Playeum, Singapore’s first Children’s Centre for Creativity opens its second hands-on exhibition for children on 16 April until 30 October. Entitled Hideaways – Creating With Nature, the exhibition and accompanying programmes offer an immersive environment for children to explore, observe, construct, reflect, innovate and engage with nature and natural materials through hands-on exhibits and interactive artists’ installations.
Hideaways – Creating With Nature features six installations which provide an interdisciplinary and engaging experience for the children and adults alike.
This cave structure features animal sound pads and a range of textures and lights.Infants and toddlers will revel in exploring this multi-sensory cave through using their whole bodies, eyes and ears.
This installation invites children to experience playing with clay and building imaginary habitats inspired by nature, resulting in a collaborative installation.
At this juncture, I would like to comment about the facilitators who help to guide the children through the various installations. Faith was really shy when she first stepped into the exhibition area. She was befriended by one of these kind and caring facilitators who walked her through the various stations. In the end, she warmed up and could really enjoy the whole experience.
Welcome to my World
At this station, children can imagine a world where they are as small as an insect in an immersive installation that presents the insect environment on a giant scale. Kids are encouraged to construct shelters, which will grow throughout the exhibition’s duration, while exploring sights and sounds through the eyes and ears of insects.
Faith skipped this installation after being inducted to it for a mere few minutes. Perhaps, she couldn’t imagine herself to be a small insect or maybe she doesn’t know how to construct using the materials involved? She lost interest quite quickly.
Knock, Knock! Who lives there?
This has got to be our favourite station. We were introduced to the artist – Isabelle Desjeux – who created this installation and she shared with us her concept. Here, children can view insects and other creatures in their natural habitats through special surveillance screens.
They could also examine the creepy crawlies using a microscope and perhaps unleash their talents in drawing by sketching the creatures on the materials provided.
Science lesson in progress. It’s such a delight to see Faith observing the animals and plants in their natural habitats and because we were not limited by time constraint, she could have the time and space to learn about and understand the fascinating lives of ants, worms and other creatures. This station certainly appeals to me as well and I thought the older kids would benefit much from this as well.
Sounds of Earth – Nature’s Ensemble
This is an interactive sound installation where children can create and build musical instruments with natural materials. These will be attached to a skeletal structure that will grow throughout the exhibition’s duration, culminating in an immersive musical extravaganza.
This baby boy was engaged by these natural materials too. Sensory play in action.
The last station is The Dark Space which is a sound web installation. Children can enjoy kinetic artwork and exciting hands-on activities int his changing space. However, this space is really dark and Faith was a tad frightened as she entered it.
The recommended duration for Hideaways- Creating with Nature is about 2 hours but we went beyond that and left after 2 1/2 hours. We could have stayed longer but dark clouds were looming and it was threatening to rain. I was surprised that the kids could be engaged throughout and went about exploring on their own (together with the facilitator). Granted that Faith wasn’t interested in every of the stations but she was totally captivated by three of them and that was sufficient.
Hideaways-Creating with Nature has done well in inviting children to play with nature, based on our experience, and hopefully it has helped the little ones to appreciate the natural world.
The best time to visit Playeum, IMHO, is during noon time or in the afternoon. We were told that the peak period is in the morning since there could be school visits. So, do drop by if you want to spend more time at Playeum.
Playeum is suitable for children ages between 1 and 12 years old. The admission prices is $20 per child/parent pair but additional adult will have to pay $10 per person. Playeum charges for entry to ensure the sustainability of the centre’s operations. It does not receive any core funding and is reliant on a funding mix from admissions, grants, sponsorship and donations. This collective income enables the organisation to continue to engage artists, involve quality facilitators and provide innovative programmes to all families and children.
Playeum | Children’s Centre for Creativity
Blk 47, Gillman Barracks
Tuesday – Sunday
For full line-up of programmes, do visit http://www.playeum.com/#!programmes/ckx1