Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thinking Thursdays: The Playdome @ National Museum

We've been rather glad for the Children's Season, since it means that the month has been full of interesting events which we could attend with Junior J.  Last week, we managed to visit the Art Garden at the Singapore Art Museum with his church friend S, and her mum, and the two kids throughly enjoyed themselves.  (Many mothers have blogged about this event so I will not elaborate further, except that you can read some related posts here and here.)  Then yesterday, S's mum and myself brought the two of them to the National Museum to check out The Playdome.

There were quite a few interesting exhibits to explore, such as:

:: The Black Box, which featured works exploring traditional theatre, film and fashion practices. One of the most interesting exhibits was a giant digital kaleidoscope which is activated by movements.  Children are invited to flip different types of cloths in front of the kaleidoscope, and see the changing patterns caused by their movements:

:: There was also a Wayang play stage which allowed the kids to design their own face-mask and perform their own stories with costumes and props.  It was way too crowded for the two kids to get a seat to do their mask, but they did spend some time exploring the stage, which was dressed in lots and lots of colourful ribbons:

:: 2 and 1/2 D Cinema was an exhibit that invited children to "step into" and participate in a film backdrop, and provided props such as fishermen's hats and baskets.  I think J and S were just too young to appreciate what on earth was happening, so they just spent time wandering around wearing their hats and baskets and pretending to catch fish in the dark!

The little fisher-boy and girl... wandering around, lost. :p

:: The Sun Deck, which was just a small outdoor space, with bicycle wheels that kids could spin...

... as well as seats to rest tired legs.  There were books provided for the kids to read while they rested.

:: Happy Hawkers (in the Sensory Studio), which provided a pretend play setting:

A whole lot of traditional food implements were provided for the kids to play with...

Our very own sarabat stall boy, happily doing what he does best: Making coffee for Mama. :)
 ... as well as plasticine in a whole myraid of colours to make various local dishes such as noodles and satay!

All in all, I think the whole event was pretty good, but more suited for older children.  Perhaps it was due to the sheer crowd of children at some of the exhibits, but the two kids seemed rather overwhelmed at times, even when we were trying to engage them in exploring the various exhibits.  They did enjoy making their own play food though.  Nonetheless, I did bring home my own learning points, that learning experiences should be:

:: Sensorial: I've mentioned before that we tend to forget about the sense of touch when it comes to children's activities... and I realize even more how this is the case when it comes to the playthings that our children have.  Most toys nowadays tend to be mainly plastic, or wood, and we tend to leave out the softer textures (especially when it comes to boys with their trains, cars and animal figurines!).  Over at the museum, Junior J was really fascinated with the furry balls on the wayang play stage...

... as well as the various cloths that were provided for flipping at the kaleidoscope.  Guess I should be providing him a basket of different fabrics to rummage with soon!

The boy was also interested in the ringing of the bells that resulted from the turning of the wheels on the sundeck... the cause-and-effect of making different sounds using different items will probably be another thing on our play list! :)

:: Simple: It seemed like what the kids loved most were the simplest activities, such as moulding their own play food... 

For some strange reason, Junior J insisted on making his fishballs blue!

... and playing "masak masak" with all the pots and all.  I guess they don't need such complicated toys with all those bells and whistles after all! :)

:: Simply Singaporean: Seeing that cotton coffee filter brought back many fond memories of my grandma making me my kopi-o through this traditional method.  With us moving in less than a year's time, I realize I do want to immerse the little boy in our local culture and history even in our playtime, since he'll be exposed to a total new culture (and language for that matter) next year.  So perhaps we'll try to squeeze in more visits to various cultural places in Singapore, and maybe start the little boy on stories on Singapore's history... (any good books to recommend?)

Have you visited a museum with your kids recently?  How was your experience?

PS: The Playdome runs until the 26th of June, so hurry down if you intend to check it out with your kids... if you do, bring along your Kino/Toys R Us/NTUC Plus cards, since that gives you a discount! ;)


  1. marvelous pictures! looks like you had a great time!
    btw, thanks for reminder, will pay a visit to the playdome this weekend:).

  2. This looks like fun! You mentioned there were many children, were you there during the weekend?

  3. PC: Thanks! Yup, it ends this weekend, so do go down before it closes... I think your older girl will enjoy it! :)

    Ruth: No, we were there on a Wednesday morning. Guess its thanks to the school holidays, I think some preschools were having outings, so the place was swarming with kids!

  4. wow... looks pretty good! all the pictures... thanks for recommending! love all your blog entries, cool and good keepsake memories! thanks

  5. Wow the National Museum is actually suitable for young kids, who would have thought. I should swing by one of these weekends to check it out.
    Loved the pictures that you took.

  6. Shaggyfish: Thanks! Did you bring your boy there in the end? Think he'll be just the right age to enjoy it! And knowing how he likes crafts and all, he'll probably have a good time!

    Susan: Yup! But I guess it'll be better for kids older than 3 years, since some exhibits are a little higher level... :)



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