Happiness is... letting our kids play

Posted by ~Summer~ on July 18, 2019
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We love school holidays.

The kids love it because they know that they get to relax, sleep, play and enjoy themselves to the max. I love it because I get to plan our day-by-day activities and we get to spend every minute and every second of the whole of June together. Yes, it might be true that I have to say goodbye to me-time for this period but we-time is so much more precious to me and I would do everything I can to make the most of our holidays.

Since we are still on the no-tuition route and the kids only had a couple of enrichment classes during this month long break, we really had lots of time to spend together and of course, we did lots of mum-and-kids outings too even when Papa was away. You know, I have friends who tell me "Your kids don't need tuition at all? They must be very smart or you must be a good teacher." On the contrary, I doubt any of that but highly believe that letting the kids have the opportunity to let loose, play, feel free and be able to pursue what they love makes them more motivated when it comes to doing schoolwork.

That is why no matter what, I will always try to carve out time for family fun and remind myself that my kids' childhood should be happy, carefree and filled with wonderful memories. I believe that most of you think like me, right? It's just that as the kids get older, it's harder to keep sight of that and easier to lose track in the pursuit for academic excellence. That is why we are here to remind each other along the way. In June's "Happiness is...", it's all about letting our kids play.

We visited the Children Festival at Gardens by the Bay and stepped in the the world of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4. The kids had a blast at all the carnival games, especially at Star Adventurer where they got to ride yoyo cars and Bo Peep's Adventure, where they had to go through an obstacle course.

I was half thinking, these games are so easy and straightforward, take for instance throwing hoops and beanbags at targets. Will they really want to play, especially the eldest who is turning 10 already? It turned out that they had a really good time and didn't mind playing the games over and over again. It's a reminder to me how these kids don't need fanciful toys or gadgets to make them happy; all they need are simple activities and the company of a loving family and friends.

Oh check this out, we met Woody and Buzz Lightyear too! It was a good way to excite the kids for the upcoming Toy Story 4 movie too, which I was very much anticipating because I remember the third movie back in 2010 was sooooo good!

While we didn't go for an overseas vacation this time round, the hubby was telling the kids "You still get to go out almost every single day with Mama, it's still a holiday!". I don't like the kids to take things for granted so I always remind them just how blessed and lucky they are too. I guess our closest thing to a vacation was our 4D3N chalet and the kids got to go to the beach four times during that period to build sandcastles, swim in the sea, hunt for sea creatures, blow bubbles, run around and just enjoy the company of their cousins and friends.

I wonder if I would have loved to visit KidZania as a kid - if they had such establishments during my time. That said, my parents would hardly have been able to afford it so we would have probably given it a miss. As for my own kids, this is their nth time to KidZania Singapore already and they are still loving every visit because of all the fun they get and things they learn.

The boy became a firefighter for the first time ever and you could just see the huge beam on his face when he had to extinguish the 'fire' with real water. It's so nice to have siblings in times like this too because you are never alone in the queue and you always have someone there to keep a lookout for you. The sisters are wonderful in making sure he is well taken care of and he is just so lucky to have not one, but two of them who dote on him so much. Take for example, the eldest sister gave up her slot so he could play when there were only two places in the Candy Store queue and the second sister stepped up to assure me "Mama, I will take care of him, don't worry." Aiyo, these babies make me tear sometimes.

As for the big girl, it was also her first time trying out Mountaineering and even though it was a lengthy wait, I think it was all worthwhile because I saw how she started off with wobbly steps and emerged more confident after that. It sometimes gives me a poignant feeling to see how this girl is blossoming into a fine young lady and turning a decade old but she will always be my pride, my joy and my baby girl deep inside.

All kids love indoor playgrounds, right? Well, I know mine do, and very much in fact. We were at the grand opening event of Kiztopia, which by the way is the newest, biggest and most fun playground in a mall and you definitely have to check it out if you haven't. The banana boat is one of our favourite highlights but the kids also love all the pretend play, dressing up, trampolines, interactive AR games and oh, the super slippery slides too.

For me, the best part of the day was meeting two very inspiring celebrity mums who I've looked up to for a long time. Fann reminded me on how we can still be hands-on mums no matter how busy our lives get, and instead of worrying about your kid or your pants getting wet at the beach, why not all get wet together and just enjoy those frolicking, carefree moments. Jaime is my constant motivation to stay fit and carve out time for workouts, and rather than seeing it as a chore or something you dread, embrace it and make it a part of your lifestyle. 

Despite having to travel far, we also finally managed to check out 22 Stories and were surprised by how crowded it was! Well, it seems like a lot of kids were happy to see their childhood tales come to life as they explored each of the experiential rooms. We came up close with Princess Jasmine, the Genie, Princess Penelope, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and more. The kids' favourite was the room filled with balls though and three of them had so much fun just falling over backwards while I tried so many times to take a synchronised boomerang shot of them doing that. Haha.

Sounds like we did a lot already for the hols? Well, there's still so much more, haha. Let's see. We also made it to the second season of Rainforest Lumina, Having missed the first one, we were quite excited to see how this would play out. While it was a refreshing experience to walk in the zoo at night and the interactive activities were fun, the kids were a tad disappointed to realise that we could only see virtual animals, not real ones, along the journey. So, to make up for that, we hopped over to Night Safari rightafter that and stayed till nearly midnight as we watched the Creatures of the Night show - which we've done so umpteem times - and then took the tram all around the park. Yup, that's the awesome thing about having a 4-park pass. I think our family still prefers to come up close with our animal friends any time and they never fail to excite us and leave us in admiration.

We have been taking the public transport as much as we can, even if we are travelling to Sentosa or the other side of the island. I make that my resolution in order not let the kids take taxi rides for granted and they have become accustomed to travelling on trains and buses too. Sometimes, we had to change trains three times and the entire journey can take over one and half hours, so I'm pretty proud that they don't usually complain but come up with their own games to play or just sing - quietly - on the train.

On one weekday afternoon, we made our way to the media event for Goodman Open House and since we arrived early, I brought the kids to Cafe Melba for lunch. Gosh, why the food so expensive one? We didn't save the cab fare just to spend it on food, haha. So we ordered a couple of kids' meals and a lasagna to share before they decided they wanted to run on the field and play catching.

Our highlight of the day was letting the kids have a go at batik painting and chinese ink painting. Yup, these little art lovers of mine are always thrilled to try out activities like these so we were thankful to Goodman Arts Centre for the opportunity.

Right after that, we took the train again and embarked on a long journey to get to Jewel, where we were going to meet the hubby for dinner and a late night movie. It's so much cheaper to watch movies on a weekday than weekend but we don't always get to do that if we want to be together as a family, so it was a date that I cherished.

Talking about movies, we watched so many during the holidays, be it at the theatres or on Netflix. Let's see what we caught at the cinemas. Men in Black International, Godzilla, Aladdin, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and of course, Toy Story 4!

Some people asked me how my youngest manages to sit through all the lengthy movies and let's just say he had plenty of practice since he was born. And, popcorn always helps too. He's been really good for the past year and if he could survive Avengers: Endgame from the start to end, I think he can do it for all the rest too. We always share the behind-the-scene footages with them too so they know how the movie was filmed and reminded them that they are never to pick up the violent acts or swearing words, if any. I don't think refusing to expose them helps but rather, it's more of educating them as we go along.

Science Centre has always been one of our favourite places to visit so we were thrilled to have the chance to check out DinoQuest, which runs till 31 August. It's a great exhibition for the little ones to more about these prehistoric creatures, the science of palaeontology and the process of fossilisation as we get transported into the lost world.

To make the most of our day, we stayed on in Science Centre till it closed at 6pm! Angel's favourite part was visiting Butterflies Up Close, again, where she got to see all her pretty, colourful friends and hold them too. She was always on the lookout for any butterfly which got stuck behind the bushes and in between the walls and would rescue them too. Yup, this girl still aspires to be an entomologist someday and no matter what she hopes to be, she will have my support and encouragement.

Back in Jewel again? Yup, we visited it a few times in June and even this month too. I have a review and giveaway coming up for Canopy Park, so stay tuned for that, okay? Meanwhile, we also checked out the Changi Experience Studio and you can read my previous post here. It was like a fun-filled arcade for the kids and a great learning opportunity for everyone to learn more about aviation and our airport history.

We also had friends over at our place and would swim all day long. Haha. It was nice to make new friends or catch up with friends that we had not seen for a long time. We would order Grabfood takeaways but that's okay in exchange for fun and play, right? Yup, I've learn to not beat myself up on days when I am unable, or too lazy, to cook and we are happy to either walk to our nearby kopitiam to dine or just order food in. 有的吃就好,一家人在一起最重要。

Oh, and some fast food once in a while is okay too, right? Haha. I'm not trying to be a negative influence or advocating junk food for our kids, I'm just saying it's okay to keep one eye closed at times and let go of rules. We were lucky to be in Marina Square at the right time and bumped into Ronald McDonald, Hamburgler, Grimace and Birdie! Well, my kids only know one of them and that's not a surprise. Thanks for giving us the free spins and food vouchers to celebrate your revamp!

The kids were asking me when we were at Wonderland in Westgate "Mama, why nobody? We are the only ones here." The answer was because not many mums are so xiao ding dong to let their kids climb walls and go down slides.... when it is RAINING. What if they slip and fall? What if they catch a cold? What if this or that happens? What if?

But what if they had fun and remember this night as one of the best nights of their lives because Mama played in the rain with them?

The hubby joined us after and said "Isn't it raining?" but he promptly shrugged it off and continued to let them have fun. That's us. We know but we let go. We keep an eye on them but let them play. We set the rules but we break some too. It might not work for everyone but it's the parenting style we've chosen and are used to.

One of our favourite places to hang out is the arcade and the kids always have a ball of a time there. Thanks to BYKido, we checked out Fat Cat at Somerset 311 and it was one of the few times we were at an arcade early in the morning. Haha. I love how all of us get to play our favourite games and try out new games together. It's always about bonding for us even though the kids were pretty stoked to exchange their tickets for toys and snacks too.

The hubby had to work overnight on one weekend but that didn't stop me from taking the kids out to play at SAFRA Punggol where we joined in the Families for Life Celebrations and had a wet and wild time at Splash @ Kidz Amaze. The funny part was while the kids wore their swimsuits there, I had on my long sleeved swim shirt and a denim shorts over my swim shorts (of course lar, too short and sexy mah). I completely forgot about that and jumped into the water with the youngest and went on the slide before I realised.... uh oh, now my shorts are soaked and I don't have an extra pair. Lol. Oh well, we just have to make the best of such moments, right? So we continued to have fun for one hour and after we showered, I used one of our wet towels as a makeshift 'skirt', tying the ends with our hair ties and we went for lunch at McDonalds. Yes, I seriously did that.

If you have not booked your tickets for the Bicentennial Experience - which is free - please don't wait any longer! We heard that there are still tickets on weekdays for July and August but you have to act fast. This multimedia sensory experience brings you back in time to witness key moments in Singapore’s transformation from as far back as 1299 and is a great learning experience for the kids. We enjoyed every bit of it and the hubby, who is usually not easy to impress, gave his thumbs up and said it was superb and well executed too. I hope it makes the kids realise how blessed they are to be living in modern Singapore and never take what we have for granted because our pioneers have all put in and sacrificed so much for us.

Okay, we are almost there! We also met up with our friends from A Million Little Echoes and I'm so thankful to have gotten to know this inspirational fellow blogger mum-cum-friend-cum-sister and glad to see how well our kids can get along. They have a blast every time we meet and this time was no exception when we gatecrashed their stay at Village Hotel Sentosa. Haha. Thanks for having us at the pool and letting us watch cartoon (for a while) in your cosy room! My hubby managed to join us and he was so smart as to suggest dabao-ing food over (famous duck rice from ECP, yummy!) so we had a poolside dinner while the kids continued to splash around after eating.

Last but not least, we also had a day of fun in Nestopia in Sentosa so that I could fully utilise our free passes before they expire. The kids loved it the first time round and my only regret was that I wore a dress so I couldn't join them in climbing the net structures. This time, the hubby was suffering from a bad blister on his foot so it was up to me to accompany the littlest up over and over again. He needed my encouragement at every step but boy, he did it and even went down the super steep and slippery tunnel slide with me too! Woohoo!

I have to say the structures are not easy to scale and this boy specially chose the hardest one which was really tight and hard to move around (for my size). I had to lay myself flat at every tier before finding the opening and hurling myself up. There were over a dozen tiers and we did it not once, not twice but many, many times that afternoon. I'm amazed I didn't get rope burns lor. Even the staff was surprised I did it with him again and again. Haha. I am just happy that I was there to help him overcome his fears and for once, I put my phone away so I could focus on being fully present too.

Of course, a trip to Sentosa would be incomplete without riding the cable car so we made sure we did, and we even caught the sunset too. My kids love the cable car and I love seeing their big smiles and hearing their loud squeals every time we do so. I'm not sure for how many years more we will enjoy doing all these simple things as a family, but I'm surely gonna cherish them for as long as they last.

I definitely think I have outdone myself this June holidays and despite the exhaustion, there is a strange sense of achievement and gratitude in knowing we did and accomplished so much. Let's never forget to let our children play, no matter how busy life gets. As for ourselves, always stay young at heart and remember what it means to have fun too. Till more updates in July!


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