While there are a ton of cool indoor playgrounds to choose from here in Singapore, we love to take our toddlers to a good old-fashioned playgroup too. If your nursery rhyme repertoire needs some new material or you’ve exhausted your art and craft stash, these organised playgroups offer loads of fun that will help tots improve their motor skills, introduce them to music, art and craft, and help them build their social skills – all of which will help kids settle into school when they’re ready for the next big leap!
So if you fancy a bit of parent participation (go on, you know you have just as much fun with playdough as the kids do) and are looking for somewhere where your under-fives can hang out and make some new buddies before they start school, then we have some super fun picks for you and your little one… We give you our guide to the best playgroups in Singapore!
State-of-the-art sensory play: Infant and Toddler Atelier at Blue House
If themed tactile play is the name of your little one’s game, mixed in with a great big dose of singing with musical instruments, plus a dash of art and craft, the Infant and Toddler Atelier at Blue House Nursery and International School (pictured top) is where it is all happening. With two locations at Turf City and UE Square, these beautiful, Reggio Emilia-inspired spaces are a toddler’s dream come true: they can explore a wind tunnel, splash paint, examine leaves against a light box and make new friends, all with the security of mum on hand for those wobbly, shy moments. For little ones aged six months to three years – drop-in sessions and packages are available.
Blue House Nursery and International School, 2 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287988, and 83 Clemenceau Avenue, #-01-35/36 UE Square, Office Tower, Singapore 239920; www.bluehouseatelier.com
Bond with your child: PlayWisely
Good news, parents! PlayWisely is now in Singapore! Hailing from the United States, this globally recognised developmental play programme helps kids and parents bond, play and develop. Designed to expedite development in kids aged four to 42 months, each class is parent-accompanied and has a highly personalised and rotating curriculum, while keeping class sizes tiny with just four kids per class. The kids will face challenges including learning to walk with loads, conquering inclines and traversing across narrow planks, all of which will build a stronger foundation for motor development and balance.
PlayWisely,#04-06 The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Rd, Singapore 287994; www.playwisely.sg
Outdoor escapades: St George’s Mums and Tots
If your kids are all about fun, and not so much about structure, then head to St George’s Church in Dempsey with your little ones: this playgroup is for newborns up to four years. Throw yourself into 90 minutes of indoor and outdoor play, which includes a 30-minute sing-a-long sesh for the warblers amongst you.
St George’s Mums and Tots, St George’s Church, 44 Minden Road, Singapore 248816, p. 6473 2877 ext 103; www.stgeorges.org.sg
Wiggle, jiggle and jive: Jiggle Wiggs
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
A toddler’s wonderland: Tea & Tots
Get out of the house and let the tiny people age eight to 18 months take part in circle time, storytelling, sensory play, music and movement and arts and crafts – all in a 75 minute session (pictured top)! Held in the first boutique international school in Singapore, Integrated International School (IIS), tots a little older can head to the Reggio Emilia inspired drop-off programme, Little Tykes. Be sure to check out the Ocean Snoezelen Room for peaceful sensory pleasure and if you fancy a break from all the fun, you and the toddler can help yourself to tea and snacks.
Integrated International School, 41 Sunset Way, #01-01 Clementi Arcade, Singapore 597071; www.iiswebacc.wixsite.com/iisfoundations
Training up mini-Olympians: The Yard
We’ll admit, we’re big fans of The Yard and its classes for tots aged 18 months to 3 years fit the bill on developing motor skills for budding gymnasts and non-gymnasts alike. Sign up for 50 – 60mins of fun within the dedicated tots area and have the small people try out all sorts of tot-sized gym equipment such as tunnels, ropes, ladders and climbers. Now that it’s opened a brand new location on Dempsey, it’s twice as accessible for guaranteed fun.
The Yard, 10 Science Centre Road #01-03 Bestway Centre, Singapore 609079, 72 Loewen Road, #01-07, Singapore 248848; www.theyard.sg
Parent and child fun: White Lodge
We love nothing more than hanging out with our small people (before we know it they won’t be so small and won’t want to hang out with us!) so love the Parent and Child Programme happening for kids age six months to 2.5 years at White Lodge. Fun activities include circle time, music and movement, art, sensory play and outdoors adventures. Sessions run for 90 minutes, and if you’re caught on the hop and unable to attend, helpers and other caregivers are welcome too. All round loveliness!
White Lodge, 75E Loewen Road, Singapore 248845 and 102 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399719; www.whitelodge.edu.sg
The more mess the better: Mucky Pups Messy Play
If your small bundle of energy is a fan of getting a little bit grubby and a whole lot creative, then you would 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: aka 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 age one to three years.
Mucky Pups, various condo locations, p. 90023568; www.meetup.com/Mucky-pups-creative-mum-child-group
All-round fun: Zesty Spot
A drop-off playgroup, Zesty Spot is a life-saver for busy parents whose kiddos who are ready to take the next step in independent play. Kids have great fun exploring topics such as music, stories, and of course playtime with new pals! Classes are designed for tots from 15 months to four years.
Zesty Spot, 2 Pandan Valley, #B1-209 Pandan Valley Condo, Singapore 597626, p. 6467 3511; www.zestyspot.com
Discovery central: The PLAYhouse
Previously known as Playdays, The PLAYhouse has moved to the Old Fire Station with a huge upgrade to its facilities including a garden, sandpit, fish pond and rabbit run. In addition to offering classes for bubbas aged 6 months to 3.5 years, you’ll also find music, arts and crafts, water and sand play as well as cooking (and eating of course). Small student to teacher ratio means classes are kept cosy and intimate.
The PLAYhouse, 272 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #01-13/14, Singapore 588212, p. 6634 2318; www.theplayhouse.com.sg
Tumbling fun: Bubbles Gym Gymtots
Looking for somewhere that your kids can tumble around as much as they like? Why not do it on soft floors supervised by professional coaches? Bubbles Gym Gymtots is the place for one to three year olds to dance, sing and do circuits without the fear of taking a tumble. Parents get to join in the fun too and the programme even comes with unlimited weekday access to the gym (except Wednesdays).
Bubbles Gym, 200 Turf Club Road, #02-04 The Grandstand, Singapore 287994; bubblesgym.com.sg
Music and movement: Dancing Kids
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
Supplementary fun: Rosemount International School Parent & Child Program
Offered to enrolled students of Rosemount International School, the Parent & Child Program is a directed session for kids aged between two months to two years. Filled with activities designed to encourage imagination and develop motor skills, little ones will have . blast with role play, arts and crafts, music and sensory play, while parents get the chance to have actual grown up conversations with one another.
25 Ettrick Terrace, Siglap, Singapore, 458588, p. 6446 4636, e. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ris.edu.sg
Top image: IIS Tea & Tots