Singapore bookstore My Imagination Kingdom has got us yearning for our childhood, have you brought your little one by yet, mama?
We all know reading to kids is important and has fantastic outcomes, but did you know it’s demonstrably better than playing with toys (especially electronic ones)? A recent study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics found that electronic toys reduce parent-baby verbal interaction, which is crucial to language and cognitive development. Parents said an average of 40 words per minute when little ones played with electronic toys, compared to 67 words per minute when reading a board book together. In short: put away that smartphone and read more books!
If you need some inspiration to help stock your bookshelves, mama, make a beeline for My Imagination Kingdom, a wonderful little bookshop that opened in 2014 after first launching as an e-commerce site.
Bursting with books geared toward children ages 0 to 12, My Imagination Kingdom is an amazingly appealing and inviting place for kids: low display shelves are at children’s eye level; there’s a cosy reading nook where parents can either read aloud to their children, or older kids can curl up themselves; and the store hosts free storytelling sessions every weekend.
It was actually designed as a bookstore for children (rather than as a bookstore for parents to pick out books for their chidlren); the designers observed young children and how they reacted to forms, and proceeded to create intimate spaces for each age group. There are platforms and little grottos that invite climbing and exploration, and nooks where kiddos can literally be surrounded by books (what book lover doesn’t love that feeling?!). Furthermore, the staff is actually trained to engage kids first, to ask them what they like, and then recommend books accordingly.
And what a selection there is to choose from! We particularly love their wide array of award-winning picture books (from this year’s Caldecott medal-winners to all-time classics like The Giving Tree and Dr. Seuss). They’ve got board books galore, chapter books for children aged 8 to 12, and a huge selection of books by Singapore authors (because what child doesn’t want to read about the place where they live?). You can even search by theme, from “things that move”, to bedtime stories, to “pop-up extravaganza”!
It’s truly an inspiring place to visit, mama – it might be geared towards kids but we admittedly get quite giddy whenever we go in! Why not swing by with your little ones to encourage a love of reading? They’ll be so engaged they won’t even ask for your cell phone.
My Imagination Kingdom, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, OneKM #03-43, Singapore 437157, Tel: (+65) 6702 2452, www.facebook.com/myimaginationkingdom