Memoirs of a Budget Mum

Mother to five, parent in progress and occasional kitchenista cookerella

Tag: free activities

Morning at Sembawang Hot Springs

We jumped at the chance to spruce up an otherwise routine Monday with a morning trip to the recently revamped Sembawang Hot Springs, with friends. We decided to aim to reach the park at 7.30am and by the time we parked (nearest parking is at Blk 114, Yishun Ring Rd) and made our way there, the park was already teeming with with communal life and activity at about 8am.

The girls didn’t quite know what to expect as they had never been to a hot spring. Soon, we figured our way around.

There is a communal foot dipping pool with water of various degrees of warmth (40-70degrees). We realised after awhile why many people were huddled on one end of the seating area of the communal foot pool – because the water was not so stingingly hot there and more amenable to foot washing.

Over at the other end there was what appeared to be a sheltered area filled with wooden benches and seating. There were wooden pails and scoops hanging at the side of the covered areas in a quaintly cute fashion; almost Muji-like in feel and it was a nice feeling watching people carry heavy pails of water to find a spot to soak their feet.

Mostly elderly, some brought herbs and we soon observed the rolling of trousers and pants, and people using the scoops to pour water up to their knees; in a bid to soak up the benefits of the spring water.

There were interesting and curious users as usual. One man brought an entire plastic tub to soak himself in and another family brought a baby bathtub to bathe their toddler.

The water is actually too hot for immediate use. One has to wait a significant amount of time the water to be just the right temperature for soaking. The gushing water spews out generously from the tap and one has to be careful not to fill their bucket too full for fear of the hot spring water splashing on.

The girls, especially the 3yo, was hesitant to try soaking at first but after awhile acclimatised to the temperature and enjoyed two rounds of soaking.

Our lovely friends also brought the full works: kampong eggs, pots and condiments!

That was surely the highlight of our cozy trip- we had started the eggs to cook upon arrival and had to make about 5-6 changes of water over a 1hour duration for the perfect “even better than” Ya-Kun-styled eggs, sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt, a dash of soy sauce and pepper.

Pro-tips for cooking:

1. To cook your own eggs, bring a covered pot (steel preferably) and start them off with 70 degrees hot spring water before you go foot dipping.

2. Leave the eggs covered in the pot every 15-20min and change the water to keep it hot and under pressure.

3. Crack a test egg to check doneness. We tried this a few times with a few eggs to get it to the doneness we desired- about 1 hour.

***

Nparks has really envisaged a pretty cozy communal space that is unique to Singapore, to engage with nature and communal foot soaking. Crowded with urban cityscape and run of the mill malls that are a sine qua non of modern heartland living, this place is a breath of hot “spring” air.

We were pleasantly surprised by the thoughtfulness of the space and design in pulling disparate segments of life into one spot: not surprisingly, we saw many elderly folks, many who came with their spouse, daughters and sons, grandchildren. Some brought herbs and natural remedies to pair with their foot soaking experience.

It is easy to see why everyone is excited with the novelty and the possibilities of what one could do when natural spring water is made so available and pleasantly accessible. After all, the space beckons like a public spa of sorts that serves the common man- an idea that is pleasantly attractive and inclusive to all.

Hopefully, we can all do our individual part to preserve and protect the space for communal use in both big and small ways; thinking and using things with consideration of hygiene to other users and graciousness in sharing pails and not hogging amenities. I was touched to be on the receiving end of random acts of kindness from strangers who offered me their soaking pail and a seat to sit with my koala baby in tow. That made our visit to the hot spring so much more special.

BASF Kid’s Lab 2017 is back! -Explore the Wonders of Chemistry with hands-on experiments!

Media Invite

Over the years, the BASF Kids’ Lab program has been reaching out to children all over the world and this year is no exception- this will be their 20th year in fact! 

Our family has always looked forward to Kids Lab sessions! 

Little scientists ready to rock and roll!

It checks all our boxes for good family fun: free activity (check), educational (check), fun (check) and hands-on and engaging (check)! 
I mean how often do the kids get a chance to get all decked out in lab gear and goggles, and mess around like it’s their job to!!

Our session was conducted at BASF’s new and very swanky learning campus near One North. The learning campus, formerly a series of old colonial houses, is now a quaint precinct oozing with old-new world charm and flanked by lush greenery all round! Very nice. 

Pano view of the grounds

 

BASF Kid’s Lab adopts a family-friendly approach with its signature hands-on learning of simple chemistry experiments pitched at an easily-digestible level to young children and suiting multiple learning styles! 

This year the highlight will centre on  two experiments: 

  1.  Poly Lab: children will discover the properties of plastics, and design a kit to separate and recycle plastics, and find out more about the amazing “corn starch” solution! Through hands-on experiments, they will find out how we can use and make plastics in a more environmentally friendly manner
  2. Colorful Butterfly: making use of materials available at home and applying simple science theories, children will be designing their own colorful butterfly.

Here’s what we love: 

  1. Clear and Simple Steps: We love it that for all experiments, instructions are laid out clearly and simply enough for children to follow with laminated instructions. It’s truly the kids that take ownership for what they are doing and adults can take a step back and let the kids play scientist. 
  2. Recording Observations: Each table is manned by friendly lab assistants who guide the children to record their predictions and observations before and after the experiments and direct the children to uncover key learning points at every stage of exploration! 

 

Experiment 1: Polylab

In the first experiment, Poly Lab, the children were briefed on the different types of plastics (plastic bags, cups, bottles) in our immediate environment: 

They were then led to separate different coloured plastic beads. 


After adding some salt, the black beads floated to the surface of the water. Kids found out through this that different plastics have different properties! 


Little scientists recording her observations

Next, the kids dabbled in the “amazing corn starch” experiment which hopes to point them to future renewable substitutes for plastic.  

The corn starch solution feels very dense yet malleable…a future plastic substitute!


Experiment 2: Colourful Butterfly

This colorful experiment involves red cabbage and is wonderful for younger kids. The kids were instructed to rub the cabbage dye onto the paper butterfly and see the effect of water, lemon juice and soap solution on it! 



Different liquids yielded different colours! I won’t burst the bubble here to tell you what the result was because you really have to get your child a slot in to find out! 

BASF 2017: Sign up Now! 

BASF Kids Lab 2017 is now open for registration. 


These are the details: 

Who: Kids 7-12year olds 

When: June 6-11 2017(Tuesday to Sunday)

Time: 10.15am, 11.45am, 2.15pm, 3.45pm (1 hr 15min per session) 

Where: Programme zone, Jurong Regional Library 

To register:

 1. Go to NLB website 

 2. Search for event: BASF Kids Lab

Good things must share!!! 

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