1. Cooking and Baking
Try: Camp AsiaCamp Asia, Culinaryon, Brettschneider’s Baking and Cooking School or The Providore
The advent of MasterChef Junior has inspired legions of mini gourmands the world over, but letting little ones get hands-on in the kitchen has all sorts of other benefits. Think boosting confidence and providing a sense of accomplishment, teaching basic math skills through measuring and portioning, fine motor skills that come from mixing and pouring, and learning first-hand the importance of making healthy food choices. Some of our favourite courses include Super Chef Camp at Camp Asia, a week-long camp that lets kids ages 6-16 do everything from menu planning to opening their own restaurant, Junior Chef classes at Culinaryon, where kids 4-and-up can master popular dishes like pizza and pasta in a state-of-the-art kitchen, Kids cooking @ The Providore, where besides pizza and cupcakes, kids above 6 can learn the finer points of Indian cuisine; and super fun baking classes for the 5-and-up set at Brettschneider’s Baking and Cooking School.
2. Mastering Mindfulness
Try: The Open Centre
Mindfulness is a buzzword these days, but do you feel comfortable (and patient enough) to help your kids put mindfulness principles into practice? At The Open Centre—located in the beautiful, lush surrounds of Horsecity—counsellor and psychotherapist Dawn Sim and her team of experts give children real-life learning experiences to practise life skills. Through interaction with others, kids learn how to manage peer-to-peer conflict and emotional regulation. The Open Centre’s seasonal holiday camp activities include Creative Arts, Pet Therapy, Brazilian Capoeira, Yoga, Horse Grooming/Riding, special behind-the-scene Zoo visits and much more. The six-week “Resilient Child” programme—which is offered year round for kids ages 7 to 11—covers topics like understanding and practising empathy, gratitude, altruism, mindful listening, and the ever-important skill of making and keeping friends. It’s all rooted in social-emotional learning with a true mindfulness component, serving The Open Centre’s mission to nurture resilient, compassionate and happy children.
3. Music and Performance
Try: Aureus Academy
With over 3,000 students and six locations conveniently located across the island (as well as an even more convenient option for lessons at home), Aureus Academy is one of Singapore’s largest and most popular music schools. Aureus offers individualised instruction for all sorts of different instruments (and also lets kids sample ’em all with their super popular “Instrument-a-Day” holiday camps), but for those who really want to rock, it’s all about the guitar!
Expert instructors can teach classical, acoustic and electric guitar to kids 7 and up, and students have the option to learn from sheet music, guitar tabs, or both. And no need to fret about forking out for an expensive instrument as Aureus offers handy instrument rentals at affordable prices. Parents can look forward to awesome recitals in Aureus’s state-of-the-art performance spaces, too. Best of all, Aureus offers a free trial lesson so you can gauge if your munchkin is truly committed to the music!
4. Rock Climbing
Got a little monkey on your hands? Rock climbing has all sorts of cool benefits for kids, both mental and physical. It teaches problem-solving, concentration, goal-setting, and helps them learn how to overcome fears. Plus, it’s also fab for flexibility and core strength. The first-of-its-kind-in Singapore vertigo climbing wall at Snow City, known as The Cliff, offers 10 different climbing lanes for adventurous tykes as young as age 3. With options for both “Lead” and “Speed” climbing, the outdoor climbing wall is a fab confidence-builder. Snow City collaborated with Nphibian Outdoor Consultants, a leading expert in wall climbing facilities and a member of the Singapore Mountaineering Federation, to construct the state-of-the-art Vertigo Climbing System, which was also featured at the 2012 World Youth Climbing Championships held in Singapore. With plenty of trained, friendly instructors on staff, The Cliff offers classes for kids and adults alike—perfect for adventurous parents keen for some wholesome, heart-pumping bonding.
5. Coding and Robotics
Try: Coding Lab
What parent doesn’t want their child to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Ma? With increased evidence that screen time is okay for kids (in moderation, at least), getting kids keyed up on coding around age 3 or 4 is a no-brainer. Founded by an MIT alumi who worked in Silicon Valley, Coding Lab challenges kiddos with fun and engaging hands-on courses. Kids start out with ScratchJr, a coding language and expressing themselves creatively with tablets. Keep an eye out for special themed one-day workshops that incorporate children’s literature classics (for example: the recent Guess How Much I Love You course). Coding Lab’s Tinker Corner lets kids get creative with the latest and best-in-class tech toys shipped directly from Kickstarter or Silicon Valley itself.