Feeling at home at Playeum

June hols. A period in which parents get all busy because there are simply too many places to visit and things to do. We are just entering into June and had visited the Singapore Art Museum, Gallery Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery, Faber-Castell’s Art Festival, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Dino Robot Factory at the Science Centre, Singapore Book Fair and then Playeum.

Playeum launched its fourth interactive exhibition ‘Making It Home: Dreaming Rooms, Making Spaces, Creating Places’ and it will be held from 16 May to 29 October.

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‘Making It Home’ is designed for children ages 1-12 and celebrates the home as a source of creativity, artistry and thinking. The spaces are transformed into different ‘rooms’, each with a different purpose and opportunities to explore and experiment. And these were exactly what our children did.

This is Dan who went straight to The Central Space to create connections using the pipes that we so commonly see in our homes. I just stood there and marvelled at how simple things like this could captivate a young boy.

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Then there is The Bedroom where dreams and drama co-exist. There were textiles that the children could use to transform themselves and engage in make-believe play. Faith dressed herself up as a superhero and roped me in. As if this wasn’t enough, there were two mini slides which my two kids had much fun with.

It’s funny how the kids could spend a good amount of time in this space alone. Oh, the wonders of creativity!

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The Store-y Room, a dark, slightly scary space that stores odd and sometimes discarded items.

The Future Living Room.

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This is the Laundry Room where our kids were trying to figure out how it works. There were different types of textiles and I thought this made for a good sensory lesson for Dan. There was this spinning fan that Dan could explore since the ones at home were out of bounds for him!

Here, the children can explore the world of laundry and cloth through weaving and peg-play.

The Kitchen, a space which I like and at Playeum, it’s the kids’ favourite too. They could use a variety of materials such as sand, magnets and kitchen instruments to engage and focus on sensory play.

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This is the girl’s favourite spot.

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Exploration extends to the real herbs growing just outside.

Have I convinced you enough that this year’s exhibition is mighty good? This has got to be my favourite. Perhaps, it’s because I like the homey feel? Perhaps, I could relate to the materials and segments of the rooms? Or perhaps, it’s because my kids were truly engaged, even for our toddler who normally could not stay focussed for more than a few minutes. I really love to see him so engrossed with the materials!

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The exhibition ends on 29 October. There’s ample time for you to consider making a trip down!

A World Full of Stories @ Playeum

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A World Full of Stories. How does that sound to you? This is Playeum’s current hands-on exhibition that is designed for children aged 1 to 12 years old. The exhibition provides environments and installations in which children can create their own stories and is certainly a space where they could let their imagination run wild.

Faith and I went down to take a look and I regretted not bringing Dan along.

Spaces within the exhibition

Story Cubes. From far, this space looks like a maze that is made up of cube-shaped structures. The surfaces or panels are magnetic and this provides for opportunities for story-making using the materials that are found in the boxes. The children could pin the pictures onto the panel and create their own story. At the end of the maze is a book corner that is filled with some of the best story books for children. So, grab a book and let your imagination run wild. There’s even a tent where the children can relax in as they read.

Creative use of the Story Cubes by Faith includes playing peek-a-boo, police and thief and …story-telling.

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Chalk Wall. I personally was enticed by this chalk wall. I mean, how often do you find such a wall nowadays? I got Faith over to draw a thing or two, to add on to the landscape that is drawn by cartoonist Cleo Ding.

 

Story Caves. One is a multi-sensory cave which appeals to younger children and the other is a Listen and Speak cave which encourages children to experiment with sound tubes, speaking cups, and echo-distortion mechanisms. Makes me think of my Science lessons during Primary School days. Faith had fun with the sound tubes and yes, you do need to get down on your feet to enjoy this space with them.

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Sandplay. Kinetic sand seems to be a hit with most children. They spent their time building sandcastles and decorating them with shells and pebbles. Faith was going on for about 30 minutes until I had to urge her to move on.

 

The Story Raft. A hit with boys especially, this space encourages children to play ‘being at sea’ on a bamboo and rope raft with a flag-flying mast and rudder for steering. Children could also craft their own sea creatures and enjoy art activities to create their own marine environment.

Using chalk and water to paint on the glass door. Create a marine environment. Under the sea, under the sea.

Story Writing. So I wish Faith could pen a story. Fact is, she couldn’t. However, that did not stop her from attempting to write and post a letter. She was really focused on her task and spent much time writing letters and posting it in the end, hoping that the recipient would get it soon. Play-pretend at its best.

Puppet Making. There is a large space devoted to play making. Here, children are encouraged to create puppets using found and recycled materials. Children could make their own hand-puppets, finger puppets, spoon puppets, whatever, and after completing it, could even use them in a puppet show.

Faith loves craftwork and we really did spend quite a lot of time here, from choosing materials to working on a puppet. While the kid works, take a breather and be amazed by what they can create.

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We didn’t manage to play ‘dress up’ even though we have been in Playeum for two hours. I reckoned it would be a tad challenging for a 4YO to make her own costume for a fantasy character and discarded the idea. I could only imagine the fun older kids could have with the sewing machines and the hot glue gun in creating their own unique costumes.

We didn’t manage to listen to stories read by some of Singapore’s finest storytellers at The Dark Space. This space showcases a specially commissioned storytelling film, where each of the five storytellers will be orating a story from a specific culture. Faith was in it for a few minutes and went out, obviously attracted by the other stations.

A World Full of Stories exhibition opens to the public from 15 November 2016 until 30 April 2017. For a list of holiday programmes, please refer to this.

Playeum
Blk 47 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444

Hideaways – Creating With Nature @ Playeum

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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.

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Hideaways – Creating With Nature features six installations which provide an interdisciplinary and engaging experience for the children and adults alike.

Creature Cave

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.

Make-believe Hideaway

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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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Playeum | Children’s Centre for Creativity
Blk 47, Gillman Barracks
Singapore 109444

Opening Times
Tuesday – Sunday
10am-6pm

For full line-up of programmes, do visit http://www.playeum.com/#!programmes/ckx1