How to survive the 7-weeks school holidays?
Keep Calm and Relax. School Holidays are Coming...
It is this time of the year where parents start to get nervous... school holidays are coming. That 7-weeks holidays! I survived last year's and so ready to do it again this year (hah!).
Here are some ideas :-)
For those with both parents working, Holiday Camps is one of the common solution. One of the camp I know run from 9 am to 3 pm daily with snack and lunch included in the fee, at about $650 - $700 for a week (5 days). Transport (bus) is also available at $70 a week but usually they will not pick up exactly from your house but there are a few designated pick-up / drop-off points. There are huge variety of the programs offered - multi-activity, cooking, dance, art, drama, multi-sport, soccer, basketball, gymnastic, LEGO robotic, science, math, mandarin, etc. Register early as they are very popular and classes might be booked fast.
If your kids are old enough to travel by themselves, send them to their grandparents and let them experience the life in their native countries and enjoy very precious bonding with relatives. Different airlines may have different rules about unaccompanied minor. Qantas minimum age for kids traveling solo is 6 years old, Singapore Airlines is 5 years old, Emirates is also 5 years old. My son is 6 years old now so... I can't wait to use this option for him. Haha!
Hi grandparents, uncles, and aunties, please be prepared ;-)
Sorry, I am just joking, I don't mean to scare you all
Well... actually I am not joking ;-)
If above two are not feasible for whatever reason, please stock-up wine immediately :-)
Plan for a short (or a long) holidays. Most people I know do this - a two-or-three-or-four weeks holidays really help. Last year we did a two-weeks holidays in Indonesia, this year we plan for a four-weeks in Australia.
Let's assume it's a two-weeks holidays, we have remaining five weeks to occupy our kids. What can we do? Some ideas based on last year:
1) Arrange playdates somewhere outside the house (some ideas below). Practically the whole day is gone. Take them by public transport like bus or MRT and it will occupy them for another hour. In the bus / MRT, you can ask them to look around, play "I spy...", or just simply talk and talk and talk and talk...
The cheapest (no entrance fee) and easiest is to bring them to:
- Botanic Gardens (Jacob Balas Children's Garden) where kids can have a lot of fun in the Flying Fox, play in the Tree House, and water play (a small one).
- For much bigger water play, sand play, and climbing, bring them to Gardens By The Bay Children's Garden. This is my personal favourite because there is a big shaded area with a few big fans where I can wait for C while he is having fun with his friends. There is also a small cafe within the area - not great but ok for a very simple lunch.
- Another big playground area is Marine Cove Playground but this doesn't have a water play area and there is not many shaded area.
- National Stadium - bring a scooter or in-line skates and let them scoot or skate circling the huge stadium until they get (really) tired. There is a small water play there (and it's free) so you can let them play there. Not too bad, although there is no comfortable area for adults to seat and watch them.
- Go to a beach restaurant in Sentosa (example : Coastes) and let them play in the sand and if the water is clean enough (sometimes it is not), you let them swim too. This is not completely free because we have to pay for the food and the drink (imagine how nice it is to drink beer or cider in the hot weather).
- Palawan Pirate Ship Sentosa with a big and nice water play area.
- MatRitchie Tree Top Walk, but it's very hot and humid here. Not my type of activity unfortunately.
Some paid activities you can bring them to:
- Zoo (Adult is $33, Child is $22).
- Science Center (Free for Singaporean / PR on weekdays during school term for local school. $12 for foreign adult and $8 for foreign child). There is also a nice water play area in Science Center so kids can really spend a long time here.
- Paddle Lodge @ MacRitichie to do canoeing ($15 / hour).
- Clip n Climb ($25 for 1.5 hour). There is comfortable waiting area for parents.
- Forest Adventure to do Kids Course ($36). The Kids Course is designed for children aged 5 to 10. It has 22 crossings including two awesome zip lines. A child below 7 years old must be accompanied by someone above 14 years old (as there is a chance the younger ones have cold feet and stuck up there).
- Cinema to watch movie and eat popcorn. Don't forget to check the movie review at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/ Common Sense Media is a good website to find out some details about any movie, for example the educational value, violence and scariness, positive messages, positive role models and representations, sexy stuff, drinking drugs smoking, language, and "what parents need to know".
- Cat Cafe to play with cats. One place I've been with C is Meomi Cat Cafe ($13 entry fee for 1 hour with complimentary apple or orange juice).
2) Take turn to host playdates at each other house, I would say ideally just two kids involved so easier for the host parent to handle and usually if it's just two kids, less drama and less friction.
3) Check if there is any exhibition somewhere. Last year, there was Yayoi Kusama exhibition in National Art Gallery and there was also Piece of Peace World Heritage Exhibit Built With LEGO Bricks exhibition.
4) Go to the library and let them read and borrow a lot of books to bring and read at home. My C is a very passionate reader and he really loves to read. He does really a lot of reading and this helps tremendously to occupy his time - in fact this sometimes cause a problem as he refuses to get out of the house.
5) Staying at home and do many things at home:
- Let them do LEGOs. I still remember a day last year when he worked on one of his LEGO police station set for a straight seven hours, from 11 am to 6 pm. Best investment ever! :-) LEGO is really my saviour!
- Read books and magazines.
- Baking together, making some cookies or cakes. Cooking together, making noodle.
- Science experiments
- Play some board games like Battleship, UNO, Domino, Chess, Snake and Ladder, Ludo.
- Do puzzle.
- Swim in the condo pool.
- Watch a DVD (and don't forget to check at Common Sense Media). Our house rule during normal time is screen time only on weekend, 30 minutes each day. During holidays, I let C watch a movie / DVD once a week. Last year, I bought two DVDs, The Lion King and UP - but both was a failure, he got really emotional and didn't want to continue to watch - he hasn't watched them until now. I have to be careful with the type of movies I choose for him.
Quite a lot of ideas to make them busy during school holidays. Before you realize it, the 7-weeks pass so quickly. And you'll miss them dearly.
Keep calm and relax. School holidays are coming...