The new exhibit at Playeum just might be the best one yet, mama. Imaginations set sail with “A World Full of Stories”!
Last week we got a sneak peek at the newest exhibit to open at Playeum Children’s Centre for Creativity, and it just might be the best one yet, mama! “A World Full of Stories” is an interactive, hands-on exhibit for children 1 to 12 years old, and at every turn it seems to find new ways to encourage imagination and creative play.
From a life-like pirate ship deck, to dress-up costumes, to a super cosy storybook corner, there was certainly much to keep my toddler engaged and happy. Older kids were equally enamored of the maker space (what child doesn’t love glue guns?), the write-your-own story corner, and the interactive video booth.
With the input and collaboration of local and international artists and performers, the exhibit encourages creative play through role play, story-making, illustration, writing, drama and puppetry. It was created, in part, as a response to what Singapore can do to spur innovation and develop a spirit of individuality among Singaporean children.
Citing a Cambridge University study about the benefits of pretend play upon a child’s narrative skills, deductive reasoning, social competence and self-regulation, the exhibit encourages kiddos to dream up (and act out) their own stories.
One of the coolest takeaways pointed out by Playeum’s Executive Director (and the Creative Director for “A World Full of Stories”), Anna Salaman, is that just about every aspect of the exhibit can be replicated at home. Perhaps you might not be able to construct a huge “story cave” or pirate ship raft, but you can certainly give quick writing prompts, hand kiddos some chalk and let them go to town, or give them old clothes to let them play dress-up.
I really liked that a conscious choice was made to make the provocations as open-ended as possible. As Ms. Salaman explained, they could have easily had exhibits based on The Gruffalo or the Three Little Pigs, but felt that might have limited the direction kids would take their play. With the current set-up children come in with very few pre-conceived notions; their imagination is truly the limit!
Want to know more? Check out our gallery to see all our fave features from “A World Full of Stories”. You might also want to swing by next week’s special event, Roald Dahl’s Preposterous Playtime, which will be a celebration of one of the world’s greatest children’s authors and is suitable for children aged 3-12, or look into their full slate of upcoming holiday camps that tie into the imaginative story theme.
Play on, mamas!
“A World Full of Stories” opens today, 15 November, and will run through 30 April, 2017. Ticket cost is $20 per child, including free entry for one adult (additional adult is $10).
Playeum, Block 47, Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, #01-21 to #01-23, Singapore 109444, Tel: (+65) 6262 0750
Kiddos can imagine being at sea with this realistic ship wheel on a bamboo and rope raft that’s about one foot off the ground. They can even run a flag up the mast (this was very popular during our visit). We loved watching Playeum’s staff help stoke kids’ imagination with prompts about there being sharks in the water below!
Don’t worry, mama, one of Playeum’s most popular and enduring features remains intact. Kiddos can make use of all sorts of upcycled materials whether they’re creating puppet for use in the new puppet theatre, or simply making a magic wand (as my toddler did to go with her “fairy” dress-up costume).
After writing a story (which they even have the option to “mail” to Playeum to be displayed on the website), children can try making a puppet character in the Play Making Space, then act it all out in the very cool puppet theatre. Maggie was delighted to discover there’s even a video camera so kids can watch their own performance!
What’s cooler than having storytime on perpetual loop? Local storyteller Roger Jenkins directed this 30-minute film in which five fabulous local storytellers take turns orating a tale from a specific culture. My little one loved taking a break from the more active play going on around her to chill out in this dark, cosy space and listen for a while.
A beautiful box of sparkly, shimmery fabrics awaits kiddos who like playing dress-up (in addition to Maggie’s “fairy” costume above, there were two little boys who fashioned capes to tie around their necks and then “flew” around like superheroes). I love that Playeum had the consideration to provide full-length mirrors; turns out kids really like looking at themselves in costumes!
Artist Clio Ding has done it once again with a cool wall-sized illustration depicting a variety of fantasy elements; a bucket of chalk beckons for little ones who wish to add their own additions to the stimulating wall narrative!
This interactive feature was a big hit during our visit: kids are able to share their own stories through photography and video — just like the storytellers in “A Film Full of Stories”!
Among the first objects you notice upon entering the room, these colorful, igloo-like structures provide all sorts of multi-sensory stimulation. In the “Listen and Speak” cave, kids can experiment with sound tubes, speaking cups and voice-distortion mechanisms (as Ms. Salaman pointed out, speaking and listening are the very beginning of literacy). The “Look and Touch” cave provides a fun variety of props (and illuminations) to help students create their own stories.
Highlighted by a story book corner stocked with great reads provided by Penguin Books and My Imagination Kingdom, these cosy cube-shaped nooks have multiple surfaces for story-making, storytelling and reading.