The Children’s Garden at Garden by the Bay, Singapore

The newly opened Children’s Garden at Garden by the Bay has been highly raved among my friends and often blogged about. Lots of people were posting on Facebook featuring this exciting place for kids so we decided to check it out too.

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I heard its crowded on weekends and it’s best to go early in the morning to avoid the crowd.
We didn’t manage to make it for morning trip so we went in the evening, thinking if it’s too crowded, we’ll just go scootering at the park.

It was really crowded when we reach but still manageable so we just went ahead. Boy, aren’t the kids excited!

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Nic was squealing with excitement and Nat was running all over the place until we were quite worried she’ll lose her way back.
The area was quite huge so it didn’t feel that crowded. There were 2 areas, 1 for bigger kids and 1 for toddlers.

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My kids got bored with the toddler area quite fast as the splashing was minimal and regular, unlike the big kids area where the splashing was random and created some excitement for them.
We went at around 5pm and although the sun was not scorchingly hot, we still felt a bit toasted and dry after the play.
There were toilet and shower facilities for male and female as well as a kids open shower area. The kids shower area was supposedly for kids but they had the shower head fixed so high that I couldn’t stay dry while showering the kids.
While the daddy was busying looking after the kids running amok at the water playground, I found an exciting playground that my kids wi go crazy over if they saw.

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It was just next to the toddler water play area. Wished I had known about this place earlier. Then the kids can have fun there first before getting wet and shower after .

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The City @ Liang Court, Singapore

I have read and heard a lot about The City kids learning playground at Liang Court, especially when it first launched. The idea sounds like the hugely popular Baby Boss at Taiwan. But when we finally went there, almost 2 years after it opened, we realized that it’s almost completely different and sadly, it didn’t really impress us. We were also quite puzzled why they didn’t have lockers or shelves for us to deposit our stuff. The staff just told us to leave our bags at the chairs at the dining area.

It’s mainly free play but themed by having different rooms designed like supermarket, clinic, post office etc. Some rooms, like the police station, was actually just some poster and some shelves which didn’t look like a police station, really.

Classroom setting

Classroom setting

Restaurant

Restaurant

For my kids, they needed a little help to get the idea of role play. They didn’t always want to wear the costume for the respective roles that they were supposed to be in and when they wanted to wear, the costumes were in various pathetic states.

Nic, the chef

Nic, the chef

We went in just about after lunch and it was relatively empty. But the food toys and utensils in the ‘restaurant’ were all over the floor and I had to do a bit of cleanup first to make the ‘restaurant’ kitchen look fun to play.

Nat was playing supermarket with the daddy and her shopping bag looked very worn.

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The doctor’s robe in the ‘clinic’ looked equally worn and the kids refused to put on. They didn’t play clinic at all, I think. There wasn’t much doctor toys in there, just had some baby dolls patients inside.

There was a classroom-like room but not many kids were interested in that.
Maybe classrooms just bore kids?

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We managed to pick 2 princess costumes among the messy wardrobe and the kids were kinda of excited although the dresses were either torn at the back or had Velcro that wouldn’t stick anymore

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Among these costumes you can find policeman, postman, fireman and superhero costumes for the kids to play dress up.

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I didn’t take photo of the ‘firestation’ because it was only 2 small tents that was painted like firestation.
Finally the most pathetic room, in my opinion, was the hair salon.

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There were some hair models and wigs for kids to pretend to learn hair styling. But all the hair and wig just looked impossible to style or comb.

The kids had a great time there and requested to go again the next day, although the standard kind of disappointed the Mummy. I think the role play idea is good, but I hope they do some maintenance of the toys. I don’t think the same toys can survive for another year. Hopefully they will do something about it and we’ll come back again with a changed impression.

For now, the kids will just have to continue to make do with the home supermarket setup by the Mummy.

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Hong Kong With Kids

We have been to Hong Kong several times – when we haven’t had kids, and after we had kids. We always thought Hong Kong was quite a baby-unfriendly place to go, as the streets were either very crowded or had lots of staircase or no baby changing rooms around. I remember we were shopping at H&M at Central late 1 night after our dinner, Nat, still a baby that time pooed. I asked the H&M staff for the nearest toilet and she directed me to the Macdonalds opposite. Gosh, I still remember the nightmare of changing her in that cramped little toilet cubicle where there was hardly space to even bring the baby bag along.

We decided that Central was not a place for babies until I found out later there was actually a baby store just beside Macdonalds where there’s clean baby changing room. Too late..

We went to Hong Kong again last year with the main goal of only going kids-friendly places.

 

First, our hotel – Hotel Novotel CityGate

First reaction: What?! So far! Wait until you see this to know why

Huge children's playground just across the hotel

Huge children’s playground just across the hotel

We truly believed that, to the kids, this was the best attraction of the trip. Look at their happy faces!

Happier here than at Disneyland

Happier here than at Disneyland

Wants to come here everyday

Wants to come here everyday

And beside this ‘attraction’ for the kids, the hotel was linked to CityGate outlet, which means shopping is convenient and we can go at anytime we want. It was also a backup plan for in-case-of-typhoon days. We went there during the typhoon season and were afraid that we might need to stay indoors most times, so we picked Novotel hotel, so that we won’t get too bored.

 

Next, is transport. 

My in-laws were travelling with us, so, as usual, travelling by train was out and self drive and car hire in Hong Kong was not common. Taxis were in abundance. We manage to get 1 5-passenger taxi and asked if we could hire his taxi for whole day booking. Lucky us, he agreed! So transport problem resolved.

Look out for taxi that have this green label at the back

Look out for taxi that have this green label at the back

Repulse Bay

So, since we had a private transport, we could go to places that would usually be harder if travelling by public transport. We dropped by Repulse Bay and the kids had some fun playing at the beach. It’s supposed to be a really nice beach and turns out, it’s really quite a nice place to go. We weren’t prepared enough so we bought a beach mat there and made use of anything we could find for them to build their sand castle.

Building sand castle under a tree

Building sand castle under a tree

posing and acting cool

posing and acting cool

Ocean Park

Ocean Park was nearby Repulse Bay, so that was our next stop. We went at a time when it was school holidays for the Chinese. So it was very crowded. Lesson learnt. Ocean Park is huge, so it wasn’t really friendly for our old folks who end up sitting under some shade for some cool drinks. We didn’t do any rides as the kids were too young. But they had fun watching the panda have its lunch and who seems to love attention. The aquarium was kind of small and squeeze, especially with the crowd. I think the one we have in Singapore is much more spacious to cater for big crowds. There is also a section where they have fun fair games like water gun shooting, car rides etc which was also suitable for our kids at this age.

We were super glad we hired our taxi for the day. By the end of the day, everyone was exhausted and feet were aching, body sweaty and sticky from the heat and we saw the snaking queue at the taxi stand… really glad.

Clear view of crowd friendly Panda

Clear view of crowd friendly Panda

Aquarium that wasn't as impressive as S.E.A at RWS, Singapore

Aquarium that wasn’t as impressive as S.E.A at RWS, Singapore

Hong Kong 100

I think this attraction is relatively new and it wasn’t as crowded as anywhere else, which was probably good for us. At the time we went, they had several 3D art at the viewing gallery, so the kids had some fun posing and pretending they were walking on tightrope at the top of the tower.

View from the top

View from the top

Having fun at the tower

Having fun at the tower

3d art

3d art

Shatin Plaza

Our route map

Our route map

Shatin plaza was kind of far away from where we stayed, as can be seen from the map. Hubby wanted to bring the kids here solely for snoopy’s world. but what a shame that it was closed that day due to some rain earlier on. Nic was so disappointed. But not the mummy. I was really delighted to find that Shatin Plaza was a really huge place for shopping! There are so many shops here including familiar ones like H&M, Uniqlo and I even saw Melisssa shop! The adults shoes were on huge discount and I bought a pair of wedges at 60% discount! The mini Melissa weren’t on sale but were so cute I couldn’t resist buying 2 pairs for the kids.

Only took a photo

Only took a photo

Chi Lin Nunnery

Heard of this place? Nope, before we did our research. But it’s actually a top ranking destination in TripAdvisor! It was a beautiful and peaceful place with lots of empty spaces. Maybe not so fun for the kids, but at least they had space to run and fool around. So we had a chance to come here to take a look and without the kids complaining of being bored.

Posing at the bridge

Posing at the bridge

They love this staircase

They love this staircase

Disneyland

The must-go place when you are in Hong Kong. Our kids weren’t game enough for the rides yet so we came mainly for their parades. We were glad we saw 2 parades. 1 of them being the water parade which was only available during summer. It was a nice cool down moment as the charters pass by us and splashing water at everyone in sight.

Water parade - Only during Summer!

Water parade – Only during Summer!

waiting for parade

waiting for parade

Shopping and Eating

Of course, don’t forget the most important missing to Hong Kong, shopping and eating! Especially the Michelin Star awarded Tim Ho Wan! 1 of my mission to accomplish was to get the Pierre Herme Macaroons that was not yet available in Singapore. I heard it’s better than Laduree which recently opened in Singapore. It was the nearest place to get it since I haven’t gone to Europe yet. It was really good! And expensive! Good enough to try but won’t be getting it regularly to satisfy any craving.

My rating on the must-eat food

My rating on the must-eat food 

Lastly, our trusty Singapore Airlines who never fail to disappoint us our kids with the kiddy entertainment and kiddy meals.

Glad they had some toys to entertain the kids before they got tired of the ones I brought along

Glad they had some toys to entertain the kids before they got tired of the ones I brought along

Yummy kids meals that were even better than the ones for us

Yummy kids meals that were even better than the ones for us

 

We had a non-typical Hong Kong trip this round and mother-in-law remarked that this trip doesn’t feel like we just been to Hong Kong!

Science Experiments for Young Kids

We got bored staying at home over the weekends so I did some science experiments with the kids to create some excitement.

It all started when Nic saw 1 of the Hi 5 episodes showing how to make a volcano with some kitchen ingredients. She was all excited and wanted to replicate the activity. So here’s the ingredients

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1. Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda
2. Vinegar. You may like to get a cheaper one. I didn’t stock up any so had to use my expensive vinegar 😦
3. Some food colouring
4. Some shallow container to contain the vinegar so you don’t have to pour too much to get overflowing ‘lava’
5. Volcano. I did my in less than a minute with some sand piled up. Didn’t have time to make one with cardboard etc.

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All ready to begin.

Stuff the container into the sand ‘volcano’ . Pour the soda inside the pour the coloured vinegar and watch the bubbling lava flow!

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And the kids went wowing for a couple of minutes until they emptied my vinegar, my bicarbonate of soda and my food colouring.

After the first experiment I went on the net to search for other science experiments to do with the kids. I couldn’t find a suitable one. Either the concept was too hard for them at this stage or the experiment didn’t look interesting enough. On the next weekend, I suddenly had an idea so I did this experiment with the kids – Making sinking things float.

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First, we constructed our ‘boats’ with our Lego duplo. Nic did her own and I made one extra large one with Nat.

Then find a tub or basin and fill it with water. Dump our boats in and see if it sinks or float. The one I made with Nat floated and the one Nic made sank. So I found 2 empty bottles and tied them to Nic’s boat. And it became unsinkable! Then I tried to explain to them about floating and sinking.

Nic then tried to dump another Lego brick with wheels into the tub. It sank again. So I told her we can make it float by tying a something light to it like a balloon. So I made a plastic bag balloon and tied to her Lego. And the Lego became unsinkable too!

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They had a fun time splashing the water and watering the plants with the water afterwards.