2015 has really zipped by in a flash and what a year it has been for my blog! This year has been a year of milestones - starting with a never-before giveaway for every single day in January to celebrate the blog's 10th year anniversary and being invited as a guest writer for Yahoo! Singapore's Parenting website.
Things then got more surreal when I published my very own book: 'Got Kids, Go Where?' - a book of 500 activities for parents to do with their kids in Singapore! This was definitely not something that I had envisioned. My public speaking skills were then severely tested when I was invited as a speaker at Asian Festival of Children's Content 2015, a panelist for Singapore Children's Forum 2015 and a guest speaker at KKH's Parenthood Public Forum 2015.
Through it all, I am indeed blessed. Blessed by all the opportunities that came my way. Blessed by all the support given by you, my faithful readers. And of course, blessed by all the understanding my family has shown while I was toiling over the writing of my book and blog posts deep into the night.
A HUGE and HEARTFELT Thank You to each and everyone of you for your support. Thanks for reading my cheekiemonkie blog all these while.
So as we embark onto the New Year, here is a round-up of the top fun places that the monkies had visited in Singapore in 2015 which proved to be popular with my readers as well.
Here's to MORE discovering and sharing of new fun places in Singapore (and overseas) in 2016!
1. PLAYEUM'S ART OF SPEED
An Indoor Playground this is not, but this play space will elicit some of the wildest and happiest responses that parents will ever see from their kids - even though there is a lack of play structures, slides, ball pits and even electronic gadgets in Asia's first Children's Centre for Creativity at Gillman Barracks.
2. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE'S NEW PERMANENT GALLERIES
The permanent galleries at National Museum of Singapore re-opened in September and right from the moment I stepped into them on a media visit, I knew I would have to bring the monkies down... which I eventually did and they thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
Everything looks more interactive, engaging and most importantly, fun. Defintiely more interesting than the history textbooks. Oh, and did I mention that entry is FREE all year round for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents?
3. JURONG ECO-GARDEN
Tucked away in the western region of Singapore (beside NTU), Jurong Eco-Garden is the 'green lungs' of CleanTech Park and Singapore’s first freshwater swamp forest located within an industrial park. But the best part is the park is devoid of the usual crowds!
The monkies loved the Composting Station most as it features the processes how horticulture waste are converted into resources. There are 4 barrels filled with compost that are in varying degrees of decomposition, which can be opened so that visitors can view the soil, leaves and dead materials inside. Nothing like having science lessons so up close!
Coney Island Park, Singapore's newest nature playground for young and old and located off Punggol, opened to public in October and we were there on its opening day! And it is super easy to get onto the island since the island is now linked to the main island via two bridges at its two eastern and western ends.
And boy, did the monkies had a blast there... thanks to the obstacle course, sea snails, nature walks and many more activities to be enjoyed there - All 8 of them in fact! So if you are planning to pay Coney Island a visit, I have also included some VERY important things to take note. Yes, those nasty sand flies!
Post Link: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2015/10/coney-island-singapore-activities.html
5. NON-HOTEL STAYCATION SPOTS IN SINGAPORE FOR FAMILIES
Who says you need a lavish hotel to enjoy a good staycation with the family? As long as the choice of stay provides ample activities to keep the kiddos occupied! Truth is, there are plenty of non-hotel accommodation which are equally fantastic... and easy on the wallet too.
This post was easily one of my top reads in 2015, simply because these non-hotel options pretty much offer something unique compared to a normal hotel staycation - and a great alternative for a weekend getaway without blowing one's budget!
Post Link: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2015/11/11-non-hotel-staycation-spots-in.html
6. LABRADOR NATURE AND COASTAL WALK
Of all the boardwalks in Singapore, the ones at Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk have got to be the most family-friendly around. Yes, even for strollers and skate scooters. And even better, the boardwalk starts immediately after exiting Labrador Park MRT. It definitely cannot get more accessible than this!
Comprising of three distinct segments – Alexandra Garden Trail, Berlayer Creek mangrove trail, and Bukit Chermin Boardwalk - the latter two are perfect for parents who are looking to bring their kids out for that first boardwalk trek. The entire terrain is flat with no obstacles in sight and best of all, the total distance of 1.3km is not overly daunting.
Post Link: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2015/04/labrador-nature-and-coastal-walk.html
7. FORT SILOSO SKYWALK
Want an even easier boardwalk suited for even younger tots - and with an extremely scenic view to boot as well? Then the newly-opened Fort Siloso Skywalk is the one to gun for.
An 11-storey elevated bridge which leads visitors on a trail above the canopy treetops en route to Fort Siloso, the Skywalk has panels along the trek which offer information on the fort’s history and the surrounding areas. The route is straight-forward and takes less than 10 minutes from end to end and at the end of the walk, everyone can enjoy Fort Siloso, which has also opened its grounds for all to explore FREE of charge.
Post Link: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2015/08/Fort-Siloso-skywalk-Sentosa.html
8. LEE KONG CHIAN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Located beside the University Cultural Centre at Kent Ridge and opposite Raffles Hall, the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) traces the history of life on earth - from the microscopic to the enormous, and from the queer to the awesome. With 20 zones spread over two floors, it is home to more than 500,000 Southeast Asian animal and plant specimens.
But make no bones about it, the three 150-million-year-old diplodocid sauropod dinosaur skeletons are the biggest - both metaphorically and literally - stars of the facility. And my take - it is a must-visit for families! Because even though some of the exhibits' significance or meaning could be lost on the younger ones, the experience of being able to view specimens - and giant dinosaurs skletons too! - at such a close proximity will truly be an enriching one.
9. VERTICAL PLAYGROUNDS
It doesn't happen often that a playground for kids stop me right in my tracks but one such vertical playground that I stumbled upon did just that. And from the look of things, the readers loved it too!
Encased in a three-storey high metal grid cage, the Vertical Playground is made up of undulating ribbon-like layers. The play structure is suitable for children aged five to 12, and big enough to hold 30 children at once. It encourages kids to climb, hang, swing, slide, run, jump, hide and pretty much come up with ingenious ways to play compared to any other playing equipment. A fantastic gem!
10. SECRET PLACES IN SINGAPORE TO BRING KIDS THAT ARE FREE
There can only be so many parks or indoor/outdoor playgrounds or theme parks that parents can visit... so if you are looking for places to visit in Singapore that are a little off-the-beaten track AND (hush hush) secret, I had compiled a list of 12 places earlier in the year that will no doubt be the best ways to spend a memorable time with your family. Even BETTER if they are ALL FREE to visit!
From a secret beach and hot spring to forgotten battle pillboxes and kampungs, these places are just perfect for experiential learning for the kiddos!
Post Link: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2015/05/12-secret-places-in-singapore-to-bring.html
The monkies and I wish all our readers a Happy New Year! May you and your loved ones have a fantastic 2016 and should you find an interesting place in Singapore, feel free to share with me. Thanks in advance! :)