One of our favourite outdoor weekend spots is Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
Okay, to be exact, we’ve only been to the water playground at the Pond Gardens (formerly known as Bishan Park 1). Because exploring all 62 hectares of the park – one of the largest in Singapore – with two small kids is QUITE. A. FEAT.
The playground is designed as a series of shallow water channels criss-crossing the play area, reminiscent of a natural river plain. Children can manoeuvre the sluice gates within each channel to control the flow of water. Floating fallen leaves or paper boats down the channels makes for a good lesson in the ebb and flow movements of streams and rivers. Older children may enjoy arranging the movable “rocks” in different positions to experiment with how various permutations affect the flow of water.
Nonetheless, if you’re only a year-old tyke like Claire, you can still find amazement in sitting and gawking at leaves gliding swiftly on their watery journey downstream.
Our family likes going out on the weekend.
To put it more accurately, we parents can’t bear the thought of being marooned at home for two full days or squeezing with the weekend crowd at the neighbourhood malls. Plus, visiting shopping centres on the weekend means that there’s a high propensity to spend money on toys and sweet treats or be faced with screaming meltdowns from two tiny tyrants – unless we can distract or cajole them out of it.
So in January this year, we embarked on a small family project titled ‘Going Public’, where we visit outdoor community spaces. Our outings cover places of varying scale, from simple neighbourhood playgrounds to scenic viewpoints like Henderson Waves.
In this series titled The Great Outdoors, we will be featuring an outdoor destination in each supplement, along with our assessment of each place’s suitability for small children, the programmes and activities available, and visit highlights.
Before introducing our first play destination in the next entry in this series, we would like to share some tips on planning an outdoor outing (many of which are learning points from our own experiences with less-than-successful outings!)
- Be On The Lookout
Dry on ideas on where to go? Sign up for e-bulletins and updates from various event organisers. NParks has a quarterly e-newsletter and a list of upcoming nature activities on their What’s On page. You can also sign up to be on their mailing list and have regular park updates sent straight to your Inbox. Facebook is also an easy and convenient source of event news from various interest groups e.g. The Nature Society of Singapore, walking groups, cycling enthusiasts, pet-lovers groups.
My family, we love our weekend breakfasts. Doesn’t matter if it’s Asian food or Western fare, we take our first meal of the day very, VERY seriously.
Actually, we take ALL our meals very seriously. But never mind about that.
Anyway, one Saturday morning, we made our way down to The Bank Bar + Bistro for breakfast. It was ridiculously bright and early, we reached the eatery at a previously unearthly hour of 830am. Want to turn over a new leaf and become the early bird? HAVE A CHILD.
I had first heard of The Bank from Corsage many months back, when she first visited. It was filed in my brains as a “to visit” but given how leaky my memory has been since Aidan was born, I promptly forgot about it. Recently, Zee wrote about visiting it with her littles and it triggered my memory. Told husband about it in passing, who then surprised me by making a reservation for the following weekend.
When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised by how child-friendly the restaurant was. The table was equipped with a highchair, colouring paper and a cup full of colour pencils to keep Mr A occupied. There was also a playroom filled with toys, a TV and sofas. And, most impressively, we were informed by the staff that kids get to eat for free on weekends (one free child’s meal for every adult main course ordered).
YAY! I DON’T HAVE TO SHARE MY FOOD WITH MY KID!
Papa showing Aidan his homework
I love food. I love eating delicious food. And, more importantly, I love spending time with my loved ones over a meal.
Typical Singaporean, eh?
So recently, we had the chance to check out the food at Miam Miam‘s newest outlet at Westgate Mall. (Sidenote: I’m so jealous of the Westies! Westgate Mall is so, so hip.) Call me suaku but I hadn’t heard of the restaurant before this. I know, I know, I am so not cool.
Miam Miam bills itself as a “French cafe with a Japanese twist” and promises that all its dishes are made from scratch and served fresh. On the Monday evening that we were there, we were rather surprised to see the long queue that had formed outside the restaurant.
The restaurant has a very warm and cosy ambience: think cushy sofa seats, warm lighting and wooden furniture. It’s a little like Muji, but with colours. And done in a very French sort of way.
Our party of four adults and three toddlers (I always enjoy the WHAAAAT looks on the faces of the wait staff when we ask for a table and shudder at the mess we leave behind) shared four mains and two desserts. And we practically rolled out of the restaurant after dinner.
Photo from Miam Miam