There are many awesome reasons to live in Singapore. After all, it is one of the safest places to live in the world, it has a modern and efficient infrastructure and it has seriously amazing Michelin-star hawker food.
But it is also terribly expensive—for five years in a row, the country has been listed as the world’s most expensive city in the Worldwide Cost of Living survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
If you and your family have recently moved to this lovely island city but are struggling to find places to take your children that don’t involve busting your budget, fret no longer! We have here a list of six fun things you can do with the kids that won’t cost you a cent.
Fire Station Saturdays
Let your little ones put on the firefighter’s hat for one morning. Every Saturday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, selected fire stations throughout the island have a free open house. It is a great opportunity to learn what firefighters do on a daily basis, find out how they carry out their rescues, check out their equipment and trucks and maybe even put on a fire jacket.
Find out which fire station hosts the open house nearest to your neighbourhood, and request for a visit to the Fire Station Open House via the Singapore Civil Defence Force website. You may be able to walk-in and register on the day if your group is small. Note that the Central Fire Station has a heritage gallery if that is something that may be of interest to you.
Beautiful Sunday at The Esplanade
Music is good for the soul—and your health. Once a month on a Sunday, The Esplanade presents a free concert that features homegrown musicians that play music that ranges from orchestral to jazz to pop; certainly, an excellent way to enjoy some music therapy!
For families who are musically-inclined, this is certainly an activity worth exploring.
Art Spaces to Imagine, Discover, Play
After enjoying some lush melodies at Beautiful Sunday, let your kids wind down (or up!) at PIP’s PLAYbox, an indoor art space located at The Esplanade that is dedicated to children. Here, kids feel free to run, doodle, explore and read. From time to time, story-time and craft activities that tie in with The Esplanade’s events and festivals are also organised. The space also includes an outdoor area for free play.
Another indoor art space you will surely want to visit is the Keppel Centre for Art Education located within the National Gallery. This award-winning space introduces art to young children in a creative and dynamic way. Kids can explore four different rooms that contain unique and immersive art installations that allow them the freedom to touch, feel, play and imagine.
Finally, you will want to also check out The Artground at the Goodman Arts Centre. Designed for those 12 years and below, the play space reimagines and builds amazing interactive installations three times a year so that kids can hop, jump, slide and climb over (and under or through) them. Great for developing motor skills and burning off their seemingly boundless supply of energy.
Concerts at Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is located in the heart of the city centre. It serves as an oasis away from the hustle, bustle and (air and noise) pollution that is typical of any city. You can explore the various trails and enjoy the many gardens.
The best part of all, keep track of the free movie screenings, assorted festivals and the popular Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) concerts—as a matter of fact, there is one slated for this coming Mother’s Day. A perfect way to spend an evening with the whole family.
Guided Walk Through the Wetlands
Sungei Buloh is Singapore’s very first ASEAN Heritage Park and is internationally recognised as an area of importance for migratory birds.
The reserve is 202 hectares of mangrove forests and is rich with tropical flora and fauna. You can find crabs, mudskippers, water snakes, monitor lizards and otters, among others. And do think about packing a pair of binoculars if you want to zoom in on herons, sunbirds and kingfishers. Visit during the migratory season (between September and March) and you can expect to see greater variations of bird life.
While there are trails that you can venture out on your own, you may also register for a free guided walk through the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, which runs every Saturday from 9:30 am to 11:00 am.
Picnics at the Marina Barrage
When the weather is sunny and breezy, pack a picnic basket and sunscreen and head on over to the massive grassy lawn over at the Marina Barrage. Relax, take a nap, eat and toss a frisbee. Watch as fellow picnickers fly their amazing looking kites, or bring your own and join in on some old-school fun. There is a wonderful day to be had in the great outdoors, complete with amazing views of the city’s gorgeous skyline.