Singapore for Kids: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
The first thought when you have children is generally not “Let’s take them to watch performing arts!”. It’s usually more like “How did you get that marker on the ceiling?” or “Why did you cut your sister’s hair?” or “Playground, anyone?” However, we went to the Esplanade Theatre complex at Marina Bay on a weekend and discovered that it offers many productions, activities and spaces designed just for children.
While it is an amazing venue for a grown-up night out, there is always something new you can show your little one too. Performances and exhibits change with the seasons – these are the sorts of memories they will hold in their hearts forever. And a lot of it is FREE. Arrange to meet your mummy friends here when it’s your turn to choose a playdate venue next time.
Forecourt Garden @ Esplanade
Similar to a park, the garden out the front is a safe, open place where children are welcomed and encouraged to run all over the place. The Forecourt Garden, redeveloped and enhanced last year is set up exactly for that purpose. It is a wide open space of local vegetation and greenery free for the children to explore while mummies could sit back and catch up.
PIP’s PLAYbox is a beautiful activity area with both indoor and outdoor areas designed specifically for children and families. There are free-play toys, art and craft and activities, places to climb and play and discover, and quiet corners to just sit and read or listen to storytelling. There are activity sheets, incredible artwork and furniture designed by renowned local artists to spark their imaginations. Nursing mums, there’s a dedicated area for you too.
This could be a great option for a rainy day – less crowded and cheaper (well, it’s free!) than an indoor playground. The kids could also learn something here beyond throwing balls out of the ball pit and under pregnant ladies’ feet. I like that this really is a pretty space, not bright and garish and plasticky but finished in lovely muted shades of blue and green. It is an art centre after all; their artists probably know what they’re doing.
And of course, you could introduce your little ones to the theatre! Take them to a PLAYtime performance for a young audience. Shows are designed specifically for children, and little rowdy things are welcome in the auditorium. You can also take babies but they do need a ticket. Performances are short (around 40 minutes). We’ve attended a few and the girls found them very engrossing and entertaining.
We are looking forward to Fatimah and her Magic Socks based on a beloved children’s book, showing at the venue from 28 April to 14 May 2017. Each performance encourages the audience to sing and dance along with the performers.
There are also sensory-friendly performances of the same show on a couple of select dates. During these shows, transitions, lights and sounds are adjusted to provide a particularly welcoming and relaxed space for little ones who may need it, such as those with down syndrome or on the autism spectrum.
Visual Arts for Kids
There are plenty more to explore with your child at the Esplanade. Engage your child’s mind as well as your own by viewing the art exhibits. One such exhibit is Baby Bubble which reflects a child’s dreamscape as he wanders through an imaginary space, which can be found throughout the Esplanade complex.
While you’re there, remember to register your child into PIP’s Club for free and receive updated information about performances and activities available, plus receive freebies and promotions like food vouchers for use at the venue. PIP’s Club recognises the importance of introducing children to the arts and encouraging their learning through creative play and performance.
At any point in time, you can go to Esplanade and discover something new. Taking children here can actually take the hard work out of coming up with interesting things for them to do. It’s is all sorted for you at the Esplanade. Just show up and look around and discover. Other things to do at Esplanade include:
- Enjoy free performances and interactive activities on the Upper Concourse and Waterfront Theatre such as comedy, dance, music shows and art workshops.
- Beautiful Library@Esplanade on the premises holding countless resources on the performing arts.
- Guided tours in and around on architecture, performances venues and what they do
Esplanade is pram friendly, designed with ramps, elevators and big wide entrances. Facilities are open every day, but performances only run at certain times, you’ll need to check their website.
Just a word of warning, though. Be careful about taking your little ones to the theatre, because you might instil in them a desire to live the performing arts. Then you’ve got dancing classes, acting classes, auditions, early morning drop offs, spray tanning and makeup classes, dialect coaching, horseriding classes (for that Western movie your little one was cast in) and so on.
Maybe it would be better to call your girlfriends to just meet at your home instead 😉
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