The March holidays are upon us, which means that every parent is going to have the daunting task of keeping their kids entertained 24/7.
For those who aren’t heartless enough to force their kids to fill up their holiday calendar with extra tuition sessions, don’t worry—there are other ways to keep the small people in your home occupied than forking out the cash for a Nintendo Switch, or baiting them with your iPad.
Here are five cheap ways to entertain your kids during the March school holidays that don’t involve screens.
Kids adore treasure hunts, and geocaching lets you send yours on a treasure hunt no matter where in Singapore you are. You get a chance to explore Singapore with your kids at random and for free, while hunting for a cache left behind by another player.
It’s basically Pokemon GO, but with actual items to find.
There are caches hidden all over the island, in every single district. All you have to do is download the Geocaching app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, create an account, input your address and check out the list of all the caches in your area.
Use Google Earth or some other GPS device to find the location of the cache, and then leave your house and go find it. You often have to solve a riddle or decipher a clue in order to find a cache.
Adults often look upon cooking as a time-consuming, troublesome household chore that has to be done to keep the family alive.
The irony is that for kids, cooking is fun. So make use of your little kitchen helpers and get them involved in preparing the family’s meals. Younger kids can participate in tasks like beating eggs and peeling tau gey, while older kids might be able to step up to the frying pan or wok, with your supervision of course. As an added bonus, your kids will grow up with an important life skill.
Play board games
Trying to play games with the kids is tough for the modern parent, especially those who can’t seem to get the hang of the controls in a game of Splatoon, and keep coming in last in Mario Kart. Hmph.
But whatever happened to board games, where people sat around a table facing each other instead of a screen?
If you’d love taking a trip down memory’s lane, there is a kiosk outside Jurong Point’s NTUC Extra that sells old school games like Snakes and Ladders, Donkey, pick up sticks, five stones, paper balls, spinning tops and more at pretty affordable prices (ranges around $1 to $5). Otherwise, get your old school Monopoly set out from your parents’ place to start another intra-familial Cold War. Too boring? Turn to newer Euro games like Codenames or Exploding Kittens, which are sophisticated enough for even the most jaded adults.
But what if your kids aren’t quite old enough to grasp such games? Turn to kid-friendly games like Catan Junior or Jungle Speed.
Nobody wants to raise spoilt, entitled brats. Well, I haven’t met a family that volunteered together whose kids were spoilt.
Volunteering as a family has the benefit of providing your kids with a free and meaningful way to spend their holidays, while cultivating empathy at the same time. And kiasu parents might be happy to know that they can also rack up some CIP points while they’re at it.
Whether your kids are helping to give out meals to the poor with the SPCA, Soup Kitchen Project, or grab a pair of BBQ tongs, plastic bag, and get your kids to clean up trash on the beach. They would gain new perspectives and learn that the world doesn’t only exist in an iPad.
Visit a playground
What Singapore lacks in mountains and rivers, it makes up for in playgrounds. Everywhere you turn, there are multiple playgrounds in every residential estate.
But if you want to give the kids a real treat, take them to some of the island’s biggest and best playgrounds.
The Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay is more of a theme park than a mere playground, with a large water play section that will make you wish you were small enough to jump in, too, especially in this weather. Marine Cove at East Coast Park features another larger-than-life playground measuring 3,500 square metres.
But what if you, as a parent, want to get some shopping done at the same time? Then head to Vivo City, which has an impressive Sky Park on level 3, with not just a playground but also tiny boats you can rent for babies and small children to float around in.
Or, there’s the Kallang Wave Mall water playground at the top floor called Splash-N-Surf. It has colourful slides and even a lazy river, and best of all, it’s free!
What do you plan to do with your kids over the holidays? Tell us in the comments!