Trail of hands-on fun for kids at free education fair

Children can smell different flowers and herbs as well as make music with wooden "percussion frogs" at SmartKids Asia 2018, which runs until tomorrow at the Singapore Expo.
Children can smell different flowers and herbs as well as make music with wooden "percussion frogs" at SmartKids Asia 2018, which runs until tomorrow at the Singapore Expo.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

It is no jungle, but children are able to experience a whole range of nature's sounds, smells and textures as they make their way across a sensory art trail.

Curated by a Lasalle College of the Arts lecturer and three local artists, the nature-themed trail takes children on a thrilling sensory journey, channelling their inner explorer as they make music with wooden "percussion frogs" and take in the scents of different flowers and herbs.

The more adventurous ones can also challenge their critical thinking skills at a mini logic-driven "escape room".

The trail is one of the many activities at SmartKids Asia 2018, the region's largest educational children's fair, which started yesterday.

Organised by Sphere Exhibits, the annual fair is back in Singapore for its sixth edition and features a gamut of educational and entertainment programmes with a focus on hands-on learning.

Ms Mandy Wong, business director of Sphere Exhibits, said: "There's a lot of talk about how children nowadays are stuck to digital gadgets such as iPads... We hope that through this fair, we can show how things can be brought back to basics, how to get your hands dirty."

Apart from attractions such as bouncy castles and rock climbing, the fair features educational and enrichment booths run by various enrichment centres at the newly introduced Learning Pavilion, where children can take part in activities such as rocket-making and even yoga meditation.

Free trial classes are run daily, subject to availability.

There are also exciting stage performances at Storyland and mascot meet-and-greets for the little ones.

"It's nice to let the children interact and be exposed to some games," said housewife Evelyn Loh, who was at the fair five years ago with her eldest daughter, now 10. She was back yesterday with all her three children, the youngest of whom is three .

She added: "It's a great place to let them try hands-on activities and for the parents to find out about enrichment courses for the younger ones."

SmartKids Asia runs until tomorrow at Singapore Expo, Hall 6. Admission is free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2018, with the headline 'Trail of hands-on fun for kids at free education fair'. Print Edition | Subscribe