at NMS (Part 1)

For Children’s Season this year, National Museum of Singapore has a special exhibition called Masak Masak from 24 May to 3 August. The exhibition centres around the theme of ‘My Childhood’. I think the theme is really fun! Outside the museum, there are bouncy slides based on the dragon and elephant playgrounds of my childhood. Unfortunately, they are only open for playing on weekends.

Masak Masak

Masak Masak

dragon bouncy slide

dragon bouncy slide

elephant bouncy slide

elephant bouncy slide

The first area we came across was Justin Lee’s Come and Play. The entire room was filled with structures and objects made with cardboard and draws upon the idea that with imagination, a cardboard box can be turned into anything. For a minimum $2 donation, kids can get a cardboard box of their own and make it into anything they want. The box can then become part of the installation. Anya chose to bring her box home though.

Justin Lee's Come and Play

Justin Lee’s Come and Play

everything made with cardboard

everything made with cardboard

creating her own cardboard creation

creating her own cardboard creation

caroseul

caroseul

drawing a roller coaster

drawing a roller coaster

Anya then went to play with giant versions of five stones, pick-up sticks and marbles. She spent quite a bit of time just throwing the five stones up into the air and trying to catch them. She looked like she was having tons of fun! I loved playing five stones when I was a kid and Anya has a set now but doesn’t really know what to do with it. Maybe it’s time to revisit the game.

Another childhood game I enjoyed was pick-up sticks where we tried to remove sticks from the pile without moving any of the other sticks in the process. The suggested method for playing the version here is to create the tallest structure possible with the sticks. I wish there were more sticks though! Hard to create anything with so few sticks.

I didn’t really play with marbles when I was a kid but liked collecting them. For this version, the kids are supposed to roll the balls into the hole in the middle without getting the balls stuck in the pothole. Anya quickly figured out where the exit point for the balls was and stalked it to get as many balls as possible.

giant five stones

giant five stones

throwing and catching

throwing and catching

pick-up sticks

pick-up sticks

rolling marbles

rolling marbles

avoiding the potholes

avoiding the potholes

More on Masak Masak in the next post!

PLAY@NMS

We signed up for a preview of PLAY@NMS, the first dedicated museum area for young children, which is opening today at the National Museum of Singapore in conjunction with Children’s Season 2014.

In the EXPLORE component, kids get to move around a Garden, a Living Room, a Bedroom and a Kitchen. Each of these is inspired by other galleries in the museum. For example, the Kitchen is inspired by the Food Gallery and the Garden by the William Farquhar’s collection.

In the Garden, the children can pick up different flowers and fruits and fit them onto a tree. In the Kitchen, kids can play masak masak with toy food, stick ingredient pieces onto a plate, and emboss their favourite dish onto a piece of paper. In the Bedroom, a yellow tent (reminiscent of the chairs-and-blanket tent for pretend play at home) has short animations projected onto it that the kids can hide inside and watch. That was Anya’s favourite section and she basically parked herself there the entire time. There are also decals of traditional costumes that can be stuck on a mirror for kids to ‘try on’. In the Living Room, children can listen to a radio, watch short videos or put up puppet performances.

at the museum

at the museum

fitting flower and fruit pieces onto a tree

fitting flower and fruit pieces onto a tree

cooking in the kitchen

cooking in the kitchen

picking ingredients for a meal

picking ingredients for a meal

the yellow tent

the yellow tent

Anya watching the projected film

Anya watching the projected film

costumes for dress up

costumes for dress up

the living room

the living room

Adam putting up a puppet show

Adam putting up a puppet show

watching the performance

watching the performance

outside on the sundeck

outside on the sundeck

Many of the activities, like the sticking of ingredients onto a plate to form a local delight and the trying on of traditional outfits, were very similar to the ones at Island Adventures last year. I wish they had incorporated some stuff from the 2012 Children’s Season instead as that was a lot more interesting. I think the costume decals in the Bedroom are not going to last very long and the embossing station at the Kitchen is quite difficult for kids to manipulate.

PLAY@NMS is recommended for kids aged 3-7 but I personally feel that it is best for kids between 2 and 5 years old. Adam had fun running around but the older ones in our group were, frankly, not very engaged by the activities in the EXPLORE gallery and lost interest quite quickly. However, I think it’s great that there is a dedicated section for young children in the National Museum and I hope they continue to develop and improve it.

Children’s Season 2013 at Police Heritage Centre

It’s quite difficult getting a slot for the Children’s Season programme at the Police Heritage Centre. There aren’t that many slots to begin with and you have to make an appointment to get a slot. They don’t respond readily to emails or phone calls either. And when you do get a slot, you need to submit the full names and IC numbers of those who are attending. Somehow, Selena managed to sign the kids up for one of the slots and my aunt kindly took Anya there because I had a meeting to attend.

I think there’s lots they can do to make it more kid-friendly! My aunt said the kids were not allowed to touch most of the things there and were not supposed to make noise. Surely there are many interesting hands-on activities they can plan for kids at a police heritage centre! I think the highlight of the programme was when the kids got to dress up as little police officers. Here are some photos that my aunt took. Anya is dressed in a raggedy manner because she stayed over at my mum’s and didn’t have any clothes there!

making her way there with E

making her way there with E

waiting for the briefing

waiting for the briefing

practising her salute

practising her salute

AD was there too

AD was there too

contemplating a career as a police officer

contemplating a career as a police officer

with a friendly police man

with a friendly police man

big smiles

big smiles

four-armed police officer

four-armed police officer

the cousins

the cousins

Island Adventures 2013 at National Museum of Singapore

We absolutely LOVED Island Adventures at National Museum of Singapore last year. This year’s Island Adventures programme, however, is a lot less interesting. Unlike last year when there were many hands-on displays and activities, this year’s Island Adventures occupied just a small area.

Kids could pretend to be hawkers and serve up popular local dishes such as nasi lemak or laksa, or assume the role of a tailor and put together an outfit. Sounds interesting? The execution was not very exciting or imaginative though. The activities mainly consist of sticking flat, magnetic pieces onto a magnetic surface. The actions of moving magnetic pieces around and positioning them don’t represent the act of cooking or sewing very well.

I didn’t like that the artefacts were all behind glass cases where the kids could only look but not touch. Not very interactive at all especially when compared to last year’s programme. I guess the programme last year gave me unnaturally high expectations? Anya enjoyed the storytelling session very much though!

at the museum

at the museum

cooking up a Singaporean dish

cooking up a Singaporean dish

nasi lemak

nasi lemak

char kway teow

char kway teow

laksa

laksa

putting an outfit together

putting an outfit together

modelling the outfit

modelling the outfit

in a sari

in a sari

looking at some photography thing

looking at some photography thing

storytelling session

storytelling session

amused children

amused children

There’s an optional craft kit that can be purchased. The craft kit contains materials for the kids to design an outfit, decorate a wayang headdress, make an ang ku kueh, and stick food stickers onto an image of a plate. Without the craft kit, the visit would have been a lot less interesting.

Even trying to buy the craft kit was a minor obstacle. I tried to get it from the table outside the activity room where the craft kits were displayed, but was told to go to the ticket counter near the entrance to buy a ticket, then come back to the table to collect the craft kit from the table. There were some school groups there so the people on duty tried to discourage us from going into the activity room so it was all a bit annoying.

decorating her headdress

decorating her headdress

making ang ku kueh

making ang ku kueh

ta da!

ta da!

cutting out a shirt

cutting out a shirt

measuring some pants

measuring some pants

decorating the outfit

decorating the outfit

Island Adventures 2013

Island Adventures 2013

Island Adventures is at National Museum of Singapore until July 21st. Admission is free. The optional craft kit is $5. There are roving acts and storytellers on certain days so check the programme for more information.

Art Garden 2013, SAM at 8Q

We got to Art Garden every year, usually at least 3 times because Anya loves the installations and activities there. I read some reviews that said this year’s Art Garden is better than last year’s but Anya wasn’t as excited as she was last year and kept asking me where some of the installations from last year were.

Our first stop was The Enchanted Garden City where fairy tales have been given an Asian twist. This was one of my favourite rooms because it was so interesting to see familiar stories reinterpreted. For example, Red Riding Hood is in a kebaya with a scarf over her head and carrying a traditional Chinese wedding basket filled with ang ku kueh.

Anya liked being able to see her drawings projected onto a magic mirror in the room. One suggestion: I think the Hey Diddle Diddle rhyme could have had the cat playing some Asian instrument, like an er hu, instead of the typical fiddle.

Hansel & Gretel approaching a kuih-kuih house

Hansel & Gretel approaching a kuih-kuih house

three bears and... Blackilocks?

three bears and… Blackilocks?

rainbow bridge

rainbow bridge

under the bridge with the troll

under the bridge with the troll

crossing

crossing

drawing

drawing

happy to see her scribbles on the magic mirror

happy to see her scribbles on the magic mirror

Around the World in Eighty Worlds is very whimsical but it was sad to see that some of the items in the room have already been damaged by overenthusiastic children. Anya had fun tossing rings but she cheated a little by standing very near the target. I love that the entire room forms the face of a cat. And if you stand and look from the other direction, you see another cat!

Around the World in Eighty Worlds

Around the World in Eighty Worlds

kaleidoscope

kaleidoscope

which side up?

which side up?

grandfather clock

grandfather clock

what are they staring at??

what are they staring at??

standing so near the target

standing so near the target

puppet cats and faces

puppet cats and faces

hard at work

hard at work

hot air balloon

hot air balloon

We spent a significant amount of time watching the selection of short films on Level Two. Some of the films are pretty good. Anya’s favourite was Molly, a film about a cat who frees a fish trapped in a bowl, and mine was Colour Theory, a film about a scientist who discovers a way to bring colour into his black & white world only to make a difficult decision.

watching the short films very seriously

watching the short films very seriously

watching Plant Story

watching Plant Story

Stellar Cave II was visually quite spectacular with shapes of animals being made from just screws and thread. It’s nice to sit in the room and admire the shapes but Anya didn’t want to spend very much time in there because of the dark. After the room is a small area where kids (and adults) can try making animal shapes from screws and thread.

The Incredibly Magical Expanding Room is similar to the Reactive Wall from last year’s Art Garden, except that this time there are only lines appearing in response to sounds made into the microphone. The lines give the illusion that the room is changing in size but otherwise was not particularly interesting. We both prefer last year’s Reactive Wall which had a whole bunch of colourful and varied images.

Stellar Cave II

Stellar Cave II

Stellar Cave II

Stellar Cave II

trying to make a bird

trying to make a bird

The Incredibly Magical Expanding Room

The Incredibly Magical Expanding Room

Our least favourite area was Les Rêves Engloutis – Glossy Dreams in Depth. You put on 3D glasses, sit on a bed and get spun into another room filled with strange nightmarish images that appear to be pulsating and moving because of the 3D glasses. Anya was quite freaked out after we were rotated into the room and didn’t want to walk through so we asked to be rotated out again. Apparently, a few kids burst out crying when they see the room. We peeked in from the other end and saw a rather repulsive-looking elephant standing in the corner.

She refused to give the room another chance but was quite happy to make a monster mask in the activity room. Honestly, I didn’t really understand this particular area and it gave me the creeps as well but I guess the older kids will be okay with it.

Glossy Dreams in Depth

Glossy Dreams in Depth

before being freaked out

before being freaked out

inside the nightmare room

inside the nightmare room

making a monster mask

making a monster mask

my little monster

my little monster

We stayed there for about 3 hours until closing time and went to explore Landscape in the Box outside. The boxes are all designed by NUS Architecture students but we weren’t supposed to touch them so it wasn’t a very interactive display. I think the donut-shaped ping pong table they had last year was so much more fun!

Landscape in a Box

Landscape in a Box

Art Garden is at SAM at 8Q (8 Queen St) until 1 September from 10am to 7pm daily. I’m sure we’ll be going a few more times! It’s free for Singaporeans (show your IC), PRs and visitors aged 6 and below.