Learning that takes place through play not only requires little effort, it is also unquestionably fun. We curate a list of educational indoor playgrounds that offer a little more than just play
So much happens when children play – they build up self-esteem by trying out new things, practise communication and social skills by interacting with peers, as well as strengthen their motor skills through all the physical movement. Looking for places that offer a little more than just play facilities? Here’s a list of playgrounds that encourage learning of science, the arts and culture through – you’ve guessed it – fun!
1. Future World: Where Art Meets Science
Fusing art, science, technology and culture, Future World is a permanent exhibition within the ArtScience Museum. Filled with high tech interactive artworks, this digital playground feels less like an art exhibit, and more like a large hands-on interactive play space for visitors young and young-at-heart. Children can be part of seascapes and feed virtual sea creatures, see their two-dimensional crayon drawings come to life as three-dimensional objects and through 4D vision technology, experience what it’s like to move among stars and planets.
Where ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue
Opening hours ArtScience Museum is open daily from 10am to 7pm (last admission at 6pm) but admission to Future World is only at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm to allow all visitors to have sufficient time and space to interact with the installations
Admission Single exhibition: $12 per child, $17 per adult; All access: $26 per child, $38 per adult
Good to know Children go free every Friday! (up to 4 children under 12 years old enter free with every adult ticket purchased)
2. Keppel Centre for Art Education
If you’re looking for a learning playground where children can experience − and not just view − art, Keppel Centre for Art Education is just the place. In one of its four spaces, Art Playscape, an entire room acts as a canvas. Resembling a fairytale creation, visitors are welcome to enter The Enchanted Tree House and climb the “treehouse” or jump on the huge “lilypads”. Children can also create their own prints inspired by the National Collection through simple print-making processes at the Children’s Museum Workshop.
Where Level 1, City Hall Wing, National Gallery Singapore, 1 Saint Andrew’s Road
Opening hours Sundays to Thursdays & public holidays, 10am to 7pm; Fridays, Saturdays & eve of public holidays, 10am to 10pm
Admission Free admission for all to Keppel Centre for Art Education (charges to National Gallery Singapore apply for non-residents)
Good to know Material fees for certain craft activities range from $2 to $4 per pack
KidsSTOP is a 3,000sqm science-focused play space designed for children from two to eight years old, inviting them to experience, discover and dream through interactive play. Young explorers can experience a myriad of occupations as well as various adrenaline pumping activities (Giant J, a seven-storey free-falling slide is bound to be a hit), all in the span of a four-hour session. Remember to ask staff on hand for an activity booklet as your little ones explore the different occupations at the exhibits.
Where 21 Jurong Town Hall Road
Opening hours Daily, 9.30am to 1.30pm (last admission at 12.45pm) & 2pm to 6pm (last admission at 5.15pm)
Admission Weekdays (except public holidays & school holidays): from $5 per child, from $2 per adult; Weekends, public holidays & school holidays: from $10 per child, from $5 per adult
Good to know Only 300 slots are available per session; arrive early as sessions end promptly at 1.30pm and 6pm regardless of your arrival time
4. KidZania Singapore
When it comes to role-playing spaces, KidZania takes it to a whole new level. It has paved streets and replicas of everyday establishments, including a convenience store, dental clinic, police station and fire station. There’s even an actual Boeing 737 on site! KidZania is a mini functioning economy where children earn kidZos when they work, and pay kidZos to partake in activities or purchase products or services. There are over 60 jobs available to choose from, such as pilot, flight attendant (held on the plane!), firefighter, police officer, crime scene investigator, museum curator and radio presenter. They can also learn to make burgers and pizzas, deliver bottled water or newspapers, conduct guided tours and join an acting academy. Each activity lasts about 20 to 30 minutes and parents can participate in various roles in selected establishments.
Where #01-01/02 Palawan Kidz City, 31 Beach View, Sentosa Island
Opening hours 10am to 6pm daily
Admission $25 per child aged 2-3 years, $58 per child aged 4-17 years, $35 per adult
Good to know For popular jobs such as pilot, cabin crew or firefighter, it is not uncommon for queues to last as long as 90 minutes during peak periods. Also, kids can only participate once at selected establishments due to high demand; repeated participation is allowed at most establishments)
5. The Artground
The Artground aims to provide positive arts experiences for kids up to 12 years old through many different art forms, including interactive art installations that you can climb through! Art installations are refreshed three times a year. On weekends, The Artground conducts various art-related programmes for families with young children – activities include gardening, performing arts, as well as craft sessions. There are four spaces spread over 500sqm: a theatre and performance space (White Box), a space for infants (Baby Stage), a space for art installations (Ground Floor) and an outdoor gardening space (The Good Garden).
Where #01-40 Block J, Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Road
Opening hours Wednesdays & Thursdays, 9.30am to 5pm; Fridays to Sundays & public holidays, 9.30am to 6pm
Admission Free (charges apply for workshops and performances)
Good to know There are limited parking lots; additional parking spaces are available nearby
6. The City by Littlez
If your little one is too young for activities at KidZania, check out The City. Designed for two to eight-year-olds, it’s an interactive learning playground which allows little kids to immerse themselves in role play and pretend play, promoting their creativity and imagination. Children can choose to dress up as cooks, cashiers, doctors, nurses or police officers, drive on mini streets, or explore small-scale supermarkets, beauty salons or cafes. The activities are not structured, so don’t be surprised to see little chefs and police officers at the beauty salon together!
Where The City Flagship: #03-04A Liang Court, 117 River Valley Road; The City @ Katong:#03-31, I12 Katong, 112 East Coast Road
Opening hours 10am to 7pm daily
Admission $18 per child under 2 years; $22 per child 2 years and above; accompanying adults enter free. Rates are for unlimited play on weekdays and for 2-hour slots on weekends, public holidays & school holidays
Good to know Many installations and costumes may be too small for taller children
7. PIP’s PLAYbox
Housed on the rooftop of Esplanade − Theatres on the Bay, PIP’s PLAYbox enjoys lots of natural light so it is always a bright and happy space! There is plenty of room for arts and craft, a cute little loft area, as well as a reading corner filled with books by local authors and illustrators. Activities are often held in conjunction with Esplanade’s festivals. For instance, children were invited to make Chinese opera masks during the Mid-Autumn Festival, and wood rubbings of Chinese zodiac animals during the Lunar New Year festivities.
Where Level 4 Esplanade − Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive
Opening hours 11am to 6pm daily (closed 2-3pm for cleaning and sanitisation)
Good to know PIP’s PLAYbox does not have an attached washroom, but children’s toilets and nursing room are located just opposite its entrance. Also, while the play area is sheltered, the shoe racks are not.
8. Playeum Children’s Centre for Creativity
Run by Singapore’s first non-profit centre for creativity and culture, Playeum has no slides, play structures, or instructions. Instead, children can make things and take charge of their own experiences via open-ended play through installations as well as hands-on exploration. Have a child who loves crafting? The Playmaking Space will be a dream come true – an entire room filled with various materials that children can use for self-directed craft projects. Afterward, they can test their creations on the giant wooden ramp! Tinkering Sundays are held on the last Sunday of every month, offering fixed themes with materials and tools provided, while activities remain open-ended (separate charges apply).
Where #01-23 Gillman Barracks, Block 47 Malan Road
Opening hours Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 6pm (closed on Mondays & Christmas Day)
Admission $22 per child aged 1-12 years; accompanying adult enters free; $10 per additional adult
Good to know There are no toilets available on the premises; nearest toilets are located just beside the Playeum building
Featured image courtesy of KidZania Singapore; Header image courtesy of Playeum, photography by Richard Kearns