Are you looking for fun and educational things for kids to do outside of school? It could be trampolining, dance, drama or coding. Or do they need a boost in math or Mandarin? To help you choose, we asked some parents about enrichment classes and activities for kids that their children love.
Children’s enrichment classes at EdLab
Catherine and Dimuth Fernando, American; Nevan (5)
We learned about EdLab from our friends who sent their children there and were happy about it. They have classes in Chinese and that was appealing to us as we wanted Nevan to learn Mandarin. He’s been attending classes at the centre since the beginning of 2020.
Nevan enjoys both the STEAM and the Chinese Rapid Word Recognition (CRWR) programmes. The STEAM programme allows children to have hands-on activities to discover science. Nevan often talks about the science experiments he does. For example, he once built a beam bridge using paper and dominos. Another time, he told us about a geodesic dome building they made out of straws. He’s always amazed by what he has learnt at school! The CRWR programme allows children to develop their knowledge of the Chinese language in a fun and active way. Our son is also making good progress in Chinese because the lessons are enjoyable and fun for children to understand. We love to hear him singing songs in Chinese!
We’d recommend these programmes to others. Nevan respects and listens to his teachers at the centre and likes them very much. The teachers are caring, loving and actively supporting his development in their respective subjects.
Activities for kids at Newtonshow
Jaime Lee, Singaporean; Justin (11), Charmaine (9), Julian (7) and Caleb (5)
With no overseas trips and nothing much to look forward to during the six-week year-end holiday last year, I came across Newtonshow. It’s an international science camp that was started in Europe in 2011 by a couple whose little boy was interested in science.
My kids were able to join the almost sold-out Harry Potter Science School (one of the three Christmas camps) on the first week of the school holidays. It’s targeted at ages three to 13 years, the perfect range for my kids to attend a camp together for the first time. Each day, they were totally immersed in the world of Harry Potter and also dabbled in many science experiments to pique their curious minds. I thought it may be a tad boring for our oldest son but he was most excited to see the science experiments as he can make sense of it more than the rest. He made many new friends in his age group, too.
The children had wonderful memories of this holiday camp, believing they’d graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (they also received certificates of completion and passed their O.W.L. examination)! They also forged friendships with campmates and the engaging professors and facilitators.
Boutique Education’s enrichment classes for kids
Maria and Dino Rinaldi, Swiss/Cypriot/South African and Swiss/Italian; Michele (15)
Our son Michele has been attending mathematics and English classes with Boutique Education since October 2018. I (Maria) got to know about them through Seasoned Singapore Expat Women (SSEW) on Facebook. They came highly recommended and as I was looking for tutors, I called them to find out more. Their professionalism, understanding of our needs (not a one-size-fits-all approach) and willingness to support the overall development of our son was what made us decide to sign up with them.
We’ve had an excellent experience thus far. Their tutoring approach is developed according to the needs of the child, and the tutors work with school teachers and provide the support required to further develop skills. Sessions are structured according to what Michele needs or requires for that particular week or school assignment. Our son has two amazing tutors Adam and Sandy who he enjoys working with. They have expertise and energy, and they make learning fun. They’re great at engaging Michele, and helping him see goals by enabling him with skills required to achieve them. They’ve taken time to get to know him and support him with his overall schooling experience. He has developed a connection with both of them and they’ve been great for his confidence.
We’d definitely recommend Boutique Education to others. The tutors are open and provide the support required. They have an amazing team, from administration to teaching and overall support of children’s needs.
Kids’ activities at BOUNCE Singapore
Jennie Ward, British
My twin boys signed up for Flight Academy* at BOUNCE Singapore with their friends. They’ve loved it so much that they are now onto their third term of trampoline classes at the park! Our nine-year-old boys were constantly attempting to do tricks while at home but now they’re able to do them while being supervised by trained professionals at BOUNCE (plus, they can enjoy a softer landing!).
One of our boys struggled slightly with his confidence in academics at school. Since joining Flight Academy, he has excelled more than the other children attending; in turn, his school work has made dramatic improvement. His school teachers have all commented that his confidence has shot up after he started attending the Academy. A huge thank-you to all the coaches for this!
*The programme caters to all skill levels, aiming to help children develop correct technique from the get-go so that they can pick up more advanced skills safely. Participants receive dedicated instruction from coaches as well as have their own time to independently practise on trampolines and other equipment
Dance classes for kids at Centre Stage
Kai Schneider and Dipti Thakar, Swedish and British; Anika-Kira (6) and India-Rose (3)
My eldest daughter was very keen on learning ballet, and her school (Tanglin Trust School) recommended Centre Stage. The proximity to the school as well as how it follows the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, a London-based children’s ballet training programme, convinced me (Dipti) to send her there. Anika and Indi have been attending for over two years and almost five months respectively.
Anika started with ballet class but now also attends Popstars and Creative Drama. Her classical ballet class offers structure and motivation and has nurtured in her a real love for ballet. In Popstars, she enjoys contemporary music and dance, learning choreography, improving rhythm and increasing confidence in performing. Creative Drama is wonderful at allowing Anika to enjoy an improvisational form of drama where she can enact scenes from literature. Indi has been attending Ballet Tots, a parent and toddler class. I’ve witnessed incredible improvement in her confidence, musicality and participation.
I asked my girls what they enjoyed the most and their responses were “I love dancing and performing!” (Anika) and “I love doing pirouettes!” (India). The teachers are professionally trained performers and the classes are taught at a high level of excellence. They gently encourage the children to flourish at their own pace while ensuring steady improvement. It’s a wonderful environment for children to learn and enjoy the arts.
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Coding Classes at Coding Lab
Richard Goodman and Winnie Lee, Americans; Kiraley (7) and Daring (5)
We heard about Coding Lab from online parenting and expat forums – members recommended it as a good place for young children to start experiencing coding. Both our children have started at Coding Lab; Kiraley just finished Scratch 1 classes, which she loved, and is moving on to Scratch 2. Daring recently completed all the modular intro coding classes for preschool age (4-6 years); we intend to progress him further.
Our children have really enjoyed the classes they’ve taken. They look forward to their classes each week – our daughter is especially excited to visit. They’re also happy to share their learning experience after each session and it’s obvious that they want to do more. That’s a great testimony to the engagement and interest that the class content and teachers generate for the young students.
We also like that the Coding Lab uses relatively easy-to-use programs that are intuitive for the children. They can quickly feel accomplished in their learning and have fun in the process too.
The class sizes are good and the children get sufficient attention from the instructors. The most impactful endorsement comes from the excitement the children have to attend their weekly classes, while also clearly learning more of the early fundamentals of coding along the way.
Indoor activities for kids at Kiztopia
Shahitha Nachiar, Singaporean; Muhammad Aqil Mateen (5) and Muhammad Aqmal Mikael (3)
My children especially love playing at the ball pits and Raby’s Pit at Kiztopia. I’ve noticed that at most of the indoor playgrounds we go to, the boys like to play with something physical instead of just climbing around; they’re more interested in hands-on activities.
The difference between Kiztopia and other playgrounds we’ve visited in Singapore is that the space is much bigger and there’s a variety of play areas that cater to many ages. They’re able to entertain toddlers and even children all the way to about 10 years old. It’s one of the best indoor playgrounds we’ve been to and I’d recommend it to other families. I like that there are different types of activities for the children to choose from, including spots to jump and climb around at. When we visit Kiztopia, we usually let the kids in on their own to play.
The boys have enjoyed their playtime here and with reduced capacity and safe distancing, the park is also less crowded and more spacious. We hope that they’ll keep to having a fixed number of visitors per time slot so that the children have more space to roam around and play.
Performers Ballet Academy’s dance classes for children
Vanessa and Ash Raivadera, British; Isabel (14)
We’ve known Teacher Liliana for a number of years and we approached her when Performers Ballet Academy opened, as it felt natural for Isabel (Isi). Isi’s been attending the academy for about three years and really enjoys the classes. She’s currently taking Ballet Technique, Intermediate Ballet and Grade 8 Ballet classes.
Isi started dancing when she was about four or five and has never looked back – even now, she can always be found spinning and twirling! While ballet classes are technical and sometimes challenging, Isi describes it as a good type of challenge and finds a sense of achievement in nailing her double pirouettes or splits, for example. She has progressed through the Royal Academy of Dance grades with Performers Ballet Academy and is now preparing for her Grade 8 and Intermediate level exams. The good technical foundation she’s picked up from Teacher Liliana has also helped her in her other types of dance. Beyond techniques and exams, Isi enjoys the camaraderie of class and the opportunity to perform in annual showcases and competitions.
We’d definitely recommend dance with Teacher Liliana. Our experience with her shows that it’s possible for kids to have fun learning ballet, while making good friends and learning strong technical skills. The academy is able to cater to differing abilities and help develop each dancer’s potential.
Coding enrichment classes at SG Code Campus
Tina and Napoleon, Australian and Singaporean; Jordan (17), Cameron (12) and Imogen (10)
I (Tina) learnt about SG Code Campus by doing an internet search. Jordan was interested in getting involved in competitive programming and SG Code Campus offered a course in this. Cameron was also interested in learning more after doing an App Inventor 1 course at another coding school. Jordan has been attending SG Code Campus since January 2020 and Cameron did his first camp with them in March. Imogen hopes to start Junior Python 1 classes this year.
Both boys love their classes. Jordan has weekly online classes in app development while Cameron has attended two Junior Python holiday camps and is doing weekly Junior Python 3 classes. The teachers are very knowledgeable; they’re passionate and their explanations are very clear. Jordan likes problem-solving and he loves to learn. With SG Code Campus, the sky’s the limit. As he already has quite a bit of coding knowledge, his teacher gives him the flexibility to learn other things that he’s interested in. Cameron feels that the teachers are very kind and patient, and the classes are really fun. His classes are more structured than Jordan’s as he’s working through a specific curriculum. Both boys feel like they’ve learnt so much and they’re always full of excitement at the end of class because of the knowledge they’ve acquired.
I’d highly recommend SG Code Campus because the teachers are passionate and kind, and make coding really fun. They’re highly qualified and cater to students’ needs to help them achieve their goals.
Strider Coaching’s sessions for kids
Jas Foo-Phillips and Chris Phillips, Singaporean and Australian; Xavier (9) and Lucas (8)
Xavier has completed eight sessions in the Ace-It Mindset programme with Strider Coaching. We were searching for a coach to assist us with Xavier’s reluctance to open up about his feelings and frustrations. He didn’t have the motivation to study or pay attention to his work at school. We wanted him to understand that doing his homework and focusing on his studies were for himself and not only to keep us happy.
The sessions were carried out face-to-face online once a week in small groups (maximum five). The kids really enjoyed the sessions; they were kept engaged with graphics and stories that the coach used to explain the different topics. They also did exercises to practice and test out the new skills they’d learnt. We received feedback from Xavier’s coach that helped us to understand his progress. Xavier has since opened up and has dedicated more effort towards his studies. When he learnt that the programme was coming to an end, he was even a little disappointed.
The personal attention to our concerns and the feedback from the coach were paramount in the development of our child. We would not hesitate to send Xavier back in the future. We’d like to thank Coach Anna for her time and patience.
Dance activities for kids at The Graceful Swan
Yuko Matsukawa and JD Artarit, Japanese and French; Kenjiro (9) and Miwako (6)
I (Yuko) was looking for a ballet class for my daughter Miwako (Mimi) to attend. My friend’s nine-year-old daughter was already attending Ms Evelyn’s ballet class and she highly recommended her lesson. Mimi has been attending for about 20 months now. During the Circuit Breaker period, she attended classes via Zoom but is now happily back in the studio with her classmates.
Ms Evelyn is very good at teaching little girls (they often talk about random things or ask her questions). Not only are her dance moves graceful, but she also communicates well with children. She’s gentle and the children love her, enjoy dancing with her and following her elegant movements. At home, Mimi will show us new poses or moves that she’s learnt from time to time. I’m very happy to see my little girl learning the beautiful art of ballet with joy; she loves seeing her classmates and learning all the new poses, especially the swan pose.
I’d recommend others to go there for sure; it’s nice to see children enjoy dancing and the annual dance recital is amazing! My daughter took part in last year’s performance and she loved being on stage. She’s looking forward to another performance when we can have ballet recitals again.
The Mandarin Academy’s enrichment classes
Grace Kenrick, British; Sean (8) and Eloise (7)
The Mandarin Academy was recommended by some of our friends whose children love the teachers there. After attending a trial class, we decided to send our children too. It’s amazing to see how they ask to go for Mandarin classes every day – literally!
Both Sean and Eloise are attending the academy’s weekly programmes and they also attended the December holiday camp last year. Our older one goes for lessons twice a week, while the younger one has them once a week. The classes focus on all four language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing – and the teachers make it so fun and applicable for them! We also love that The Mandarin Academy is very different from commercial enrichment centres, focusing on the children and differentiated learning. The teachers are all trained and certified school teachers, their methodologies are efficient and they are so responsive to parents. I love receiving frequent updates about how my children are progressing too. Most importantly, we’re happy they enjoy the lessons and nothing beats that!
We’d recommend others to join the academy. We’ve tried several Mandarin learning schools and this is the one that our children ask to go back to.
We hope you found this interesting; click here if you’d like to read more about kids.
This article first appeared in the January 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!