Singapore’s national sports of shopping and eating are great for when you’re an adult just chilling with your homies.
But when you’ve got kids who are demanding that you entertain them, dragging them to a crowded shopping mall is the worst idea, unless you can find an effective way to stop them from running amok or colliding with other shoppers.
Never fear. Here are five cheap family-family activities that you and your kids can enjoy without having to set foot in a shopping mall.
Check out the stuffed animals and dinosaur bones at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
There are two things that never fail with kids aged 12 and under—theme parks and animals. But Universal Studio and the zoo cost a bomb to visit as a family.
Luckily, there is a cheaper alternative in the form of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, which costs $16 for adults and $9 for kids, students, NSFs and senior citizens.
The highlight is most definitely the three dinosaur fossils, but kids will also find the huge collection of taxidermied animals interesting.
Visit the Science Centre
Okay, so you were more of a humanities-type student, and judging by how much tuition your kid needs in math and science, he’s not exactly the next Einstein either.
But a visit to the Science Centre can be fun for both of you nonetheless, because the folks behind this severely underrated attraction have taken pains to ensure exhibits are as interactive and as accessible as possible.
There’s an aquarium at the Marine Alcove section, while kids can try to ride a tricycle with square wheels in the Funfair Maths section. The Water Works section is basically a huge playground where kids can run through fountains and shoot jets of water at various targets.
Oh, it’s also free for Singaporeans and PRs during off-peak hours, and entry during peak hours costs only $6 per adult and $4 per child or senior citizen.
Head to an animal shelter
Your kids have been pestering you to take them to the zoo so they can pet the animals at the Kidzworld.
Instead, take them to an animal shelter, such the SPCA or Animal Lovers League. They’ll get to interact with animals for free, although we can’t guarantee that they won’t spend the next three years pestering you for a dog.
Hit up a pasar malam
So your kid wants to sit on a few kiddy rides, perhaps even a roller coaster?
Hit up a pasar malam instead of Universal Studios. Kids are less picky than you think, and even the cheap games and rides at pasar malams can show them a good time.
More importantly, a few goes on the Top Gun ride and a Ramly burger will cost you a lot less than a trip to USS.
Visit the beach at Sentosa
Trying to avoid Sentosa because it’s a costly tourist trap? Well, you might have forgotten that to a kid, a day at the beach is super fun.
Whether they’re swimming in the polluted waters off Siloso and Tanjong Beaches, building sandcastles or trying to bury their sleeping parents in the sand, you can rest easy knowing that it costs no more than the entrance fee.
If you want to avoid having to buy expensive food, station yourself near the 7-11 outlets or head for one of the fastfood joints. You can also pack your own picnic lunch or stock up on food at Harbourfront Centre or Vivocity before taking the monorail over.
Have you ever tried doing any of the above with your kids? Share your experiences in the comments!