Singapore Botanic Gardens debuts Children's Festival

At the Singapore Botanic Gardens Children's Festival, kids get to take part in more than 100 free programmes

With more than 100 free programmes available, families can look forward to two fun-filled weeks at the inaugural Singapore Botanic Gardens Children's Festival.

Organised by the National Parks Board (NParks), the festival offers children a plethora of options, from hands-on activities and performances to movie screenings and food and games.

The festival is aimed at helping families and other visitors experience and appreciate the biodiversity and natural heritage of the Gardens.

Dr Nigel Taylor, group director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, says: "We hope families will have an enjoyable time learning and bonding through participating in the various activities."

Held from Nov 11 to 26, the festival areas are the Eco-Garden and Jacob Ballas Children's Garden.

The two locations are within a three-to 10-minute walk from the Gardens' Bukit Timah Gate.

Visitors can alight at Botanic Gardens MRT station (CCL19/DTL9) and use Exit A.


Food

CARNIVAL ACTIVITIES AT ECO-GARDEN

Here, visitors can enjoy treats from pop-up stalls and food trucks. Food items include candy floss, fried Oreo cookies, popcorn chicken, takoyaki and fruit popsicles.

There will also be five free game booths where visitors can try their hand at winning prizes. When: Nov 11, 18 and 25, 2 to 8.30pm; Nov 12, 19 and 26, 2 to 7.30pm

CARNIVAL ACTIVITIES AT FOOD FOR TOTS CAFE

Located at the entrance of the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden, this Food For Thought-run cafe opens officially next Tuesday and will offer face-painting, games, balloons and cotton candy for its young patrons. When: Nov 11, 11am to 3pm; and Nov 12, 11am to 3pm


Interactive programmes

PERFORMANCES, STORYTELLING, AND MEET-AND-GREET SESSIONS AT ECO-GARDEN

Lizzie the monitor lizard, Speedy the squirrel and Sunny the swan - characters specially created for this festival and played by actors dressed in life-sized costumes - rove around the Eco-Garden interacting with visitors through performances, story-telling sessions and meet-and-greets during the weekends of the festival. When: Nov 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26. For timings, go to www.nparks.gov.sg/childrensfestival

CBEEBIES AT VISITOR SERVICES @ BUKIT TIMAH GATE

Selected episodes of television series Go Jetters and Hey Duggee from BBC children's television channel CBeebies will be aired. There will be music to dance to and arts-and-crafts sessions. Free CBeebies goodie bags will be up for grabs. When: Nov 25 and 26, 10am to 6pm

EXHIBITS BY NUS AT ECO-GARDEN

Presented by students who took the National University of Singapore's Communication and New Media Department's Design Fiction course, these 15 interactive exhibits marry environmental topics with futuristic technology.

Some of the exhibits can detect movement when visitors approach, while others require the visitors to engage with them.

They highlight topics such as waste disposal via fungus and insects, plastic pollution and personal haze air-cleaners. When: Nov 18, 3 to 7pm


Movie screenings

Movie screenings will be held at the Eco-Garden on each of the three Saturdays of the festival.

NParks worked with various partners to select family-friendly movie titles. The highlights include:

FRIENDS FOREVER - A PIG'S TALE

This animated feature follows the adventures of Johnny Mouse, Charlie Rooster and Percy the Pig. The animals are enjoying life in a tranquil farm called Mollywoop, but the peace is threatened when Wild Boar and his nasty minions show up unexpectedly.

The programme is organised by Singapore Botanic Gardens and Goethe-Institut Singapore, in conjunction with the German Film Festival 2017. Screened here for the first time, the movie is in German with English subtitles. When: Nov 11, 7.30pm

SNOWTIME!

Also an animated feature, this movie centres on a massive snowball fight organised by children living in a small village.

Luke and Sophie, both 11, are the leaders of the opposing sides. What begins as youthful fun deteriorates into a serious conflict and the contest is brought to an abrupt end when a tragedy takes place.

This programme is organised by Singapore Botanic Gardens and the High Commission of Canada, in conjunction with Canada 150. This is the movie's first free outdoor screening here. When: Nov 18, 7.30pm


Food demonstrations

Demonstrations will be conducted by professionals from the food and beverage industry, in rooms within the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden that are customised for culinary programmes.

The highlights include:

DRINKS AND DESSERTS

Participants will be introduced to important plants, herbs and spices that are associated with drinks such as lemongrass, blue butterfly pea flower and roselle teas.

They will then be led to find out which part of the plant gives the red colour to a roselle tea, for instance, and will also learn about parts of a plant that give both floral and non-floral teas their unique scent and flavour. When: Nov 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24 and 26, 10am to 11am

CULINARY ART AND TREATS

These sessions will focus on teaching participants how to tap nature to create eye-catching and mouth-watering treats.

Mango Lime Jam is an example of a fruit-focused recipe that will be shared by the session's facilitator, who will also showcase the use of cocoa in the making of chocolate fillings for sweet crepes, and the use of herbs to marinate mushrooms for savoury crepes. When: Nov 11, 11am to noon, 2 to 3pm, 4 to 5pm


Hands-on activities

Like the food demonstrations, hands-on activities will be conducted in rooms in the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden.

Some highlights include:

CULINARY ART AND TREATS

Participants get to make chocolate cookies, gingerbread men and banana muffins, among other yummy treats. When: Nov 12, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25 and 26, 11am to noon, 4 to 5pm

FRAGRANT PLANTS

During this craft-making programme, participants get to create their own "fragrant" plant crafts while being introduced to botanical fragrances.

There will also be interactive smell-focused games during each session. These include Match The Smell, where children sniff scents and try to match these to picture cards; and a Scent Tree, where scents are matched to parts of a tree.

This programme is co-organised by the Singapore Botanic Gardens and flavour and fragrance company Givaudan Singapore. When: Nov 11, 18 and 25, 10am to noon

FOOD FOR TOTS CAFE ACTIVITIES

Located at the entrance of the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden, Food For Tots Cafe will be organising its own hands-on educational programmes for little ones.

Activities include a storytelling session and craft activity (Nov 18, 1pm); an Art Jam session (Nov 19, 1pm); a sun catcher-making session (Nov 25, 1pm); and pebble painting (Nov 26, 1pm).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2017, with the headline 'Heed the call of nature'. Print Edition | Subscribe