Singapore Botanic Gardens: UNESCO World Heritage Site

We’re so delighted to hear that Singapore Botanic Gardens is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sharing some of the photos that we took at the famous Tembusu heritage tree in 2012 before the tree was fenced in December 2013 to alleviate soil compaction and minimise damage to the roots from heavy human traffic. Wish we could still take our family photos on the tree but the health of a more than 200-year-old tree is more important! Congratulations to Singapore Botanic Gardens! So proud to have a UNESCO World Heritage Site to call our own.

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DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition at ArtScience Museum, MBS

Kungfu Panda is one of my favourite cartoons of all time and it’s so amazing to explore the creative journey of a movie like that from a simple concept to an actual film in DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition.

There’s so much to look at: models, concept drawings, storyboards, masks, maps, photographs, posters, paintings, and other original artwork. There are over 400 unique objects from the studio’s archive of rare and never before displayed material. The static display is accompanied by immersive and interactive digital experiences, and a wealth of additional digital content.

Anya and Adam enjoyed being able to manipulate a character’s expression on the computer and had a good time learning about animation by making flip books and thaumotropes. One of the highlights for them was Dragon Flight: A Dragon’s-Eye View of Berk. This 180-degree projection takes visitors on an exhilarating panoramic dragon ride on the back of Toothless, as the Isle of Berk builds around them.

So if you or your little ones enjoy DreamWorks Animation films such as Kungfu Panda, Shrek, Madagascar, or How to Train Your Dragon, you’ll love this exhibition. There are some special programmes and activities such as guided tours, workshops, and movie screenings on weekends so it will be a great time to visit.

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition

hello Toothless!

hello Toothless!

concept drawings and models of the characters from Kungfu Panda

concept drawings and models of the characters from Kungfu Panda

a panda of many expressions

a panda of many expressions

manipulating Po's face

manipulating Po’s face

Madagascar

Madagascar

how the storyboard brings the story to life

how the storyboard brings the story to life

the kids adore Peabody and Sherman

the kids adore Peabody and Sherman

model of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

model of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

making a flip book to understand how animation works

making a flip book to understand how animation works

part of the exhibition area

part of the exhibition area

Dragon Flight

Dragon Flight

another hands-on area

another hands-on area

making a thaumatrope

making a thaumatrope

checking out Shrek's swamp

checking out Shrek’s swamp

music scores for some of the films

music scores for some of the films

drawing room

drawing room

merchandise

merchandise

don't think I can train this dragon

don’t think I can train this dragon

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition
ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands
Now until 27 Sep 2015
10am to 7pm daily

Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the Night Safari & At the SEA Aquarium

Whenever I’m planning to take the kids to an attraction for the first time or to a place they have not visited in a while, I find it useful for them to read about the destination beforehand. Usually, they would get quite excited and have lots to look forward to and look out for when we are there. And after the visit, the kids get to relive their experience by reading the books again.

So when we were planning trips to Night Safari and SEA Aquarium recently, these books by author David Seow were very handy. Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the Night Safari and Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the SEA Aquarium. In both stories, the three children pay a visit to the respective locations and embark on an interesting adventure. I like that the books are not just about what the children see and do but the plot has them in a where they have to get creative in order to solve a problem.

In Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the Night Safari, the siblings have to figure out how to move a giraffe who has fallen asleep right in the path of the tram. During our visit to the Night Safari, Anya and Adam were busy looking out for animals that they had seen in the book and were delighted when a tapir came very close to the tram. After the visit, they talked about all the animals there and compared them with the ones in the book.

Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the Night Safari

Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the Night Safari

checking out the animals we can see there

checking out the animals we can see there

at the Night Safari!

at the Night Safari!

adventure is out there

adventure is out there

we read about the tram in the book

we read about the tram in the book

meeting some of the animals

meeting some of the animals

watching the show

watching the show

learning about recycling

learning about recycling

In Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the SEA Aquarium, Dididi goes missing and Sam & Sebbie go around all the tanks to ask if any of the sea creatures have seen Dididi and they find him in the most unusual place. Like with the other book, the kids were also very excited to spot the underwater creatures that they had read about in the book. The books help to make the visits more enriching and meaningful for the kids and it doesn’t hurt that the illustrations are so beautiful.

Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the SEA Aquarium

Sam, Sebbie & Dididi: At the SEA Aquarium

checking out the fish

checking out the fish

they even brought the book along

they even brought the book along

admiring the fish swimming overhead

admiring the fish swimming overhead

making friends

making friends

touching a star fish

touching a star fish

feeding time

feeding time

they read about the rays in the book

they read about the rays in the book

The Sam, Sebbie & Dididi books are available from Epigram Books and they are currently having 30% off all books with a minimum spending of $40 (with code HAPPY4TH) until 12 July. This would be a good time to snap up all the books in the Sam, Sebbie & Dididi series or get some other fabulous books. We like the Lee Kuan Yew series by Patrick Yee!

It’s Playtime Once More at Marina Square

After the Superhero Me festival, we had lunch nearby and then we walked to Marina Square. I saw a picture of some retro playground thing called It’s Playtime Once More at the Central Atrium and was eager to check it out. To be honest, it looks great but wasn’t as fun as I expected it to be. There are two sets of seesaws, a swing, and a very gentle slope in the watermelon slice that I think is supposed to be a slide.

The elephant playground and bumboat playground are just backdrops and there’s nothing to climb on or play with. You can take a step up into the dragon’s head but you can’t climb on the body. The kids had a go on the seesaw, swing, and slide, got restless, and started wondering what they could do next.

They decided to try some of the old school games like spinning the gasing, kicking capteh, flipping flag erasers, and folding origami. I think they managed to have fun after all but I would have to say this retro playground set-up at Marina Square looks better than it actually is. Worth visiting if you want to show the kids what playgrounds used to look like and introduce them to the games you played while growing up.

watermelon seesaw

watermelon seesaw

resting in the pelican

resting in the pelican

peeping out from the watermelon

peeping out from the watermelon

a slide, I think

a slide, I think

swinging

swinging

attempting gasing

attempting gasing

a little help from Aunty Von

a little help from Aunty Von

trying to kick a capteh

trying to kick a capteh

hopscotch

hopscotch

origami

origami

what's going on in that corner?

what’s going on in that corner?

playing card games and flipping erasers

playing card games and flipping erasers

It’s Playtime Once More
Marina Square Central Atrium
Until 28 June

Superhero Me Festival

So it’s been a crazy June so far and we have been keeping ourselves busy. The holidays are coming to an end but this is one event that’s definitely worth checking out: the Superhero Me Festival at National Library Building Plaza!

Both Anya and Adam are into superheroes. Adam loves Superman and Batman, and Anya is pretty fond of The Incredibles. To them, being a superhero means you need to have super powers. But at Superhero Me, they learn that being a superhero is about building character, celebrating imagination, and doing good! Personally, I’m terribly impressed by how well-organised the event is. The set-up is charming and inspiring.

The kids get to craft a medal at The Power Station and before doing so, they talk about the values of kindness, respect, gratitude, patience and resilience, and the kids choose one of these as their superpower. I like how the facilitators ensured that the crafting was purposeful and focused without unnecessary wastage. They were also very enthusiastic and capable.

the power station

the power station

craft materials

craft materials

Adam working on his medal

Adam working on his medal

Anya gets some help

Anya gets some help

love the set-up of the place!

love the set-up of the place!

posing with her Tree of Resilience medal

posing with her Tree of Resilience medal

At The Meadow, the kids played games and completed missions. I really appreciated that it wasn’t just fun and games but that the activities were very meaningful as well. Inside the Bear of Possibilities (a cardboard bear head built by the volunteers!), the kids watched a film about being a superhero.

having fun at the meadow

having fun at the meadow

hopscotch

hopscotch

pin the power!

pin the power!

not sure what's happening here!

not sure what’s happening here!

what's inside the bear?

what’s inside the bear?

a film about being a superhero!

a film about being a superhero!

Up & Away is my favourite section and the kids get to put on superhero costumes and pose for photos. The photos are used to make a stop-motion film and you can get a link to view the video on YouTube. You can see Anya’s film here and Adam’s here and we have watched both films numerous times!

time to dress up!

time to dress up!

waiting to star in their own superhero film

waiting to star in their own superhero film

strike a pose

strike a pose

we had a great time!

we had a great time!

There’s a Heroes Gathering Party this Saturday, 27 June, and kids can come in their self-made Superhero Me costume from 12 – 3 pm. The first 100 children in costume will get a goodie bag and children in costume get priority entry. You can snap photo memories at the photo booth and take home 4R prints. There are craft sessions by Timid Workshop featuring MT Tapes and photography workshops for the family led by Hart Tan and Bob Lee. The event is free and you can sign up here.

Superhero Me Festival
10 am to 7 pm daily, until 30 June
National Library Building Plaza

PA’s Little Chefs Celebrate SG50

There’s so much buzz about SG50 and a whole host of events lined up to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday! Anya took part in PA’s Little Chefs Celebrate SG50 on 13 June with 300 children and had a great time making push-pop cake candles to decorate a three-tiered cake.

The event was extra meaningful because the children didn’t just spend time making push-pop cake candles; they wrote down their hopes and dreams for Singapore. There were lots of other activities to keep the little chefs entertained and Anya was so excited to be able to excavate dinosaur bones!

Little Chefs Celebrate SG50 is part of the ‘Let’s Celebrate’ theme of the 50.Taste campaign, an initiative by the People’s Association comprising a series of activities, including over 250 cooking courses and workshops in community clubs island-wide for 10,000 participants. Check out the onePA website or ‘Like’ the PA Courses Facebook page for more information about these courses and workshops!

making push-pop cake candles

making push-pop cake candles

putting them on the cake

putting them on the cake

what a magnificent cake!

what a magnificent cake!

little chefs holding up their certificates

little chefs holding up their hopes and dreams for Singapore

taking a break

taking a break

excavating dinosaurs

excavating dinosaurs

her favourite expression

her favourite expression

Making Terrariums at Hort Park

I don’t have a green thumb and tend to kill most of my plants so a terrarium that needs minimal watering and care sounds perfect to me! We were invited to a workshop at The Plant Story hosted by actualyse.com and the kids made their own little terrariums with whimsical glass creatures.

Anya and Adam were fascinated to learn that the plants in the terrarium did not have to be watered daily and learnt a bit about how plants transpire and photosynthesize. They were also very taken by the little Murano glass creatures that they could decorate their terrariums with.

The Plant Story

The Plant Story

checking out some of the terrariums available (Photo credit: Ashley Mak)

checking out some of the terrariums available (Photo credit: Ashley Mak)

being briefed (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

being briefed on how to make a terrarium (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

layers

layers in a terrarium

so this is what I look like when I'm taking photos (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

so this is what I look like when I’m taking photos (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

the kids hard at work

the kids hard at work

choosing pebbles (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

choosing pebbles (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

adding the finishing touches

adding the finishing touches

some water for his plant

some water for his plant

very pleased with their terrariums! (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

very pleased with their terrariums! (photo credit: Ashley Mak)

The kids were really proud of the terrariums they made and truly enjoyed the hands-on experience. I think they learnt some stuff about plants more effectively than if they had merely read about it or watched in on TV!

actualyse.com believes that children learn in different ways and they are there to provide a platform to support learning for all intelligences and learning styles, needs, and all ages. I believe in Multiple Intelligences, and as a parent, I definitely want to cater to my child’s learning style. You can take an MI quiz here and find out more about actualyse.com and their vision ‘to inspire and empower everyone to be the best they can be’.