Play Masak Masak at the National Museum

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Looking at the number of children's activities that are taking place during this June hols, our kids are definitely spoilt for choices. Too bad that I have to carefully select the number of events/ places we can attend, as my helper is taking a two-week home leave soon. 

We attended the media preview of the Masak Masak 2015 held at the National Museum of Singapore, as part of the annual Children's Season that takes place in 19 different museums all over Singapore. If you are wondering, Masak Masak is a term children use when they play the cooking game. Although there are no cooking games at the Masak Masak 2015, expect your kids to run and explore around the museum, because the art installations are THAT interactive and engaging!

The event is recommended for children aged 3 to 7, so I was glad that Ch decided to come along with my niece, Aly. Ch did comment that the activities were rather childish for her age, but I could see that she also enjoyed herself at each installation. Both girls were engaged in different ways - Aly, being younger, took to the place like a big playground. Ch, on the other hand, read the write-up for each installation, and was able to appreciate the message each artist wanted to convey. 

Here's what you can expect for this year's event:

1. Playgrounds on the Lawn
Open for play at the Front Lawn every Saturday and Sunday, 10am-12pm & 4pm-6pm

Which kid doesn't love the bouncing castle? What more, there are 3 inflatables! In the shape of the iconic mosaic dragon, watermelon and elephant playgrounds that we used to be very familiar with, this brings nostalgia for me as I watched the kids play. 

Momolato gelato is also available here with their special gelato flavour - Masak Masak - and other ice cream and popsicle flavours. The gelato is $3.50 for a scoop, and is available every Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm. 

2. Spectrum of Paper by Mademoiselle Maurice (France)
Rotunda, Level 1

Be greeted by this majestic and colourful rainbow origami suspension by Mademoiselle Maurice when you enter the National Museum of Singapore. Stand directly under the installation to capture the most beautiful spectrum of colours. I must say that I didn't expect Mademoiselle Maurice to be so young *grin*

The rainbow origami continues in Sol's Journey at The Salon where she got her inspiration from Jeanette Aw's illustration of Sol holding onto a string tied to a bird in flight. The colourful spectrum of birds gives one the feeling of freedom and hope, and even if one bird is flying in the "wrong direction", the rest of the birds can guide the lost one to the right path. There is also one incomplete wall for the children to add on their own origami.

Sol's Journey is inspired by Jeanette Aw's
latest illustrated book, Sol's World: Somebody to Love.
Spot the "lost" bird?

3. Queen of the Forest by Jeremy Hiah (Singapore)
The Salon, Level 1

Jeremy Hiah presents an adaptation of a local children's folktale, Queen of the Forest, via an installation of specially created puppets using shadow puppetry. Children can also get a box of materials to make their own puppet with a donation of $2. 

Puppetry performance schedule: Saturdays and Sundays, 30 & 31 May, 13 & 14, 20 & 21 June, 8 & 9 Aug (20 min session each)

4. Simple Pleasures in Life & Life's Best Journey is with The One You Love by Jeanette Aw (Singapore)
The Salon, Level 1

Singapore's local artiste - Jeanette Aw - presents two wall murals of cute and meaningful illustrations from her illustrated book. The children can fill the drawing at Simple Pleasures in Life, or etch what makes them happy on the black wall to reveal the bigger picture that appears. 

5. Garden Games: Hello, Hello?; Can or Not?; Flag Attack!; Tilt! by School of the Arts (Singapore)
Concourse, Level 1

Students from School of the Arts (SOTA) bring a twist to nostalgic games for our children who may not be very familiar with them. Speak to each other using the cans, but first, figure out which can is connected to which amid a tangle of coloured strings. Or have a larger-than-life version of the old-school flag eraser game and the Ring-a-Bottle game. Try your navigation skills with the ball-in-maze puzzle and tell me how successful you are. We just can't seem to get the ball to navigate through the maze as it kept dropping right out of the opposite hole!
Hello, Hello?
Flag Attack!
Can or Not?

6. Dancing Solar Flowers by Alexandre Dang (France)
Concourse, Level 1

Be hypotised by these pretty field of dancing flowers that combines the concept of Renewable Energy with Art. This installation challenges our children to question our current use of energy and to think about sustainable energy sources for the future. 

7. Memory Stations by Koeh Sia Yong & Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore)
Canyon, Basement

Without a camera, memories can still be captured through the olden artform of Woodblock printing. Over here, children can do their own imprints using the modern stamps. You can even sneak in a lesson about mirror images using the woodblock prints!

8. Wanderlust by Crystal Wagner (USA)
Canyon, Basement

Let the kids explore this enchanting forest that is created from simple materials like crepe paper and plastic bags. See how they tackle the low terrain, narrow passageways and crawl under overhanging branches. But do remind your children to be gentle with this colourful installation. The museum staff get rather nervous when they see children mishandling the installation, especially when they run wild around this installation. 

9. Luma-City by Lim Kim and Alfred Lim (Singapore)
Perform@PLAY, Level 3

The kids will be fascinated by the dark room and glowing trails that gradually fade on the floor as they push the toy vehicles around on the special floor created for this installation. The use of a special technology by industrial designers - Lim Kim and Alfred Lim - to light up the fluorescence on the floor intrigues me greatly too!
Glowing trails are different for different vehicles!

We enjoyed the engaging play at each installation, and Masak Masak 2015 has definitely allowed the children to have fun while learning bits of art and our heritage. To fully embrace the theme of Masak Masak, I hope the museum staff can be a bit more relaxed with the kids who may look like they are going to damage the art installations anytime in the midst of their excitement and fun. This is after all, a children's event, and we need to be mindful that children learn by touching and playing with the exhibits. On our part, parents can help to prevent any damage on the installations by educating their children that these are works by artists who have spent so much time and effort to put them up. Teach our children to respect the artists' creations and play carefully.

Venue: National Museum of Singapore 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 6pm
Admission is FREE!

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