Say 'hi' to Ai: Children's Season returns with new mascot

Ms Jermaine Chua, 33, snapping a picture of her sons - four-year-old Tate and seven-year-old Ian - as they posed with a standee of Ai on the front lawn of the Malay Heritage Centre last Friday. The mascot created by artist Peter Draw is at the centre
Ms Jermaine Chua, 33, snapping a picture of her sons - four-year-old Tate and seven-year-old Ian - as they posed with a standee of Ai on the front lawn of the Malay Heritage Centre last Friday. The mascot created by artist Peter Draw is at the centre of this year's Children's Season, which offers over 70 family-friendly exhibitions and programmes at more than 20 museums in Singapore.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Children keen to play hide-and-seek can now band together online to find a new lovable friend called Ai.

They can locate hidden clues or treasures and discover a special outfit for Ai - a six-year-old boy who travels the world and shares a strong bond with his grandfather.

The Web and mobile game will also allow users to navigate panoramic photographs of museum spaces.

Called Ai Love Museum: Hide-N-Seek, it is one of many offerings at this year's Children's Season, organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Museum Roundtable. This year, there are over 70 family-friendly exhibitions and programmes on offer at more than 20 museums around the island.

NHB deputy chief executive Alvin Tan said at a media briefing last Friday: "Our goal is to provide some kind of relief and cheer to Singaporeans during this period of Covid-19.

"Parenting during a pandemic is only going to get tougher, so the Roundtable decided to rally together, develop and offer family-friendly programmes so Singaporeans can enjoy a 'Singapoliday'."

Children's Season was first slated to take place between May and June but everything ground to a halt in April when the circuit breaker kicked in. After phase two started, programmes were revised to factor in safe distancing measures.

Some museums used the extra time to collaborate on events. For instance, the Malay Heritage Centre will host two workshops featuring gemstones from the Gem Museum's collection.

It has also linked up with the Indian Heritage Centre and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall to call for children aged 12 and under to create "mini-museums" at home.

At the centre of this year's Children's Season is Ai, a mascot created by local artist Peter Draw, 36.

Mr Draw was roped in after Mr Tan caught sight of a 5m-high inflatable figure of Ai put up for an unrelated event outside Victoria Concert Hall last year. "All good things are always a collaborative effort," said Mr Draw.

Children's Season, which kicked off last Saturday, will run until Jan 3, and 54 out of its 73 events are free.

Registration links for all events can be found on the NHB's website.

Those who wish to use SingapoRediscovers vouchers can check if their preferred museum is among those approved by the Singapore Tourism Board.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2020, with the headline 'Say 'hi' to Ai: Children's Season returns with new mascot'. Print Edition | Subscribe