Classroom learning aside, taking junior to experience different outdoor settings offers great educational benefits as well. They’ll spot animals and birds, listen to nature sounds, touch the rough texture of the tree bark, smell fragrant flowers, and perhaps even taste freshly plucked fruit or herbs. Along the way, junior will get a deeper appreciation and understanding of the world they are growing up in.
Indeed, children learn through all their senses. Here are five exciting spots that will let them soak up an all-round sensorial experience.
For his sense of sight…
GO TO Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Road, 6269-3411
WHY The zoo is a great place to check out the animals your little one has probably only heard ahout about in books. Spot the rugged back of the crocodiles as they move stealthily in the water, or catch the brown lemurs as they swing from tree to tree. We bet even adults will have trouble finding the green leaf frog in his natural environment! If your tot adores patterns, he’ll have fun pointing out the stripes on the zebra, and the leopard’s spots. Test his knowledge of colours as you gaze at the white polar bear and big grey elephants.
PRICE $33/adult, $22/kids aged 3 to 12.
For his sense of hearing…
GO TO Jurong Bird Park, 2 Jurong Hill, 6269-3411
WHY Few things relax the ear more than the soothing chirping of birds, so make tracks for Asia’s largest bird park, which boasts some 5,000 birds from 400 species. Your sweetie will really dig coming in close contact with the gregarious birds at the Lory Loft. Here’s where your young ’un will hear his feathered friends chirping up close as they are being fed ― one might even land on his shoulder! Don’t miss the hooting owls, and make sure to stay for the High Flyers Show so that you’ll get a chance to catch Amigo, the Yellow-Naped Amazon sing in three languages! Do also make your way to the Waterfall Aviary to marvel at the crashing roar of the water plunging down from the 13 stories/30m-high manmade waterfall.
PRICE $29 for adults and $19 for kids aged 3 to 12.
For his sense of smell…
GO TO Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, 6420-6848
WHY Take in the amazing scents of flora at the Flower Dome conservatory, the largest glass greenhouse in the world, according to the 2015 Guinness World Records. Your kiddo will enjoy the cool 23 to 25 deg C temperatures in this huge enclosed space, while checking out plants and flowers from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. The flower field which displays different flowers for the different seasons, is certainly a feast for the senses. Junior will smell the sweet nectar of gardenias, used to lure pollinators, and perhaps even find less pleasant ones, for the purpose of repelling predators.
PRICE $12 for adults, $8 for children aged 3 to 12.
For his sense of touch…
GO TO Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, 481 Bukit Timah Road, 6465-0196
WHY A huge garden for children to explore and run freely ― it really doesn’t get better than this! Your mini-me can touch tons of textures here ― from running his fingers along the bark of the well-known “hollow tree”, to swiping and sniffing the leaves of herbs such as mint. Make it a point to stop by the huge tree house, a centrepiece of the garden with its red tunnel slides that junior will love zooming down on. Besides a little water-play area, let him feel the sensation of sand through his toes at the sand pit. He can even learn about photosynthesis at a station simply by turning a lever and pushing some buttons.
PRICE Free. The garden is open to kids up to age 12, and their families. All children must be accompanied by adults.
For his sense of taste…
GO TO Bollywood Veggies, 100 Neo Tiew Road, 6898-5001
WHY Visit this iconic farm at the Kranji countryside to show your little one just how the food he eats is grown and harvested. He’ll have plenty to see ― bitter gourd, custard apples, sweet potatoes, eggplant…the list goes on. Don’t forget to check out the bananas, too ― with more than 20 varieties, Bollywood Veggies is Singapore’s largest producer. The guides might even offer you a taste of the fresh produce as you explore the gardens. Head to Poison Ivy Bistro once you’ve worked up an appetite ― almost all the vegetables, herbs and spices served by the bistro are grown right on the farm! We hear the chicken curry is good, and the little ones should enjoy the Fish & Chips and Chicken Spaghetti Bolognese.
PRICE The entrance fee is $2, and you pay for what you eat at the bistro.
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