Even if you are the most organized, prepared person in the world, nothing can really completely prepare you for kids. What was expected to be a normal, easy day out in the park can turn into a mess of epic proportions if not done right.
Nothing is ever the same when you have kids– be it going out for lunch or a “quick” grocery stop, your routine or even the condition (i.e. cleanliness) of your home.
While it can be quite exhausting and sometimes seemingly hopeless to actually have order or something that might resemble it– especially if you are the type of person who needs to be organized– there are still a lot of parenting hacks and tips you can take note of and even use to alleviate some of the mess in your daily life (and not just mess in the house.)
Boredom and children
Kids like to get entertained and are bored easily. One moment they feel good and satisfied with watching some cartoons, the next moment they want to be doing something else, and they want it immediately.
Thinking of ways to keep kids entertained is not an easy task. At first, there are a lot of ideas, but before you know it the list has been narrowed down to none. Not to mention the trauma you might have incurred from the last trip you had– diaper blow out, tantrums, bad weather, too expensive, body aches all over.
Keeping your kid entertained
Kathleen M. Reilly from Parents Magazine and a mother to a six-year-old boy, shared in an article she wrote how entertaining children when they are bored is not the way to go (of course, given that your kid is no longer an infant) because Child-development experts say that rather than rushing to relieve your kid’s doldrums, it’s best for him to figure out something to do on his own—or just be nudged ever so slightly in the right direction.”
True enough, Christopher Willard, Psy.D., a child psychologist in Boston and author of Child’s Mind agrees. “Seemingly boring situations can be a fabulous opportunity for kids to stretch their imagination. In fact, some kids aren’t motivated to be creative unless they’re bored.”
Furthermore, the psychologist adds that helping kids learn to use their imagination is an essential key to fighting boredom. “Children aren’t going to be able to toss a ball or ride their bike in every boring situation, but they’ll always have their imagination.” The parent’s role is to encourage that imagination with their children.
Another thing the doctor suggests is to encourage creativity. To do this, Reilly explains that television and other gadgets are not the best things to provide for kids. Yes, it is easier for both yourself and a quick fix for the kids, but that’s just that: a quick fix.
“It’s okay to suggest a solution for kids when they’re bored, especially if it’s been at least ten or 15 minutes and they haven’t been able to come up with something on their own. But the most common distractions—turning on a TV show, popping a movie into the DVD player, or even handing over your iPhone—teach your child to expect instant gratification.”
Social interaction and going out
Another very important skill to learn that also helps entertain children is social interaction. According to J.P. Isenberg and M. R. Jalongo, social and emotional skills through play are essential elements of a child’s success. Citing a study done by Smilansky and Shefatya (1990), the authors said that “school success largely depends on children’s ability to interact positively with their peers and adults. Play is vital to children’s social development.”
Other important skills children learn through social play are:
- Learn to communicate using both verbal and nonverbal cues through negotiating their roles during play as well as trying to join ongoing play.
- Learn empathy and improve emotional quotient such as learning to respect their peers turn and learning to share experiences.
- Role play and experiment with people and their social environment. Social play helps children express themselves better.
Indoor playground: What are they?
Going outside is probably one of the easiest ways to develop social skills. Nothing trains children (and even adults) better than real-life experiences that is why parents are always advised to expose kids to social interactions such as going to the park, playground, and even malls.
Not only will your youngster learn more about social interactions but also get familiar with everyday objects. In addition to that, and sometimes seemingly more important, you’ll be able to use up all your toddler’s almost endless energy.
While going outdoors has a lot of benefits, there are a lot more things to factor in and sometimes uncontrollable instances prevent you from going on the trip such as weather. If it’s rainy, too hot, too cold or humid, you might be hesitant to go to parks and playgrounds outside.
Thankfully, kids can still enjoy the experience of playgrounds without you worrying about rain or heat strokes. Indoor playground provides the same challenge, fun and social interactions that kids crave for in outdoor playgrounds without the outdoor part.
Natasha of Serenity You agrees, saying when the weather is bad, “Indoor playgrounds are therefore more suitable and children won’t be robbed of a day’s play even, in their childhood and parents will experience fewer arguments with children.”
Not only does she agree that indoor playgrounds are great for bad weather days, but she also stresses that it is one of the safest alternatives.
“Indoor playgrounds offer safe play equipment such as inflatable slides, obstacle courses, attractive toy setups that keep the children occupied in playing and parents need not worry about them. The only need is to ensure the safety of these play equipment through regular inspection. Moreover, children won’t be exposed to strangers and there will be limited chances of serious injuries and chances of fights among the children.”
Singapore indoor playground locations and rates
There are tons of kid-friendly activities to do in Singapore including indoor playgrounds. However, not all these activity centers are made the same. Some indoor playgrounds are smaller, some are huge; others are a little more pricey, some are super affordable; some are located in the odds and ends of Singapore and others at the heart and soul of the metropolis.
Indoor Playground Rates
As mentioned, rates for the different indoor playgrounds in Singapore also differ. Some can be as low as $5 and others around $35 depending on the place and what that rate corresponds to. Rates are usually not one-size fits all kind of thing. Promos and bundle packages are also offered for parents going on group trips or school-organized events. Seasonal discounts also vary depending on the playground.
For instance, The Polliwogs has different rates for age groups and even locations because there are different courses and setups for different ages. Toddlers 2 and above has a different play area than two and below. There are also different adventure courses that are more extensive, hence a different cost.
According to Bumblebee Mum, a well-known blogger in the Singapore parenting sphere who has reviewed many different indoor playgrounds in the country, “The biggest chain of indoor playgrounds with value-for-money play passes that can be used at all outlets. They have managed to carve a niche for themselves in this competitive indoor playground landscape – offering excellent play at reasonable prices. Each playground has dedicated toddler zone and nursing room.”
Unlike other indoor playgrounds, The Polliwogs is located in areas that are easily accessible and at the center of traffic (and kids) in the country.
The Polliwogs Eastpoint Mall
The Polliwogs Eastpoint Mall was opened last year in April. The theme for the East-side indoor playground is “Space.” The Eastpoint Mall branch is, according to the blogger reminiscent of the previous east coast The Polliwogs playground and some memorable features are still there.
The Polliwogs Suntec City
One of the largest branches of The Polliwogs, the easily accessible branch (Promenade MRT CC4 / DT15) is also a favorite of many. “Overall this is my favourite among the 4 Polliwogs branch. It is directly accessible by MRT and spacious. The toddler’s play area here is also better than the ones at their other branches.” shared the blogger. Located at 3 Temasek Boulevard, #02-724 to 727, Tower 4, Suntec City Mall, Singapore 038983, it is easy to find and easy to get to.
In addition to that, the activities in this area vary and are definitely good for active play.
The Polliwogs Vivocity
Just as accessible as the Suntec City branch, The Polliwogs Vivocity is located at Harbourfront Walk, #03-12 VivoCity, Singapore 098585. According to parenting bloggers, Mommy J and Daddy M of The Wacky Duo, “The latest Polliwogs may be the smallest. However, in terms of play, it is comparable to its peers. The location is perfect for families. It is housed in a shopping mall, given the parents’ flexibility to rotate and do some shopping if needed.”
Polliwogs Waka Waka Annex @ Furama Riverfront
The Waka Waka Annex at the Furama Riverfront branch is a Safari-themed indoor playground. It includes features such as
- All-time Favourites giant waves slides and bouncy castle!
- Obstacle Rope Course (Parents can give it a go too!)
- 3 themed Wall-Climbing Walls with 2m height & Totem Challenge; Leap of Faith!
- A dedicated performance area for weekly shows from our Polliwogians Characters
- Party function rooms with Safari-themed wallpapers
- Exclusive Chillax Room for parents or kids’ activities.
Packing a day bag for your indoor playground trip
What to bring when going out
Some indoor playgrounds do not allow snacks while in the premises (snacks outside of their store), others have a corkage. However, as a parent, no matter what kind of trip you go to snacks are a MUST HAVE.
According to Kristen Maxwell of Travelling Mom, the best kinds of snacks when going out are “snacks that fit their little fingers, taste delicious, are mostly healthy, and don’t make a big mess.”
Some ideas include frozen squeezable yogurt tubes, dry cereal, granola bars, waffle, string cheese, trail mix, raisins, squeezable applesauce and animal crackers.
Here’s a list of things you should have with you:
- Changing Mat
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Medicine for fever
- Medicine for nausea
- Favorite Toy
- A photo of your children/ child
- Extra outfit per kid
- Extra clothes for yourself
- Scarf or a lightweight blanket
- Dry bag or dirty bag for dirty items
Some kids do not like being restricted with leashes; and while they are learning to explore their independence more and more, kids tend to wander off. With so much on a parent’s plate, no matter how much they want to, sometimes kids wander too far. Because safety and security are one of the primary concerns of parents (and losing a kid can be a totally stressful situation no matter how secure or closed the environment is), GPS devices are a must-have for your young ones.
As Safewise accurately points out, “Wearable GPS trackers the challenge of parenthood just got a little easier. Whether your child is on a family outing, at an amusement park, or on a school trip, these devices give you one less thing to worry about. And whether your child is starting kindergarten or is in middle school, wearable GPS technology helps you keep track of their day without being too intrusive—giving you the peace of mind that every parent dreams of.”
With the rise of technology comes a wider array of GPS locators that are child-friendly. Some costs a lot more, some are worthy investments and others go out in an affordable price range.
Preparing for going out with kids is fun and can be a little less stressful. Remember to bring the essentials and do not over pack. Also, you know your baby best and understand their needs the most. Make sure to account for the uniqueness of your child– he or she has quirks and preferences you need to make note of.
Indoor playgrounds not only give kids enjoyment but also help them develop life skills that they will need and use as they grow up. Bring them out as often as you can and make sure to be prepared so you can enjoy as well as your kid will be.