kids activities

Da Vinci: Shaping the Future at MBS Art Science Museum


Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian Renaissance artist, architect, scientist, engineer, mathematician, designer, and musician. He is widely believed to be one of the greatest painters of all time, and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. From his iconic paintings, which include the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, to his groundbreaking work in anatomy, physics, hydraulics, technology and military engineering, da Vinci’s contribution to human knowledge is vastly significant. Fundamental to his life and works was a deep respect for nature and a strong preference for direct observation and experience. While the texts of ancient Greece and Rome were popular sources of information for his Renaissance contemporaries, da Vinci did not take this information for granted. He considered experience to be the only means of obtaining truth and knowledge. This approach, combined with his innovative holistic perspective, was the root of his technological ingenuity and his artistic genius, which continue to teach and inspire practitioners in both the arts and sciences today.


I have been meaning to blog about this for the longest time! We have been so busy with school and work, but that’s another story to tell.

In December we were invited by Marina Bay Sands to attend a guided tour of the Leonardo Da Vinci: Shaping the Future exhibition at the Arts Science Museum.

da Vinci timeline
The timeline was a lovely visual way to represent da Vinci’s life and in relation to what was going on in the world.

In December 2013 at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, we visited an exhibition on the various inventions of Leonardo. That was our first exposure (for the kids) to da Vinci. At that time we didn’t even think much of it, and didn’t think the kids were really interested, but I was pleasantly surprised that Mittens could recall it a few months later. Shortly after, we watched Sherman and Mr. Peabody, which I thought was a wonderful way to make history come alive for kids. After that I started borrowing more children’s books on da Vinci (as well as other famous painters), as a way to introduce history and art to the boys. I will share my resources in the following post.

Everything Connects - it's a wonder that da Vinci was SO talented in so many areas, but also it's not surprising since everything in life is connected, isn't it?
Everything Connects – it’s a wonder that da Vinci was SO talented in so many areas, but also it’s not surprising since everything in life is connected, isn’t it?

So when MBS asked if we were keen to join them, We arrived at the museum on a rainy day, and just a precaution, there is no sheltered entrance into the museum. Even overhead bridges these days have shelter, hello? Luckily we came armed with hoodies for the kids so we were ok.

Despite the rain, let me first tell you that we thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. Throughout the exhibit, there are plenty of hands on activities so even the littlest ones can be entertained, and really, young and old can learn so much on so many levels. I also liked how all the hands on activities were just the right height for tots, which shows that they really thought through accessibility for the kids, rather than just having it as an afterthought.

da vinci geometric
Scout entertaining herself while the older kids are participating in the tour


You can see da Vinci's sketches on the backdrop.
You can see da Vinci’s sketches on the backdrop.
What patterns shall we make today?
What patterns shall we make today?

There are many graphics and interactive media that helps to explain many of da Vinci’s concepts in more simple terms. There are also several art installations by other artists which were inspired by da Vinci’s work in the various themes of mathematics, natural sciences, architecture, technology and music. I liked the Glass Microbiology by Luke Jerrem, which was glass representation of viruses, even HFMD, and protozoa.

Source: MBS

More amazingly, there are on display some of da Vinci’s original works. Of course not the Mona Lisa, but his original scribblings from his notebook, called the Codex Atlanticus. Of course we were not allowed to take photos of these, because they are so old that we want to preserve them for future generations right? In fact, they are only to be displayed for something like 90 days, and then it has to go back into storage for another 3 years or something! From February 11th, they will display a new set of the Codex. All of his notes are written in Italian, and one of the cute boys in the group remarked how he did not understand Italian; after the trip I told the boys they did know some Italian, and for days they couldn’t stop saying “spaghetti bolognaise”, “fettuccine”, and “carbonara”, in an Italian accent I taught them :p

Source: MBS


Here are some other photos of the various exhibits.

I don’t have a photo of it, but the video on the Last Supper? Mind blowing. Must watch.

We ended the tour building with blocks, and experimenting making parachutes out of different materials to see which would work best. We spent about 2 hours at the exhibits, and I had to tear the kids away to get them to leave, especially the last section.


We really enjoyed the whole experience I might take the kids again before the run ends on May 17. After reading through more books, of course. If you are interested in going, on Family Fridays, enjoy free entry for 2 kids under 12 for each paying adult! And there is a free guided tour for families on Fridays at 330pm. I would strongly recommend the tour unless you’re very familiar with da Vinci, it helps to have someone take you through the exhibit. The guide we had was also very good at engaging the older two (who were 4.5 and 6.5 when we visited). I think we all learnt a lot more than if we had gone ourselves!

There are also other tours:

  • English: Saturdays & Sundays from 22 November 11:30am & 5pm, Mondays to Fridays from 24 November 1pm
  • Mandarin: Saturdays & Sundays, 2pm & 4pm

Oh and the exhibits are almost all bilingual, in both English and Chinese, in case you have any friends (or in my case, MILs) who might like to know.

Find out more about the exhibit on the Art Science Museum website here. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!

P.s. Buy one ticket to the Da Vinci exhibition and get another ticket free when you present your Singapore Airlines Krisflyer card. Woohoo! Find out more information here.


Disclaimer: We were invited by MBS to journey with them through the da Vinci exhibition. No monetary compensation was received, but I think the exhibition and the tour are well worth the money even if we did have to pay!

6 thoughts on “Da Vinci: Shaping the Future at MBS Art Science Museum

  1. WOW!!! COOOOOOL!!!! Now you kindled my interest! Had been wanting to go but haiya… you know… humdrum of daily living… Now I have a motivation and inspiration! Thanks for sharing!!!! : )


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