Fun With Kids: Free balloon art display, Rilakkuma-themed activities, It Starts With One book

Balloon sculptures have transformed Marina Square Shopping Mall’s atrium into a Hawaiian-themed beachscape. PHOTO: MARINA SQUARE

SINGAPORE – Make family time all the more special with these ideas and activities.

Bond: Balloon art display

Marina Square’s popular balloon art display has returned after a three-year pandemic-induced absence.

Previously held annually during the March school holidays, the free event, now in its ninth edition, is on till Sunday.

Majestic balloon sculptures have transformed the mall’s atrium into a Hawaiian-themed beachscape. Step into a 13m-tall “pineapple house”, take wefies with the “tikis” and catch “waves” that go up to 3m.

These are the creative works of 46 artists from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, China and Spain. The balloons are made from 100 per cent natural latex, which is biodegradable.

Seize the chance to learn how to sculpt a balloon sea creature on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. Each 1½-hour workshop costs $20 for a parent and a child. Sign up at the mall’s customer service counter.

Taking centre stage at the event is a 13m-tall “pineapple house”, which you can enter. PHOTO: MARINA SQUARE

You can also do your part for charity by buying adorable balloon sculptures. Part of the sale proceeds will be donated to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which supports students from low-income families.

Find out more at

Read: It Starts With One picture book

It Starts With One, a charming story about kindness and friendship, cleverly introduces the old-school game of zero-point to young readers. PHOTO: MARSHALL CAVENDISH INTERNATIONAL

New to the neighbourhood, Leyla is feeling lonely. Little does she expect to help a girl at the playground and become friends with her by making a skipping rope out of rubber bands.

Local author Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar’s eighth picture book, It Starts With One, is a charming story about kindness and friendship. It cleverly introduces the old-school game of zero-point to young readers as well.

Nur and illustrator Irma Malik have two more picture books, also themed after traditional recreations, due to be released later in 2023.

Fly High centres on a child who learns to make kites with grandpa, while Spin is about playing with spinning tops.

“Games bring people together to have fun and hopefully get to know one another,” says Nur.

Author Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar and illustrator Irma Malik have multiracial characters in their book, It Starts With One. PHOTO: MARSHALL CAVENDISH INTERNATIONAL

She and Irma made a conscious decision to have multiracial characters in their book.

“I hope children are thrilled to see someone who looks like them or comes from a community like theirs in my books,” Nur says. “They may also gain from reading about someone who does not look like them but experience similar situations.”

It Starts With One ($12.95 before GST) is available at leading bookstores. Nur is holding a storytelling session at Times Bookstore Waterway Point on Sunday at 3pm.

Play: Rilakkuma-themed carnival

Go on Rilakkuma-themed carnival rides and pose at Insta-worthy photo spots at Changi Airport Terminal 3. PHOTO: CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP

Changi Airport Terminal 3 is adding cheer to the March school holidays with a Rilakkuma-themed carnival.

Go on old-school rides, such as swing chairs, spinning tea cups and a ferris wheel – set amid backdrops featuring the Japanese bear and other characters.

The carnival is open daily till Sunday. Thereafter, it runs only on Fridays, weekends and public holidays till May 1.

You can also buy exclusive Rilakkuma merchandise, such as a reversible bucket hat for your child.

Find out more at

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