There is no guarantee the haze will not return this year-end during the school holidays, but there is no need for the holiday mood to be dampened as Gurveen Kaur rounds up 15 activities that can be enjoyed indoors
Animated penguin character Pororo, considered the "President of Kids" in South Korea, has landed in Singapore.
The newly opened Pororo Park Singapore, an indoor edutainment playground, occupies 11,000 sq ft in Marina Square mall and is centred on the well-loved character and his friends including Eddy the Fox and Petty the Penguin.
Pororo creator Choi Jong Il says Singapore was picked as the character's first foray into South-east Asia because it is "an educational and cultural hub" in the region and is therefore the right place to start. There are plans to open a park in Thailand by year-end.
The Singapore park is a wonderland for kids, with seven facilities including Pororo Express, a train ride for kids into a snowy cave; the Pororo House, an exact replica of the one in the cartoon, complete with bathtub and bed; and the Shark Ball Pool, an inviting ball pit filled to the brim with blue and white balls. Rody's Toy Store sells toys, apparel and souvenir items.
While the children play, parents can relax over a cuppa at Loopy's Cafe, which also offers free Wi-Fi.
Where: 02-29 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard
When: 10.30am to 8pm from Sunday to Thursday, 10.30am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday
Admission: $24.50 for children below two, $33.50 for children aged two to 12, free for babies below one (entitled to two-hour play time). Up to two accompanying adults pay $6 each
Ski and snowboard here in hot and humid Singapore at Urban Ski, the first indoor ski and snowboard centre here.
The centre in shopping centre Millenia Walk has two automated ski slopes.
Children must be at least four years old to ski and at least eight years old to snowboard. Participants are accompanied by an instructor on the slope, and equipment and protective gear are provided. For young enthusiasts aged nine to 15, there are young skiers camps held this and next month.
Where: 01-46 to 49 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard
When: 11am to 9pm on weekdays (last admission at 8pm), 10am to 10pm on weekends (last admission at 9pm). Camps are from Monday to Wednesday, Nov 23 to 25, and Dec 4 to 6 and Dec 11 to 13.
Admission: From $230 for an individual session or $306 for a group of two to four.
Groom your very own little helper in the kitchen with the kids baking courses under the People's Association school holiday series programmes.
Pick from more than 80 classes that range from teaching the young chef wannabes how to bake Christmas classics such as gingerbread cookies and the seemingly complicated black forest trifle to more fun and quirky recipes including colourful confetti push pops and red nose reindeer cookies.
Where: Various community centres
When: From Nov 24 to Dec 30, various times
Admission: Between $20 and $30 a class (excludes fees for ingredients)
Info: Suitable for kids aged five to 12. Go to one.pa.gov.sg to register
4. Christmas play
Take your little ones to watch Dear Santa, a stage production based on the well-loved children's book by Rod Campbell.
The story revolves around Sarah, a little girl who writes to Santa Claus for a special Christmas present.
With plenty of audience interaction and sing-alongs, the kids can help Santa decide on the perfect gift for Sarah.
To round up the festive fun, the audience can let Santa know what they want for Christmas at a meet-and-greet session after the show.
Where: School of the Arts Drama Theatre, 1 Zubir Said Drive
As part of its annual year-end festive celebrations and a lead-up to the release of the highly anticipated movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Changi Airport is decking its departure halls in Terminals 2 and 3 with Star Wars-themed life-sized exhibits and a bouncy castle.
While the adults marvel at the life-sized X-wing and TIE Fighters, the kids can hang out in the bouncy playhouse inspired by the Hardangerjokulen Glacier in Norway, one of the movie's filming locations. Not your regular bouncy castle, it has a 4m-high slide, ski slope and rock-climbing lighthouse station.
Older kids can guide the BB-8, a droid that will make its debut in the new film, through an obstacle course using a remote control.
Where: Departure Halls, Terminals 2 and 3, Changi Airport
When:Till Jan 5
Admission: Spend at least $30 for entry to the obstacle course or bouncy castle
Why let your children sit at home and watch television or play games on the iPad when ActiveSG, which encourages all Singaporeans to adopt active lifestyles, has programmes created specially for the school holidays?
Your child can learn to play sports such as basketball (above), floorball and wushu.
Children can also enrol in a three-day dance-fitness camp where they will learn three workouts that involve a mix of dance and aerobics - zumba, bokwa and KpopX Fitness.
Where: Various sports centres
When: Various dates this and next month
Admission: From $12.50. Singaporeans or permanent residents who sign up as an ActiveSG member can get up to 30 per cent off if they use their ActiveSG dollars.
Here is one way to satisfy your child's never-ending demands for new toys and get rid of those he or she has outgrown.
At Downtown East's first toy swop, people can exchange used games and toys for other pre-loved or even new ones. Do make sure your toys are in working condition and, for cards and board games, that the set is complete.
Toy manufacturer Mattel is sponsoring new toys, including video games and figurines, for this event.
Leftover games and toys will be donated to children beneficiaries supported by NTUC Club.
Where: Event Square at Downtown East, 1 Pasir Ris Close
At the annual Celebrate December festival by Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, new programmes specifically for children have been added to the mix.
The little ones can unleash their creativity through interactive craft and storytelling sessions, or learn to make their own mini harp using everyday items and perform a tune with Harpy-Flute'y, a duo comprising flautist Sin Jin How and harpist Jana Ang Fries.
Starting from Dec 18, the festival will offer free activities and performances in conjunction with the holiday season.
Where: Various locations at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive
When: Festival runs from Dec 18 to 31. An Afternoon Of Harpy-Flute'y Tunes is on Dec 26 and 27, 1.30 to 2.30pm and 3.30 to 4.30pm.
Before Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang make their big-screen debut in The Peanuts Movie here next month, fans can view rare stamps and stamp artworks based on the popular comic strip at an exhibition at the Singapore Philatelic Museum.
Discover the origin of each character and the creator, the late Charles Schulz. At workshops, learn to create 3D Peanuts characters and make a Christmas card. Where: Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23-B Coleman Street
When: Exhibition runs from Dec 2 to April 30. Workshops are on various dates next month and in March.
Admission: Entry to museum is free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents. All other visitors pay $6 (adults) and $4 (children aged three to 12). Workshops start from $10.
In this fast-paced, highly competitive world, it may not be too early for your child to start learning real- world concepts.
Educational experience provider Inventive Kids has conceived holiday camps to cultivate critical thinking skills in children with adventurous or topical storylines such as being trapped on an island or starting a toy business.
Using their imagination, participants will pretend play and fashion solutions to road bumps faced throughout the camp, while using the Thinkertoyland construction system as their learning tool.
The educational toy consists of connectors, sticks and gears (above right) to promote inventive play.
Where: Woodlands Room at HDB Hub, 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
When: Island Survivors camp: Nov 30 to Dec 2; The Basics Of Kidpreneurship camp: Dec 9 to 12; both run from 9.30am to 4.30pm
Admission: $290 for Island Survivors and $390 for The Basics Of Kidpreneurship (includes lunch and snacks)
At the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa), children can try different forms of art, from clay modelling to Chinese ink painting to needle felting.
With classes catering to different groups of children aged five to 16, there is bound to be one that will pique your child's creative interest.
For instance, for kids aged nine and 10, there is Creative Playground: An Expressive Workshop for Children, a one-day experiential class to introduce them to Dalcroze eurhythmics (a music education method that teaches concepts of rhythm, structure and musical expression through movement), poetry, drama and art (above). Where: Nafa, Campus 1, 80 Bencoolen Street
When: Nov 23 to Dec 23, various timings. Creative Playground: An Expressive Workshop for Children is on Dec 5, 9am to 5.30pm
Admission: From $162.10 for a three-day course; Creative Playground: An Expressive Workshop for Children costs $150
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