Saving on cost doesn't mean saving on fun when it comes to these affordable play centres, activities and playgroups!
Kids are, it’s fair to say, rather expensive. Feeding them, schooling them, keeping them in shoes that fit: it all adds up to a tidy sum. Then on top of the ever-mounting child-related expenses, the little darlings demand to be entertained too! No matter that they have a bedroom full of cool stuff from some of the best toy stores in Singapore, or that we’ve bought enough books to create a library of our own. Proclamations of boredom are incessant (and more than a little irritating). As such, we’ve been on the lookout for great activities that are not going to punch a whopping great hole in our wallets, and we’ve been busy finding, trying and testing the fab play centres and awesome drop-in classes that cost less than $25 per child. Just in time for the upcoming end-of-year holidays. You’re welcome.
Mucky Pups: $25 per child (drop in)
If your small bundle of energy is a fan of getting a little bit grubby and a whole lot creative, then you’d be barking mad to miss out on Mucky Pups. Run by a mum who knows her messy stuff (she has two boys of her own), this is a 45-minute parent participation group that involves singing, dancing, games, bubbles and, of course, art: a.k.a. mess! We love that this is a flexible class to suit busy lives: the first session is free and after that you only pay if you attend. Plus, you don’t have to tidy up once the messy mayhem has finished! For kids aged one to three years.
Mucky Pups, various condo locations, p. 9002 3568; www.facebook.com/muckypupstoddlers
Bouncing Beans Playgroup: $10 per child (reservation required)
Based at Nexus International School, this is an independent playgroup for tots aged zero to five years. Mums and dads get to hang out and mingle with new friends while the small folk play happily and safely in the informal educational, fun and sensory learning spaces (think Play Doh galore with role play stations and art ‘n’ craft areas). So if you have a little bean who would love to play with new pals, then bounce along to Nexus on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday – but don’t forget to RSVP first on their meetup page: it’s popular and spaces are limited!
Bouncing Beans Playgroup, Nexus International School, 201 Ulu Pandan Road, Singapore 596468, www.meetup.com
The City: $18 for under two’s, $22 for two and above per session (drop in)
Imagination is one of the best ways of learning and The City has it in abundance! Your mini humans will love the chance to sample life as a grown-up by trying on some cool professions for size. Suitable for kids aged two and up.
The City, i12 Katong, 112 East Coast road #03-31; www.thecity.com.sg
Kaboodle Kids: $15-$20 per child (drop in)
Imagination is key at Kaboodle where its oversized blue foam blocks, noodles and balls are shipped in from New York and designed to inspire kids to build the castle / race car / fort of their dreams. And they’re positively encouraged to enjoy smashing it all down, before starting afresh. It’s fun learning at its best!
Kaboodle Kids, 88 East Coast Road, #02-05 Katong Square, Singapore 423371; www.kaboodlekids.com.sg
The Petite Park: $18 per child (drop in)
If you have smaller kids (under seven years), small but nicely decked out The Petite Park is a good option for burning a couple of hours. There are two distinct play spaces on offer. The active zone has pastel padded equipment including a double slide, cage with colourful balloons, and swinging balls. The pretend zone has all the gear to ignite big imaginations including a train track, natural and eco-friendly wooden toys, a mini-kitchen, and a fruit market.
Kallang Wave Mall, 1 Stadium Place, #01-06/07 Singapore 397628; www.petitepark.com.sg
Kidmando: $25 per child (reservation required)
Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) are the name of the game for active kids aged one to six years at the daily Kidmando sessions around Singapore. Set up by a mum who totally gets that our small humans need to move a LOT to get tired out, Kidmando challenges kids to fun-packed games and agility courses which encourage teamwork, movement and above all, fun!
Kidmando, various locations; www.kidmando.com
KidsSTOP at the Singapore Science Centre: $10-$23 per child (drop in)
For an indoor play zone that offers arguably the best edutainment experience for kids in Singapore, head to KidsSTOP @ the Singapore Science Centre. It’s like a Willy Wonka’s factory filled with loads of fun science based exhibits to keep your kiddos amused for ages. The dino-dig pit is simply irresistible for younger kids while older adventurers will love scaling to eye-watering heights on the climbing equipment. Tickets start at $2 for grownups and $5 for children (Singaporean and PR only) or from $10 and $20 for everyone else.
KidsSTOP, 21 Jurong Town Hall Rd, Singapore 609433; www.kidsstop.edu.sg
Clip ‘n’ Climb: $18-$25 per child (drop in)
If your kids have a healthy disregard for heights – the New Zealand rock climbing theme park Clip ‘n’ Climb is just the ticket. Expect to be wowed by 19 themed climbing walls suitable for kids weighing over 10kg (no toddlers). Nail the safety briefing, harness instruction and demo and your intrepid adventurers will have the rest of their 90 minute session to use their logic and puzzle solving skills to negotiate the colourful walls. Our kid-critics rave about The Twister: a colourful puzzle wall that looks like an abstract staircase, The Ladder and The Tetris. Older, stronger kids will master the epic challenges of the Triffid and Dry Ice walls by session end. Check out our review of Clip ‘n’ Climb for all the gritty details.
HomeTeamNS Tampines, 51 Tampines Ave 4, #03-03 Tampines Hub Singapore 529684; www.hometeamns.sg
Dancing Kids: $10 per child (registration advised)
With two parent participation classes to pick from, and based at condos around the East Coast, Dancing Kids knows a thing or tutu about having fun through dance. Its Music and Movement class is aimed at littlies age six months to three years old and involves songs, games, musical instruments and of course that all-important parachute at the end of the session – mums and dads get to join in too! But if you have a budding ballet dancer in the family then why not join a Mummy and Me ballet class? Sessions will include mime, coordination exercises, songs and props, and some high-energy fun!
Dancing Kids, various condo locations, p. 9028 9485; www.facebook.com/dancingkidssg
HomeTeamNS T-Play: $2-$20 per child (drop in)
Want the kids to learn something as they zip around ball pits, trampolines, transparent climbing walls and slides? We’ve got our sights set on T-Play, an augmented transportation-themed playground at HomeTeamNS. From airport check-in counters to heli landing pads, the kiddos will emerge absolute experts in all things transportation. Chuck in a nursery area with plenty of soft play equipment for the smaller tots and you’ve got yourself a winner. Entry fees range from as low as $2 to $20 depending on age, visiting hours and membership tier, so pick an off-peak time to visit for tons of fun at a great price!
HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, 2 Bukit Batok West Ave 7, Singapore 659003; www.hometeamns.sg/t-play
Playeum, The Children’s Centre for Creativity: $22 per child (drop in)
This incredibly creative playscape in Gillman Barracks is the sort of wholesome place that you feel good about taking your kids to. Read our full review of Playeum’s current exhibit, Going Play-Ces: A Wanderful Exploration of New Lands and you’ll see how it inspires kids to create and learn through storytelling, tinkering and good ol’ fashioned fun. Our own 10-year-old proclaims it, “The best making space in all of Singapore.” High praise indeed.
Blk 47 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks #01-23, Singapore 109444; www.playeum.com
Jiggle Wigs $15 per child (reservation advised)
If your little one is a bit of a mover ‘n’ groover then this drop-in, parent participation class is fab for you both. Jiggle Wigs is a music and movement class aimed at babies and toddlers along with their parents. Mums, you also get to wave the scarves, shimmy with the shakers and blow the bubbles too, so jiggle your way to its Facebook page to check out timings and locations to suit. For kids seven months to three years old.
Jiggle Wigs, various condo locations, p. 8607 5610; www.facebook.com/jiggle.wigs