I have often taken the girls to Kids at the House events at the Sydney Opera House and was curious whether Singapore had similar kids theatre. After some research, I purchased tickets to Out of the Box at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay – an iconic ‘durian’ building on Marina Bay. The show is part of the theatre’s Playtime series targeted at toddlers and we were joined by a number of groups at the session we attended. Singapore is such a multicultural city and there were kids from a local mosque pre-school, as well as three or four other pre-school groups full of kids from a range of cultural backgrounds- we were the only audience members not there as part of a pre-school excursion, the only tourists and the only caucasions.
The show was centred around imagining the different things that a box could be e.g. a rocket, a car, a washing machine etc. Three actors engaged with the audience to sing songs and get the kids doing actions and dancing. The show was great and lasted about 40 minutes- just perfect for 2-4yo.
After a brief catch-up with a great friend who has lived and worked in Singapore for many years now and who recently had a gorgeous baby boy we decided to head to the top of another iconic Singapore building, the Marina Bay Sands. Many people travel to the Observation Deck of the hotel to see the views across the city and the busy Singapore Harbour, but again, we had local knowledge thanks to our host. The Observation Deck costs S$22 but if you go to KuDeTa lounge on the rooftop you get the same view for nothing…. then spend your S$22 to get a cocktail!
Our tummies were starting to rumble so the next stop was another Singapore icon: the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. Being lunch time, the centre was packed full of people queuing for lunch and there was a real buzz in the air and people hovering for tables. The Haianese Chicken Rice stand seemed to be the most popular with a line snaking around the corner of the centre, but with two small kids we weren’t keen to queue. We found seats outside and while the kids stayed there with their dad, I ‘hunted and gathered’ a range of food items to share. I wanted the kids to experience some local tastes and whilst I thought they would be wide-eyed and blown away by the difference in the culture, they took it in their stride which was actually probably better.
The girls loved exploring Chinatown and were keen to buy a souvenir of their holiday at one of the many market stalls- a pair of children’s chopsticks each! With our holiday coming just after a local festival, the streets were decorated with large orchid and frangipani displays down the streets.
There are also two temples less than a block apart, just on the edge of Chinatown. At Sri Mariamman Temple the kids were intrigued by the Hindu paintings and sculptures, the Indian music and the Hindi religious ceremony – it was great to watch their eyes dart around and then stare for minutes on end and I only wish I could be privy to the thoughts going on in their heads.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum was completely different- full of gold and red with hundreds of individual buddha statuettes lining the walls. Again, the girls were transfixed. They also loved watching all of the people coming to light incense and pray to Buddha. The staff also loved our two little blonde girls and rushed over to coo over them and give them biscuits!
Another very busy day, and another day full of great family memories…and hopefully a little bit of a cultural education. This is still only Day 3 so stay tuned for more blog posts on our Singapore holiday to come.