Do your part and stay home as much as possible during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period. When restrictions ease. head out and enjoy all that Singapore has to offer! Remember to observe good hygiene measures and practice safe distancing. Stay safe!

“What else can we do with kids other than visiting the Singapore Zoo?” - this is one of the most frequently asked questions from my overseas friends. Places like the Singapore Zoo, Sentosa Island and Singapore Botanic Garden are no doubt great for a family day out. Apart from these hotspots, Singapore has much to offer especially for families looking for things to do with their kids. If you’re wondering where to go with your toddlers in Singapore, this guide should keep you busy! 

As a mom of a three-year-old, our weekends are mostly spent looking for fun activities to keep the little one engaged. For those of you who’re planning to explore sunny Singapore with the family, I’ve rounded up some of our favourite activities to do – and they are all free! Pack all the kids essentials you need before you set off!

Arts and entertainment for endless creative fun

1. The Esplanade

scenic view of marina bay sands singapore with river cruise boat passing by scenic view of marina bay sands singapore with river cruise boat passing by

A picturesque view of river cruise boat against the backdrop of Marina Bay Sands

Affectionately referred to as ‘The Durian’ (a spiky tropical fruit with creamy, bittersweet yet pungent flesh) due to its spiky twin structures resembling the national delight (to most), The Esplanade is an arts centre set by the waterfront. Housing a concert hall and theatre, local performance studios, and a wide array of restaurants and bars, it is one of my favourite places for a relaxing date night. With a kid, my hubby and I like to spend a Saturday evening sitting by the promenade and while the day away. You’ll find many F&B kiosks along the waterfront. Some of our favourite go-tos are Co+Nut+ink where the kids can indulge in a refreshing coconut ice cream served in a coconut husk, Ohara Farm Hokkaido Soft Ice Cream for rich, creamy soft serve made from 100% Hokkaido Milk, and our kid’s absolute favourite – cup corn from Tang Heng Huat. Cup corn in hand, we’ll sit by the waterfront to count the number of river cruise boats passing by and enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the Singapore skyline.  

kids posing with merlion statue at esplanade singapore kids posing with merlion statue at esplanade singapore

Author’s child posing with Merlion statue

night performance at outdoor theatre of esplanade singapore night performance at outdoor theatre of esplanade singapore

A night performance at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre

After their snack, take a leisurely stroll towards the Merlion Park where you can find the 8.6m-tall original Merlion statue. If your kids are looking for an outdoor activity, take them through a lesson on its story and how it became a symbol of Singapore. 

Pro tip: Instead of jostling with the crowd at the Merlion Park, head towards the back of the statue where it’s emptier. There, you’ll find a smaller cub statue for the kids to have a more up-close look and experience.   

Circle back to The Esplanade and end the day at the Outdoor Theatre to enjoy the free performances ranging from pop music and rock, ethnic and contemporary dances and more. While the younger kids may not be able to fully appreciate the art or music, they are sure to enjoy themselves swaying along and dancing to the beat. To be safe, it’s always good to check on the performance schedules before making your way down. 

The Esplanade

Address: 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981 

Opening hours: Opens daily. Operating hours of shops and restaurants vary. Refer to website for more details. 

How to get there: Refer to website for detailed directions. 

 

Merlion Park

Address: 1 Fullerton Rd, Singapore 049213 

Opening hours: Opens 24 hours daily. 

How to get there: Take the MRT and alight at Raffles Place station and take the exit towards United Overseas Bank Plaza. 

2. The Artground at Goodman Arts Centre

kids play area featuring clouds, rain and a teepee tent at the artground singapore kids play area featuring clouds, rain and a teepee tent at the artground singapore

One of the exhibits and kids play areas featuring clouds, rain and a teepee tent at The Artground

a child sliding down a play slide at the artground singapore a child sliding down a play slide at the artground singapore

Author’s child enjoying a slide down

Another of our favourite weekend haunts is The Artground at Goodman Arts Centre where there are many free indoor activities for kids. Suitable for newborns to kids around nine years old, The Artground features interactive art spaces and playground areas for the little ones to practise their motor and social skills and expose them to their first art experiences. The exhibits at The Artground feature works by artists from all over the world inspired by various themes such as weather elements and the simplicity of everyday life. These exhibits are refreshed throughout the year, so every visit is a surprise! If you plan to visit during the weekend, there are also scheduled weekend arts programmes where the kids can take part in storytelling sessions, art and craft activities and even gardening-inspired workshops at a nominal fee of S$10 per parent-child.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, prior booking is required for entry to The Artground. To secure a slot, they will collect a nominal returnable deposit per booking. So make sure you book your slots before heading down!

Although entry to The Artground is free, donations are encouraged to keep the space going! 

Address: 90 Goodman Road, Block J #01-40, Singapore 439053 

Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday - 9:30am to 4:30pm, Saturday, Sunday and selected public holidays – 9:30am to 5:30pm, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. More info here.

How to get there: Refer to website for detailed directions.

3. Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery

three boys having fun at a kids play area at the art playscape at keppel centre for art education three boys having fun at a kids play area at the art playscape at keppel centre for art education

Kids get interactive at the Art Playscape at Keppel Centre for Art Education Photo credit: www.nationalgallery.sg

Good news! Most museums under the National Heritage Board offer free admissions to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. And while there are many museums in Singapore worth visiting with kids, our favourite is the Keppel Centre for Art Education at the National Gallery because we can literally spend the whole day there with the different exhibits and programmes. The Art Corridor and Art Playscape would be suitable for the younger kids as they learn the different textures and materials through sensory play. They can also explore exhibits inspired by shapes and colours, sounds and sights. For kids above five years old, there are plenty of fun activities at the Children’s Museum, Children’s Museum Workshop and Project Gallery where they can create their own sculptures and even explore basic print-making! 

Address: 1 St Andrew's Rd, Singapore 178957 

Opening hours: Open daily from 10:00am to 7:00pm. 

How to get there: Refer to website for detailed directions.

Parks and nature trails for those who love an energy-filled day

1. East Coast Park

large playground at east coast park singapore large playground at east coast park singapore

One of the playgrounds at East Coast Park on a sunny afternoon in Singapore Photo credit: The Artground Facebook

child making a sandcastle by the beach at east coast park singapore child making a sandcastle by the beach at east coast park singapore

Author’s child making a sandcastle on the beach of East Coast Park

Singapore has over 350 parks but one of the most popular ones has to be East Coast Park. With a scenic coastline that stretches over 15km, you’ll find families enjoying a picnic or barbecue by the beach, kids playing frisbee and building sandcastles, and fitness enthusiasts jogging or cycling along the tracks. Like many families with kids, we simply love the park for its seemingly endless things to do. It’s not hard to spend an entire day there, just make sure you bring along sunscreen as the sun can get pretty scorching at midday.  

Our favourite spot at the park is Marine Cove, located right in the middle of East Coast Park. The 3,500 sqm children’s playground alone can easily engage the little ones for an hour or two. After sweating it out, head to the nearby F&B establishments to fill the tummies – treat the kids to an ice cream cone or a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, a popular branch that’s been at East Coast Park for more than 30 years. The second half of the day can be spent winding down by the beach, either building sandcastles or taking a swim in the open sea. Regardless of what activities you choose, you can almost guarantee an early lights-out for the kids after a fun-filled day.  

Marine Cove @ East Coast Park

Address: East Coast Park Area C 

Opening hours: Open 24 hours daily. Operating hours of shops and restaurants vary. Refer to the website for more details. 

How to get there: Public transport is limited to the area. The most convenient way to get to Marine Cove would be taxis or private hire cars. 

2. Upper Peirce Reservoir Park

leisure stroll along one of Singapore’s water catchment areas leisure stroll along one of Singapore’s water catchment areas

Take a leisurely stroll along one of Singapore’s water catchment areas

A monkey perched on a pole nibbling on food A monkey perched on a pole nibbling on food

A monkey perched on a pole nibbling on food

On days that we prefer a more leisurely pace, we’ll take a drive to Upper Peirce Reservoir Park. Located just beside Upper Peirce Reservoir, one of the four reservoirs in Singapore, the park exudes a sense of tranquility and offers a different experience compared to East Coast Park. The best time to visit would be in the late afternoon and we’ll usually bring along a kick-scooter so the little one can scoot along while we take a relaxing stroll by the dam and enjoy the outdoors. The park is also a great place for wildlife spotting activity. We’ve spotted some including unique bird species, monkeys, Komodo dragons and even a stingray once! 

Address: Along Old Upper Thomson Road 

Opening hours: Open daily from 7:00am to 7:00pm. 

How to get there: Public transport is limited to the area. The most convenient way to get to the park would be taxis or private hire cars.

3. Jewel Changi Airport’s Forest Valley

forest valley at jewel changi airport in singapore forest valley at jewel changi airport in singapore

Love the outdoors but not the heat? Jewel Changi Airport’s Forest Valley is your go-to for an indoor-outdoor experience.

A fairly new development, one of the first few places to have on your list would be Jewel Changi Airport – the latest gem that further enhances the country’s reputation as a City in a Garden. For those who are not too fond of Singapore’s humid weather, Jewel is where you can experience the outdoors in an indoor setting, complete with fun activities for the kids to do. Many have likened their first visit to Jewel to stepping into the set of Jurassic Park. Surrounding the spectacular Rain Vortex is the Forest Valley, a five-storey forest with two walking trails – the East and West trail. Each trail takes about 30 minutes to complete and both leads you to the Canopy Park, the topmost level of the complex. The first time we were there, our little girl was so entranced by the mist along the West trail that we ended up spending a good hour to complete the trail! 

If you don’t mind forking out some money, we would recommend a trip to the Canopy Park. At just S$5, you can enjoy four of the key attractions at the park, including the Discovery Slides, Foggy Bowls, Petal Garden and the Topiary Walk. I can assure you that it would be money well-spent! 

Address: 78 Airport Blvd, Singapore 819666 

Opening hours: The Forest Valley is open 24 hours daily. The Canopy Park opens daily from 10:00am to 11:00pm. 

How to get there: Jewel Changi Airport is directly connected to T1. Take the link bridge or skytrain if you’re coming from T2 and T3. From T4, you will need to take the free shuttle bus to T2 before taking the link bridge to Jewel. 

For a splashing good fun at these kids water play areas

1. Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay

kids playing at the waterpark at the children’s garden at gardens by the bay singapore kids playing at the waterpark at the children’s garden at gardens by the bay singapore

The water park at the Children’s Garden located within Gardens By The Bay makes for a great outdoor activity!

We’ve visited Gardens by the Bay a few times as a family and often spend the entire day in the Flower Dome or Supertree Grove. It wasn’t until the third visit that we realised there’s a huge children’s playground with treehouses and water play areas! The playground is segmented into different play areas fit for children of different age groups. The Toddler Play Zone suitable for kids between one to five years old is where our little girl spends most of her time dodging water jets from fish sculptures and clambering on a sway bridge. For the older kids above six years old, there’s a larger, more exciting water park with splash buckets, water splines and a hydro vault! For those without swimsuits, they can still have loads of fun at The Treehouses, a play area with rope bridges and hanging rope baskets. Or, they can also hone their motor skills at the Adventure Trail that features an array of play structures such as balancing beams, monkey bars and even climbing rocks.  

Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953 

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday – 10:00am to 7:00pm (last admission at 6:30pm), Saturday, Sunday and public holidays – 9:00am to 9:00pm (last admission at 8:30pm), closed on Mondays. 

How to get there: The Children’s Garden is adjacent to the Cloud Forest Conservatory. See the map here for directions.

2. Lower Seletar Reservoir Park

a little girl playing in a water park at lower seletar reservoir park, singapore a little girl playing in a water park at lower seletar reservoir park, singapore

There are many water parks in Singapore but this one at Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is our favourite.

The kids water play area at Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is our favourite because it’s usually not crowded, even on weekends. It has a wading stream and a central fountain area which is ever popular with kids. The little ones are free to run wild and free, enjoying all that the park has to offer without having to worry about bumping into other children. This is one of our favourite outdoor activities for the children on a hot and humid day! The park is also popular with Kayakers and Dragon-boaters and you’ll often see them paddling their kayaks and dragon boats down the reservoir. They’re usually very friendly so feel free to say ‘Hi’ if you spot them! 

Address: Bounded by Yishun Ave 1 and Lentor Avenue 

Opening hours: Open daily from 7:00am to 7:00pm. 

How to get there: Refer to website for detailed directions. 

3. Playground at JEM shopping mall

a group of children playing at the waterpark at jem shopping mall, west singapore a group of children playing at the waterpark at jem shopping mall, west singapore

The outdoor playground of JEM Shopping Mall keeps kids entertained while you indulge in a well-deserved retail therapy.

Singapore is known for having many shopping malls, in the central shopping districts and residential neighbourhoods. Depending on where you’ve planned to be for a day out, there are quite a few malls that have rooftop outdoor playgrounds or water parks for the kids to have fun in while moms or dads do the shopping. On our recent trip to JEM mall located in the west of Singapore, we were delighted to find a playground fitted with a water play area at the fifth level of the mall. Featuring a netted bridge, swings, trampolines and a play area with water curtains and fountain jet areas, it didn’t take me long to decide to leave our girl with my husband while I sneak off for some retail therapy. I even managed to slot in a 30-minute quick facial while they were having fun! 

Address: 50 Jurong Gateway Road, Level 5, Singapore 608549 

Opening hours: Open daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm. 

How to get there: Take the MRT along the East-West line and alight at Jurong East station. 

If you’re looking for other malls with kids water play areas, here are some for consideration: 

 

North / North East

  • Kidzplay @ Nex

East

West 

Central

Soak in all the good, fun activities to do as a family here

From nature trails, art playgrounds, musical performances and water play areas, this little red dot I call home never fails to surprise me. They say that Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in – I say sometimes, it’s about being resourceful, and you’ll still be able to enjoy all that Singapore has to offer on a budget or even free. If you have other suggestions, feel free to share with us in the comments below!

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, Elise Tay.

About Elise:  Mother of two girls. A baker and a cook, she frequently updates @elisetay_ on Instagram with photos of her culinary adventures and snippets of motherhood.

 

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