Are you looking for fun and educational things for your kids to do outside of school? It could be trampolining, dance, football, swimming, drama or music. Or do they need a boost in maths or Mandarin? To help you choose, we asked some parents about enrichment classes and activities their kids love.
#1 Enjoy some trampoline time
Amanda Wong and Ben Moo, Australian; Chloe (7), Charlotte (3) and Jacob (1)
We first discovered BOUNCE when we were living in Adelaide. Chloe went many times, including to birthday parties. When we moved to Singapore, we were so happy to find out that BOUNCE is here too! We live in the Orchard area so it’s easy for us to walk to. We decided to take the kids there because they love jumping on trampolines and it’s a safe, fun and well-organised place for the kids, and there are many options for jumping.
Both Chloe and Charlotte have been going since we moved here in January 2019 (Charlotte once she turned three). They attended Tramp Camp during the April holidays and both loved it. The instructors are amazing and kind, making the girls feel welcome every time. Other than that, we just go there whenever we get a chance. Often we have BOUNCE play dates with friends after school and during the school holidays.
The girls love running and climbing up the wall trampoline and sliding down it. They also love jumping down the long trampoline and jumping into the foam pit. Because they attended Tramp Camp, they had a go at X-Park too (they’re too small to go on it during a normal session). They’re now desperate to grow and get back in there!
In all, it’s great exercise for the kids – much better than sitting at home in front of the TV or iPad. I love that the girls get tired out while I can relax, knowing the staff are keeping an eye on them. Parents can sit, have a coffee and chat with friends.
#09-01 Cineleisure, 8 Grange Road
#2 Explore the great outdoors
Marilisa Busatta and Olivier Parriaud, French/Italian; Chiara-Lou (17), Indiana (15) and Marcello (9)
Stephanie, who set up Forest Adventure, was a parent at the French school back in 2007 when we arrived in Singapore for our second stay. She used to drive her three children to school in a bright yellow minivan with the Forest Adventure logo painted on it – great advertising!
All three of our children have had a few birthday parties organised there over the past 10 years. The last one was for Marcello’s ninth birthday in September. It was the first time we got to experience the new Junior Course, which the kids as well as the accompanying adults really enjoyed.
We love the venue (Bedok Reservoir Park), the welcoming and smiling staff – they’re so patient with the kids, so a big thumbs up to them for that – and being able to set up a nice birthday table under the trees. We usually try to book a slot in the late afternoon to avoid the heat, but also to enjoy the sunset at the reservoir, which is always stunning! The big plus now is the Junior Course that caters to older kids.
I would definitely recommend Forest Adventure, and I have done that over the years. The kids have so much fun doing outdoor activities and finishing the course. And the zipline above the water is always the highlight of their experience!
#3 Learn the lingo
Carol and Tony Hall, American/Singaporean; Tyler (12) and twins Sadie and Isla (10)
We first heard about Little Mandarins back in 2007 and 2008 through Expat Living magazine, I believe. We did a trial class (Moms & Tots) when Tyler was about two. After I became pregnant with the twins, we relocated to Europe for a couple of years. Since moving back to Singapore, we enrolled all three kids in 2015 once we were fully settled. Tyler is currently attending Stepping Stones 3, while the girls are in Stepping Stones 1.
My kids enjoy the lessons as they are taught new topics often (about one topic a month), keeping it fresh and interesting. The kids have no problems remembering past lessons, and the learning complements their international school curriculum. In fact, the centre teaches topics beyond what they learn in school, which is great.
The teachers are very helpful and personable. My kids enjoy doing the quizzes and love learning through games. No homework is given and that’s a plus as they already have tons to do from school. We also love the location with its ample parking, and quiet and tranquil surroundings. The classrooms are spacious and there is a low student-teacher ratio. Ms Shirley is great at looking out for the kids if we’re running late for pick-ups, ensuring they don’t leave without prior notice from parents. Jaime and her staff are always prompt in responding to queries and feedback, trying their best to accommodate our needs. The centre is also flexible in make-up classes if we’ve missed one.
#01-03/04, Block 71 Loewen Road little-mandarins.com
#4 Play an instrument like a pro
Liza and Jim Rowan, Irish and Scottish; Callum (16) and Declan (14)
We’ve been in Singapore for over eight years, having moved here from Toronto. Our older son Callum has been taking guitar lessons for a few years, and Jennifer was recommended to us by his teacher. Initially, Jennifer came to our home to teach Declan on his electric drum set, and when she opened up Ritmo Studio later, we decided to take the lessons there so Declan could practice on a real drum kit for his exams. We’ve since purchased a real kit so there’s lots of noise in our house!
Declan has been taking lessons at the studio since it opened. I (Liza) also decided to take up piano again after many years, focusing on rock and pop this time as opposed to classical. Declan and I attend weekly private lessons at the studio; we have our lessons at the same time, which is very convenient. We’ve also played together, along with Callum, in a few of the student performances that Ritmo hosts.
It’s great that Declan can focus on the music that he enjoys while preparing for Rock and Pop exams through Trinity College in London. Learning how to read and enjoy music is a privilege and gives the boys a focus other than school (and their devices). Learning instruments takes time and dedication, and it’s important to get the right mentoring. The staff at Ritmo are friendly and welcoming, and are very encouraging with the students. They’re dedicated to what they do. Music brings joy to people in many ways, and Ritmo embraces this by sharing their enthusiasm for learning.
#02-59 Hong Lim Complex, 531 Upper Cross Street
#5 Move ahead in academics
Rachna Nazir and Amit Kapoor, Indian; Ashir Sai (11)
I (Rachna) heard about You Can Learn from a friend. After that, I spoke to Geeta at the centre and I found her experienced, warm and encouraging. She invited Ashir for a trial class and he simply loved it. So, we decided to continue; he has been attending mathematics classes for about five months so far.
The experience so far has been great. Ashir is able to understand concepts and apply them to problem scenarios. His mathematics scores in school have improved vastly. What he enjoys most about his classes is that the teacher Geeta makes even difficult concepts easy to understand and fun. He looks forward to his classes every week. He doesn’t get a lot of homework from the classes, and he gets extra attention and time during school assessments, which is great for us.
I would definitely recommend You Can Learn. Geeta teaches with a lot of heart. She makes a difficult subject like mathematics simple, enjoyable and easy to learn. She is encouraging and positive and imparts knowledge with a smile.
#6 Make football your focus
Annabel Madden and Mat Thwaites, New Zealanders; Manaia (5), Harley (3) and Taitini (eight months)
Some friends of ours shared a promo leaflet for Little Kickers when I (Annabel) was looking for a place that would take our son Harley before he turned three years old. Everywhere else we asked had a minimum age of three so he couldn’t be enrolled yet. I’d also heard good things about the Little Kickers brand when living in Sydney, so we decided to sign him up.
Harley has been taking classes on Sundays at 8.45am since he started school at CIS – and classes are held at CIS too, which is convenient. Our daughter would love to join him but she has ballet classes at the same time.
We’ve had an awesome experience so far. Coach Richard is great with the kids and Harley absolutely loves it. We also like that it’s so family-orientated, and that each lesson is cleverly designed to keep the younger ones engaged, while still teaching them some skills. Little Kickers has a great atmosphere and we’ll 110 percent recommend it to other families. The classes are fun and the setup is great.
#7 Pick up self-defence skills
Nick & Yoshie Latimer, British/Japanese; Hyugo (10) and Kiitsu (8)
The Dojo Singapore is located in Katong Shopping Centre, which is in our neighbourhood, so we decided to send our children there. They chose to learn judo instead of taekwondo. Hyugo and Kiitsu have been attending the kids judo beginner classes on Saturdays mornings. The boys love learning judo at The Dojo and have really embraced this new sport since they started six months ago. They were so excited to pass their first grading!
Their sensei has taught them so many new skills, which as brothers they love to practice on each other. As parents, we feel that the exercise and discipline is good for them. They love the good workout they have and always have a fun time with their sensei. They are enjoying the sport so much that they are keen and excited to take part in competitions now; their first one is in January 2020.
I’ll definitely recommend The Dojo to other parents. They have a professional set-up, the classes are fun for the kids and the instructors are friendly.
#8 Develop a passion in STEM
Shayn Fuller and Shinya Ang, American and Singaporean; Liam (5) and Alexei and Lyla (3)
We came across Future Ready Academy in an advertisement and decided to send our son Liam there. He started attending classes there about two months ago; he is doing Level 1 – Robotics Fundamentals. The class is for children four to six years of age, and sessions are one-and-a-half hours each week. It introduces the basics of building robots, covering various topics including coding and electro-mechanical circuitry.
We will definitely recommend other parents to send their children there. Besides the convenience of the centre’s location, we love that the teachers cater to Liam’s skill level, fostering his interest for STEM. They are also young and energetic, and generally relate well to the children. Going for classes at Future Ready Academy is Liam’s favourite part of the week – he literally counts down the days until his next lesson!
The centre makes STEM fun and engaging by teaching through play, quite a different approach from a traditional classroom setting. Also, the class sizes are not too big, giving the children plenty of opportunities for interaction. This allows them to progress, increase their knowledge and maintain their interest in the subject.
#9 Hone performing talents
Shaun and Sarah McPhail, British; Phoebe (12) and Quillan (9)
We had friends whose children had been going to Centre Stage, and we’d also known about the school for a while. So, when Phoebe expressed an interest in acting, we signed her up for a Centre Stage CCA at school. The teacher was fantastic and we were blown away by the pieces that the group put together. Phoebe wanted to continue with Centre Stage so we enrolled her. She has been attending for almost three years and attends On Stage Acting (8-12) and Trinity Exam Syllabus classes.
We originally sent Phoebe to the centre so that she could explore her growing enthusiasm for acting, but it’s only a fraction of what she has benefited from. Centre Stage is about community, collaboration and creative freedom. The class has a special bond and they support each other. On Saturday afternoons, there is no other place that Phoebe would rather be. She adores her teacher Charlie so much, and loves that she can be creative and share her ideas freely. Phoebe has been fortunate enough to have been in three pantomimes, playing Nacklemut in Snow Worries in 2017, Nipper and Squeaky in Corporal Crumble’s Christmas Crisis in 2018, and Noisette in Jack and the Beanstalk in 2019. Her favourite was performing in Jack and the Beanstalk, with her friends Lana and Milly. They were all so pleased for each other, and that’s the spirit of Centre Stage! She also loved that she got to work with experienced actors.
Pete, Ali and the team put in so much time, energy, passion and care into all shows throughout the year. We’re so grateful for the opportunities that Phoebe has had.
Block 15 Woking Road
5000G Marine Parade Road, #01-32 Laguna Park
#9 Get active in an indoor play space
Kiddles is a newly opened indoor play area offering a wide range of fun-filled activities where little ones can explore and learn. With the aim of enhancing fine motor skills and stimulating natural curiosity, the custom-made space is designed for kids of all ages. Young ones can take on the slides, bounce on trampolines, jump about in ball pits and more.
While the kids have a blast, parents and guardians can relax and chat over cups of Australian coffee sourced from St Ali Coffee Roasters in Melbourne, and croissants from Paris. The play space is open seven days a week, from 9.30am to 9pm. Choose from three different entry options: a 30-minute session, an hour, or unlimited play, starting from $12 on weekdays and $15 on weekends and public holidays. You can also choose to take up a membership and earn free credits.
131 East Coast Road, #04-01
kiddlesplay.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
#10 Become confident in the water
Want your little ones to learn how to swim? aquaDucks runs three swimming programmes just for children: Babies & Toddlers (six to 36 months), Preschool (three and four years), Learn To Swim (five years and above). For tweens and teens, there is Competitive Training and Stroke Development. Four terms of classes are run yearly and there are also holiday camps to keep the kids active during public holidays and school breaks.
The swim school strongly believes that learning through play allows children to learn best, becoming safe and competent swimmers. The friendly and energetic instructors include games and songs in their lessons to make learning to swim fun. The aquaDucks swimming programme is a blend of the best American, European and Australian swim techniques adapted to the local context and where water safety and technique come first.
Children can join the swimming programme from the age of six months. In the Babies & Toddlers class, which is parent-accompanied, children are taught breath control and how to swim to the sides of the pool for safety. After graduating at 18 months, kids will move on to the Preschool class. Besides lifesaving and breathing techniques, they’ll also be introduced to the freestyle stroke. When children turn five, they’ll be enrolled in the Learn to Swim programme. There, they will build their stamina and work on perfecting four strokes (freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke). After completing all Learn to Swim classes, children can attend the Competitive Training classes and Stroke Development classes, with a minimum of two sessions weekly. Students can also take part in regular swim meets that the school organises with swimming and country clubs in Singapore.
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