With just two more weeks till CNY, how do you plan to set the festive mood for everyone at home, little ones included? We bring you 18 ways to have fun with kids this Year of The Fire Rooster.


The annual Street Light-Up at Chinatown has been officially launched and the precinct is bustling with festive activity. You know what that means – not long before we usher in the Year of The Rooster! If you’re staying put in Singapore with your kids over the CNY long weekend, you must surely be on the prowl for activities to keep your family (little ones especially) busy with. Search no more for we have rounded up the most fun family-friendly things to do around town that will put you in that festive mood.

From farmers’ markets to Chinese calligraphy demonstrations, there’s something in store for everyone in the family. Here are 18 ways to have fun with kids in tow this CNY season!

1. Let The Kids Go Wild at a Spring Carnival in The Park at City Square Mall

See Spring in a New Light at City Square Mall

City Square Mall welcomes you to ring in the Year of The Rooster with an abundance of treats and delights to spread the festive cheer! Head down to the mall’s City Green which will be transformed into a Rooster-themed carnival by Uncle Ringo (you’ll find out who he is when you’re there). Your kids can have a ball of a time sliding down the Rooster inflatable or having a go at the carnival rides and games.

There’s also a Lion Dance Performance on 3 February 2017 at the Level 1 Main Entrance of the mall at 4.30pm. Shoppers young and old are sure to be thrilled by the Lion Dance troupe as it performs stunts to usher in prosperity and good luck for the upcoming Year of The Rooster! Oh, and you can get some festive shopping done as well. From decorations to traditional goodies, the NTUC FairPrice Atrium Fair will be your one-stop destination for all your CNY needs.

When: 6 January – 12 February 2017 
Time: 6pm – 10pm (Monday to Friday), 12pm – 10pm (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays)
Where: Level 1 City Green (Outdoor Park), 180 Kitchener Road S208539

2. Stand a Chance at Striking Gold in The Year of The Rooster at NEX

Strike Gold in the Year of The Rooster at NEX

Who’d say no to a chance at winning big and striking gold, yes? Come on down to NEX and ring in the Lunar New Year by taking part in the Fortune Lucky Draw, where eight lucky winners stand a chance a one-ounce 999.9 pure gold bar worth over $2,000! But what’s in store for the kiddos, you ask? Well, the CNY delights don’t just end there. You and your family can catch the roving God of Fortune in action at 3pm and 5pm on 21 – 22 January 2017 – he’ll be giving out good fortune goodies to shoppers!

And of course, no CNY is complete without the traditional lion dance performance. Swing by NEX at 12pm on 2 February 2017 to catch a lion dance troupe performing Pluck The Green!

When: 5 – 27 January 2017
Time: 10.30am – 10.30pm
Where: 23 Serangoon Central S556083

3. Read Up on Zodiac Forecasts for The Whole Family at One Raffles Place

Horoscope and Astrology

If you happen to be in the Central Business District with your family over the festive period, how about finding out what the New Year holds for you from the Zodiac Forecast displays at the atrium of One Raffles Place? You could also learn more about the fortunes of the 12 animal signs through a fengshui reading session by Master Alec Chia. Those will be happening on 19, 20, 23 and 24 January 2017 at 12pm.

In the mood for something more exciting? Catch National Lion Dance Champions 2016, Yi Wei Athletic Association, perform high-pole stunts at the atrium on 3 February 2017 at 12pm. It’s sure to get your heart pounding! Strings! Quartet will also be performing familiar CNY songs that are hits with both the grown-ups and little ones.

When: 5 January – 3 February 2017
Time: 8.30am – 6pm
Where: 1 Raffles Place S048616

4. Pick Out an Auspicious Plant for Your Home at The Festive Floral Fair at AMK Hub

CNY Celebrations at AMK Hub 2

AMK Hub springs into the Year of The Rooster with cheerful fanfare to herald good fortune. The spring festival is certainly not complete without seasonal blooms. Families can take their pick from a wide selection of auspicious flora at the Festive Floral Fair at the mall. You might also want to have your cameras at the ready for spring will be blooming in all its colourful charm at the Level 1 Open Plaza Entrance. Rest assured, you’re going to be spoilt for choice with the array of festive plants to beautify your home with this CNY.

Is there a Lion Dance performance here as well? Of course there is! Catch the Lion Dance Showcase by Wen Yang Lion Dance Troupe at 11.30am on 3 February 2017 to soak up the festive atmosphere and enjoy a roaring good start to the New Year! Do also get your kids to keep their eyes peeled for the God of Fortune who will be going around with his bucket of gold treats!

When: 3 – 27 January 2017
Time: 10am – 10pm
Where: 53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 S569933

5. Count Fishes & Turtles in a Digital Fishpond to Win Vouchers at ION Orchard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Chinese Garden at ION Orchard features a unique fishpond with an interactive digital screen – tots can ‘touch’ the fishes and lily pads! Get your kids to count the number of fishes and turtles and stand a chance to win shopping vouchers in the Lunar New Year Fin-tastic digital contest! And how about getting junior’s interest in calligraphy piqued by watching a Chinese calligraphy demonstration from 2pm to 4pm on 14, 15, 21 & 22 January 2017 at the Level 1 Atrium?

The mall’s Roving God of Fortune will be making his rounds from 7 to 22 January (Saturdays & Sundays only) and 4 & 5 February from 4pm to 6pm. On the first and second day of CNY (28 & 29 January), he will be meeting and greeting (and blessing) shoppers from 3pm to 5pm. What about the lion dance, you ask? That’s happening on 28 & 29 January at 12pm and 2 February at 3.28pm at the Level 1 Atrium!

When: 4 January – 12 February 2017
Time: 10am – 10pm
Where: 2 Orchard Turn S238801

(See also: Where to Get CNY Clothes for Kids: 5 Modern-Traditional Style Mixes We Love)

6. Discover The Splendour of Spring at The Festive Garden at VivoCity

CNY Mascots at VivoCity_112

Get ready to fill your Instagram feed with gorgeous shots of the Chinese pavilion and cherry blossom tree located at The Plaza on level one of VivoCity. While you’re snapping away, don’t forget to make a wish for a New Year filled with prosperity and joy for all in the family at the quaint wishing well. On 14, 15, 21 & 22 January, get set for an entertaining and heart-thumping Chinese and Korean drum performance at 4pm and 7pm to usher in the New Year. Don’t miss out on catching Wen Yang Lion Dance Troupe as they pull off a gravity defying traditional Lion Dance performance to herald in the Year of The Rooster on 1 February at 12pm and 4 February at 4pm.

Also look out for the adorable Fu Lu Shou and God of Fortune mascots and mingle with them for an extra spot of luck for the New Year. Your kids are sure to love the friendly and super cute mascots who will be more than happy to oblige for that Instagram worthy shot!

When: 6 January – 11 February 2017
Time: 10am – 10pm
Where: The Plaza, Level One, 1 Harbourfront Walk S098585

7. Enjoy Some Hands-on Fun at The CNY Craft Workshops at The Centrepoint

Origami - rooster

A simple lantern made using red packets by your precious little one is worth so much more than any store-bought one any day, isn’t it? We think so too. So how about getting your child to exercise his creativity and get hands-on at a CNY craft workshop at The Centrepoint? All you need to do is to spend a minimum of $10 in a single receipt at the mall to participate in the craft workshops. The end product of your kiddo’s imagination will make for a great keepsake this festive season and for a long time to come as well!

When: 6 – 8, 13 – 15, 20 – 22 January 2017
Time: 2pm
Where: Level 2 (near Bangkok Fashion Cluster), The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road S238843

8. Celebrate Spring with The Dahlia Dreams Floral Display at Gardens by The Bay

Dahlia Dreams at Gardens by The Bay

Step into the crisp climate of the Flower Dome and be pleasantly greeted by the auspicious gilded shades of yellow, orange and red dahlias and begonias. Stroll through the Chinese garden inspired landscape at a leisurely pace with your little ones and take in the beautiful sights. There’s a three-tier pagoda, a pavilion, moon gates and even intricate sculptures of adorable chickens to welcome the Year of The Rooster.

Adding on to the festive atmosphere and putting an innovative twist on tradition is the projection mapping which will be depicting scenes of CNY celebrations – this is a first for floral displays at the Gardens by The Bay! LOTS of lovely photo opportunities here for sure, so don’t forget your camera!

When: 20 January – 19 February 2017
Time: 9am – 9pm
Where: Flower Dome, Gardens by The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive S018953

9. Flock Over for Some Fowl Fun at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari & Singapore Zoo

Auspicious Fowls at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari & S'pore Zoo

With 2017 being the Year of The Rooster, it’s a great time for all in the family to learn about the rooster and its fowl family. Embark on a guided Fowl Trail at Jurong Bird Park and discover a charismatic assortment of pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls in their aviaries, specially decked out in festive cheer for the Rooster Year. You can also pick up fowl facts around the park and learn how wild fowls evolved into the domesticated birds of today.

Over at River Safari, giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia will attempt to ferret out treats in red packets – what a visual treat that will be for the tots! Witness a stunning catch by the silver arowanas as they leap out of the water to grab their treats and unveil an auspicious couplet in the process. How about going on a Zoo-diac trail to uncover your fortune for the New Year? Visitors can also rub shoulders with the God of Fortune and Fu Lu Shou mascots at all four wildlife parks!

When: 27 January – 11 February 2017
Time: 8.30am – 6pm, 7.30pm – 12am (Night Safari)
Where: 2 Jurong Hill S628925 and 80 Mandai Lake Road S729826

10. Embark on a Nature Guided Walk at The Istana Grounds on The Second Day of CNY

Istana, Singapore

As you know, the Istana Grounds is open to the public on selected public holidays in Singapore. If you’ve had enough of house visits on the first day of CNY, why not dedicate some time to pop by the Istana Open House with your children on the second day of the festival? Admission to the Istana Grounds is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. All other visitors are required to pay an entry fee of $2 per person.

Go on a Nature Guided Walk to appreciate nature in all its glory at the Istana. These tours are conducted by volunteers and are limited to between 12 to 15 people per group. They depart every half hour from 10am to 4pm. Oh, and all fees ($2 for children aged 4 – 12, $4 for adults and $12 for  a family package for four) will be donated to charity, so you’ll be helping the underprivileged while taking in the beauty of Mother Nature!

When: 29 January 2017
Time: 8.30am – 6pm
Where: Istana, Orchard Road S238823

11. Learn More About Chinese Culture Through The Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts at Esplanade

china opera man with long beard

Have all the CNY festivities gotten you really curious about Chinese culture? If you’d like a taste of Chinese cultural performances, head down to the Esplanade with the kids in tow. Child’s Play (5, 11 & 12 February at 10am & 3pm) by Danny Yeo and 3 Pumpkins Projects is a fun and unique experiential programme specially for children aged 7 – 10. Young ones can learn all about the origins of the Lunar New Year, participate in craft workshops and also be part of an interactive storytelling performance! Tickets are priced at $25.

Or how about signing up for FANtastic Fun? The parent-child workshop lets you get crafty with your little one to create your own beautiful handmade fans using craft sticks, paper and fun painting techniques. It’s happening on 11 February at 10.30am and 2.30pm. Tickets must be bought as an adult-child package (one adult & one child: $30, one adult & two children: $45, two adults and one child: $45).

When: 3 – 12 February 2017
Where: 1 Esplanade Drive S038981

12. See Humongous Dazzling Lantern Displays at River Hongbao 2017

River Hongbao 2017

Usher in the Year of The Rooster and celebrate the arrival of Spring with your family at River Hongbao 2017! Ten days of fun-filled extravaganza of lights, sights and sounds await foreign and local visitors alike. The highlight of the festival will of course be the larger-than-life lantern displays which will have the little ones squealing in delight. Have your cameras at the ready for there will  be nightly fireworks and laser light shows to look forward to!

Plenty of booths offering traditional Chinese arts and crafts demonstrations will also be set up at the ten-day festival. From Chinese calligraphy to paper cutting, get a glimpse of how much of painstaking effort goes into each elaborate art form! Don’t forget to let the kiddos have a go at the amusement rides and carnival games. Rest assured, there won’t be a dull moment at River Hongbao 2017. Oh, and admission is free!

When: 26 January – 4 February 2017
Time: 2pm – 11pm
Where: The Float @Marina Bay, 20 Raffles Avenue S039805

13. Soak Up The Festive Spirit at Asia’s Largest Street Parade – Chingay 2017

CHINGAY PARADE

Vibrant floats, dancing dragons, prancing lions, stilt walkers, wushu masters and a mix of performers of different ethnicities in their traditional outfits. That’s what the annual Chingay Parade is all about. Did you know that it’s the largest street performance and float parade in Asia? And the word Chingay is equivalent to the Mandarin zhuang yi, which means ‘the art of costume and masquerade’ in the Hokkien dialect. We sure have to say that it’s an art the festival has perfected over the past 44 years!

Since the Chingay Parade is truly a multiracial effort where age, language and creed are no barriers, we think it’s a great way to begin inculcating the importance of racial harmony on our teeny island to your little ones!

When: 10 – 11 February 2017
Time: 8pm
Where: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard S038975

14. Visit The Chinatown Precinct to Take In All The Festive Sights & Sounds!

Chinatown CNY Celebrations 2017

There’s no way this list would be complete without including the perennial CNY favourite – Chinatown! Marvel at and take Instagram worthy shots of the Street Light-Up which features a giant rooster lantern that stands at a whopping height of 13 metres. Get your festive shopping for the family done here and savour the traditional culinary delights at the Festive Street Bazaar – if that doesn’t put you in the CNY mood, we don’t know what will!

What’s a celebration without music and dance, right? Bring your kids along to catch entertaining nightly performances which include festive songs, cultural music and lively dance items every night at Kreta Ayer Square. The International Lion Dance Competition, a highly anticipated event that is fully sold out each year, turns ten this year! Sit back (if you can) and enjoy the exhilarating visual spectacle with your kids in tow!

When: 7 January – 25 February 2017

(See also: 5 Things for Families to Do at Chinatown to Usher in The Year of The Rooster!)

15. Get Your Whole Family to Just… PlayLAH!

PlayLAH 2017

Organised by SingEx, PlayLAH! promises to be a carnival for the senses, where children of all ages can shout their favourite seasonal greeting as they slide down a nine metre high rooster slide for a thrilling experience! If your little ones love a challenge, let them make their way through an 18 metre long bouncy obstacle course. There will also be daily live performances on stage which will introduce traditional performing arts like Nanyin and Chinese dance to our young generation of Singaporeans.

Admission to PlayLAH! is completely free, and members of the public are encouraged to pre-register their attendance on the PlayLAH! website. That way, you’ll receive $5 worth of credits for a jolly good time at the event!

When: 19 – 22 January 2017
Time: 12pm – 9pm
Where: Singapore EXPO Hall 5, 1 Expo Drive S486150

16. Drop By The Chinese New Year Farmers’ Market at Loewen Gardens

Pumpkins and gourds at farmer's market.

The Farmers’ Market at Loewen Gardens takes place on one Saturday each month and typically features a wonderful spread of organic vegetables, cheeses, breads, olive oils, jams and chutneys. The first edition of the Farmers’ Market this year will be a CNY themed one! What’s up for purchase? Fresh organic vegetables, from Nepal, fresh bread, award winning olive oil, fresh Australian beef and lamb, wine, spices and marinades, natural herbal tea and even ladies handbags!

If you’re the old fashioned sorts (not that it’s a bad thing) who loves to send out CNY greeting cards to friends and family, look out for some delightful cards made by students from the Melbourne Specialist International School.

When: 14 January 2017
Time: 9am – 2pm
Where: Loewen Gardens, 75E Loewen Road S248844

(See also: 12 Steps to an Auspicious Lo Hei + The 7 Top Yu Sheng You Must Try in 2017)

17. Take Part in Festive Activities Lined Up for Shoppers at The IKEA Stores

CNY Activities at IKEA Singapore

Talks by fengshui masters, frame decoration workshops, a God of Fortune walkabout, flower arrangement demonstrations and a special Chinese New Year calligraphy demonstration await you at both IKEA stores in Singapore this CNY period! The Swedish furniture giant has now started selling festive goodies for Lunar New Year as well! Need to stock up on Mandarin oranges? Purchase them at $9.80 per carton from now till 27 January 2017. Each carton contains 30 large-sized Mandarin oranges.

Oh, and how about some delectable cookies to welcome the Year of The Rooster? Take your pick from Pineapple Rolls, Prawn Rolls, Premium Peanut Cookies, Kuih Bangkit and even Walnut Oat Cookies! Salivating already, aren’t you?

When: 3 January – 4 February 2017
Time: 10am – 11pm
Where: IKEA Alexandra (317 Alexandra Road S159965) and IKEA Tampines (60 Tampines North Drive 2 S528764)

18. Count Down to The Year of The Rooster at The Chinatown CNY Countdown Party

CNY Countdown Party at Chinatown

Say goodbye to the Year of The Monkey and usher in the Year of The Rooster with live performances and a rousing countdown celebration with artistes from MediaCorp right in the heart of Chinatown! There will be a medley of festive songs, skits, interactive games, deafening firecrackers and a spectacular display of fireworks at the stroke of midnight. So have your cameras poised for the perfect shot and enjoy the festivities with your family. Gong xi fa cai!

When: 27 January 2017
Time: 9.30pm – 12.30am
Where: New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street

(See also: 7 Best Places to Have CNY Reunion Dinner When You Have Kids in Tow)