In this round of our review series, we explore Duxton Playground, a safe space where the young – and the young at heart – can unleash their creativity, create beautiful masterpieces, and generally have fun.
As you might’ve guessed, we consider Dempsey Hill one of the best places in Singapore for a full day out with the fam. There are so many things to do at this lush tropical oasis, from a family club and an ice cream museum to the multitude of eateries. And while there are plenty of places that cater to the kids, one place that we’re enamoured with is Duxton Playground.
What is Duxton Playground?
This cosy kid’s space, a collaboration between Monument Lifestyle and Duxton Kids, is where patrons can “learn to dream”. Here is where the young and young at heart get to unleash their creativity through art classes and art jams. There are no hard and fast rules here – you can colour outside the lines, make mistakes, and play to your hearts’ content.
Iris Sangalang, the co-founder of Duxton Playground, explains more about why she started the space: “I have two daughters. They go to a preschool that’s extremely arts-focused. Art makes them feel so creative and confident and gives them a way in which to express themselves in a different outlet that it was something we were really excited about.”
“What solidified the space was that we brought on the most amazing art teacher and assistant teachers. They make all the children feel welcome and loved as soon as they enter the space.”
Now you may be wondering: why is it called Duxton Playground, but the space is located in Dempsey? “We picked Dempsey because it’s a beautiful and tranquil setting that allows for children’s imaginations to run wild. It’s also a beautiful community so we were lucky to stumble upon the space,” Iris shares.
How to get to Duxton Playground
Duxton Playground resides at 73 Loewen Road. The studio may be obscured, but it’s not hard to find. Hint: Keep your nose out for the scent of chocolates! That’s Anjali Chocolate, AKA Duxton Playground’s neighbour.
If you’re going by public transport, drop off at the bus stop after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From there, it’s about a 10-minute walk up via Harding Road. If you’re heading there by private hire or taxi, input Invictus International School in the destination. Upon reaching, go behind the school, and you’ll spot the studio.
What can you do at Duxton Playground?
It’s a cosy little space, but there are plenty of things that you can do here…
1. It’s a birthday venue!
Looking for a place to celebrate the little one’s birthday? Duxton Playground should be at the top of your list! It offers birthday packages you can customise to suit the celebrant’s favourite theme. There’s also catering, which includes cake and party meals. Psst, even adults are welcome to celebrate their birthdays here! Besides birthdays, Duxton Playground is open to hosting corporate events too.
2. It’s a retail space!
A section of the studio stocks Duxton Kids, the clothing line by Monument Lifestyle. Browse through the available collection and get a feel of the soft, breathable fabrics. You can get books that inspire kids to dream big, as well as soft toys and candles. Want to see more? Pop over to Monument Lifestyle’s flagship store at Tiong Bahru or its Tanjong Pagar outlet. You’ll be able to peruse the whole catalogue there. P.S. Cute Duxton Playground merch is available here too!
3. It’s an art jamming studio!
Per its mission statement, Duxton Playground aims to empower kids with creativity through art classes and excellent camps. The littles can get their hands dirty on sensory play, hand-building pottery, and painting. These activities are not just for the little people! Adults can participate in pottery making, mug painting, and marble pour art canvas. (I did the marble pour – more on that later!)
I ask Iris her recommended activity to do at Duxton Playground, and she picks pottery without any hesitation. “It’s one of the only places in Singapore where kiddos that young (starting at two) can experience pottery and a pottery wheel and get skilled so early.”
4. It’s a cafe!
While the kiddos are busy with the workshops and storytelling seshs, parents can take a breather with coffee and bagels. The New York-style bagels are dense and have a good bite to them. You can eat the bagel as is or with spreads. If you’re going for the latter, get the strawberry jam – that’s my favourite! Get a cup of pour-over coffee to go with the bagel.
What we got up to at Duxton Playground
After a (very brief) tour, I was led to the centre of the space, where art materials were waiting for me: a green basin, white plastic cups, and ice cream sticks. Krystle happily informed me that I had a choice between pottery and marble pour art canvas. I quickly picked the latter as I didn’t want to make a mess! I was instructed to pick out five colours for my activity.
While there aren’t a lot of colour choices to choose from, I still took some time before picking the colours for my art canvas. I brought my selections to Krystle, who then told me to pour them into the cups. She added the pouring medium into the cups and elucidated on this step. We stirred the mixtures using the ice cream sticks. Next was the most challenging step – pouring the paint over the canvas. Why challenging? Because… I’m nervous about how it’d turn out.
I was proven wrong – there was nothing to be nervous about. The final product turned out great! They say to “trust the process”, and I concur. Don’t overthink it, get hung up on how you hope the final product will look, or be concerned that you miss a spot. Just relax, have fun, and enjoy yourself. Unleash your creativity!
What’s our verdict?
Don’t let distance be a deterrence; this is definitely a hidden gem you should visit. Where else can you get a four-in-one in a cosy space? Arts and crafts may not be your thing, but it is a great bonding experience between you and whoever. Take it from me – I was apprehensive about the marble pour art canvas, but the final result unexpectedly turned out to be something that I’m so proud of. Even if you’re not into artsy activities, you should at least come here for the bagels and coffee.
Duxton Playground, in collaboration with Lorna Whinston School, is introducing its Fairy Tale Fun Camp next month! Camp participants are taken on a magical ride by exploring a new fairy tale every day. The Fairy Tale Fun Camp takes place from 5 to 9 September, 9am to 12pm. This camp is recommended for kids aged six to 12.
Duxton Playground, #01-16, 73 Loewen Road
See you at Duxton Playground soon!