We’re one of those families who don’t like to clutter our weekends with back-to-back enrichment classes for the kids because we reckon with our full-time working arrangement and having the kids at school during the weekdays, the weekends should be reserved for family fun!
So 2 weekends ago, when we found ourselves in an ironic situation of not knowing where to go or what to do – we basically had no plans – I proposed checking out the National Gallery Singapore on a whim!
“The National…WHAT?”, the husband broke out of his monotone and exclaimed. No, he wasn’t excited, he thought it was a joke! And before I could clarify myself, he stressed “You’re suggesting taking the boys to some museum thing and you think it will be fun? Where is this place anyway?”
Ahh-hah! And there, you just witness my husband making an ass of himself by ASSUMING.
“It’ll be fun!!! It’s one of our clients, and I’ve been told that it’s interesting!” I promised, and off we went.
But first, a photo outside these gorgeous steps of the Former Supreme Court! As you can tell, the boys weren’t interested in my priorities to give me that one proper shot. I’d have to content with this one…
I’ve always marveled at the rich history & architecture of City Hall and Former Supreme Court Buildings, so you can imagine my excitement when I finally went behind its doors for the first time.
“Welcome to National Gallery Singapore”, a middle-aged lady greeted us with a warm smile.
“Is this your first time here?” she went on.
“Yes it is. I understand there’s a huge play area for kids.”, I enquired while the husband took quick glances around the building, still wearing his skeptical expression (that it wasn’t going to be suitable for the kids).
“You must be referring to the Keppel Centre for Art, just go straight this way, behind that door.”, she pointed
“I understand that it’s FREE admission right?”, I confirmed, with raised eyebrows. I mean, that was also partly why I didn’t mind coming by with the troop…
“Yes it is, you can register and get your admission tickets at the Keppel Centre for Art as well”, she replied, before sending us on our way.
Little did I expect so much thought to go into Art, Fun and Imaginative play for the little ones that it started from the corridor? We took barely 20 steps after saying bye to the middle-aged lady and there we were, greeted by a large scale, colourful puzzle board out of nowhere. The boys were so curious to find out what it did that they DID NOT even bother asking (us) if they could stop and play, and just headed straight for it.
Meant to develop curiousity, imagination and tactile sensitibilities, the boys were intrigued by the colourful chips moving within the colourful maze. I absolutely mean it when I say, they could stay there to play with the puzzle board for a very long time. We were stuck at the Art Corrridor for a good 45 minutes before I finally decided to grab the littlest and go, because there was so much more that I wanted to explore before closing time!
Not leaving the Art Corridor without a group shot of course!
Using the National Museum of Singapore’s standard as a benchmark when it comes to dressing up PLAY areas for the kids, so lo & behold, I did not expect to be blown away by NGS with the visual explosion of colours at the Art Playscape.
Again, the boys paid no heed to my repeated instructions to “wait in line with mummy to get tickets!” and decided to run in and explore on their own!
Filled with whimsical visuals of an Enchanted Tree House, Magical forests and the most adorable creatures, I felt like I was in storyland. I couldn’t resist kissing bears, trying to get my kids down for a make-believe picnic (to which I failed miserably because they just wanted to hang in the treehouse all day) and skipping around to feast my eyes to much delight. If only I could throw a birthday party in here, I definitely would!
It was Fathers’ Day weekend when we visited, and so in one of the many interesting project rooms was an activity for the kids to make their very own Father’s Day card through ink transfer. I absolutely adored how the kids learnt how ink could be transferred on through their hands-on experience of making the card!
And then it was off to lots of fun and colourful building using cardboxes, Magna Tiles and Magnets! We must have spent another hour here building all sorts of configurations with the boys. Ollie got so excited at one point <he must have had an Eureka moment> that he went about gathering empty baskets and stacking them before climbing in to play with ’em Magnets. Talk about immersive learning!
I very much wanted to check out the various exhibits but some of them were too dark and quiet that Ollie started screaming to get out (I was also grateful to the staff for checking in on us to see if we needed anything instead of throwing us judgemental stares). So instead, we went to the highest floor and starting making our way down via steps and glass slopes – which excited the kids till no end – as I continued admiring the building’s architecture from various heights and angles. Win-win.
And then I came across one of my favourite cafes, Plain Vanilla Bakery on the ground floor! Since there were a few of us, I had to take the opportunity to indulge the boys and mum in some desserts which was such a hit that all of us “fought” to quickly take more bites before it was gone!
Definitely one of the better days spent together checking out something new together. We’ll definitely be back at National Gallery Singapore, me at least, to go for a few guided tours and exhibits that I didn’t get to complete during our first visit, and of course have more cake! 🙂