Kit to help children explore the outdoors

Mrs Shamala Ganessaraj watching as her six-year-old daughter Aarya formed patterns with pebbles, leaves and twigs - items collected from outdoors - at Fort Canning Park yesterday.
Mrs Shamala Ganessaraj watching as her six-year-old daughter Aarya formed patterns with pebbles, leaves and twigs - items collected from outdoors - at Fort Canning Park yesterday.ST PHOTO: ZHANG XUAN

A resource kit, targeted at parents to encourage their pre-schoolers to pick up new skills while exploring the great outdoors, was launched yesterday.

Parents, using the activity cards provided in the kit, can guide their children into creating their own hanging mobiles using leaves of different sizes and patterns.

They can also teach their children how to identify garden spices, with one of the guides provided.

Called Creative Conversations: The Scent Of Spices (Parents' Edition), the kit also includes a map pinpointing locations, such as the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Marina Barrage and Geylang Serai, as places that parents can take their children to for these activities.

The kit was developed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) in partnership with the National Library Board, National Museum of Singapore and National Parks Board.

It was launched by Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sam Tan at Fort Canning Park.

ECDA said the activities in the kit are intended to encourage the development of a wide range of skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving. A separate booklet within the kit also lists books that parents can borrow from the library to supplement their outdoor learning adventures.

More than 3,800 kits will be distributed to pre-schools, said ECDA. Parents can also download the kit online at go.gov.sg/thescentofspices

Among those who tried out the kit at the launch event was six-year-old Aarya Ganessaraj, a Kindergarten 2 pupil.

 

With encouragement from her mother Shamala Ganessaraj, 40, Aarya was able to identify spices such as cumin seeds and cardamom pods.

Mrs Shamala, an editor, said that the kit is a good starting point for parents who want to teach their children new skills but do not know how or where to start.

ECDA said an extended version of the kit - to cover outdoor learning opportunities in community spaces such as void decks, wet markets and hawker centres - will be rolled out in December.

In his speech, Mr Tan, citing benefits such as better physical and mental well-being, said outdoor learning is critical to holistic early childhood development.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 14, 2019, with the headline 'Kit to help children explore the outdoors'. Print Edition | Subscribe