[Review & Giveaway] Creating with Nature at Playeum's Hideaways

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I have heard so many good things about Playeum especially after the opening of the Children's Centre for Creativity at the Gillman Barracks and its inaugural exhibition 'The Art of Speed'. So when I got to know that Playeum has opened a new exhibition where visual art, music, nature and (lots of) playtime come together, I was excited to visit!

And this is why. Led by Creative Director Jeremy Chu, and conceived of by artists and other content creators, 'Hideaways - Creating with Nature' features installations which encourage children to explore, observe, construct, reflect, innovate and engage with natural materials through the 6 interactive artists' installations.

Together with all my three kids, we made a trip down to Playeum, Singapore's First Children's Centre for Creativity and checked it out. This unique centre is a combination of an indoor playground, an enrichment centre and an art museum. All of us love it, and I had difficulty getting them out when Playeum was closing for the day. Here are 7 reasons why your kids should not miss this exhibition which will end on 30 October 2016.

1. Your kids can come up close with the insects to learn about them. 

Be it a flying insect or a dead roach, Ch and L shriek for Mommy's protection whenever they see one. That annoys me because I love most invertebrates and I've been trying to educate them so that they will realise that most often, their fears are unfounded. I was surprised to see them so calm and interested with the creepy crawlies at the 'Knock, Knock! Who lives there?' installations!

Knock, Knock! Who lives there? by artist Isabelle Desjeux

Children can observe small animals which are found around the Playeum compound in the comfort of their own space. This is because special surveillance cameras have been set up at the natural habitats of these invertebrates and live footages are streamed to the television screens inside the Playeum building. Look out of the windows and you might also spot some live insects comfortably housed in a specially constructed Bug Hotel.

To complement their learning, children can also write to the animals and drop their letter into the red mailboxes below each TV screen. Replies are not promised, but one Playeum staff told me that they do make an effort to reply the sender depending on the content of the letter.

The kids can also look at insect specimens on display, observe and make drawings of them. There are also magnifying glasses for them to view their specimens more clearly. What I was most excited about was the stereo microscope which magnifies and projects the images on the wall.

2. It's a multi-sensory play!

We know how important sensory play is for a young child's development and the good news is, there is no lack of sensory play in this immersive environment. Children get to use their hands, legs, eyes and ears to explore different textures, sounds and lights.

The 'Creature Cave' is one huge cardboard art installation that has a range of textures and lights, as well as sound pads on the floor which produce sounds of frog and insects when pressed. With padded flooring, this installation is suitable and safe for infants and toddlers to be engaged in a multi-sensory play. 

Creature Cave by artist Bartholomew Ting

Natural materials like leaves, twigs, bamboo are used in many of the artists' installations to provide tactile stimulation and strengthens a closeness with nature.

Different textures available to construct an indoor Sensory Bug Hotel

This Sound Web installation in 'The Dark Space' includes interactive art technology like motion sensors which produce animal sounds when the children move around the room. Try spotting the calls of a crocodile and tiger! Ch and L had fun being silly and "weaving their webs" like spiders using the strips of cloth and velcro.

The Dark Space by artist Richard Kearns

3. Lots of bonding time between parent and child through child-led play.

With so many activities to do at this exhibition, it is a great opportunity for parents to work together with your child to observe, create, imagine, communicate, and play. Also, I noticed that children below 8yo need some parental guidance else they will just be running wild.

Making music like insects at Welcome to my World by The People's Atelier

4. It teaches your child that everyone can be creative. 

Exhibitions at the Children's Centre for Creativity most closely align with the Reggio Emilia Approach hence the indoor space is set up to encourage collaboration, communication and exploration. Stretch your child's imagination and pretend to be a spider or a worm. They can construct shelters using bamboo poles at the 'Welcome to my World' artist installations while exploring sights and sounds through the eyes and ears of insects.

Welcome to my World by The People's Atelier

Make a bee's nest, moth cocoon or musical instrument using natural materials at the 'Welcome to my World' installations or create a "house" for your imaginary creature using clay at 'Make-believe Hideaway'. There are no fixed rules so just let your child's imagination run wild!

5. The exhibition grows with your child's creations. 

That's the beauty of the Hideaways - Creating with Nature exhibition. Each installation is not a fixed product of the artist's work. Some of the installations are somewhat work-in-progress and your child's creations can be added on to grow the structure throughout the exhibition's duration. Musical instruments made by the children can be attached to the Tunnel of Sound, a skeletal structure outside the building. Try striking on the materials in the tunnel to hear the beautiful sounds created. L wants to revisit the exhibition to check on his clay creations at the 'Make-believe Hideaway' installation.

Left: Make-believe Hideaway by Madhvi Subrahmanian;
Right: The Tunnel of Sound at the 'Sounds of Earth - Nature's Ensemble by Shogun Creatives

6. It's an interdisciplinary learning opportunity.

Art, science and music are some of the disciplines that are clearly evident in this exhibition, but there are many more 'soft' skills that are emphasized while your child is engaged with each installation. Ch had difficulties holding up her structure at the 'Welcome to my World' installation but I was glad she persevered. Just like Ch, L couldn't figure how to draw the insect specimens but he sat there patiently, observing each specimen and tried his best without getting frustrated.

In addition, a series of creative workshops, holiday camps, artists interventions, dance, art jams and other activities will form the Hideaways' programme to allow children and adults to engage and reflect on the subject of the natural world. 

7. You are showing support for this not-for-profit organisation.

Underlying all of its programs and operations, Playeum is dedicated towards social impact and committed to serving children from all social backgrounds. Every dollar spent on Playeum activities in the financial year of 2014 yielded a S$15.3 social return according to an independent study by Shujog, a non-profit organisation advocating for impact investment. 

The entry charges collected ensures the sustainability of the centre's operations. Playeum does not receive any core funding and is reliant on a funding mix from admissions, grants, sponsorships and donations. This collective income enables the organisation to continue to engage artists, involve quality facilitators, and provide innovative programs to all families and children. 

More information about the Children's Centre for Creativity:

Address: Blk 47, Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444
Opening hours: Opens from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 6pm (closed on Mondays)
Admission charge: $20 per child (aged 1-12),
accompanying adult enters free, $10 for additional adults
Check Playeum's website for other card/membership promotions.
Tickets are purchased at the Centre.

More on Playeum and the Children's Centre for Creativity: Website | Facebook

      *** SPECIAL GIVEAWAY! (12 July - 18 July 2016) ***      

Special thanks to Playeum, two lucky readers will each win a DAY PASS to the Children's Centre for Creativity

[20 Jul 2016] 

<Phebe L.> & <Jazry C.>!!

I will be contacting you via a FB message for details to claim your prize.

To everyone who has participated in 
this giveaway, THANK YOU for supporting 
Simply Lambchops! 

Do continue to visit the blog | Instagram | Facebook Page | for more updates! 

How to enter the giveaway:
Compulsory steps:
1. Like Simply Lambchops Facebook page.
2. Leave a comment on this Simply Lambchops' Facebook post. 

Bonus step:
3. Follow me on Instagram @simplylambchops

Do share this with your friends to benefit their children! Giveaway ends on 18 July, Monday, 23:59 hours. Results of the random draw will be announced here. 

Giveaway Terms and Conditions
  • This giveaway is for ONE DAY PASS to the Children's Centre for Creativity. One Day Pass allows entry for one child and one accompanying adult.
  • Playtime is unlimited for the day but will be kept to two hours during busy periods.
  • Please check www.playeum.com for details on high traffic times and planned closures.
  • Tickets are non-transferable, non-exchangeable and non-refundable.
  • The winner will be contacted using the particulars provided when entering the draw, and has 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. 
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winner is announced. To be fair to our sponsor, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.
  • This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
  • Please note that this giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. By taking part in this giveaway, you agree to provide your information to Simply Lambchops and the sponsor.

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