Top 5 Surprisingly Toddler-friendly Adult Hang-Outs in Singapore

By: Katrijn de Ronde

There is a place on earth where parents will be welcomed to have a drink or shopshopshop or listen to classical music or even gaze at timeless art all the while accompanied by their equally happily entertained toddlers.

Yes, it really, really exists this city trip Nirwana where parents and toddlers can have fun together while indulging in pleasures appropriate to their respective ages.

This place is Singapore, a small city state on the tip of the Malaysian peninsula, known for its squeaky clean streets and reputation (this is the place that banned chewing gum). Tap water is safe to drink, cab drivers won’t fleece you and food is prepared to rigorous hygienic standards.

Less well-known but even more importantly: Singaporeans adore children. Especially the tiny variety. Virtually all restaurants have high chairs, plastic plates and cutlery, kitchens will heat up packaged meals or adjust food to the taste of the toddler. There are no raised eyebrows over spilt rice or spilt water, and shop assistants coo at the cuties while refolding the ravaged piles of displayed T-shirts.

Even so, you might find yourself drawn to the easy options of beach and playgrounds, and think twice before taking the toddler anywhere more adult-friendly. But fear not! In Singapore you can really have both an art piece and a toddler present and peace of mind – all at the same time!

So here is my top five of surprisingly toddler-friendly hang-outs in sunny Singapore:

  1. Clubbing at Clarke Quay

    Grown-Up: Pubs, clubs, bungeeball. There are microbrewery and cocktail places, there are scantily clad ravers and waitresses, lots of good food and comfortable chairs to lounge in.

    Toddler: Water play! At the heart of pedestrian area Clarke Quay, surrounded by outdoor chairs and tables, sits an amazing water feature, a square full of fountains where toddlers can run around and muck about to their hearts content. Even better: the square is covered, so even if it is raining, both parent and toddler can still lounge en run.

    Hip ‘n happening playground for grown-up and toddler.
    Hip ‘n happening playground for grown-up and toddler.

  2. Shoppers’ heaven Vivocity

    Grown-Up: Vivocity touts itself as Singapore’s biggest mall and it might well be true. Sat at the water’s edge, a stone’s throw from pleasure island Sentosa, it is filled with big brand stores, small boutiques and gazillions of food options – ranging from Swiss Marche, via English pub fare to Japanese fruit tarts.

    Toddler: Not only does Vivocity boast a playground with slides, climbing gear and a water play area, there is also a huge rooftop garden, with potted plants to hide behind, a life size tumbling man and more water features to get feet and hands splashing wet. And what toddler doesn’t like apple pie?

  3. Sample local flavours at Chinatown’s Amoy Food Court

    Grown-Up: Get a whiff of local culture and heritage in the midst of Chinatown’s beautifully restored shophouses. A temple on the corner, leafy An Siang Hill at the back and the best kiwi juice in town are the major draws for this particular food court. During the week the place is packed at lunch with people from the nearby Central Business District, but at other times the traditional hawker centre is quiet, tucked away like a small treasure.

    Toddler: The kiwi juice is really good and is served in glasses more commonly seen at Oktoberfest. Because the hawker centre is on a quiet road and bordered by trees and shrubs, toddlers have a bit of space to move around without fear of them disappearing into a busy road. Besides, once they taste the food and start receiving their cuddles from the aunties and uncles, they’ll not want to leave anyway.

    Father and daughter bonding over kiwi juice on an early Sunday morning.
    Father and daughter bonding over kiwi juice on an early Sunday morning.

  4. Symphony in the Botanic Gardens

    Grown-Up: Singapore’s Symphony Orchestra plays on stage in the Botanic Gardens every month. Entrance is free, and the repertoire is light and classic, with concise and informative introductions. People spread out in Palm Valley on plaids, with picnic food and drink, to listen and relax.

    Toddler: People also bring their children, who quickly form packs and run around with each other, catching balls, toy cars and whatever else has been brought. There is a general air of indulgence and smiling all around.

  5. Children’s season at Singapore Art Museum

    Grown-Up: Gaze at timeless art pieces by well-known artists.

    Toddler: Gaze at timeless art pieces by well-known artists which they are allowed to touch and fondle. Draw and do arts and crafts at tables set up in the different rooms, each one specific for the art shown, such as folding flowers and leaves for the paper night jungle room lit with ultraviolet lights. Or video yourself dancing and watch it played back on the big screen next door.

In fact, come to think of it: maybe toddler Singapore is actually better fun than the grown-up one.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingKatrijn de Ronde is a Dutch expat living in Singapore. Blog description: A long long time ago, a Dutch woman took her daughter by the hand and followed her husband to the Far East isle of Singapore. Thirty years later, the daughter did the same. This is my blog.
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Contest Comments » There is 1 comment

Karien wrote 9 years ago:

Great piece, and I agree fully. And the list goes on and on, such a great place to live for kids!

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