With a volunteer guide by your side, you’ll significantly boost your chances of spotting the Long-tail Macaque, the Malayan Colugo, the Red Junglefowl, the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, and many more forest inhabitants. Organised by conservationist groups Love MacRitchie and NUS Toddycats, these gentle walks are suitable for children and typically take no more than three hours to complete. Upcoming walks are scheduled for November 20 and December 17; check their website for updates and act fast because places are usually snapped up within two days.
Think Pokemon Go, but with a tangible goal—in Geocaching, you use an app to hunt down a physical “geocache” (usually a bottle containing several items) with the aid of clues and a location tracker. Once you find the geocache, you can open it to retrieve a log, where you record your name for posterity. There are geocaches scattered all over the country; it’s a game you can play wherever you’re at, and there is an official process for creating your own geocaches. This is an activity you can carry out when you’re travelling too. Note: Avid Geocachers have been known to favour the unofficial geocaching apps, some of which are free.
The National Parks Board (NParks) has a series of walking guides designed for schools, but families can certainly put them to good use as well. Resources include trail guides, lesson plans, and worksheets that you can download to enrich your nature outings.
A National Arts Council effort to bring the arts to one’s doorstep, this year’s programme will be held from 10–27 November and features over 40 interactive performances and activities suitable for the entire family. Catch “The Three Belles” as they dance and move in the air on five-metre sway poles, be entertained by “The Enchanted Flute” at selected playgrounds, or step back into the 70s with Chinese opera classics in “Time for Opera.” Visit the website for programme details.
Gather the family for some festival fun with NParks from 19–20 November at the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Programmes include guided nature tours, mass workouts, and arts and gardening bazaars and workshops. The event will culminate with the fourth instalment of the NParks concert series “Rockestra,” featuring Olivia Ong and Shirlyn & The UnXpected and hosted by popular Mediacorp artiste Pornsak. For those who’re unable to make this, look out for more outdoor event updates on the NParks Facebook page. There will be another festival happening on December 10 at Parkland Green (East Coast Park), which will feature mass chalk art activities, live music, and kids’ programmes by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board.
This community group runs regular public stargazing sessions at Bishan Park (next to McDonald’s) and Toa Payoh Library, so that you too can partake in the joys of astronomy even if you don’t own a telescope. These “sidewalk astronomers” are more than willing to share their knowledge with the community. It’s an opportunity to ask questions and encourage your children to do the same. Follow their Facebook page for details on upcoming sessions.
If you’ve had your fill of run-of-the-mill activities, Funzing is the site for you. Their family section lists such activities as Storytelling Yoga, Laughter Therapy, and Climb Like A Monkey. It’s a chance to break out of comfort zones—as a family—and meet new friends too.
Cost: $15 and up
Character Building Through Sports Play
An initiative by soccer coach Jahsh Ruzzman who teaches at the F-17 Academy, this informal sports playgroup uses physical activity to simulate real-world scenarios and build life skills such as focus, personal responsibility, and a willingness to learn.
“Playtime is often overlooked as a rich source of opportunity to reinforce good ethos and values such as confidence, resilience, determination, empathy, and humility,” says Jahsh. “I hope that through guided discovery, each of our participants will learn priceless lessons while making friends and having fun.”
The activities, such as ball games, are designed to challenge participants while fostering teamwork. In the event of inclement weather, sessions will be shifted to an indoor location. Each session is about 1.5 hours long, and current participants are aged 5–10. Venues include Bishan Park 1 and Skyterrace @ Dawson. Those interested in joining for the year-end holidays or forming their own groups at a convenient location can contact Jahsh at Jahsh.F17@gmail.com for more information.