Archives for June 2014

Must do! 4 Singapore Heritage Trails to bring your children 4-8 years old

One more week before the June school holiday ends. So are you running out of ideas where to bring your children?

I love authentic experiences. Not that I don’t bring K to theme parks, museums or fun kid places. But I love fresh ideas for experiences that are enriching and engaging for children.

There is so much about Singapore that K still don’t know about and I realized that we don’t need to travel out of the country, for him to experience something new and educational. In fact, I learn so much about my country each time I develop these heritage trails itineraries for K and his friends.

I have put together a series of posts and activity sheets that I have previously created (tried and tested with 6-7 year olds!), that will be useful guides for you to bring your children on a cultural and heritage walkabouts around Singapore.

Singapore Heritage Trails for Children

The four key cultures that will be introduced through these trails will be the Chinese, Arabs/Malays, Indians and the Peranakans. The Arab Street and Little India walkabout take about 4 hours, while the Peranakan and Chinatown trails are a little more extensive, as there are separate areas to go to.

The cost of each walkabout is kept at a minimal, to only meals taken at these locations, admission fees to the museums and small souvenirs that your child might be keen to bring home with him/her.


1. Arab Street 

The Malay historic district is on Arab street, right off Beach Road in an area known as Kampong Glam.

The key landmarks for this Arab Street walkabout will include Sultan Mosque, and the Malay Heritage Centre. But do spend more time browsing through the textile, handicrafts and rattan shops along the streets. And keep a lookout for the shops with Muslim and Arab influences, selling the Islamic prayer rugs and skull caps, sarongs, batiks, all which have been in Arab Street to 3-4 generations.

Do make sure to pop by one of the coffee shops to relish in a plate of Nasi Lemak or Goreng for lunch.

Arab Street Trail for Children 1

Here’s a post of my previous Arab Street Heritage Trail experience for a more visual breakdown of the things that children can do, and download a copy of the Arab Street Trail for Children Activity Guide.


2.  Little India

The Little India trail starts at Serangoon Road at Tekka Centre, where you can have some South or North Indian cuisine, coupled with Teh Tarik for breakfast, then shop for an traditional Indian costume for your children.   As you take the walk down Serangoon Road, you will see many Goldsmiths shops and you can buy a flower garlands made out of jasmine, lilies or chrysanthemum flowers, from the little carts that line the street leading up to the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.

Little India Heritage Trail for Children 1

Here’s the post on the Little India Walkabout and your can download a copy of the Little India Trail for Children Activity Guide here. 


3.  Peranakans – East Coast and Koon Seng Road

I guest-blogged on The Gingerbread Mum about my Peranakan Heritage Trail, and you can download a copy of the Peranakan Heritage Trail Activity Guide here.

Peranakan Heritage Trail for Children 1


4. Chinatown – Telok Ayer and Pagoda Street

The trail for Chinatown starts at Telok Ayer Street for a visit to one of the oldest  Chinese Temple in Singapore, Thian Hock Keng. Before moving on to Pagoda Street (which is not a short distance to walk to btw!), stop by for brunch at Maxwell Road where you can savor authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice or Hum Chim Pang.

Once you reach Pagoda Street, there will be plenty of handicrafts and souvenir shops along the way, and the vast variaties of knick knacks sold in these shops might distract the children off the purpose of the visit for a while. However, don’t miss seeing the traditional Chinese Medicine shop with their tonics, and strong smelling exotic herbs left outside their shops in rattan trays to dry in the sun.

Chinatown Heritage Trail for Children 1

Then make your way to the Chinatown Heritage Center on Pagoda Street to view dioramas of the dark living quarters of the Chinatown immigrants. Read this post to see what to expect at Chinatown Heritage Centre and my experience visiting Chinatown.

Here’s the link to download the Chinatown Trail for Children Activity Guide.


These Heritage Trails are must do for children 4-8 years old as they will be sure to learn something unique to the rich heritage of Singapore. And I am certain that you will find yourself learning something new about these cultures too!


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Where to find felt in Singapore

Find Felt Singapore

Most of the felt that you will be able to find in craft shops in Singapore are Craft Felt or Acrylic Felt.

Craft and Acrylic felt are of acrylic, polyester, rayon blend of material. It is cheaper, stain resistant and washable, however, it will start to fuzz over time, which is not suitable for making of felt toys of softies, or craft projects that you intent to keep. It tends to be thinner and the fibers are much weaker, so seams are likely tear. Thus, Acrylic Felt is best used for children’s craft, hair ties or clips, hanging mobiles, ornaments, brooches, small felt mascots.

I much prefer to use Blended Wool Felt for all my felt projects. Blended Wool Felt may be more expensive than Acrylic Felt, but it is recommended if you plan to work on crafting projects that need a variety of shades (especially needed in fashion accessories or home decor) or you intend to keep the felt craft for some time. As it is made with real wool, the feel is soft and luxurious. It is also durable, has a slight elasticity so the seams will not rip if you stuff felt toys. It is hypo-allergenic and has antibacterial properties that prevent it from mildewing. It is best used for home-decor crafting such like pillows, heirloom ornaments that you plan to keep, felt toys and softies.

Spotlight used to stock the wool-blend versions (35% wool, 65% rayon), but not anymore, so Wool Blend Felt can only be found online. See the bottom of this post on the links to buy Blended Wool Felt.

Here are some of the places that you can find felt in Singapore; 

1) Daiso – All branches of Daiso in Singapore carry Acrylic Felt, however I have found that IMM Daiso stock the most variety of colors. Felt is available in squares, each pack has varying shades of one color, so you will have to buy a few packs to stock up on a colors that you need for your projects. If you plan to make bigger felt projects, there are rolls available in some primary and secondary shades.

Address : 2 Jurong East Street 21, #03-48/50 IMM Building, 609601

2) Spotlight – You can buy Acrylic felt by piece from Spotlight, however the range of shades are limited.  It is slightly more costly than Daiso, but it make sense if you plan to get a small quantity of colors for specific felt projects.

Address : 68 Orchard Road. Plaza Singapura, Level 5. Singapore 238839

3) Golden Dragon – Similar to Spotlight in terms of variety, but the prices are a little cheaper.

Address : 101 Upper Cross Street. People’s Park Centre #02-51 Singapore 058357


Screen Shot 2014 06 26 at 11 04 55 AM

If you plan to get Blended Wool Felt, these are the online stores where I bought my felt supplies:

Prairie Point Junction – they do not ship directly to Singapore, so I have used both V-Post and Borderlinx services to get the items sent to Singapore

Benzie Design, The Felt Shoppe, Sweet Emma Jean – These Etsy stores stock a wide range of colors, their prices are reasonable and they ship worldwide.

Back to post on Crafting with Felt.

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The Ultimate Staycation

I am the odd blogger who is not keen on any Stay-cation locally.

Stay-cations have been a huge trend with Singaporeans in recent years, with more locals staying the weekend at a local hotel, enjoy its buffet selection and the use of the amenities. In fact, it is common-place to have stay-cations offered to bloggers, for a blog post in return for a night stay and some meals covered at the hotel.

I think it is too much of a hassle to pack a small luggage for a night stay. And I have issues getting used to a new bed each time when I am away from home. It takes me at least one sleepless night, before I am able to sleep well in the hotel bed the next night. Then, it feels all too anti-climatic to have the check-out of the hotel after 2 nights, just when I have got used to the hotel bed to get a night of restful sleep.

The last Stay-cation I took in Singapore was in 2010, a short ‘vacation’ away from home, without having to leave Singapore, complete with free accommodation, with no strings attached (i.e., not obligated to blog about it). We had fun together as a family, since there were plenty of activities to do in Sentosa. Even then, 3 days was too short.

So this time round, K and I are taking the ‘Ultimate Stay-cation’, of a grand total of 15 days or 1/2 a month.

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From the Land of Banana and Mangoes…

K and I hopped on a plane last weekend to spend some family time with daddy, who is now based in the Philippines.

Manila Philippines might not be the top destination that families will travel to for a vacation. But for us, the quality time spent together as a family is what matters.

Most people have the impression that Manila is not a very safe city, but I think if you are in the hub of the business district, it is relatively safe. As long as you don’t wander into some quiet alley or obscure areas, away from the business or shopping areas.

K and I spend most of our days in hb’s apartment, right in the heart of Makati City, 2 minutes walk away from his office. Hb still has to work on the weekdays, while K and I will walk to his office to have lunch with hb daily.

As for what K and I do in the day while daddy’s at work?

Manila is not exactly a very child-friendly place, and I am not a fan of wandering around malls, so we stay home most of the time.

We don’t have any problems keeping ourselves busy in the day, even though we rarely leave the apartment. Just doing the things that we enjoy, very much like what we will do on rainy / hazy days. Besides watching TV, playing board games and drawing, these are the things we have been doing;

– K is still in his ‘Legolas-warrior-mode’, so he all he needs is a bow and arrow for pretend play.

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– We build Legos…

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– Discovered something to do with beads that helps keep little hands and minds busy, that doubles up as a hand-made Fathers’ Day Gift. One creation from Hama Beads can take up to 2 hours or more to complete, which is great for training his attention span, fine motor skills and spatial awareness.

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– And for some exercise daily, he swims in the swimming pool in the apartment building.

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One of the best parts about Manila has to be how affordable eating-out is.

We eat out for lunch daily and for dinner on alternate days. Lunch in cafes are about $6 – $10 per head, while for dinners, the international selections in Makati City are diverse and at least 30% cheaper than what we get in Singapore. Even grocery shopping in their hypermarkets is cheaper.

So we get to eat well, sleep well and stay well, pretty much all the elements that are needed for an enjoyable stay-cation.

And to complete this ‘Ultimate Stay-cation’? It is having the family re-united and we are just content spending quality time together as a family, just doing mundane things.

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