Singapore Writers Festival 2018: Our picks for families at SWF

Literature, mesmerising storytelling sessions and workshops galore: it's all on at Singapore Writers Festival 2018!

Back for another year of literature, workshops and storytelling is the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF), which kicks off TODAY. You may think that SWF is only for adults, but SWF for Families (SWF3) is a specific track with events curated especially for parents and kiddos. What better way to introduce the kids to the captivating world of literature!

We’re lucky enough to live in a city committed to arts and culture, with brilliant free libraries, amazing cultural events and schools that foster a love of reading, so our kids are often inspired to look beyond their immediate surroundings and imagine the universe beyond them. And so this year’s theme, 界 or jiè, which in essence refers to the world at large, is the perfect platform for us to continue talk to our kids about our place in the world and encourage them to look inward and outward while expressing themselves through writing and storytelling.

Here’s our pick of the best kids’ events at this year’s SWF…

Mabel Moves to Singapore

Author and illustrator, Fleur Vella-Chang tells the story of Mabel the penguin. Mabel must leave her icy Antarctic home for sunny Singapore, and she’s not sure what to expect. Children will learn why Mabel’s two homes have such different climates and get to create their own 3D pop-up scene based on the book.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8 (parent-child participation)
When: 3 November, 10.00am-10.45am
Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Create Your Own Dance Story

Award-winning author Emily Lim’s tale, Just Teddy, is all jumbled up, with pages scattered all over the floor! Little ones will love joining the fun by putting the pages together, with the help of the Kueh Tutus (a collective that creates dance-based experiences). Make sure you bring your teddy bears to join in too.
Suitable for: Children aged 2-4 (parent-child participation)
When: 3 November, 10.00am-10.45am

Where: The Arts House (TAH), Play Den
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Rumpelstiltskin

Be entranced by a reading of Rumpelstiltskin by Singapore-based artist Cherlyn. The classic tale goes like this: the king orders a girl to spin straw to gold and a curious little man offers to help her in exchange for a number of things, including her first child. The kids will love this intriguing tale and they’ll even get to make their own Rumpelstiltskin to take home.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8 (parent-child participation)
When: 3 November, 11.30am-12.15pm
Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Of Growing Up and Moustaches

Create your own hand puppet, complete with moustache of course, as the family learns the tale of Louis, a little boy eager to grow up. The Boy Who Wanted to Grow a Moustache is the charming tale of a kid who decides to glue a spectacular moustache onto his face and is read in this session by the book’s author, Melvin Koh.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8
When: 3 November, 2.00pm-2.45pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

The Incredible Basket

Author and illustrator, Quek Hong Shin, reads this brilliant tale of Xiaoming and the Chinese wedding basket, set in the 70s. The kids can then get involved in activities based on The Incredible Basket, reimagining what the Chinese wedding basket could be.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8
When: 3 November, 3.30pm-4.15pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

The Middle Stories

Priscilla Tey reads her debut picture book, In-Between Things, and sparks imaginations as to what other things can lay in-between. Sandwich fillings, colours, doors…what else? The kids will then have a ball drawing and colouring with the author and illustrator.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8
When: 4 November, 11.00am-11.45am

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Agnes and her Amazing Orchid

Learn all about Singapore’s national flower and how it was created. Kids will hear about Agnes Joaquim and her passion for plants, with Joaquim’s great grand-niece, Linda Locke. Linda will take the children through the different characteristics of orchids before opening up the session for little ones to create, colour and name their very own orchid.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8 (parent-child participation)
When: 4 November, 12.30pm-1.15pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Learning English Through Football

The Superkicks series, co-authored by Benedict Boo, is a nifty way for mini football fans to improve their English language skills. The books feature a group of kids who love football, and in this workshop, Benedict Boo will demonstrate what shooting goals have in common with closing stories. He also shares other tips to develop language and narrative skills.
Suitable for: Children aged 9-14
When: 4 November, 2.00pm-3.00pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free (spots are limited and registration is required, visit englishandfootball.peatix.com)
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Ken Kwek: Why Stories Matter

Award-winning film-maker and author of Timothy and the Phubbers, Ken Kwek takes the kids through the winning ingredients of a good story. He takes his own experiences as a film-maker, as well as examples from popular children’s films to demonstrate how these ingredients can be used by kids to write their own stories. Look out for our review of this cool chapter book, coming soon!
Suitable for: Children aged 9-14
When: 4 November, 3.30pm-4.30pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Stories For Good

Yes! Old fashioned values like the triumph of wisdom over might are at the centre of this session by The Storytelling Centre Limited. The kids will be engrossed in India’s oldest collection of fables, The Panchatantra, and they can then create a paper puppet of their own.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8
When: 6 November, 1.30pm-2.15pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

The Write Morning

This three-hour session is perfect for older children wanting to develop their narrative writing skills. Authors AJ Low and Debra Ann Francisco will lead the kids through a choice of workshops (Choose our Own Adventure or Food for Thought) followed by a talk from Laura Wood, where she’ll speak about how she started writing, where she gets her ideas from, and how the kids can start writing their own adventure tales.
Suitable for: Children aged 9-12
When: 10 November, 10.00am-1.00pm
Where: Asian Civilisations Museum
Cost: $10 
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Yoga Storytelling: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Enjoy the Eric Carle classic in a totally new way with your child as you practice yoga moves, learn creative relaxation and focusing techniques. This yoga-storytelling session will be lead by international yoga teacher, Kathy Gabriel.
Suitable for: Children aged 3-7 (parent-child participation)
When: 10 November, 10.30am-11.15am

Where: Empress Lawn, Festival Tent
Cost: $10 
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Laura Wood: The Curious Case of Writing Mysteries

If your child is a fan of detective stories, they’ll love this talk by Laura Wood, where she’ll speak about her beloved character Poppy Pym, including how she started writing, what sparks her imagination, and how the kiddos can become storytellers for themselves.
Suitable for: Children aged 9-14
When: 10 November, 11.45pm-12.30pm

Where: Asian Civilisations Museum, Ngee Ann Auditorium
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Different Places, Same Home

Liang Huiyu, one of Singapore’s leading educators and reading advocates retells the story of Mr Bu Gu and his house on wheels. Kids will explore new places to live and even create their own paper house in this delightful Mandarin session.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8 (this session is in Mandarin)
When: 10 November, 12.00pm-12.45pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

A Trishaw Ride Around Chinatown

Follow our hero Wei, as he scoots through Chinatown and beyond, seeing many of Singapore’s architectural icons on his trishaw in search of his missing teddy bear. Author Francis Wong Hooe Wai reads the charming tale, entitled Go Trishaw Go, set in 1960s Singapore. The kids will learn more about the featured buildings in a fun, interactive game too.
Suitable for: Children aged 7-12 (this session is in Mandarin)
When: 10 November, 3.00pm-3.45pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Where It Ends, We Begin: A Poem-Inspired Movement Workshop

Inspired by Shel Silverstein’s timeless collection of poems and drawings, Where the Sidewalk Ends, this workshop encourages children to seek our their imagination and creativity through movement. Dance company RAW Moves leads this session to promote learning and cognitive development through physical movement.
Suitable for: Children aged 7-9
When: 11 November, 10.00am-10.45am
Where: The Arts House (TAH), Play Den
Cost: $10
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Hearty Tales and Dim Sum

Dousha Bao tries very, very, very, very, very, very hard to put Chashao Bao to bed, but he’s not going down easily. What should Dousha Bao do? Creators, Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen read their tale, Little Dim Sum Warriors: Papa, I’m Still Not Sleepy. Kids will then be able to create a yummy character of their own.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8
When: 11 November, 10.30pm-11.15pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

How to Create a Page-Turner

Laura Wood, award-winning British author behind the Poppy Pym series takes older children on a literary adventure to learn what you need to create your own stories, with just the right mix of charm and suspense to ensure readers are hooked on your every word.
Suitable for: Children aged 9-14
When: 11 November, 11.00pm-12.30pm

Where: Asian Civilisations Museum, Discovery Room
Cost: $10
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Where It Ends, We Begin: A Poem-Inspired Movement Workshop for Children with Different Needs

Dance company, RAW Moves leads this workshop inspired by Shel Silverstein’s timeless collection of poems and drawings, Where the Sidewalk Ends. The kids will stimulate their imagination and develop creativity through movement as they walk down interesting and imaginative pathways. The session aims to promote learning and cognitive development through physical movement.
Suitable for: Children aged 7-12 (recommended for children with Down syndrome or on the autism spectrum)
When: 11 November, 11.15pm-12.00pm

Where: The Arts House (TAH), Play Den
Cost: Free (spots are limited and registration is required, visit whereitendswebegin2.peatix.com)
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Same, Same and (Not So) different

Help kids to understand how we can accept and celebrate differences with this series of tales by Grace Kalaiselvi. She’ll tell stories about respect with the help of her puppet, Meera. The kids will even learn some simple Tamil phrases.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8
When: 11 November, 12.00pm-12.45pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Origami, Animals and Stories

Paper artist Rae Lim leads this session where the whole family will learn how to make simple origami animals. You’ll then use your paper animals as characters in your own stories, where your imagination will be let loose…the sky’s the limit!
Suitable for: Children aged 4 and over (this is a family activity)
When: 11 November, 2.00pm-3.30pm

Where: Asian Civilisations Museum, Discovery Room
Cost: $10
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Of Art and Flash Fiction

Discover the basics of flash fiction in this workshop led by writer and art historian, Eva Wong Nava. She’ll take older kiddos on a guided tour of the National Gallery to view selected artworks, and then children will then learn how to use the paintings and their characters as prompts for writing stories.
Suitable for: Children aged 11-14 (recommended for intermediate and advanced level writers)
When: 11 November, 2.00pm-4.00pm

Where: National Gallery Singapore, Keppel Centre for Art Education
Cost: $10
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

The Different Duckling

The Storytelling Centre Limited leads this session, where our kids are reminded that we all have different strengths. The Ugly Duckling tells the story about someone who is different and who struggles to be seen for who they really are. This session will be concluded with a puppet-making craft activity.
Suitable for: Children aged 4-8 (this is an inclusive session, parent-child participation)
When: 11 November, 2.00pm-2.45pm

Where: Empress Lawn, SWF Empress Tent
Cost: Free (spots are limited and registration is required, visit differentduckling.peatix.com)
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

The Buzz About Bees

Inquisitive kids will be totally psyched about getting to see empty bee hives up close. John Chong, beekeeper, educator and founder of Bee Amazed Garden leads this fun session where kids will learn how bees make honey and what can be learnt from these amazing, often misunderstood insects.
Suitable for: Children of all ages
When: 11 November, 2.00pm-3.00pm

Where: Funan Showsuite, Junction of Hill Street and High Street
Cost: Free
www.singaporewritersfestival.com

Top image: Sugarlight Photography

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
Picture books to help your kids deal with feelings and emotions
Singapore stories to read with your kids
10 coming of age novels for teenagers to read
Best kids’ bookstores in Singapore

Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us for sneak peeks and fun moments on HoneyKids Instagram!