Ah… Holidays are just the greatest, don’t you think? I love holidays; I get to bond with EV and AA and go on adventures.
So far, we’ve been to Kids Amaze at Toa Payoh where the kids played for a solid four hours, while the parents laid back on the bean bags and chilled.
Last Wednesday, while DaddySay was at work, we headed to the National Museum of Singapore for their Children’s Season programme Masak Masak. It’s always been something memorable for the kids, so this year, we just couldn’t miss it.
When the aunt asked EV what she loved most about her day at the museum, EV described pancakes and linguine. Yup, my little food connoisseur loved the food at Food For Thought. Haha.. it’s quite funny, and somewhat ironic, actually. I brought her there to have a fun museum experience, and she tells me that the most memorable is the food. But I know she enjoyed the museum. I just have to look at her happy face, and also her repeated requests for a repeat visit to see the Treasures of the World exhibition and the Singapore History Gallery. Yup, plans are underway for us to visit again, just so she can see those two exhibitions.
Back to our adventures at Masak Masak. Right at the front is the very recognisable huge letter blocks that make up the words Masak Masak. How can we resist taking a photo there, as we did every year?
A nice touch this year is the mini bouncy slide, which is beside the Block Up exhibit, and together, they allowed the kids to run all around and in between blocks that have been stacked up to reflect the museum’s physical structure. Pity that the ground was a little wet from the rain the night before, otherwise, the kids would have played for longer. Also, dark clouds were looming, so we rushed into the shelter of the museum.
To avoid the expected crowd, we fueled up first at Food For Thought. I ordered the Full Works ($22), and the kids ate the sausage and scrambled egg, on top of the pancakes and linguine ($7 and $9 respectively, with a $3 top-up each for a packet of apple juice and a dessert) that they shared. It was a jolly brunch, and though it was quite expensive for four people (including our helper, who ordered the Basic Works ($9), just seeing the kids wolf down their food and leaving clean plates makes it all worthwhile.
On the way to our first stop, we chanced upon the book vending machine by BooksActually. I had read about it on the news, and I just had to try it. AA put in a $10 note into the machine, and with EV’s help, keyed in the correct code for a Sherlock Sam book, viola, the book was automatically retrieved. So cool! Hahaha.. I’m so tempted to try it again the next time we visit. Such a convenient way of buying books. They should have more of this all over the island.
The first stop after brunch was the Let’s Play exhibit just next to the escalator. It features life-sized classic board games like Snakes & Ladders and Ludo. Getting the kids to throw the huge dices and play the games according to the rules weren’t successful; they were both running everywhere, as were the other kids.
As long as parents and grown ups explain to them what the exhibit is about, I think the kids will be able to make the connection and appreciate the exhibit even more. I was most amused by AA trying to carry two huge dices all around; when carrying them, the dices were taller than him!
Le Bestiaire is a collection of abstract art depicting various animals. It’s quite interesting to see EV and AA quickly identifying the animals, using details that they already know about the animals.
However, their attention was quickly distracted by another exhibit on the second level – Funcycling. Here, they saw for themselves how pedaling the wheels of a bicycle creates kinetic energy and power to blow up a balloon, do spin art, turn a barrel, and even operate a fan or blender. It’s a simple and functional introduction to science concepts.
Next to Funcycling is the really cute exhibit Clumsy Dumpty on the Wall. It’s basically a life-size shape sorter puzzle, with sound and light added to it. It’s fun and interactive, and because the shape pieces are designed such that they can easily slip out, it actually takes team work to ensure that they don’t. At first, EV and AA were working on the two puzzles separately. After a while, they tried working together. It’s funny to see EV the big sister trying to direct AA, and AA insisting that he do it his way. But, they managed to overcome their differences, and completed the puzzle together successfully to shouts of ‘yey!’.
There is supposed to be another exhibit Toysaurse which is created with toys. According to the programme, it’s supposed to be up in June 2016. When we visited, we saw a round platform being set up at the basement, so I guess, it’s still under construction.
We strolled into the Modern Colony and Surviving Syonan exhibits, and the kids saw what life was like during colonial times and the war. They also saw a traditional sewing machine with leg pedal and a gramophone with a horn, and I explained to them how they work. Being the true digital natives they are, both EV and AA were attracted by the TV screens showing videos and slides - a good way to engage them and enhance their understanding.
We also visited the exhibit Celebrating Radio: Sounds from the Past. I explained to them that music doesn’t just come from a small phone, that in the past, devices that play music were very huge. They saw what a vinyl record looked like, and how it can be played to play music. They saw how radios in the past were gigantic, and with time, became smaller and smaller, thanks to technology.
They saw a jukebox, though the ones now are digital. They also pretended to be disc jockeys, and while doing so, AA sang ‘Let It Go’. Hahaha…
At the activity area, EV and AA also created their own vintage radio, and made sounds using different instruments and props.
The kids remembered the Play @ National Museum of Singapore, which is on the third floor. EV happily reminisced watching animation under a tent. Sadly, the space is closed for a revamp. When we visited, the whole room was closed and empty. We do hope that this space would come alive very soon.
While this year’s Masak Masak had some fun elements, like the bouncy slide outside and the bicycle display, we felt that the kids were not as engaged as they were last year or the previous years. The fact that EV and AA themselves asked if they could move on to something more exciting shows that the engagement level is limited. Still, the overall experience at the National Museum of Singapore was positive, as EV and AA learnt about history and values like cooperation. We will be back very soon again to see the Treasures of the World exhibit, before it closes on 3 July.
Stay tuned for our next adventure to the Singapore Philatelic Museum, to visit an acclaimed author who is very very old.
Masak Masak 2016
Levels 1 & 2
Now till 31 July
10am – 6pm
Find out more here.
Celebrating Radio: Sounds from the Past
Now till 17 July
10 am – 7pm
There is a 30-minute interactive tour for preschoolers (limited to 15 children) on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (ends 25 June), at 11am and 3pm.
Find out more here.
Modern Colony & Surviving Syonan
10am – 7pm
Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and those aged 6 years and below