Online arts and heritage activities for kids, from interactive jigsaws to storytelling sessions

A tween teaches an adult an art form he enjoys in the video series I Kid You Not on the Esplanade Offstage website. PHOTO: ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY

SINGAPORE - How can parents give their children a dose of arts and culture with museums and institutions closed? Go online of course.

From interactive jigsaw puzzles to educational worksheets, the various arts and heritage institutions in Singapore have put enough content online to occupy children of all ages from pre-school to secondary school.

Here are some of the options.

1. INTERACTIVE JIGSAWS

A puzzle by the Malay Heritage Centre. PHOTO: MALAY HERITAGE CENTRE/FACEBOOK

Three institutions under the National Heritage Board have created interactive jigsaws of their artefacts, inspired by the Museum Of Fine Arts, St Petersburg, Florida, which posted a #GameTime challenge on its Facebook page.

The Malay Heritage Centre's puzzle is a poster of the classic P. Ramlee comedy Pendekar Bujang Lapok while the Indian Heritage Centre's puzzle is a pair of gold earrings. The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall's puzzle is made of an embroidery of flags designed by Dr Sun Yat Sen.

The first stage of the puzzle is fairly simple. Once you solve it, you can choose a more difficult level - which simply means the puzzle gets divided into more and more pieces.

Find the puzzles on the institutions' respective Facebook pages.

2. ACTIVITY GUIDES

Where Did The Colours Go offers a detailed sketch of the museum for a colouring exercise. PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERY OF SINGAPORE

The National Gallery Singapore has a whole series of printable worksheets tied into its collections and buildings. Go to the gallery's website to check it out.

Where Did The Colours Go offers a detailed sketch of the museum for a colouring exercise. For aspiring artists, What's With All The Fruit comes with two fruit still lifes, including one by Georgette Chen, and two dishes for children to fill with their own fruity doodles.

For upper primary level pupils, parents can download the Journey worksheet. It uses two paintings from the UOB Southeast Asia Galleries - La Banca by Félix Resurreción Hidalgo and Rangoon Harbour by U Ba Nyan - to encourage imaginary journeys to other places.

3. STORYTELLING SESSIONS AND INSTANT READS

Voracious readers can instantly access more than 300 popular titles for children and teens in the Libby app. PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD

The National Library Board (NLB) has started weekly storytelling sessions in the four official languages for children aged between four and 10. These pre-recorded sessions, hosted by librarians, volunteers and authors, last about five minutes each and are accessible via the library's Facebook pages.

English language sessions are available daily at 6.30pm while Chinese stories will be streamed on Mondays and Fridays at 7.30pm. Malay language stories will be available on Tuesdays (8pm) and Saturdays (11.30am) while Tamil language stories are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7pm.

Voracious readers will also be happy to learn that they can now instantly access more than 300 popular titles for children and teens in the Libby app under a new Always Available section.

Some publishers have allowed unlimited checkouts on their ebooks for this period, so Harry Potter fans, for example, can instantly read, or listen to, the first book in J. K. Rowling's classic series.

Parents who want to improve their children's reading diet might want to redirect them to the classics page where Jack London's The Call Of The Wild, Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden and L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz are listed.

Evergreen classics on the Libby app. PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD

4. OFFSTAGE FOR FAMILIES

The How Do You Feel Today activity offers adorable dinosaurs in a downloadable template for children to make into magnets. PHOTO: ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY

The Esplanade's Offstage website offers a plethora of free content. Scroll down the list of genres and you will hit the Families section, which is where the kid-friendly content can be found.

Tweens will enjoy the I Kid You Not video series, of which there are six to date, featuring three tweens. Each tween is featured in two videos, one in which they talk about the art forms they practise and love, and another in which they teach clueless adults their practice. The latter videos are a hoot.

For younger children, parents should check out the illustrated folktales which will make for perfect bedtime reading sessions. 40 Trees, 1 Arrow is inspired by the Ramayana and tells the story of how Rama and Laksamana defeated a giant serpent. Story Of Nian is about the monster that inspired Chinese New Year traditions. 40 Trees has quirky faux naif illustrations by Brandon Ong while Ang Wei Tyng's dynamic Nian monster is more cute than scary. Even the adults will appreciate their stylish illustrations.

Even cuter are the DIY family activities for PIP, the Esplanade's mascot for its kids' programme. The How Do You Feel Today activity offers adorable dinosaurs in a downloadable template for children to make into magnets.

5. HERITAGE EXPLORERS PROGRAMME

PHOTO: NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD

The National Heritage Board has extended its Heritage Explorers Programme for the circuit breaker period. So children aged between seven and 12 can try their hand at becoming an exhibition designer or a museum curator. The instructions are in a video uploaded on the NHB's Facebook page.

Submit your projects to nhb_educationprogrammes@nhb.gov.sg and earn badges for your efforts.

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