Last year, despite lots of DO NOT TOUCH bits at the Art Garden 2011 at the Singapore Art Museum, we decided to give it another go this year. Before I went down to this year’s Art Garden 2012, I did a little homework. I read a few reviews, like from Playful Parents and Kei’s Bay, so I kinda knew what to expect, and also downloaded a wonderful Art Garden Home Exploration Activity Pack, also by Playful Parents which is so full of ideas on how to make the most of your trip.
The guide included a lot of things that I never thought of before – usually I just go there and just see what’s there, and I think I could definitely do more! Things like all the conversation starters, or even introducing the work to the kids. At Echoes-Infinity-The Forest there was a guide who asked Mittens really good questions like which pattern do you like the most, what patterns can you see, etc. The Echoes-infinity floor is almost all faded away, which is a real pity. I’m not sure how they’re going to keep the exhibit going until August 12th. Also the guide was so helpful because while I was there, I had no or little time to read and digest about the exhibits while trying to keep an eye on the boys.
Everyday Wonders – it is SUCH a pity (actually I think it’s almost ridiculous) that you can’t go anywhere near the clay pieces and can’t touch it at all, otherwise it would’ve been a great learning opportunity. The boys totally ignored this exhibit – maybe the adjoining room with the colouring activities was just too enticing? Mittens did enjoy playing with the clay although he ended up just playing with it like playdoh rather than clay.
The Ping Pong Go-Round table was a cute concept, but as tall as Mittens is, I think you need to be at least 7 to be of a good height to play it.
The short films started off pretty promising – I love the set up so much more than last year, which was at The Chapel which has tiled flooring and wooden benches. This year they built a tiered room with 2 sofas at the back for peeps with weary legs and heavy tummies like myself to recline on, and an expansive space for kids to sit or walk around. Only thing was that because it’s a temporary structure, and if you have boys like me who will invariably run about, it can get a little noisy. So we got off to a pretty good start but then got to one of the films that was a little slow and too lengthy for the boys to stay interested, so we had to leave before the more animated films came on (pity!).
Dress Me Up was an exhibit that they repeated from last year, but at least this year, they removed the boxy base which made the “cake” higher and even more difficult for kids to play with last year. (Seriously, Children’s Season is like what, 8 YOs and above har?)
Overall I think it was good fun for the kids, and I chose to bring them on an ordinary day (as opposed to an open house day), not only because I’d missed all the open house days (whoops), but also because it was a little less crowded. It beats staying at home or hanging out in a shopping mall, but I really hope they can make it more preschool friendly.
I didn’t understand all the Do Not Touch elements last year, and I still feel that it applies this year. Ok maybe it is a museum after all, and like going to a library, we should at least attempt to get our children to understand what is the appropriate behaviour in a library (keeping noise levels down), or a museum. But then again, putting up exhibits for kids and then not allowing them to touch it, is like bringing me to P.S. Cafe on an empty stomach with PMS and showing me all the desserts and then telling me that I can’t have any.
Unless, of course, their target age group is say 5-10 years old, then I guess that’s understandable, but honestly, most of the kids I saw when I was there were in the 0-6 years old range. Maybe next time it should also come with a recommended age. Or maybe, someone will sit up and listen and work with the artists on really coming up with exhibits that are really for kids. And not just what adults who don’t have experience with kids think kids want 🙂
The Art Garden 2012 at the Singapore Art Museum runs from the 18 May to 12 August 2012 at SAM at 8Q.