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Local bloggers share their favourite family haunts with us.

We hear friends complain that they have no idea what to do with their kids and nephews or nieces during the coming March holidays. We posed this question to a few bloggers in-the-know and here are their recommendations.

Kampong Lorong Buangkok

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Ai Sakura, Sakura Haruka

We feel that Kampong Lorong Buangkok is an excellent experience for our daughter — to see that Singapore isn't just a concrete jungle; to have her come into contact with her humble pre-modernised beginnings; to see what a kampong is like. Nestled between a busy main road and high-rise housing developments, its rustic wooden houses, tin roofs, vegetable patches and wild fruit-trees make it a world very different from cosmopolitan Singapore. It was surreal entering the kampong: you feel yourself transported, as the thick trees and bushes block out the noises and sights of the modern world.

It was nice to see the open porches and inviting courtyards, like in old times where the community spirit was strong among villagers and there were no worries over crime. Today, it’s uncommon to see a modern Singaporean house without high walls, electric gates and CCTV systems.

If you have the time, take your kids for a visit there and maybe relive your own memories of olden Singapore. Kampong Lorong Buangkok is not a tourist attraction, but you are free to wander around the public areas and soak up the atmosphere. Do however respect the privacy of the residents there.

Fun Lessons From The Wet Market

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Andy Lee, Sengkang Babies

Children are inquisitive and ever-so-keen to get hands-on with everything. Where do their breakfasts come from? Who buys their fish and prawns? With these questions in mind, my kids volunteered to shadow Grandma at the wet-market.

Amidst the bustling crowd and sellers hawking their fares, the fruit-and-vegetable stall caught our eye. Colours exploded everywhere we turned, and the scents tickled our noses. What a workout for our senses! As we walked about, we found the prawns and fish at Grandma's regular stall. Yes, the fish may not smell nice, but it’s all part of the fun in learning. The aquarium is found down the row—the kids certainly did not mind playing with the guppies, worms or terrapins!

The wet-market is their classroom: they can now tell their friends that the fresh poultry and seafood at home is bought at the market. When we were done, Grandma showed us the breakfast outlets (not Macdonald’s please!). The kids hurried about, identifying their favourite Nasi Lemak, Roti Prata or Bee Hoon.

The wet-market may not be one’s typical idea of family fun, but all the sights, sounds and smells are excellent fuel for children’s imaginations. It is an unforgettable experience to watch your kids jostle about, excitedly pointing out this and that (whilst learning new things at the same time). The wet-market is an increasingly foreign concept for many young ones.

Next Sunday morning, organise a trip to the wet-market — a fun-filled morning awaits.

Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk

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Kelvin Ang, Cheekiemonkies

Do you know that a Mangrove Boardwalk exists in Pasir Ris Park? Neither did I. The moment I discovered the existence of such a hidden gem, I knew I had to bring my three kids down for a good trek. The good thing about the Boardwalk is that it is suitable for people of all ages — it’s even stroller-friendly! This is a definite thrill for the families who are up for some crab or mudskipper-spotting.

Along the way, we spotted peculiar 'humps' in the ground made by mud lobsters, as well as the scampering tree-climbing crabs. Mudskippers, though, were a little more elusive. The kids (and even adults) needed some time before we came across one because of its camouflaging ability. But once we caught sight of one, it wasn’t too difficult to spot its friends lurking in the vicinity.

The end of the Boardwalk holds yet another gem — a jetty overlooking Sungei Tampines. We spotted the most number of animals here! In the short span of 15 minutes, we saw herons, kingfishers, a water monitor-lizard, a gliding lizard (otherwise known as a 'flying dragon'), fishes like halfbeaks and archer fishes, and even a dog-faced water snake.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed trying to ‘out-spot’ one another, and it was all for good fun. And for that, it ranks as my family’s number one favourite place in Singapore!

Places Green And Beautiful

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Rachel, 4MalMal Our Inspiration

Staying home during the weekend may be better for recharging after a hectic week but this won’t work for a household like mine. With two active boys, I need to find ways to expend their seemingly endless amounts of energy.

My boys adore nature—they never get bored, even if it meant climbing all 373 steps up the Bukit Timah Hill or hiking for hours to get to the TreeTop Walk. They've always enjoyed the cool reprieve of the forest, lapping up the raindrops that fall through the cracks in the thick canopy with glee.

We love our country's nature parks and reservoirs and much has changed over the decades. The National Parks Board has done a wonderful job of building the wooden boardwalks at the MacRitchie Reservoir, which allow us to get up close and see that the water is emerald-green, clear and teeming with life.

I often wonder what it means to be a ‘kid-friendly’ place. Does it mean not having to walk and sweat, or not having to worry about the kids falling over the edge or into the water? To me though, ‘kid-friendly’ means being able to let my hair down, and accept the mud on my children’s faces and them sticking their fingers at the creepy crawlies on the forest floor. ‘Kid-friendly’ means allowing them to learn a skill or two while they fall and pick themselves up.

So while we enjoy our nice weekend outings, we also take the opportunity to teach them a thing or two about this wondrous and often forgotten world of ours.