New offerings at The Centrepoint {Review and Giveaway of Studio Miu Art and The Better Toy Store}

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 10, 2014
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Now that the September school holidays are here, if you are the parent who is always on the lookout for new child-friendly venues, this post might just excite you about a fun-filled learning haven for the kids.

In order to further expand their family-friendly offerings, The Centrepoint has just introduced 2 new concept stores on the 3rd level - The Better Toy Store and Studio Miu Art.

We were invited to take part in an experiential session with two of the tenants and had fun exploring, playing, creating and learning. Today, I'm sharing with you about the activities we did and the factors that make these family offerings outstanding, plus I have an awesome hamper filled with toys and craft supplies to give away at the end of the post.

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Studio Miu Art (The Centrepoint #03-34/35)

Studio Miu Art is a gathering place for art enthusiasts. Having been around for over a decade with the only branch’s new location at The Centrepoint, it aims to foster creativity for both children and adults by teaching lessons in visual fine arts from beginner to advanced levels.


Fuelled by a strong passion in promoting the enrichment of arts in Singapore, Studio Miu Art provides opportunities to express one’s feelings and thoughts artistically through painting, drawing and craft.



Having been established in Singapore by Japanese artist and art entrepreneur Maya Takahashi, the studio has evolved to become a popular workspace that encourages children's expression of imagination through a wide variety of age-appropriate activities including Illustration, Manga, Chinese calligraphy and Ceramic art. For children above 4 years old, there are Regular Art Classes which seek to develop a holistic learning approach to art in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional forms.

If you have a toddler at home, you might be pleased to know that there are also Fun Toddler Art classes available for 2.5 to 4 years old kids where they will be able to create their first works of art with materials such as paints, crayons and clay while stimulating their senses and creativity. For class schedules and fees on children art classes, go here.

For our session, Angel and I actually got down to doing something really fun and hands-on, something which we had never done before as mother and daughter - Ceramic Art! Thanks to our kind and patient teacher Saya Yamaguchi who comes from Kyoto, Japan and has been practising ceramic art for the past 16 years, we learnt about the step by step fundamental techniques of this unique art medium.

After watching the live demonstration, we each received a huge block of clay, a pottery wheel and it was time for us to make our first ceramic creations ever! Angel decided to make an animal-themed bowl while I wanted to challenge myself with a heart-shaped holder.

We made use of basic techniques like rolling and moulding, followed by stamping to create patterns and using cookie cutters to add shapes as embellishments. When Teacher Saya asked Angel if she wanted to make eyes for her animals and passed her a sharp tool, I was impressed that she not only made eyes, she gave them happy smiles too. I think a work of art can tell a lot about a child, don't you agree?

It was an enjoyable and interactive 1.5-hour session where we had fun shaping, cutting, sticking, carving, playing and learning. Check out our final creations above - a round bowl and rabbit figurine by the girl, and a heart-shaped holder and Angel figurine by me.

Lastly, we also learnt that the drying, baking, glazing and colouring process would take a minimum of 10 days so after choosing our desired colours from the palette, we had to eagerly wait and anticipate how our 'masterpieces' would turn out.

Voila! And here they are! I think they look way better than we could ever expect and they sure delighted my girl the moment she saw her own creations of art.

If you are keen to let your child experience the wonders of art at Studio Miu Art, do note that from September to November, they will be holding a promotion and there will be a $30 discount for new applicants in the Children's Regular Art Class.

Thanks to Studio Miu Art for the delightful and fun experiential session we had!

Studio Miu Art, #03-34/35, The Centrepoint 
• Store age range: Retail business offers art supplies for children from 2.5 years old to adults 
• History: 18 years in Singapore, established in Japan in 1986  
• Opening hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm 

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The Better Toy Store (The Centrepoint #03-07/07A/08)

Having lived in Europe for four years, I would be one of the first to vouch for the high standards of their toys. Back in Sweden, I remembered I was initially appalled by how the toys seemed to be more costly and was apprehensive if they were worth the buy. Years down the road, I see how these toys have proven to be long lasting and endured wear and tear, including biting, snatching, throwing and tossing, and I can safely say that the choice to invest in better quality toys was definitely a well worth one.

For one, I prefer wooden toys over plastic ones and it is rather contrasting when we compare our collection of wooden toys from Sweden against the plethora of plastic ones we have acquired in Singapore and other places. Not only are most plastics non-biodegradable, they are also perceived to have adverse long-term effects on human and animal health. When it comes to our children, we just wish to have the best for them, right?

When we knew that we were going to have a guided tour at The Better Toy Store - a brand that believes that our children deserve the best and offers award-winning toys carefully selected for excellence in play value, design, quality and impact on environment, you bet we were thrilled.


Having shifted out of the Takashimaya branch and officially opened at The Centrepoint in July 2014, The Better Toy Store has been presented with the Best Toy Store Award from Singapore Tatler - a prestigious accolade that recognizes the country’s best shops and sights - for seven consecutive years since 2007. While the main brands of toys found in the store are imported directly from Germany, France, Holland and Thailand, they also carry toys and gift items from Australia, Belgium, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S.



It was hard not to get mesmerised from the moment we stepped into the store. There was something charming, cosy and captivating about the ambience and once we were in, the kids seemed to have entered a toy paradise and couldn't wait to start exploring. Personally, I loved the wooden furniture and how it made the colourful toys look even more striking, and it was also an eye opener for me to come up close with so many uniquely and exquisitely designed toys.



If you are a Steiff collector, you are bound to find something you love from this timeless and classic collection where each bear tells a story of its own.

Puppet lovers will love this wide range of cute, furry animals on the wall - some of them are even reversible, my favourite is a frog that can be turned inside out to become a prince!

For babies and toddlers, these wooden pull-along toys are sure to be a delight and can be your little one's newfound pet.

If you are a puzzle lover, you might be blown away by the beauty of the packaging which makes these jigsaw puzzles ideal as birthday gifts.


If your child loves to cook up a storm in the kitchen, he/she will be spoilt for choice by all the 'groceries' that can be bought here. We were impressed by the intricate design and superior quality of European crafted kitchen toys from HABA which combine style, innovation, learning and entertainment for the little ones.

See what I mean? They have sushi that comes with wasabi, sandwich that can be layered, spare ribs with detachable meat, fish with removable bones and eggs that can be cracked open. Can it get more fun than that?

One of my favourite sections is the art and craft section where you can find an amazing range of craft sets from Djeco, a French educational toy company that produces whimsical wooden toys, games and puzzles. From painting to stamping and sand art, you can be sure to find something that is appropriate for your child's age and interest.

When I spoke to Susan, the owner of The Better Toy Store, and told her about our love in art and craft, she was kind enough to pick out a few sets that might pique our interest and also shared with us on how these uniquely designed sets could help to spark a child's creativity. Every piece of tool contained in the box, including the instruction booklet, stamps and drawing paper, were of the finest quality. In fact, we were so blown away by the details that it took Angel quite some time to decide on which set she loved best.

It is worthwhile to note that many of the toys have won numerous awards in both Europe and U.S., including some very prestigious ones such as the German Spiel Gut Award, Reddot Design Prize, and the Oppenheim Toy Award.

In terms of safety and quality, the toys conform and often exceed the European EN71 and the US ASTM standards of safety. For baby toys, natural materials like wood and cotton are preferred and finishes are non-toxic, water-based and sweat and saliva resistant.

If you are like me and wonder about the quality of toys that are imported from Thailand, here is a closer look at the two Thai award-winning brands available in the store - Plan Toys and Pintoy. In line with how The Better Toy Store only goes for the highest quality in their toys, these two brands utilise pure rubber wood that have exhausted their latex and would have otherwise been burnt. I think it is important to go for eco-friendly products whenever possible so that we can teach our kids to care for our environment, don't you think so too?

This is how a typical wooden number looks like from the Plan Toys range. I must say it felt really firm, sturdy and had a nice finishing.

It was quite uplifting when Susan shared with me that many of the toys in the store are not only dedicated to improving IQ levels in kids, they serve to develop EQ too. Considering the design, appeal and quality of these toys, they are definitely unique and vastly different from the toys that we frequently see elsewhere.


That probably accounted for why the kids were totally ecstatic to be in the shop and had to reluctantly bid farewell when it was time to leave. It's not hard to see but I think we will probably have to make a trip back here soon since it is now one of our favourite toy stores.


If you are looking at getting toys for your children or as gifts for loved ones, note that The Better Toy Store has two main promotional periods annually during June and December. In other months, they hold brand-specific or themed promotions, for example this September, they are having a 20% off their entire range of Lilliputiens toys, a Belgium-based brand. In October, they will be celebrating Children's Day with a giveaway and hand out free candy during Halloween.

Thanks to The Better Toy Store for introducing us to fun and high-quality toys as well as reminding us on why our children deserve the best!

The Better Toy Store, #03-07/07A/08, The Centrepoint
• Store age range: 0-15 years old, with emphasis on babies, toddlers and primary school-going children. Gift items are available for all ages from 0-99, young and old alike.
• History: The Better Toy Store turns 10 this year and the owners have been in the toy business for over 25 years.
• Opening hours: 10.30am to 9.30pm 

******

Just for A Happy Mum readers, we have a hamper of GOODIES to give away! Check out all the amazing items ranging from art supplies to games and toys!



This hamper is suited for children aged 4 to 10 years old and the giveaway is open to readers with a valid Singapore address for delivery. To participate, simply leave a comment in this blog post with your name and email address. Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have commented and to increase your chances of winning, you can carry out the rest of the options. Good luck, everybody!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation between Fraser Centrepoint Malls and A Happy Mum. All opinions are my own.

53 comments:

  1. My girl would certainly love to have additional art material to do crafts with at home.
    Dominique
    ( dominiquegoh(at) gmail(dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Jolin
    Babyhappie@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow.. Great place for kids to experience the wonders of art.. Both my girls will like it...

    KaRen Ong
    karen_opk@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been eyeing the toys from The Better Toy Store for ages! Can't wait to check out their new store.
    Adeline / growingwiththetans@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like the things from The Better Toy Store! :) Klessis/ inthedaisies@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. jennifer
    jennlimbh(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Joyce
    casperian05@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Will definitely check out The Better Toy Store! Thanks, Summer! :)
    Jaslyn
    Jaslynsh@yahoo.com.sg

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the giveaway
    Jingxian
    j_xian@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for hosting this awesome giveaway! My girl will be delighted to own these awesome art supplies!

    Evelyn Hu
    xuelyn@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Would love to win this for my son!

    Joanne Ho
    joannehmm@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for organising this giveaway!

    Wenli
    flowerie123@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great toys and crafts!

    Evelyn Lim
    Elim220380@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jamie chaw
    Jamiechaw@gmail.com
    Tks for the giveaway :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rowena Lim
    rowenna(dot)lim(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Karis See
    hellokaris@yahoo.com.sg

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hope to win this for my gals :)
    Lyn Teo
    lp8834@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Melisa
    melisafoong@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. My child will definitely love this :-)

    Kaye Wong
    kayetky@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

    cmeilim@gmail.com
    Carol Lim

    ReplyDelete
  21. charlotte / chocolate.pooh@yahoo.com.sg

    Would love to do art & crafts with my nephew! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Gosh more arty fun and quality toys, do appreciate what has been offered to children these days.
    thnks for sharing

    Lorna Tan
    lornat28@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. more arts n craft! my 3yo has been requesting for craft work everyday after her afternoon nap - would be nice to do some special stuff with the hamper!

    Jazry Chan
    jazry.shop@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. hope to win
    chinoillin@yahoo.com.sg
    chin oi lin

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hope to win this for my kids as they love art and crafts.

    Lim Yin Ping
    yippeewoods@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Andrew Wong
    Andrew.wong017@gmail.com

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you for the great information.

    Sally Lee
    sally6936@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh, such a good giveaway! Thanks, Summer for the review, and we'll certainly check out both stores. Love the creations you made!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops forgot my name and email.
      Justina
      makingmum(at)gmail(dot)com

      Delete
  29. Ooo!!
    I think I will hyperventilate in The Better Toy Store. Spotted so many of the toys that I want to get just from the pictures alone. Can you imagine being IN the store? But then again, looks like a trip to Centrepoint is due!

    This is such great giveaway!
    (Would love to win this for my nieces!)

    Annabelle P
    hannypinkmint@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!
    Waiwai
    mami(at)peipeihaohao(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  31. If only I can have all the toys in The Better Toys Store! Heaven!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Merri
    mer2i@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for hosting the giveaway!

    Cynthia Lau
    edenie98@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. Simply Awesome..Thanks a lot for kid friendly giveaways..

    Ashmika Jain
    jainash1083@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Name: Amanda Soh
    Email: amandasoh@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Trying my luck here :)
    Christy
    christy.krs@gmail.com
    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  36. What an interesting concept! Thanks for letting us know!

    Mag
    mail2magy(AT)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. A well-thought and meaningful giveaway!
    Thanks!
    Serena
    serena_chua@yahoo.com.sg

    ReplyDelete
  38. awesome box of crafty arty for my little one!
    thank you!

    kalyn

    kalynchua@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Love to win this set for my girl who is a young artist!
    YM
    leongyeeming@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Ooh I'm heading there today! :)
    Would love to have this set for my gal who loves to draw and doodle and craft, and for my son who loves to undo what his older sis sets out to do!

    freda
    fredakhoo@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. Serene Leow
    liaoserene@hotmail.com
    FB Name: Ace Serene

    I bought a few Plan Toy wooden blacks for my eldest boy when he was a few months old. Now at 7 years old, the blocks are still as good as new. Even though the blocks were pass on to his 2 other siblings

    ReplyDelete
  42. Even as a big kid, I love visiting this store when I was working around the Tanglin Mall area. My 2 girls would love the hamper as they enjoy visiting the store at Parkway and consider a treat when mummy brings them in for a browse :)

    Jamie Ng
    jamie_ng78@yahoo.com.sg

    ReplyDelete
  43. My daughter, Ariel, loves art and I think she would be absolutely thrilled to be surprised with such a wonderful hamper! Can imagine the joy if she were to receive it.

    IVY WEE
    weeahi@gmail.com

    Thanks for organizing :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Lu Siu Ching
    precious_qing@yahoo.com.sg

    ReplyDelete

Yoohoo, thanks so much for reading my blog and leaving your comment! I am feeling the love! (^.^)

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