Singapore may be one of the most expensive cities to live in, but we've rounded up the best free activities to do with your kids on this tropical island. You'll want to bookmark this!
Here in Singapore, there are always exciting and new activities to do with the kids every weekend. Now that Christmas break is coming, there are plenty of holidays camps happening around the island, too. But, if you’ve run out of ideas, or if your wallet’s feeling the pinch, we’ve got great suggestions for you that won’t cost a cent. Most importantly, they’re all free – so you can save your money on getting the perfect Christmas gifts for the kiddos, or saving for the next fancy dinner date without the kids.
Museum hop around the island
One of our favourite activities to do with the kids is to visit the museums in Singapore, especially when they’re free all year round for Singapore residents and permanent residents. If your kids love science, pop round to the Singapore Science Centre during off-peak times to enjoy free entry. Or, head to lesser-known museums – we love the Singapore Discovery Centre in Jurong to learn about all things Singapore-related or the Air Force Museum to keep our plane-loving peeps happy. Be sure to also pay a visit to the Singapore Sports Museum if your young ones are into sports, and check out the Indian Heritage Centre and the Malay Heritage Centre to learn the histories and cultures of these unique Singaporean communities, too!
When: Open year-round, visit each museum’s website for specific opening times.
Hike the trails
No matter your stamina – or your kid’s interests, for that matter – hiking is a super-cool way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Not only is it free, but it’s also good exercise! There are trails that are pram-friendly, ones that are great for beginners and those that are off the beaten path. Plus, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and fresh air: rejuvenating for the soul and a great family bonding activity.
Where: Visit NParks for a complete list and information on all public parks in Singapore.
Visit a functioning fire station
Does your little one dream of being a firefighter one day? Earn some cool mum points and bring them to a real-life fire station open house where they’ll get to learn the different roles in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)! Too cool.
When: Saturdays, 9-11am. Available at these fire stations: Alexandra, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok, Central, Changi, Clementi, Jurong, Kallang, Marina Bay, Paya Lebar, Sengkang, Tampines, Tuas, Woodlands, Yishun.
Cool off at a water park
Free water parks are perfect on a hot summer’s day. In Singapore, that means most days in the year! So beat the heat and let the kiddos take a dip in the cool waters. Splash around at Jurong Lake Gardens‘ Clusia Cove, a three-hectare water play area that simulates waves and currents, or Singapore Sports Hub’s Splash-n-Surf, a whimsical recreational play area with a thrilling pipe slide, fountains, water guns and more. A must-visit? Far East Organization Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay (read our guide to the Gardens here). There’s a dedicated play zone just for toddlers, and two rainforest treehouses with a 130-metre long canopy trail just for the older kids. Don’t forget the sunblock and swimwear!
Where: Clusia Cove, 104 Yuan Ching Rd, Singapore 618665. Open everyday, 5am-11pm; Splash-n-Surf, 1B Stadium Walk, 397628. Open everyday, 8am-10pm; Far East Organisation Children’s Garden, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953. Open Tuesday-Friday from 10am-7pm, 9am-8.30pm on weekends (closed on Mondays).
Have fun at an awesome playground
Kill two birds with one stone: get your retail therapy fix and bring the kids out to a mall playground! The possibilities are endless – these playgrounds exist in almost every mall on the island. But, if you’re looking for the best outdoor playgrounds in Singapore instead, head to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. It’s dedicated to children and built to instil a love for nature in little ones. They’ll also love exploring the grounds and scaling the treehouses… plus they might just pick up some gardening tips, too! And, if you’re feeling nostalgic, bring them to the iconic dragon playground – the last old school tiled playground of its kind. They’ll certainly enjoy climbing the rails on the dragon’s back. Or, head to any of the public parks – like the one in Admiralty (pictured above) – home to the widest and longest slide in Singapore, and diverse wheelchair accessible play equipment for kids of all abilities to enjoy. Check out our piece on inclusive playgrounds while you’re at it, too.
Where: Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, 481 Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 259769. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-7pm (closed on Mondays); Dragon Playground, 28 Lor 6 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310028. Opens 24 hours; Admiralty Park 6A Admiralty Rd, Singapore 732006. Open 24 hours.
Cycle or scoot around the city’s parks
One of the best things about living in Singapore is easy accessibility to the free, public, beautiful parks. And with a large interconnected network of park connectors, why not spend the day scooting or cycling from one park to another? You could even stop for a picnic, fly a kite, head to the skate park to shred, spot some animals or bird-watch! Our favourite spot? Punggol’s Coney Island for some peace and quiet away from the city. The older kids and daredevils can also visit the various mountain bike parks at Bukit Timah, Pulau Ubin or Chestnut Nature Park for some extreme fun. Gnarly, dude. Don’t forget to bring your mozzie repellent, lots of water and dress appropriately for the occasion!
Where: Visit NParks for a complete list and information on all public parks in Singapore.
Gaze at the stars
If you’re looking for free things to do with kids in Singapore with a difference, bring your junior astronomer to the Science Centre Singapore‘s regular stargazing event! Learn about constellations in the northern and southern celestial hemispheres and all things astronomy. Visit the website and check the weather before you go to avoid disappointment.
Where: 15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081. Every Friday except on public holidays, from 7.45pm-10pm.
Listen to music at free concerts
Love the vibes at live concerts, but can’t bear to fork out heftily-priced tickets for the whole fam? Well, you’re in luck – the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) regularly performs free lunchtime concerts at Victoria Concert Hall, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Botanic Gardens and other places around the country. And, unlike enjoying a night in a fancy-schmancy concert hall, you can totally bring your kids and a picnic basket to enjoy the experience together as a family! Another top spot for free music concerts is at The Esplanade – its concourse regularly holds free performances featuring local and overseas artists.
Where: Visit SSO’s website or The Esplanade’s website for detailed information.
See Singapore’s cultural and religious landmarks
One of the many highlights of living in Singapore is its cultural diversity – and we’ve got the landmarks to prove it. Take a stroll around Singapore and hit the temple trail at Little India, starting with one of Singapore’s Hindu oldest (and probably most colourful) temples, the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Move on to Chinatown and visit the architecturally stunning Thian Hock Keng Temple, before heading to the iconic Masjid Sultan in the heart of the Kampong Glam district. Then, pop round to St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore’s oldest Anglican cathedral, and see its gorgeous church grounds and stained glass.
Where: Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, 141 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 218042. Open daily at 5.30am-12.30pm & 4-9.30pm; Thian Hock Keng Temple, 158 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068613. Open daily at 7.30am-5.30pm; Masjid Sultan, 3 Muscat St, Singapore 198833. Open Saturday to Thursday at 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm, and Fridays at 2.30pm-4pm; St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 11 St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178959; Open daily at 9am-6pm.
Who says libraries can’t be fun?
Libraries are chock full of activities for kids to participate in – most ‘hoods have a local library for you and the family to browse books and hang out (plus, free air-conditioning!). Most libraries also run regular reading programs, storytelling sessions and craft activities for kids of all ages to enjoy. Some programs have limited spaces, so check for details via its website before popping down.
Where: Visit your local library to find out more.
All about that farm life
Remember visiting a goat farm on a school excursion? Well, you can reminisce the good ‘ol days and bring your kids to Hay Diaries to learn how a farm operates. They’ll be thrilled to see how goats are milked and you can even buy goat milk home with you, too! Continue your adventure of free things to do with kids in Singapore and head to The Animal Resort where your kids can interact with kampong animals like the giant cassowary, rabbits, guinea pigs and more. Or, head to Jurong Frog Farm to learn more about bullfrogs! Then, drop by Bollywood Veggies to reconnect with nature, and spot different varieties of veggies and wildlife!
Where: Hay Diaries, 3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 4, Singapore 718859. Open daily 9am-4pm (closed on Tuesdays); The Animal Resort, Seletar West Farmway 5, Singapore 79806. Open daily 10am-5pm; Bollywood Veggies, 100 Neo Tiew Rd, Singapore 719026. Open Wednesday to Friday, 8am-5.30pm and Saturday and Sunday, 8am-6.30pm.
Check out Singapore’s ‘hoods!
Singapore may be a small country, but we’ve got plenty of culture-rich neighbourhoods. And, we’ve got our handy guides to help you discover them, too! From Bugis, Joo Chiat and Katong, to Roberston Quay, Chinatown, Punggol and Little India, there’s much to explore and see. Oh, and don’t forget the dioramas and statues at the Chinese mythology park of Haw Par Villa – we suggest visiting this strange oddity during the day with the kids.
Whisk yourselves off to Changi Airport
Going on a well-deserved break or holiday with the family? Even if you’re not, there are loads of free things to do with kids at Changi Airport. Watch planes take off, or play at any one of its free playgrounds in its terminals. The airport also has wide open spaces for kids to run about, and you can’t forget the new little toddler play area at Jewel Changi Airport! Psst, did you know you can watch a movie for free before your flight? Check the schedule here!
Where: Changi Airport, Airport Blvd, Singapore 819666; Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666.