Given the plethora of activities lined up for the school holidays, sending your child for everything on his wish list would probably cost a small fortune. Why not take this opportunity to teach your child an important life skill of budgeting? By setting your child a fixed holiday budget and encouraging him to replace some of his wants with the following activities, you can show him how to do more by stretching his dollar, and teach him the value of thrift.
1. If junior likes animals…
While you will not find ferocious lions and tigers at The Animal Resort, there is still a sufficient variety of ‘wildlife’ to interest a young urbanite. In this kampong-like environment, children will get to feed geese, fishes, rabbits, guinea pigs, a goat and even a retired race horse! They can also come up close with exotic birds like the crowned crane, marabou stork and cassowary (voted “the world’s most dangerous bird” in the Guinness book of records). Best of all, entry is free, and packets of animal feed are reasonably priced.
What: The Animal Resort
Where: T81 Seletar West Farmway 5 (798061)
Cost: Free admission, small charge for animal feed
2. If junior wants to watch animal shows…
Apart from the Singapore Zoological Gardens and Jurong Bird Park, your child can also watch animal performances at the Palawan Amphitheatre in Sentosa. At the Animal and Bird Encounters, junior will get to learn more about the rescued or rehabilitated monkeys, reptiles and birds which star in the daily shows.
What: Animal and Bird Encounters
Where: Palawan Amphitheatre, Sentosa
Cost: Free, pay for admission to Sentosa
3. If junior wants to have a big splash…
Some public swimming pools are equipped with slides and water playgrounds, and can serve up as much fun as their more expensive counterparts. Jurong East Swimming Complex, for example, has three water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a jacuzzi and a water play area which will keep young ones occupied for hours. Although public swimming pools may lack some of the more thrilling rides, you are getting a real bargain with entrance fees capped at $2!
4. If junior enjoys indoor playgrounds…
Climbing up nets, sliding down tall slides and manoeuvring obstacles in air-conditioned comfort can easily set you back by $20. However, your child can get a similar thrill for free at some outdoor playgrounds like the Westgate Wonderland. The playgrounds at Sembawang, West Coast and Pasir Ris Parks offer a wide range of activities suitable for kids of all ages, while the Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay is beautifully landscaped.
What: Outdoor playgrounds
Where: Various locations
5. If junior wants to go on an excursion…
For $70 to $90, some enrichment centres would bring your child on educational excursions to places like Sungei Boloh Wetland Reserve or the Pasir Ris Mangrove Swamp. With the wealth of information and walking trail guides provided by National Parks, you will have no lack of excursion destinations for this holidays. There are even worksheets designed to help your child get the most out of these trips. Best of all, you can be your child’s guide and take the opportunity to spend some quality time with him.
What: A park excursion
Where: Various parks
6. If junior enjoys baking…
A baking class in an enrichment centre can cost between $45 and $90. However, you can recreate the fun in your very own kitchen at a fraction of the cost, even if you have no prior baking experience or equipment (budget aprons, oven gloves and baking equipment are available at Daiso).
Cake, brownie and cookie premixes are the most convenient to bake, as they only require you to mix in the wet ingredients. Frozen dough for shortcrust or puff pastries can easily be rolled out to make tarts and sausage rolls. You can even create your own pizza using a frozen pizza base and ingredients of your choice. For those who want to make festive gingerbread cookies, gingerbread cookie dough and cutters are available at Ikea. If you prefer to bake from scratch, check out these easy-to-follow, child-friendly recipes. Ingredients are available at most large supermarkets, or at Phoon Huat.
7. If junior wants a staycation…
A staycation at one of the hotels on Sentosa could cost anything between $270 and $1,000 a night. However, if all you need is a simple room to go back to at the end of a long day of play, why not consider staying at the Costa Sands Resort in Sentosa? While you will not get the luxuries of a hotel, the chalet has a nice pool, an arcade games area and barbeque pits.
Families with older children who do not mind sleeping in bunk beds and using shared bathrooms can opt for a Kampong Hut (image above). A Deluxe Room is more suitable for families with young children. Baby cots are available upon request.
What: Costa Sands Resort, Sentosa
Where: 30 Imbiah Walk, Sentosa, Singapore (099537)
8. If junior enjoys craft sessions…
Pottery making, stained-glass painting and craft clay modelling are just some of the holiday classes offered by various enrichment centres. Some of these lessons can cost as much as $90 for a three-hour session. However, for the price of one lesson, you can easily buy your own materials or craft kits for several projects and many more hours of fun. Craft kits and art supplies are available at Art Friend. You can also find some craft kits at the toy department of large departmental stores.