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You’d be shocked to see what’s right on our doorstep, mama! Check out our guide to easy island breaks from Singapore, no flights required!
Family travel is obviously a huge perk of living in Singapore, with the great cities of Australia, Asia, and the Middle East all within a day’s flight away, not to mention world-class island destinations in Thailand, Bali, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. But airfares can add up, particularly when you’ve got a few kids in tow, and every mama knows how stressful air travel can be at the best of times.
Fortunately, we’ve got our fair share of idyllic island breaks within driving and boating distance, too! Did you know, for instance, that nearby Tioman in Malaysia stood in for the paradisal Bali Hai in 1958’s South Pacific? Or that you can catch a glimpse of rare Pangolins on Cempedak in Indonesia?
Check out our guide to easy island breaks so you can start planning your next super-easy escape with the kiddos, mama!
1) Telunas Resorts
Travel time from Singapore: 2.5 hours by boat
Whether you opt for a villa on the luxe Private Island or the budget (and family)-friendly Telunas Beach Resort, you’re in store for absolute tranquility (no Wi-Fi!), picture-perfect beaches, delicious, eco-conscious cuisine and warm, friendly service. Telunas Private Island has just added a new one-of-a-kind spa and kids’ club, and you’ll also find various water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Can’t decide which accommodation is right for you? With a 3-night minimum stay you can try out both!
2) Alang's Rawa
Travel time from Singapore: 3.5 hours by car and boat
You’ll find turquoise water, palm-fringed white sand beaches, and absolutely legendary seafood at this beach resort near the seaside Malaysian town of Mersing. With simple houses, guest rooms, and charming beachfront chalets, there’s a range of accommodation to suit any family’s needs (no TV or aircon, though). We hear things get particularly lively on weekends with barbecues and table-top dancing!
NB: Children are not allowed on weekends, though from Sunday to Friday kids under 5 stay free!
3) Aseania Beach Resort
Travel time from Singapore: 3.5 hours by car and boat
Located just off the coast of Mersing, this 3-star resort on Pulau Besar is a fave for snorkelling, jungle trekking, or just kicking back on its beautiful beach. Describing its style as “laid-back Kampung”, rooms are fairly basic but do offer both aircon and satellite TV.
Travel time from Singapore: 45 minutes by boat
This island in Indonesia just might be the closest getaway possible from Singapore. Of course, that means the scenery won’t change that much (you still might see the odd oil tanker off in the distance), but it’s certainly quieter and more peaceful than our Little Red Dot, with some particularly picturesque beaches. Top family resorts include the luxurious Montigo Resort Nongsa and affordable Holiday Inn Batam, which offers up a kids’ club, waterslide, and family-friendly 2-bedroom suites. Mamas and Papas looking to treat themselves should head straight for the spa pampering of Tempat Senang!
5) Batu Batu (Pulau Tengah)
Travel time from Singapore: 3.5 hours by car + boat
A luxury private island off the coast of Mersing in Malaysia, Batu Batu draws raves from families for its laid-back vibe and plethora of kid-friendly activities (everything from turtle-watching camp to a children’s playhouse, not to mention all their baby supplies so you don’t have to schlep too much gear). We also give big thumbs up to the children’s annexe rooms located in most of the resort’s plush Villa accommodation (Beach Villas are your best bet, mama). Parents will love the on-site spa and PADI dive centre. Food is delicious, but menu options are limited for picky eaters.
Travel time from Singapore: 1 hour by boat
Another easy-peasy trip to make, this Indonesian island feels just far enough away from Singapore to justify the rather high hotel prices you’re apt to pay (considerably more than you’d pay in Thailand or Bali, for instance, despite a lack of much in the way of culture or restaurants). The beach and some excellent golf are major selling points; we also can’t fault the gorgeous spa at the Banyan Tree. Other fam-friendly lodging options include Angsana Bintan, Club Med Bintan and Nirwana Gardens (or you can really splash out at The Sanchaya).
7) Cempedak Private Island
Travel time from Singapore: 2.5 hours by boat(s)
From the team that created luxury family escape Nikoi Island (more on that in a sec, mama!) comes this 17 hectare adults-only private island newly opened off the coast of Bintan. With its own rainforest and a host of fascinating birds and other wildlife (including the endangered pangolin), Cempedak makes the most of its natural surroundings with state-of-the-art villas constructed using bamboo and local grass (each has its own private pool, too!). Villas are either beachfront or have sweeping sea views. You’ll also have tennis, a spa, and plenty of water sports to keep you busy.
8) Nikoi Island
Travel time from Singapore: 2.5 hours by boat(s)
A 30-minute boat ride from Bintan, Nikoi is a private island renowned for its unspoilt coast and pristine conditions. Ringed by white sandy beaches and coral reefs, it’s also home to a rainforest and a diverse population of local birds. All accommodation is in villas handcrafted from driftwood and local grass; a number of the one-bedroom villas even come with bunk beds to accommodate families of four. There’s also a pirate-themed kids’ club, plus plenty of back-to-nature fun like swinging on vines, climbing rocks, and snorkelling. Meanwhile, mamas can head to the plush spa (they actually offer kids’ massages, too!), or get active with rock climbing, mountain biking, or any number of water sports. Book early – Nikoi is known to fill up months in advance.
9) Pulao Joyo
Travel time from Singapore: 3.5 hours by car and boat
Calling itself “your classic Robinson Crusoe island”, this spot near Bintan in Indonesia is all about barefoot luxury — think white sand beaches, turquoise seas, luxe massage bales and fab food (which is included in your room rate). With just seven “palaces”, mostly constructed out of local driftwood and fronting directly onto the beach, it really can feel like your own private island, particularly if you manage to book in with a group of friends. Our co-founder Hester just visited and raves, “Kids can run wild as they are totally contained on the private island and there‘s an amazing reef for kid-friendly snorkelling. Absolute bliss!”
10) Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort
Travel time from Singapore: 3 hours by car and boat
The sister resort to Pulau Joyo, Pulau Pangkil is actually a private island that’s intended to be hired out to one group at a time. Rates include just about everything: accommodation, meals (not alcohol, though), transport, and a full slate of activities ranging from sailboats and snorkelling to beach volleyball and evening bonfires. Accommodation is perfect for families: you can squeeze up to six beds into one big room (or go plush with just a single four-poster).
Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort, Indonesia
11) Rawa Island Resorts
Travel time from Singapore: 3.5 hours by car and boat
Similar in price to nearby Batu Batu, Rawa has the edge in kid-friendliness thanks to a trampoline and giant waterslide that are always a hit with munchkins. It’s also a bit bigger, with 77 rooms in total (with aircon; Wi-Fi and TV are available in public areas only), and serves up all meals buffet style. Other attractions include snorkelling, diving, and a lovely Thai-style spa.
12) Sea Gypsy Village Resort
Travel time from Singapore: 3.5 hours by car and boat
This back-to-nature, jungley option in Malaysia is perfect for a digital detox, with no Wi-Fi, no TVs, and in fact no aircon and no hot water. It’s all about chilling by the golden sand beach, exploring the island’s wildlife, and enjoying the tranquil sea breezes. Along with plenty of supplies for babies, you’ll find lots of great kids facilities (and we hear kiddos are usually quite worn out after days filled with plenty of exploration). Rates are exceedingly reasonable, and include all meals.
13) Tioman Island
Travel time from Singapore: 3.5 - 4.5 hours by car and boat
Another island located off Malaysia’s eastern coast with ferry access from Mersing, Tioman is particularly idyllic (it stood in for Bali Hai in the 1958 movie of South Pacific!), with lush mountains, gorgeous beaches, and world class dive sites. Besides all the obvious water pursuits Tioman also offers jungle trekking, mountain biking, and sea turtle conservation. Here you’ll find everything from backpacker accommodation to high-end resorts like Japamala. Good family-friendly options include Tunamaya Resort and Berjaya Tioman Resort.
Enjoy 50% off Explorer single trip plans for your family! Just pay using OCBC Online Banking or OCBC Credit/Debit Cards before 30 June 2017.Find out more
This article was originally published on www.sassymamasg.com, at Easy Island Breaks That Don’t Require Flights from Singapore
Mother's Day is coming up, mamas (maybe you've heard?)! We're sure many of you are looking forward to spending the day being looked after by your loving children, but in case a little mama me-time figures into the plans, we wanted to share some of our favourite, Dad-approved/kid-friendly spots around Singapore. We've polled our in-house Sassy Papas to find out where they most love taking the kiddos; from men's rooms with baby changing tables to the best places to watch sports, we've got you (and your partners) covered, mama!
“One spot I regularly take my energetic 2-year-old is Gardens by the Bay East. It's usually empty apart from a few walkers and cyclists so you have the entire place to yourself. Make sure you bring a scooter or a bike for the little ones as there's plenty of ground to cover; especially now that it's connected to the East Coast Park. Go early to beat the heat and bring water and snacks for the kids.”
-Kelvin, husband of Managing Director Emilie
“I like taking my kids to Vivo City, as there's so much to do there. They can ride cars for $5, and there's the Cinema, bloke-friendly shops (Best Denke, Giant etc), great activities and play areas for the little ones, as well as a large array of food options from cafes to good restaurants.”
-Rich (aka “Sassy Dada”), husband of Partnerships Manager Amanda
“A friend invited us to a barbecue at Pasir Ris Park, and I was so impressed with the kids' play area there. We set up at one of the barbecue pits and played cricket and frisbee, and one of the guys brought a blow-up kayak for the kids to paddle off the beach. Beer in hand, it was a really chilled afternoon.”
-Rich, husband of Partnerships Manager Amanda
“If I'm doing a solo morning I have a few things I like to do : we often head to Tiong Bahru Bakery for a croissant and coffee (for me!), then wander around the neighbourhood picking up some fresh flowers to bring home and a run around in Tiong Bahru Adventure Playground.
Or we do breakfast at Common Man then take scooters to the Botanic Gardens where I mostly end up carrying them around while the girls walk or feed the fish there. If I want to do a longer outing we'll hit up River Safari or the Zoo and finish up with lunch at Din Tai Fung or Suju in Mandarin Gallery where the Chawanmushi is always a hit”.
-Chris, husband of Founder and Creative Director Hester
“I like taking our baby and the dog to East Coast Park early on Sunday mornings to let Kate sleep in; it's great with a stroller and they both love watching all the birds. I also like Tanglin Mall because it has (1) tons of kids stores (2) Chili's and (3) baby changing stations in the men's room.”
-Jim, husband of Sassy Mama Editor Kate
“I recommend City Square Mall. There is a playground outside, a Timezone fun centre, a movie theatre, two play places, and plenty of food options. At Timezone there is an art game where kids can draw pictures and print their work. My daughter loves it. On B2 and other floors there are Zoomoov rides where kids can ride motorised stuffed animals. It is connected to the Farrer Park MRT so getting there is easy, especially if you live on the NEL.”
-Chris, husband of Sassy Mama contributor Jennifer
“Boomarang is great for lunch because they put the sport on and the kids can scoot on the path outside.”
-Rich, husband of Partnerships Manager Amanda
“West Coast Park is a great place to take the kids to let off some steam. Bring kites, scooters, a football – there are patches of open grass, a few different play areas that are good for different ages, a zipwire, sandpits and proper swings. Grab a coffee at McD's (no better options unfortunately) or bring your own picnic to make a day of it.”
-David, husband of Sassy Mama contributor Beate
“I like taking my twin boys to NEX, because it has a public library, a great playground, a sports store, Popular (the bookstore) and Smiggle. We usually end up spending half a day there, starting with a junkie treat (Mc'Ds, KFC or Carl's Junior, even Din Tai Fung if the queue isn't ridiculous!). Then we're off to the shops and finally wind down with a sundae from Baskin Robbins.”
-Rohit, husband of Sassy Mama contributor Priyanka
“I find Pasarbella an excellent way to spend an afternoon with my 14-month-old son. It's a great place to find some food for lunch like the jumbo pan of paella and The Great Beer Experiment for Dad. We always stop at Bonheur Patisserie for a macaroon treat. If you are heading there on a Saturday morning The Blue House Infant & Toddler Atelier has a great “Daddy and Me” session for little ones under 3, or if you have the whole carpool in tow Fidgets is a regular for us to run around for an hour or two. Friendly staff, and lots to play with for little and large kiddos alike.
-Jason, husband of Partnerships Director Kristin
This article was originally published on sassymamasg.com, at Top Dad-friendly places to take the kids in Singapore.
Parties are great fun but it can be so hard to organise one, especially if it involves a big group of kids, right? I totally understand that.
Last month, we went for a Easter party organised by one of Angel’s kindergarten classmate’s mum and it was such an awesome session packed with fun-filled, kid-friendly activities that I thought I would share it with you in this week’s Creativity 521. In other words, yes, I’m taking a break this week from doing any DIY stuff, ok? It’s my birthday week yeah!
I always look on in awe when I see other mums who can bake and craft. For me, I see it as one or the other and given the time and brain juice I have, I can only manage one. Obviously, my passion lies more in crafting with the kids. Anyway, this fellow mummy is a great baker and she always graciously offers to bring along homemade cupcakes when we invite her over for the girls’ birthday parties, how sweet!
Here’s a look at the activities that we did at the Easter party that day.
Favours and goodies
Firstly, we were greeted with sweet treats and party favours displayed neatly on the dining table. The kids could pick out bunny ears, candies, chocolates and each of them could bring home a pretty egg, which reminds me of a matryoshka doll, filled with goodies too.
Besides cupcakes, brownies, sandwiches and even bubur cha-cha, one of the most creative sweet treats that day was this - a pot of 'soil' decorated with cute chocolate eggs and hearts and chicks! Well, the 'soil' was edible and it was made by crushing Oreo biscuits, how creative, right?
The first activities we did was to decorate the cookies! I love that the cookies came in various shapes and the icing in various colours for the kids to choose from!
The egg-shaped biscuits had a layer of base cream on them so it made it easier for the little ones to decorate these by drawing lines, dots, borders or any pattern they liked. Ariel had a little difficulty trying to squeeze out the icing and hold the piping bag at the same time, but after she got the hang of it, she managed to do a couple of biscuits too!
Next, we got our hands sparkly, sticky and colourful by doing egg painting! We were pleasantly surprised by the efforts made to cook these hard boiled eggs and dye them in all these pretty colours!
There was also a range of art supplies for the kids to use - including googly eggs, paint, stickers, markers, coloured pens, ribbons and other decorations.
Isn’t it great that the kids had the chance to use their imagination to beautify their eggs? Angel said she wanted an egg called Snow White and Ariel decided she wanted a Little Mermaid. In fact, each of them did two because they had so much fun with the first one!
Tata! Presenting..... *drum roll* yup, Snow White and Little Mermaid. Well, not too bad, right? The most important thing was they tried their best and I gave them full marks for effort!
Since kids love to go outdoors, our friend also planned an egg hunting game which took place at the playground and she even prepared buckets for the little ones!
The eggs had been hidden all over the playground but let’s just say that the majority of them were in plain sight so they were picked up by the children who reached the playground first.
It didn’t matter to me that my girls picked the least number of eggs, just one each, because I saw how they held hands while walking to the playground and I knew they were looking out for each other. Even though they were a tad disappointed when they held up one egg each while their friend had 13 eggs, it was yet another chance for me to remind them to be contented in life and voila, each egg opened up to three sweets and that was enough to cheer them up!
The finale game we played was Bunny Hop where the kids had to take turns to compete with each other by hopping across the common corridor. To make it more fun, each of them had to hold on to a bucket filled with sweets and they were not supposed to let the sweets fall out. Awww, isn’t it amazing just how much joy a simple game can bring?
We truly enjoyed ourselves that afternoon and were so thankful that we got to be part of this wonderful Easter party. The girls kept talking about the games and everything they did up till this day so it goes to show that they made some lasting memories and had a fabulous time.
Cheers to parties and great friends! We’ll be back with more DIY activities to share soon!
You don't need to forgo fun just because you're on a shoestring budget. Here are some pocket-friendly ideas:
1. Plan your family vacations early and book travel packages at the Natas fairs, and if necessary, combine with another family (with a child of about the same age) to go on trips together.
2. Every week, empty out your pockets/purse of loose change and get your little one count it and put it in a jar or their piggy bank. You'll be surprised how much you can accumulate after a month. Junior will also learn the value of thrift from a tender age.
3. Alternate weekly trips to the movies and dining out with watching DVDs at home and going on a picnic.
4. Reading provides hours of engaging entertainment. To remind yourself to live within your means, read local lighthearted chick lit, Budget is the New Black, by Claire Betita de Guzman ($16.50 before GST, from major bookstores). Sabbie, a high maintenance PR girl, loses her job and discovers the thrill of thriftstore finds. Sounds familiar? Read on…
5. Instead of meeting your mummy friends at a café, take turns to host gatherings at each other's homes. Your toddlers will learn social skills while you catch up on gossip. Plus you can swap and learn fun recipes to make with your friends. Or tell everyone it's a potluck.
6. De-stress by taking a jog or watching TV, instead of shopping.
7. Spa treats can strain on your resources — so go the DIY route. Watsons' new collection of house-brand toiletries has an extensive range of face, body and hair care products you can avail yourself of at home that won't put a hole in your pocket. Create your own in-home spa with its signature Green Tea facial range, Bird's Nest essence mask or try the popular Beer hair treatment. With prices starting at just $8.95, you can indulge yourself anytime! Plus peewee might enjoy getting messy with mud packs.
8. Children get as much fun at parks and pet shops as they do at the zoo ― and they're free.
9. Instead of costly indoor play centres, check out wonderful outdoor playgrounds like the children's playground at Pasir Ris Park (mini-maze) and West Coast Park's Adventure Play Area, the arrival plaza at Sentosa Cove Village, a tilted-train at Tiong Bahru Park and a three-tier playground at Changi Village with poles to slide down. Your mini-action-terrors will be happily occupied for hours at the many play structures.
10. Keep a lookout for our museums' open-house days, usually on public holidays like National Day, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Chinese New Year. You'll enjoy free entry to the exhibits, where junior can make a beeline for the interactive displays.
11. Get your toddler to make cards and presents for family birthdays. A batch of home-baked biscuits, a hand-decorated plant pot or a framed handprint are cheap but meaningful, personal gifts.
12. Your neighbourhood library offers an abundance of books ― whether your mini-reader digs dinosaurs or loves lions. Junior can also attend free storytelling sessions and affordable holiday activities. Go to golibrary.nlb.gov.sg to check programme schedules.
13. You'll be surprised how much fun your kitchen cupboards contain. Pots, pans, spoons, tins ― you name it, they'll bang it! If you collect bottle caps, they can put them in containers and pour them out, count them and just play with them.
14. Buy some balls. Whether your tot is crawling after it or kicking one about, a ball is a classic toy for kids of all ages that lasts and lasts.
15. When you go out, bring along drinks, snacks and, if appropriate, a picnic ― don't waste money buying refreshments for a day in the park. Look out for picnic-able events like Ballet under the Stars at Fort Canning (reserve Shakespeare in the Park for slightly older kids).
16. The best toys in life are free ― really! Children love to stretch their imagination ― so, turn a box into a bus or boat, or fill an old water-bottle with rice to make musical maracas. And we've yet to meet a tot who doesn't love ripping pages out of magazines.
Why not put those accumulated loose change from the piggy bank into a savings account and earn interest rate of up to 0.8% p.a. with OCBC Mighty Savers®? There is no better time to start than now. Receive a S$10 cash gift when you sign up with a minimum deposit of S$300 by 31 March 2017. Plus, stand to win monthly prizes such as a Toys“R”Us shopping spree, kids’ bedroom makeover, a birthday planning package and a S$10,000 education endowment fund!Find out more
Sweet dumplings, known as Tong Yuen or Tangyuan in Chinese, are glutinous rice balls filled with peanut, sesame or red bean. It is a common tradition among Chinese families to eat Tangyuan during Chinese New Year, as they symbolize reunion and togetherness.
Follow this easy recipe by Little Steps to make peanut butter-filled Tangyuan during this festive season. They are yummy and easy to make, perfect as a Chinese New Year celebration activity with the family!
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1 cup water
1.5 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
Sweet ginger syrup
4 cups water
80 grams sliced ginger
80 grams brown sugar
Filling: Whisk together filling ingredients until even and smooth. Divide into 15 equal portions. Freeze in fridge until needed.
Dough: Put glutinous rice flour in a large bowl and add in vegetable oil. Add in water a little at a time until dough become soft and smooth.If dough is too wet (or dry), add in more flour (or water). Divide the dough into 15 equal portions. Cover with cling wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.
Make your Tangyuan: Flatten a dough piece and place filling in the middle. Fold the edges, roll it and make it as round as possible. Make sure your fillings are completely covered. Dust with extra glutinous flour to prevent it from sticking on the plate. Repeat with the rest.
Cook and Serve: Prepare the sweet ginger syrup by bringing the water, sliced ginger and brown sugar to boil. Gently drop your Tangyuan with a spoon into the syrup. Cook for around 4 mins until they float to the top. Serve immediately when still hot yums!
Tips from Little Steps
* Tangyuan can be big or small, filled or unfilled. If you want to make it easier for your little ones, let them make unfilled ones. Simply roll the dough into small balls.
* These amazing peanut butter goodies can be kept frozen for later!
Your enthusiasm for it, though, might be fading just a bit year after year. You’d rather pack your bags and escape that long weekend. No spring-cleaning, no entertaining, no fussing over reunion dinners.
But remember how you loved Chinese New Year as a child? As a parent, you have to share your heritage with your kids and make the most out of it, no matter the stress that comes with preparing for it.
This Chinese New Year, bring the focus back to spending quality time with your family. Here are 8 ways to bond with your kids during the festive season:
1. Clean with a spin
Who like chores? Nobody. So why not make it a fun activity?
Here are a few suggestions:
Play "Follow the leader"
Organise a cleaning squad and give each member an apron, an old rag, a bottle of cleaning liquid. Assign a leader who will take the cleaning squad dusting, wiping, and scrubbing from room to room. Change the leader after each room.
Let your children keep the trinkets or money that they find abandoned in forgotten corners of the house. Be generous, and hide some goodies and coins and notes before the cleaning.
Jazz it up with music
Move your body, shake you’re hips, and together, sing and dance your way to a tidier house. Forget the tacky Chinese New Year songs, though, and make a song list that will appeal to the young ones.
2. Bake goodies together
Every family seems to have a secret recipe for a Chinese New Year favourite. Be it pineapple tarts, almond cookies, Kueh Bangkit or Kok Chye, why not rope in the grandparents and get them to teach the secret family recipe?
Baking Chinese New Year goodies is a great activity for the whole family. It’s no fun baking alone this season, especially considering how many treats have to be baked. From shopping for ingredients to packing and cleaning up, there is so much for everyone to do.
The best part of it? Sampling the freshly baked goodies. Before they munch their way and finish up all the goodies, your children will probably appreciate the effort behind all the baking and the time spent with you, their cousins, and their grandparents.
3. Go for a homey family reunion
Why flock to popular restaurants for reunion dinners? And forget about splurging on over-the-top reunion dinners in fancy restaurants! As the saying goes, “Families that eat together, stay together”.
Reunion dinners are about the importance of spending family time together and having everyone back home. Make this year’s reunion dinner a meaningful one by getting everyone involved, including the children, in preparing dishes for the family.
Help the tiny chefs in your family by adapting recipes from recipe books or dish out child-friendly recipes that are readily available on the Internet. Help them pick out recipes that they can manage on their own.
Don’t just stop at preparing the dishes. Involve your children in setting up the table. Get them to decorate a centerpiece for the table, using flowers, tangerines, gold coins, and floating red and gold coloured candles.
4. Make special fortune cookies
Your visitors will be charmed by the special fortune they will receive, handwritten by your children. Although not a Chinese New Year tradition, these fortune cookies will soon be staples once they start appearing in your household.
5. Make personalised red packet envelopes
Yes, we get them for free these days, but how special would it be to be giving out red packets with the signature design of the family?
As a family, design a meaningful family emblem that symbolizes your family values. Use gold dust to imprint the family symbol on the red folded envelopes. Your children will have fun telling your visitors about how unique your red packet envelopes are.
6. Learn the art of Chinese paper cutting
Traditionally, Chinese New Year decorations were all handmade. So, instead of buying ready-made decorative items, try the art of paper cutting with your kids. This activity is more suitable for older kids, but with close supervision, you can guide your little ones to work on simpler patterns.
7. Make your own lanterns
A hands-on craft activity that always appeals to children, making Chinese paper lanterns is easy and fun.
First, learn the basics and then put your own creative touch to your finished Chinese lanterns. String them all up to decorate the walkway, or put tea-light candles in them and let them illuminate the balcony.
8. Hire your child as the photographer or videographer
Like the years before, you can expect the Chinese New Year this year to be a bustling family affair. Why not hire your child to be the photographer or videographer this season?
Have her capture all the special family moments and edit them too. Share the video with the entire family on the 15th day of the celebration while eating tang yuan. What a great way to start the Chinese New Year together!
Parents, do you have other ideas on how to bond with your kids this Chinese New Year? Share with us by leaving a comment below.
This article was originally published on theAsianparent.com, at: 8 ways to bond with your kids this Chinese New Year
Christmas is around the corner and if you are panicking because you still haven't bought your Christmas gifts, you can heave a sigh of relief. We have the ultimate Christmas gift guide which will suit every budget from below $50 to $100 and above. Happy shopping!
Christmas — the season of giving and one of the best times of the year to get some great shopping deals!
Whether you are looking for something that is friendly on your wallet, or you have some extra cash set aside for this year’s presents, we have put together a fantastic guide of cool Christmas gift ideas suitable for all budgets.
Prices range from under $50, $50 – $100, and above $100, so there’s something for everyone and you can still get a great present for that special someone this festive season.
We get it, you’ve probably spent a small fortune on the Christmas decorations for your home, those lovely new outfits for your whole family to wear on that pricey year-end holiday overseas, and big ticket items on those near and dear to you.
So you’re not really willing to break the bank just to buy something for your next-door neighbour who you’re not really close to but is nice enough to greet you every single morning without fail, or that sweet colleague from your office who you’ve only known for a short while but has helped you out a few times at work.
Here are some great Christmas gift ideas that are under $50:
The holiday season would not be complete without some tasty sweet treats, so head on down to SOPHISCA to pick up their gorgeous ready-t0-gift goodie bags which are filled with a special collection of gummies and hard candies.
Or check out the limited edition Christmas gift boxes and adorable Christmas socks which are bursting with delicious delights!
Their special Candy Rush Christmas sale will give you 15% off if you buy three items or more, and 20% off if you buy four items or more (not valid for promotional items).
Price range: $2 – $49.90
Books from Times bookstores
For that little bookworm in your life, they will be sure to appreciate a new book they can devour and add to their ever-growing collection.
Head on down to Times bookstores and get some books from the Fiction, Children, or Young Adults section – and you can even pick up some collectibles and toys under the same roof!
For only $10, you sign up as a member and you can enjoy a discount of 10% off all books and stationery (except concessionaires), 20% Birthday voucher, exclusive members preview sales, and more.
Price range: $19.80 – $42.95
Star Wars Monopoly game 2015
Do you have a die-hard Star Wars fan in your family or circle of friends who would jump for joy if they were to receive some official merchandise as a Christmas gift?
There is no need to scour the galaxies far far away, because we have great gift idea – the new Star Wars Monopoly game 2015, suitable for ages eight and up!
This unique round-shaped game is totally out of this world and will be sure to keep the whole family entertained while you spend some quality time playing together.
The Monopoly Star Wars Edition game consists of the following items:
Museum Label Collection Christmas gifts
Museum Label is the retail brand behind the museum shops operated by Singapore’s National Heritage Board, and they have a wonderful range of Christmas gifts with a local twist!
Highlights include a cute Kueh Tutu eraser, a hilarious Chilli Crab apron, some funny Singlish magnets, a handy Kan Cheong Spider clock, and many more.
If you’re in need of a great Singapore souvenir for your good buddy who’s migrating overseas, or a fellow friend who is migrating back to their original home country, be sure to have a look through the unique Christmas gifts available at the Museum Label.
Price range: $2.50 – $46
So you have a fair amount of money to spend on your Christmas shopping this year, but you’re not sure what exactly to get for your favourite cousin who you grew up with, or your dear little niece who is like a daughter to you. Check out our lovely mid-range Christmas gift ideas that are between $50 to $100:
These lovely round carafes can keep your drinks either hot or cold for hours. (Image: Thermos)
Alfi Kugel carafes
Thermos has re-launched Alfi in Singapore and offers the perfect Christmas gift for all home-owners who are design-conscious, with their gorgeous statement pieces which will stand out at any house party.
The lovely classic round Kugel carafes not only look like pretty Christmas tree baubles, but they also offer up to 24 hours of cold retention and up to 12 hours of heat retention, making it the perfect addition to the food table at any social gathering so you can fill it up with refreshingly cold fruit juice or soothing hot cocoa.
The Kugel designs come in a lovely shade of red, a nice clean white, an elegant black and even a cool stainless steel.
Price: $69 (for colour models) and $249 (for stainless steel models).
Philips Easy Natural Hair Curler
If your gal pal has always complained about wanting to change up her look, give her the new Philips Easy Natural Curler BH777, which will help make it easy to create luxurious curls.
Designed with the modern woman in mind, this curler has a unique tulip shape to help you create curls in one simple movement, and since the styling plates are protected from touching, you can glam up your tresses for the holidays without the worry of accidentally burning yourself – which is not a great look for Christmas!
Mini Melissa shoes
We have the perfect gift for your mini fashionista daughter or niece — comfortable and stylish Mini Melissa shoes in a wide range of colours and styles.
This beautiful footwear is made in Brazil and has soft padded insole to keep those tiny feet happy and is made from flexible and durable PVC, so your active little one can still run around yet look cool at the same time.
Choose from Mini Melissa Ultragirl II, Ballet, Campana Zig Zag VI, Ultragirl Sweet, Flox, Ultragirl IV, Furadinha VII, Aranha VIII, Ultragirl Disney Twins, and Aranha + O Peqeuno Principe II.
Price range: $85 – $140
Personalised white hooded towel with ears
If your bestie just had a December baby, you should welcome her little one with this personalised 100% cotton hooded towel with adorable little bear ears.
The soft towel comes in unisex white and will keep bubs or tots warm and snug as they dry off after bath time; the corner hood keeps their ears extra cosy before bed; and you can even personalise it with their name for that extra special touch.
Hey big spender! Looking for a more luxurious list of Christmas gift ideas for your loved ones who have been extra nice this year and deserve a super special (and big!) present under the tree?
Here are our favourite picks for those generous gifters who have a little extra dough to spend this festive season:
Tickets to Disney on Ice presents Magical Ice Festival
If your little ones are big Disney fans, then they will be sure to squeal with delight when you present them with tickets to the Magical Ice Festival!
Join all the favourite characters from Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, and Beauty and the Beast, plus you can receive the royal treatment when you purchase the Magical Moment Package which includes:
LEGOLAND Annual Pass Gift Pack
Scratching your head wondering what to get for your sister and her family this Christmas?
How about sending them all off across the border for a fun day out at LEGOLAND, which is the ultimate family holiday destination with over 70 hands-on rides, slides, shows and attractions – ideal for those with little ones ages 2 – 12 years.
This festive season, Santa Claus will be making his grand appearance there and for the whole month of December (every Friday to Sunday), there is an exciting surprise for 15 lucky kids per day who write their wish list of LEGO products at The Big Shop, which will be granted and become a reality!
In the true spirit of giving, LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort is offering an awesome Annual Pass Gift Pack where you can purchase four passes for the price of three and will also be given the opportunity to personalize a 2×6 LEGO brick in the Park to make it the perfect gift for your loved ones.
Price: RM$245 – RM$450
Epson’s Full HD Home Theatre Projector
Here’s a big ticket item for that special man in your life who works hard to bring home the bacon and does his best to help out with the kids, even though sometimes it’s, umm, quite different from how mummies would handle it.
Your husband deserves a great gift this Christmas and the people at Epson have created a a high-end, full HD home theatre projector which has so many features and high image quality at a great price!
The key features of this cool gadget include:
Not only can daddy enjoy this awesome Christmas gift, it is something that the whole family can benefit from as well when you have a fun family movie night together, or play engaging video games for an exciting bonding time.
Gifts Less Ordinary jewellery
Pamper your beloved mother or mum-in-law with a beautiful piece of jewellery from Gifts Less Ordinary, which is a new luxury gift marketplace which has brought high-end and hand-picked treasures to Singapore.
Their Leopard enamel cuff is a gorgeous statement piece and has been beautifully hand-painted with a bold, striking design and mounted with 18ct gold-plated rims which will be sure to make your whole outfit pop this Christmas.
Price range: $112.20 – $766
We hope you found our Christmas gift guide handy. Which one will you be getting for your loved one this festive season? Leave a comment below!
Who doesn't want to be a jetsetter experiencing the entire globe without stressing about the bunch of silly emails that have been keeping your mobile buzzing all day long? I know I'd love to!
The lucky ones are always whisked away on planes so often they don't even purchase toiletries and cosmetics full-sized anymore, while most of us are stuck in a rut.
No (wo)man can function optimally without ever taking a breather. I have absolutely no idea how parents do their thing but just in case you're a parent who's in dire need of chilling with your kids without getting your passports chopped, here's a list of 10 kid-friendly staycation venues GET.com has rounded up for you to make your life just a bit easier!
1. Fullerton Hotel
Oozing with heritage and sheer grandeur, the Fullerton Hotel may not be the first name that pops into your head when you think about family-friendly staycation spots, but you'll be surprised to learn that The Fullerton Family Package that they offer is quite the deal.
Note that the promotion is only valid till 28 February 2016, so act fast if you're keen on organizing a staycation at The Fullerton!
The Fullerton Family Package is a great choice as your family gets to stay in one of their Heritage Rooms with a daily American buffet breakfast for two adults and two children (below 12 years old) at Town Restaurant.
On top of that you'll be taking home an adorable Fullerton Plush Bear and having the chance to discover Singapore's culture with the Singapore Standard Jubilee Pass when you reserve via their website.
Additionally, children will receive Fullerton's exclusive colouring book with crayons, an ice cream pass for one scoop of ice cream daily at Town Restaurant, delicious cookies, and also a Kodomo amenities set including baby wipes, baby powder, baby lotion and shampoo.
1 Fullerton Square
2. Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
Thanks to its massive rooms, suites and ultra kid-friendly touches, the Ritz-Carlton is one of the premier luxury options that families can seriously consider spending a fun weekend at. Rooms with two double-beds are available, as are bigger two-bedroom suites.
You'll be happy to know that deluxe rooms come with a King-sized bed for you and your spouse, while a rollaway bed or baby cot can be provided at no extra charge upon request. Bathrobes and slippers in kid and adult sizes are also provided in the room.
Also, babysitting services can be arranged should you be needing that extra service!
Right from the moment your children become Ritz Kids, those between the age of 4-12 are entitled to a cup of Ice Milo and Oreo Cookies at the lobby on weekends, plus they will be issued with an Ice Cream Pass which entitles them to one scoop of ice cream daily at the Pool Bar.
Also, your young ones can embark on a learning adventure with the activity book, stickers and crayons provided! Infants and toddlers will receive a set of mini bath amenities comprising of baby powder, body lotion and shower gel instead.
Want a sweeter deal? Book a staycation during your child's birthday and s/he will receive a complimentary birthday cake, an exclusive Birthday Badge and a special birthday turndown amenity!
Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
3. Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort
If you are looking for a relaxing beach staycation away from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is one spot you should be bookmarking right away.
Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is literally heaven on earth, especially in the eyes of kids. You also get direct beach access to Siloso Beach from the hotel if you're holed up there!
Boasting a myriad of water slides, a separate kids' pool, an exhilarating splash pad, a ton of activities, arcade games, an outdoor playground and jungle-themed play areas suitable for babies and toddlers, this luxurious beachfront resort is a water paradise for energetic, outdoorsy children. Nobody says the sun, sea, and sand are only for grown ups!
Should you run out of ways to tire your kids out, get them to try out the Flying Trapeze. You'll be glad to know that the you'll be returning to your calming, family-sized room that is spacious enough to accommodate two adults and two kids.
Each room comes with an attached private balcony and a view of the hills, garden, pool or sea so guests can enjoy the lush, natural surroundings.
Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa
101 Siloso Road
4. Hard Rock Hotel
Here's another family-friendly hotel located on the island of Sentosa. Littered with plenty of rock n' roll nuances, musical touches and memorabilia, the Hard Rock Hotel is especially appealing to families with tweens and teenagers who can better appreciate all these unique touches that make Hard Rock Hotel true to its name.
In case you're wondering, the rooms are done up just over-the-top enough to make staying at the Hard Rock Hotel a super fly experience unlike any other.
Although the rooms aren't as massive as some other family-friendly hotels, the pull-out beds shouldn't dock too many points off the entire staycation experience.
The huge free-form, beautifully landscaped pool in the hotel will definitely keep all water-loving children (and adults) happy while the beach bunnies can soak up the sun and play some volleyball on the private man-made beach within the hotel's compounds. How exciting!
Hard Rock Hotel
Resorts World Sentosa
8 Sentosa Gateway
5. Festive Hotel
Also situated on Sentosa island is this 5-star hotel that is big on space and fun altogether. Without a doubt, Festive Hotel has some of the best family rooms in any of the hotels in Singapore.
The humongous rooms are cleverly conceived to consist of separate areas for parents and kids, and can easily accommodate up to 5.
Some rooms come with living areas while others are structured like mini-flats. Children even get the option of sleeping on loft beds.
I would be beyond ecstatic if I were them! Additionally, Festive Hotel boasts an assortment of deluxe amenities, a kids' club, a kids' pool and it offers anything from family-friendly facilities to even babysitting services.
Strategically located next to Resorts World Sentosa, an integrated resort that houses the world's largest oceanarium, S.E.A. Aquarium™, along with Adventure Cove Waterpark™ and Universal Studios Singapore, guests will find plenty to see and do.
And if you'd prefer not to splash out on hotel food, you may want to head over to nearby VivoCity and HarbourFront Centre; the sea of food options available there are really quite breathtaking!
Resorts World Sentosa
8 Sentosa Gateway
6. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
This gem of a transit hotel is out of this world. It is too magnificent to even be categorized under the generic "transit hotel" with those drabby ones in other countries.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is a tropical paradise resort that's been conveniently plonked right next to Changi Airport Terminal 3. Did I mention that they're connected? You don't even need to drive, how convenient!
Even though the hotel itself may not be entirely child-friendly with all those fancy kids-approved activities, all that kid-friendliness that you're looking for can be found in the nearby airport terminals.
You can never forget the indoor air-conditioned playgrounds, tall slides, plethora of food and shopping options there, can you?
Honestly, tell me which kid doesn't like the cheap thrill of taking the sky trains back and forth just for the fun of it?
The experience at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is surely one that cannot be replicated elsewhere in Singapore - you get to check yourself and family into a swanky 5-star hotel complete with a strangely therapeutic view of planes taking off, landing and taxiing along the runway all day long.
Children and adults whose hearts are with the soaring planes are bound be extremely stoked! Just make sure you request a room that faces the runway, just to be safe!
Also, the beautifully landscaped swimming pool is gorgeous albeit not very child-friendly compared to some of the other hotel pools mentioned in this article. Be sure to always supervise your kids when they are frolicking in the water!
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
75 Airport Boulevard
7. Rider's Lodge
If horses, ponies and treasured family time in the lush outback is your idea of an unconventional staycation, consider Rider's Lodge.
Nestled in a colonial building in Turf City, this 40-room hotel has accompanying horse stables and keen riders can participate in horse riding lessons and trail rides.
Your little ones can even try their hand at riding adorable ponies and feeding gentle horses on weekends!
Where else can you get a laid-back staycation experience in the company of mild-natured horses in urban Singapore?
It sure doesn't hurt to breathe fresh air and stray away from the usual stressful lifestyles that we're all so accustomed to.
A word of advice - you may want to book in advance if you're interested in taking your family there for a relaxing getaway because the rooms are very limited!
If you're looking for more choices of kid-friendly activities in the vicinity, The Grandstand at Turf City is just minutes away from Rider's Lodge.
The newly revamped lifestyle mall has plenty to offer your little ones including fun-filled kids' enrichment and play options such as Bricks 4 Kidz, Kiddy Fun and Fidgets World.
100 Turf Club Road
8. D'Kranji Farm Resort
D'Kranji Farm Resort is another option that is far away from the concrete jungle of Singapore. You will fancy it if you're keen on huddling in nature's arms.
It is Singapore's first and only agritainment farm that offers its visitors a one-of-a-kind staycation experience in a farm setting.
Fret not if you're one of those who can't live without air-conditioning, because the villas overlooking the Kranji countryside are fully air-conditioned.
Isn't it heartening to see your precious kids wonder and marvel at nature's creations instead of glaring iPad screens?
I reckon it makes an enriching experience for them young city dwellers to explore the on-site fruit and vegetable farms and learn about the various fruits and plants that are unique to Singapore, too!
With its unique drive-through check in/out reception, visiting D'Kranji for a family retreat is a breeze.
Take your little ones to the Fishing Village to teach them a thing or two about fishing and prawning.
Note that equipment rental charges apply! Also, if your kids would like to embark on even more exploration, the Hay Dairies Goat Farm and Jurong Frog Farm are also a short drive away.
D'Kranji Farm Resort
10 Neo Tiew Lane 2
9. D'Resort @ Downtown East
Located far away from the busy city precinct, this considerably new establishment at Downtown East provides a refreshing, fuss-free respite for families and children.
D'Resort @ Downtown East is Singapore's first nature-inspired resort with an integrated Wild Wild Wet water park experience.
From complementary activities at eXplorerkid to child-friendly and elderly-friendly amenities, their family-oriented rooms are designed with every family member in mind.
Children would love the themed family rooms offered where you get to pick from the Amazonian Jungle or Underwater themed rooms. They also have one room specially designed with an M&M's theme!
Parents will definitely be pleased to know that your LinkPoints can be used to offset the costs of many activities at Downtown East!
A special kids' check-in counter, welcome pack and a specially-prepared treasure box full of surprises are some extra touches to keep your little ones bubbly and excited.
Additionally, if attractions remain closed for more than 30 minutes due to rain, they'll re-validate tickets for use within the next 60 days.
*Note: eXplorerkid is closed for renovation from 12 Oct 2015 to 31 Mar 2016
D'Resort @ Downtown East
1 Pasir Ris Close
10. Swissotel Merchant Court
The Swissotel at Merchant Court has bedrooms that are specifically tailored for kids. Each child-friendly bedroom is beautifully furnished with bright bed linen, age-appropriate toys, DVDs, books and games.
In case you're wondering, the kids' rooms are sub-categorized according to ages 0-5 for babies and toddlers, ages 6-12 for young children, and ages 13-17 for teenagers.
Each kid's room includes family-friendly amenities and a range of entertainment options that the entire family can enjoy together.
The idyllic swimming pool equipped with water slides and a wading area is especially popular with children!
If you ever need a temporary nanny, the hotel offers babysitting services at a small fee.
Parents should also be very pleased to know that the delightful kids' room is adjoint to theirs, so that makes it so much easier for you to keep an eye on your children. And if you want some privacy with your spouse, all you need is to click the lock!
*Note: The Swissotel Merchant Court is currently undergoing refurbishment on weekdays between 9am-6pm, except public holidays. Guest facilities including their resort-style pool and 24-hours gym remain fully operational.
Swissotel Merchant Court
20 Merchant Road
**All information is accurate as of 12 Nov 2015.
This article was originally published on GET.com, a lifestyle and personal finance website, at: GET.com‘s 10 Incredible Kid-Friendly Staycation Venues In Singapore
Are you looking for cheap ways to have fun with your kids? Even though Singapore has a pretty high cost of living, letting your kids have fun beyond the gates at home or the playground downstairs doesn't mean you it has to cost a bomb. FYI, handing your child mobile devices so that he can spend the bulk of his time playing handphone games or staring at Youtube videos just doesn't make the cut. Your kids surely deserve better.
Here are 4 fun kids' activities under $20 we at GET.com have shortlisted for you. We've also taken the liberty to throw one bonus point in there too. Take your kids out and weave in some fun elements for them already!
4 Fun Kids' Activities Under $20 (+ 1 Bonus Point)
1. Have A Splashing Good Time At The Children's Garden
Did you know that hidden in the heart of our bustling Central Business District sits this amazing play area that all children would love?
At the Far East Organization Children's Garden in Gardens By The Bay, your little ones can have a whale of a time engaging in interactive play delights, educational programmes in a lush environment and even splash some water to cool themselves off under the sun, all at no cost!
The Children's Garden is a huge playground designed with the aim of enhancing the physical and cognitive abilities of the little ones through sensory playtime elements. There's a toddler play zone, rainforest tree houses, water play area and an amphitheatre with a covered canopy. The Children's Garden is closed on Mondays, so do check out their official site for more details!
2. Visit The Fire Station
This may not be your typical idea of fun but why not take your kids out to the Fire Station Open House that is open every Saturday from 9am-11am if they've always wondered what firefighters do to respond speedily to fire and rescue calls or always wanted to experience riding the Red Rhino?
Your little ones and you get to learn more about our SCDF, their mission as the life saving force, the roles and functions of fire stations and more!
This thrilling experience may even get your kids clamoring to spray water hoses or take a ride up the ladder! No prior registration is required for groups comprising less than 10 persons, so all you have to do is to do a walk-in as visitors to any of SCDF's fire stations (except Jurong Island Fire Station). For more information, visit their official site here.
3. Bask In The Intriguing World Of Science
We certainly can't leave out a mention of Singapore's Science Centre. Singapore's Science Centre is an excellent place for kids to discover and learn while not compromising on fun elements!
Jam-packed with intriguing interactive exhibits, you can be sure that your little ones will be having fun with all things hands-on! There are plenty of galleries with over 1000 individual exhibits, so I guess you'll have to plan return trips if your little ones want to explore all of them.
Cost: Free during off-peak days. During peak days it costs $6 for Singaporean/PR adults and $4 for children.
4. Let Your Kids Go Wild With Their Creativity
Catering to children between the ages of 1 to 12, Playeum is a unique, hands-on, centric, non-profit organisation that champions children through creativity and play. Nestled in Gillman Barracks, it is natural that the activities found here are specially designed to encourage creative open-ended, exploratory learning and play alongside all things with an artsy slant.
If your little ones have a flair for all things related to the arts, this Children's Centre for Creativity is a great place for them to unleash their potential.
Cost: $20 for a child (aged 1–12); free for accompanying adult; $10 for additional accompanying adult. Annual memberships are also available.
BONUS #1: Reward Your Little Ones With A Day Out With Adorable Dolphins
Not only are dolphins clever and adorable, they are one of the most fascinating marine mammals of our vast oceans! If your little ones have a big heart for dolphins, you should definitely give them the opportunity to mingle and interact with the magnificent Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Island. This wonderful experience will surely be an unforgettable one for your kids and you, don't you think so?
With a myriad of dolphin interaction programmes ranging from one that lets your kids get up-close with the dolphins without getting into the water (i.e. Dolphin Encounter) to one that lets them swim with the beautiful dolphins in the lagoon (i.e. Dolphin Adventure), your little ones have the option to pick whichever they like most!
Even though these programmes aren't the cheapest, a memorable yet enriching experience should be worthwhile, right? Plus, all dolphin interaction programmes come with a one-day pass to Adventure Cove Waterpark!
We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve had many a day where we haven’t had a clue how to keep our munchkins entertained. The amazing thing about Singapore however is that it’s positively teeming with things to do.
This article was originally published on Sassy Mama Singapore, a lifestyle and personal finance website, at: 50 Things to Do with Kids in Singapore before They Grow Up
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