Singapore may be a small country, but there are no lack of activities to do here with the kids! The Barn Owl and I have our favourite haunts that we love to visit with the family, but on occasion, we would like to take the kids someplace new.
This is when the following conversation takes place:
Barn Owl: Let’s go somewhere new!
Debs G: Ok! Where shall we go?
Barn Owl: Dunno. Any ideas?
Debs G: um……
One hour later, we still haven’t come to a conclusion and now we’ve wasted half the morning. We end up going to the same ole park downstairs. Again.
This is why I really appreciate this great new guidebook “Got Kids, Go Where?” by Kelvin Ang. He’s the daddy blogger over at CheekieMonkies which has featured many reviews of kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities over the years.
The guidebook is comprised of 50 chapters divided into seven main sections (PLAY, NATURE & SPORTS, EAT & SHOP, ARTS & HERITAGE and TRAVEL) and there are two extra sections at the back featuring some of their favourite places and a few more miscellaneous activities. All in all, there are exactly 500 ideas of things to do and places to visit in Singapore!
Each activity or location listed in the book comes with a short descriptive blurb (of the sort that you might find in a tourist attraction pamphlet) as well as a rating from 0-5 monkey faces, but what makes it extra special is the brief personal recommendation which tells you exactly why it is a place beloved by Kelvin and his family and what they like best about it. (This little recommendation is aptly captioned ‘Cheekiemonkies Love’). Each of the 50 chapters is written in the form of a top 10 list, with the number one recommendation receiving a ‘CheekieMonkies Rave’ golden seal of approval.
The only thing I disliked about the book was the arbitrary rating system, which provides no point of reference as to why certain places are rated more highly than others. This system was quite distracting as none of the activities rate below 2.5 and all the descriptions in the book are very positive, leaving me wondering why anything received less than a 5, as no warnings or drawbacks are mentioned.
In any case, the book is clearly a collection of personal recommendations, including only kid (and parent!)-approved activities that are worth spending time and money on, so it is definitely a useful reference and would make a great gift for families with kids of any age. I also think that this would make a great ‘welcome to Singapore’ gift for families visiting Singapore for the first time, or expat families coming to stay!
Owls Well recommends: Get this book, keep it in the car, challenge your family to visit one new place every weekend and see how long it takes for your to make it through every single activity!
I was very fortunate to be able to conduct a brief email interview with Kelvin Ang, the author of ‘Got Kids, Go Where?‘.
Here’s what he had to say about his book:
1. I really enjoyed looking all the activities listed in ‘Got Kids, Go Where?’ and was very impressed by how the book is organised. What was the most challenging aspect of putting this book together?
The most challenging aspect has got to be finding 500 activities to fill the book. When I first started writing for the book, I thought it would be impossible to include that many activities but the more research I did as time progressed, I realised there are actually so many activities and places for families to discover in Singapore.
2. The list of activities and destinations in your book is so extensive! How did you decide which activities and places to include in your book?
The activities and places I picked first had to fulfil the criteria of being family-friendly. I also had my 3 kids – mostly my 2 older boys – to help me out in coming out with the rating system for the activities so the list is definitely approved by kids!
3. After the book went to the printers, was there anything else you wished you had included in the final draft?
Not really, except that the thing about guide books of this nature, some of the listed places may become obsolete due to closures. In fact, I just found out that a branch for an Indoor Playground has just shut its doors this month!
4. What is your advice to parents who are looking through this book for the first time?
Cover your eyes, randomly flip to a page and point a finger to one activity! That’s the beauty of the book as it gives parents lots of ideas whenever the weekend or holidays roll along. A more practical way is to let you kids flip through the book and have them decide on the place or activity. In fact, the feedback I am getting from parents is it is their kids who are more interested in the book since it allows them to find out more about the places that they never knew or been to!
A Special for Owls Well Readers: Well done for reading to the end! Armour Publishing is kindly sponsoring a giveaway an autographed copy of ‘Got Kids Go Where?’ by Kelvin Ang to ONE lucky Owls Well Reader! Huzzah!
To take part in this giveaway:
- Be a fan of the Owls Well Facebook page
- Like and share this Facebook Photo and tag three friends – make sure your post is public!
- Leave a comment below telling me your favourite place to visit with your family, as well the name of your Facebook account that you used to like and share the page. Don’t forget to include your email address! (If you would like to send me the email address privately, leave a comment for the other answers, then email me at 4owlswell [at] gmail [dot] com)
(Giveaway is open to anyone with a Singapore address and will end on 30th July 2015. Winners will be picked via Random.org – just make sure you complete all 3 easy steps!)
P.P.S. Don’t just take my word for it – check out the review over at Growing With The Tans too!
‘Got Kids, Go Where?’ is retailing at $16.90 (before GST) at Popular and Kinokuniya bookstores. Alternatively, you can order online or purchase your copy at the following locations:
1. Chillax Market (#03-07 The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Rd)
2. Heart Studio Singapore (1 Charlton Lane #01-04)
3. Urban Farm & Barn (Top of Bukit Panjang Hill – walk from carpark at Blk 210 Petir Road)
4. Hokey Pokey (B1-28/29 Seletar Mall)
(P.S. My thanks to Armour Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book for this review!)
Update: This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been emailed – thanks for playing!