Transformers camp, parkour, soccer golf: 10 things to keep your kids busy and happy during the holidays

Go on a Christmas adventure with Junior Claus or a musical journey with Hi-5 (above). -- PHOTO: HI-5 OPERATIONS
Go on a Christmas adventure with Junior Claus or a musical journey with Hi-5 (above). -- PHOTO: HI-5 OPERATIONS

In a week’s time, school-going kids will ditch their books and look forward to nearly seven weeks of holidays. Life!Weekend picks 10 activities to keep them busy and happy

GET CLOSE TO NATURE

1 Nature Through The Lens

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Expose your child to nature's beauty with the help of photography.

In collaboration with the Nature Photographic Society of Singapore, parent-and-child pairs will learn basic skills and techniques in nature photography during a half-day workshop organised by the National Parks Board at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Who knows, this experience may just encourage your child to ditch the gadgets and head outdoors more often.

Where: Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

When: Dec 6, 9am to 1pm

Admission: $120 for each parent-child (aged 10 to 13) pair

Info: Each pair should come equipped with at least one digital camera or digital SLR camera. No mobile phone cameras allowed. Registration closes on Dec 1. Call 6465-0196/ 6471-9961 or go to goo.gl/ltXK8O

2 Garden Troopers!

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Kids who fancy plants or gardening can have a shot at being a junior horticulturist during this two-day programme at Gardens by the Bay.

They can go behind the scenes and discover what a day in the life of a horticulturist at the gardens is like. The children will also get their hands dirty and learn about plant care and propagation.

At the end of the programme, the children will build and take home their own air plant garden.

Where: Bay South Garden, Gardens by the Bay

When: Nov 24, 9am to 6pm; Nov 25, 9am to 5pm; registration begins at 8.30am

Admission: $150 a child (aged nine to 12)

Info: Register via www.gardensbythebay.com.sg by Wednesday or call 6420-68438


LEARN WITH TOYS

3 Transformers camp

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Young fans of the hit toy franchise Transformers are in for a treat.

Not only will they get to see 11 life-sized models of its popular characters up close, but they will also get to sleep among the shape-shifting robots in a Transformers camp at the Science Centre Singapore.

They will learn the basics of stop motion and design their own Transformers animation, watch a Transformers film and get an exclusive tour of the ongoing Transformers 30th Anniversary Exhibition after closing hours.

Adult fans, don't you wish you were a child again?

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

When: Nov 28 and 29 and Dec 12 and 13, 3 to 2pm the next day (meals included)

Admission: $350 a child (aged nine to 12)

Info: Call 6425-2764 or go to www.science.edu.sg/family

4 Build Angry Birds and Superheroes with Lego bricks

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Instead of watching Spiderman and Ironman cartoons or tapping away at a game of Angry Birds at home, young ones can create their own versions of these cartoon characters.

At least 10 themed camps are available at Bricks 4 Kidz, where kids will learn to construct their own version of their favourite characters using Lego bricks.

In the Angry Birdies/Bad Piglets camp, children can launch their creations on catapults and use slingshots to target the bad piggies, like in the mobile-phone game.

In the Superheroes Comic Creator camp, budding artists can hone their skills by creating various scenes using Lego bricks, snap photos of their works and piece these together to create their own comic book using a computer program.

Participants will not get to take their Lego creations home, though.

Where: Bricks 4 Kidz - two outlets at 01-10 Valley Point Shopping Centre, 491 River Valley Road, and 04-11 The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road

When: At the Valley Point outlet - Nov 17 to 20 and Dec 1 to 4 for Angry Birdies/Bad Piglets camp, Nov 24 to 27 and Dec 8 to 11 for Superheroes Comic Creator camp, either 9am to 12pm or 12.30 to 3.30pm.

At The Grandstand outlet - Nov 17 to 19 and Dec 1 to 3 for Superheroes Comic Creator camp, either 9.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30 to 4.30pm

Admission: $380 a child (aged five to 12) for Angry Birdies/Bad Piglets camp and $480 a child (aged five to 12) for Superheroes Comic Creator camp

Info: Call 6733-4123/6466-9422 or go to www.bricks4kidz.com.sg 


MAKE SOMETHING

5 Mailbox workshop

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To the iGeneration born in the digital age, the mailbox is often more an object of curiosity than necessity.

They now have a chance to peek inside postboxes and find out more about the process of mail delivery, from the moment a letter is posted till it is received.

Participants can also paint and decorate their own tin mailboxes - mementos that may prove priceless if technology renders snail mail obsolete.

Where: Singapore Philatelic Museum, 23B Coleman Street

When: Nov 25 and Dec 9, 10am to 12pm

Admission: $25 a child (aged seven to 12)

Info: Call 6513-7347 or e-mail Lily_Samuel@ nhb.gov.sg

6 Build a gingerbread house

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This Christmas, dazzle friends and relatives with a 30cm-tall gingerbread house created by you and your little masterchef.

Baking school Creative Culinaire has designed a class dedicated to building a gingerbread house, complete with intricate details such as glass windows, a fenced garden and snow.

Leave the fun bits, such as making the decorative Christmas tree and snowman, to your little helper.

Warning: The end result might look too good to be eaten.

Where: Creative Culinaire, 01-03 Eng Hoon Mansions, 17 Eng Hoon Street

When: Dec 24, 1 to 6pm

Admission: $140 for each parent-child (aged five to 12) pair

Info: Call 9450-1732 or go to lessonsgowhere.com.sg 


WATCH A SHOW

7 Hi-5 House Hits 2014

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Up for a party? Beloved children's musical group Hi-5 is returning to Singapore with a new show next month to mark its 15th anniversary.

Expect to boogie and sing along to all-time Hi-5 hits such as L.O.V.E and Ready Or Not, as well as new catchy tunes.

Kids can also play party games and learn dance moves and lines to the songs from the cast members, whose puppet friends Chats and Jup Jup will also pop by.

Where: The Star Performing Arts Centre, 1 Vista Exchange Green

When: Dec 5 and 6, 11am, 3 and 7pm

Admission: $45, $65, $95, $105 (excludes Sistic booking fee)

Info: Call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg

8 Junior Claus

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Christmas might be more than a month away but it is never too early to get into the holiday spirit.

Singapore Repertory Theatre's The Little Company presents Junior Claus, a musical that will transport the audience to Santa's workshop.

Join Santa's son Junior and his friends Pengy the penguin and Chipper the elf to prevent Grumpo the greedy elf from ruining Christmas.

Children aged four to six can also take part in a four-day workshop themed around the musical with art-and-craft and drama activities. They will meet Junior Claus' cast, get a backstage tour of the theatre and put on their own version of Junior Claus at the end of the workshop.

Where: DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Road

When: Till Dec 14, 10am (weekday); 11am and 2.30pm (weekend). The workshop is from Nov 17 to 21 and Nov 24 to 28, 10am to 12.30pm

Admission: $32 or $35 a person on weekdays, $42 or $45 a person on weekends, $119 to $165 for a family package of four tickets. The workshop costs $388 a child (includes a ticket to the musical)

Info: Call 6733-8166 or go to www.srt.com.sg 


PICK UP A NEW SPORT

9 Parkour

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Scaling walls and jumping between buildings are no longer reserved for stunt specialists, or even adults for that matter.

Extreme sport parkour is catching on around the world and children are joining in the fun too.

Mr Derrick Siu, founder of Superfly Monkey Dragons, a parkour academy here, says: "Everyone has done parkour without realising it. When you are a kid, there is a sense of wanting to explore your environment and test your limits such as jumping from a flight of stairs.

"Parkour is a great way to learn about your body, your abilities and your limits."

Kids will pick up the basics, including climbing walls and trees, balancing on narrow objects and jumping from one platform to another.

Those as young as four are welcome to try the classes, though parents of kids aged six and below are encouraged to join the class too.

There will be one instructor for a class of between eight and 12 kids.

Where: Somerset Skate Park or the outdoor area at exit B of Dhoby Ghaut MRT station

When: 3.30 to 4.30pm on Tuesdays and 5 to 6pm on Wednesdays

Admission: $10 for a one-hour trial; $200 for a 10-hour pass; $100 to $150 a month for an unlimited number of classes

Info: Call 8511-5510 or go to www.SuperflyMonkeyDragons.com

10 Soccer Golf

Why play two sports separately when you can combine them? Enter soccer golf, a game that started in northern Europe and was brought here by The Wow Experience, which runs various sports activities.

A combination of soccer, golf and miniature golf, the game is played in a field with 18 holes made bigger than usual to fit a soccer ball. A player has to kick the ball through obstacles, ditches and mounts and into all 18 holes with the least number of shots.

There is no time limit to a game, just like in golf.

Children as young as four can play the sport, although those aged four to six must be accompanied by adults.

The game trains children in precision and to focus even as they have a ball of a time.

Where: 900 Punggol Road (end) - Track 24

When: 3 to 7pm (weekday), 10am to 7pm (weekend and public holiday), last entry at 6pm

Admission: $35 a person

Info: Call 6779-1031 to make a booking or go to soccergolf.sg

gurveenk@sph.com.sg