15 indoor activities to spice up school holidays

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

1. Pororo Park Singapore

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

Info: Go to www.pororoparksg.com

2. Indoor winter sports 

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.

Info: Call 6238-0575 or go to www.urbanski.com.sg to book a session or sign up for the camp.

3. Kidz Can Bake! Workshops

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

When: Dec 11, 5pm; Dec 12 and 13, 11am, 2 and 5pm

Admission: $38, $48 or $58

Info: Go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555

5. Art education

Introduce your kid to art at the Keppel Centre for Art Education in the National Gallery Singapore which will open on Nov 24.

The dedicated art education facility houses four spaces, including an Art Corridor where kids can touch artworks, and the Art Playscape where they can explore a treehouse or roam in a labyrinth.

Children can also paint and learn to conduct exhibition tours.

Where: City Hall Wing, National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road

When: Open daily from Nov 24. 10am to 7pm from Monday to Thursday, 10am to 11pm from Friday to Sunday

Admission: Free entry to the Keppel Centre for Art Education but visitors will need to get a ticket.

Info: Go to www.nationalgallery.sg

6. Star Wars fever at Changi Airport

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

Info: Go to starwars.changiairport.com


7. ActiveSG School Holiday Programmes

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.

Info: Go to www.myactivesg.com

8. Fan Yang Bubble Legendary Show 

Famed Canadian bubble artist Fan Yang manipulates soap bubbles into various shapes and sizes.

Expect interactive elements from the 19-time Guinness Book of World Records holder, whose most momentous feat so far is to encase a 4,000kg elephant in a giant bubble.

Where: Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa

When: Nov 28 and 29, 10.30am, 1.30 and 5.30pm

Admission: $28 to $88. Children must be at least four years old.

Info: Go to www.sistic.com.sg/events/bubble1115

9. Toy swop 

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

When: Dec 19, noon to 6pm

Admission: Free

Info: Go to www.downtowneast.com.sg/events/toy_swap

10. Celebrate December ​

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.

Admission: Free

Info: Go to www.esplanade.com/celebratedecember

11. Peanuts stamp exhibition 

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.

Info: Go to spm.org.sg

12. Holiday camps

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)

Info: Suitable for kids aged seven to 12. Go to www.inventivekids.asia

Prehistoric marine creatures put on an appearance at Science Centre Singapore. PHOTOS: SCIENCE CENTRE SINGAPORE, INVENTIVE KIDS, ACT 3 DRAMA ACADEMY, NANYANG ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS

13. Discover extinct sea monsters

Come face to face with marine creatures that roamed the seas more than 300 million years ago at the new Monsters Of The Sea exhibition at Science Centre Singapore.

And do not be surprised if the life-sized displays of the 14 prehistoric marine animals and two present-day sea dwellers blink or emit loud sounds, as they are animatronic.

Those who have seen the movie Jurassic World (2015) may recognise the gigantic mosasaurus, a carnivore that prowled the seas for its prey in the late Cretaceous period more than 60 million years ago.

There is the elasmosaurus too, a marine reptile with an exceptionally long neck that aided it in creeping up on fishes before feeding on them.

Where: Annexe Hall, Science Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Road

When: Till Feb 28, 10am to 6pm (last admission at 5.15pm)

Admission: Singaporeans and permanent residents: $20 (adults), $16 (children aged three to 12). All other visitors: $25 (adults), $20 (children aged three to 12)

Info: Go to www.science.edu.sg/exhibitions/Pages/MonstersoftheSea.aspx

14. Drama workshops   

If your tot is constantly acting up, a drama class (above) may just be the right outlet for him or her to channel all that energy.

Act 3 Drama Academy has curated five workshops for children as young as seven months.

In It's All About Colours, babies will dive into a kaleidoscope of colours inspired by picture book Mouse Paint and engage in a fun-filled session of movement and painting.

For the older ones, there is Christmas Past, Present And Future - A Pantomime (for children aged eight and older), which is based on the Charles Dickens Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol.

Participants will not only learn about the theatrical form, but also gain confidence as they learn to exercise themselves.

Where: Act 3 International, One-Two-Six Cairnhill Arts Centre, 126 Cairnhill Road

When: Various dates from end- November to mid-January

Admission: $50 to $380

Info: Go to act3international.com.sg or call 6735-9986

15. Art and craft courses

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

Info: Call 6512-4159/6512-4209 or go to www.nafa.edu.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Holiday hijinks'. Print Edition | Subscribe