Children's Season is back, with special museum shows instead of usual generic workshops

Children playing at an art installation, Wanderlust, at the National Museum, which is among the many activities in this coming Children’s Season. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Children playing at an art installation, Wanderlust, at the National Museum, which is among the many activities in this coming Children’s Season. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Known for its exquisite artefacts exploring Asian history and cultures, the Asian Civilisations Museum has staged its first show targeted mainly at children.

Once Upon A Time in Asia: The Animal Race, which opens today, aims to introduce children to the way animals are depicted in art from the region.

The show features a wide array of natural history artefacts, such as skeletons, which are on loan from the Singapore Science Centre, and precious items from the museum's collection, such as six bronze zodiac animal heads from a set of 12.

The bronze heads are a set given to the museum by actor and martial artist Jackie Chan.

Highlights include an interactive wall designed by the museum, where children can learn facts about animals using their senses. For instance, they can listen to animal calls to identify the different creatures, and feel their body coverings.

The show is part of the Children's Season, a festival with more than 50 events in 19 different museums across the island. About 220,000 visitors are expected in all for the events.

The season is organised by the National Heritage Board and runs from today to June 28.

Now in its eighth year, the children's festival differs from previous editions by focusing on creating exhibition components targeted at children, rather than generic workshops that are tacked on to existing shows.

Mr Tan Boon Hui, assistant chief executive of museums and programmes at the National Heritage Board, explains that this was done so as not to segregate children's activities from the actual exhibits.

"The aim of this year's Children's Season is to devote cultural appreciation and museum-visiting to them, and prove that activities for children can expand past more common ones like colouring or storytelling."

The exhibits are specially designed for kids by having more interactive displays.

Apart from the new exhibitions at the Asian Civilisations Museum, children can also look forward to other programmes in other museums. These include interactive skits at the Memories At Old Ford Factory museum and dance lessons at the Peranakan Museum.

Last year, the Children's Season drew more than 223,000 visitors for its 46 programmes.

samgohwy@sph.com.sg

For more information and a list of programmes in Children's Season 2015, go to www.museums.com.sg/cs15


CHILDREN'S SEASON ACTIVITIES

Imaginarium

What: A contemporary art exhibition targeted at children, this features a giant playground for visitors to build their own block sculptures, and an installation of glass boxes representing the ecosystems in Singapore. Here, children can pick up a Passport to the Moon, a limited-edition activity booklet featuring artists' impressions and fun facts to guide children through the exhibition.

Where: Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road

When: 10am to 7pm, until July 19

Admission: Free (Imaginarium), $5 a passport (Passport to the Moon)

Recommended Age: Open to all ages

A New Beginning

This interactive skit takes viewers back in time to learn about life after the Japanese Occupation. Interact with figures in history and witness the nation's recovery after the Japanese surrender.

Where: Memories at Old Ford Factory, 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road

When: June 27 and 28, 10 to 11.30am, 12.30 to 2pm and 2.30 to 4pm

Admission: Free

Recommended Age: Nine to 12

Once Upon A Time in Asia: The Animal Race

What: Learn about animal facts and symbolism in Asia in the museum's first show targeted solely at kids. Children can also learn to make their own stuffed animalin special workshops.

Where: Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place

When: Today to August 16; Animal Race: 10am to 5pm; Stuffed Animal Workshop: Tuesday, 10am to noon; Thursday, 2 to 4pm

Admission: Animal Race: Free; Stuffed Animals workshop: $20 a participant

Recommended Age: Five to nine (Animal Race), eight to 10 (Stuffed Animals workshop)

Playgrounds On The Lawn and Puppet Performance by Jeremy Hiah

What: Bounce on inflatable playgrounds reminiscent of the mosaic playgrounds of the 1970s and 1980s, including the famous dragon head slide from Ang Mo Kio in the special interactive exhibit, Playgrounds On The Lawn.

Or enjoy a shadow puppet show put on by storyteller Jeremy Hiah as he showcases his adaptation of Queen Of The Forest, a local children's folk tale.

Where: National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road

When: Playgrounds on the Lawn: Every Saturday, 10am to noon, 4 to 6pm; Puppet Performance: Today and tomorrow, June 13 and 14, June 20 and 21, Aug 8 and 9, 2.30pm

Admission: Free

Recommended Age: Three to seven (Playgrounds On The Lawn), open to all ages (Puppet Performance)

Young Scientist Workshop and Shadow Puppets DIY

What: In the Young Scientist Workshops, learn to build gadgets such as a periscope and solar oven, which teach scientific lessons about light and energy. In Shadow Puppet DIY classes, children can learn how light interacts with different materials to create shadows and shapes.

Where: Singapore Science Centre, 15 Science Centre Road

When: June 9 and 12, 9.30am to 12.30pm

Admission: $45 a participant (Young Scientists Workshop), $40 a participant (Shadow Puppets DIY); general admission to Science Centre: Free (weekdays during school term), $6 for adults and $4 for children (weekends, public holidays and school holidays)

Recommended Age: Nine to 12 (Young Scientists Workshop), four to eight (Shadow Puppets DIY)

The Deep

What: This exhibition on deep sea creatures has various programmes for children. They can make photograms using silhouettes of ocean creatures in Fun With Photograms, or sit down and enjoy master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran's tales of sea creatures, both mythical and real.

Where: ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands

When: Fun With Photograms: Every Wednesday from June 10; Storytelling: June 28, 2.30, 3.30 and 4.30pm; main exhibition: 10am to 7pm daily

Admission: Photograms: $5 a participant, Storytelling: Free; a Deep exhibition ticket costs $12 (adults), $8 (children) for Singapore residents, and $15 (adults) and $12.80 (children) for non-residents

Recommended Age: Four and up (Storytelling)