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Vacationing in Singapore with Kids

Are you traveling to Singapore with children? Are you looking for the best things to do with kids? We’ve got you. We just came back from an epic week in Singapore with our grandson and, spoiler alert, he loved it!

Of all the places to visit in Asia, Singapore is one of my favorites. It’s not as chaotic as Vietnam or Thailand. It’s not as quirky as South Korea or Japan. No. Singapore is a unique mix of Asian cultures in a pretty small area, where they have really learned to live together harmoniously and provide excellent infrastructure.

I have always said, and I still maintain, that if you are new to Asian travel, Singapore is a great place to start your travels. The city-state is clean, well-maintained, organized, has an excellent public transportation system, and plenty of things to do for kids of all ages.

We’ve been to Singapore a number of times over the past couple of decades, and this last time we went with Erika, Michael, and our three-year-old grandson. We wanted to really concentrate on him having a great time, and I think we were definitely successful. He’s still talking about the trip.

In this article:

Merlion ice cream cone, at the Singaporean iconic spot.

Is Singapore a Good Place to Travel with Kids?

One of the main reasons we love traveling in Singapore is the cleanliness and orderliness that this mega-city embraces.

There are a lot of rules revolving around public use, like no spitting in public, no gum chewing, no littering (with up to a $10,000 fine), and many more. What this accomplishes is making the city well-groomed, trash-free, and safer for little ones.

For my family, who loves traveling all through Southeastern Asia, it’s a chance to breathe fresher air, drink the water from the tap, enjoy all the green spaces, great museums, fantastic restaurants and food stalls, and just wander with no worries for a few days.

After spending so much time in Vietnam, where we had to teach AJ to be extra careful when near the road, or even on the sidewalks, it is refreshing to go to Singapore where the pedestrian lights work and people obey all the traffic laws in a calm, efficient manner. What a relief!

The indoor plant domes at Gardens by the Bay are one of the most visited sights in Singapore, and all kids enjoy them.

How Many Days Are Good in Singapore with Family?

Depending on what you want to do, there are a surprising amount of activities, museums, and outdoor parks to visit in Singapore and many of them have areas that are specific to kids and families. We spent five days in the city-state and feel this is a good amount of time. We did not do it all, but we did quite a bit, and our grandson had a blast.

One thing you will do in Singapore is walk, walk, walk. Kids will definitely be tired by the end of the day.

Traveling in Singapore- What to Expect

Singapore can be very different than traveling in other parts of Asia. The first thing you notice, or don’t notice, is the lack of blaring horns and traffic that raise the alarm bells when traveling with children.

Of course, with organization and safety comes a few downsides, like the cost of traveling in Singapore. It’s more expensive than many other Asian countries, even more so than Japan, overall. However, they do have a lot of free things for kids, so that kind of makes up for it a little bit.

Changi Airport has a lot of dinosaurs for little one to enjoy.

How to Get to Singapore

There are a few ways to get to Singapore. You can fly, which is what most people do, drive in from Malaysia, and of course take a cruise. I know a lot of folks who have stopped in Singapore for a cruise and they always take an excursion into the city.

I have only ever arrived in Singapore via Changi Airport, one of the most organized entry points I’ve experienced in all of Asia. There are lines, but they seem to move rather quickly. The key here is to complete the online SG Arrival Card within three days of arrival.

Nowadays they have computer terminals where you put in your passport, get your fingerprint scanned, have a photo taken, and then you are through. The only problem is that young children still have to go through the line with a parent, so it can take longer waiting for them. Overall, I would say it’s super efficient, though.

On the way out, Changi Airport has taken great care in providing activities and things to do in the airport. It’s comfortable, with great seating areas that include couches, fantastic children’s play areas, as well as some great food options. If I’m going to wait in an airport, Changi is definitely my choice.

Gardens by the Bay is great for kids of all ages, and a must-see attraction in Singapore.

How to Get Around Singapore with Children

Child Safety Seats

After flying in from Vietnam, where children ride on motorbikes and in cars without any safety equipment, we were kind of in shock when we called a Grab car for a ride to our hotel and learned that AJ needed to be put in a car seat.

Yes, coming from anywhere else in the world, we probably would not have been surprised, but we came from Vietnam.

If you are calling a Grab with a small child, you must hire a “Family” Grab, which is one that has a baby seat already. Of course, it is a higher cost. We were also a little sticker shocked when our 7 seater Grab with the baby carrier was about $25 Singapore. We still took them occasionally, but it did encourage us to take the bus and MRT more.

Riding the fantastic public transportation is easy and cheap in Singapore.
AJ riding up front in a double-decker bus, enjoying the views.

Singapore Public Transportation

Public transportation is clean, timely, and pretty cheap in Singapore, and what’s more, it is easy. AJ loved riding the buses, especially when he got to ride on top of a double-decker. He figured out how it all worked, and the only thing that would have made it better for him is if he had his own transit card to tap in and out, but of course, kids under 100 cm. are free…so I guess he’ll have to wait until next time for that.

The buses go everywhere, and there are plenty of stops. Also, the bus stops usually have benches that are covered, so you are not sitting in the sun. The people aren’t quite as orderly as they are in Japan, but we never had any issues getting on a bus. In fact, twice we had a bus driver wait for us as we were running to catch it. So nice!

The same goes with getting seats. People would see AJ, and offer up seats to us each time. The same when they would see my gray hair and red face (from being in the heat too long). I never had to stand, which I definitely appreciated.

And that brings up one of the best things about all of their public transport, it’s air-conditioned. It got to the point where we were looking for reasons to get on a bus…just to cool down.

Even riding the buses in Singapore if fun for kids.

The other option is, of course, taking the MRT (subway). Not much more to say about it, except that it’s so clean, easy, and relatively quick. Singapore is surprisingly large, and a few times we took it out to stops pretty far from the center. Thankfully, it’s cool and comfortable.

Budget Tip: We always like to buy a transit card to make bus and subway riding much more seamless. It looked like you couldn’t do this without having a Singaporean bank account, but we found that if you go into a 7-Eleven or Cheers convenience stores, they will sell you the cards for cash. Topping them off is super easy. By using this option, it took us 3 days of travel to reach our first $10. Well, well worth it.

Splash park at East Coast Park in Singapore, one of many to cool off in.

Weather in Singapore

One thing that you can rely on in Singapore is the weather. It really doesn’t change that much throughout the year. If you are looking for a warm-up from your dreary winter, you can always do it here.

As you can see from the graphs, the temperatures do not change more than a couple of degrees no matter what time of year it is. However, what does change is the amount of rain you can expect.

February, March, and June are the driest months in the year and November and December are the wettest. We did just go in April, and it only rained two days while we were there. It rained, downpoured, for about an hour, then within a few minutes after that, it was completely dried up.

I’ve also been in December, and the days we visited, the same thing happened. It only rained a couple of times, but for a very short time, and dried up quickly. So, even though you should be prepared for rain, I wouldn’t change too many of my plans because of it.

Strollers are a good idea when pounding the Singapore pavement all day long.

What to Pack When Traveling to Singapore with Kids

Did we tell you that Singapore is hot? Not only is it hot, but it’s the jungle; it’s on the equator, and the humidity is very high. It’s hard to be walking or playing outside for any length of time where you don’t immediately begin to sweat and get overheated.

With this in mind, we have a few things that we think you definitely need to bring for your little ones to keep them as cool and happy for as long as you can.

  • Dress them in lightweight shorts and t-shirts or sundresses.
  • They need a wide-brimmed sun hat to keep the sun off their neck, and a pair of sunglasses will help as well.
  • There is lots of walking, so if they are going to wear sandals, ones with straps are important. Flip flops don’t work when getting on and off public transportation. We actually recommend tennis shoes and socks, but maybe ones that close with velcro, because their feet can get really dirty.
  • An umbrella, water bottle, and small backpack will also keep them organized and happy. I don’t know about your little one, but AJ doesn’t go anywhere without a truck or two, so if he can keep it safe in his own backpack, he’s a much happier kid.
  • You know your kids best, should you bring a stroller? For AJ, he likes to walk, but some of the distances are just too long, so we had to rent one. Maybe bring a folding stroller if this will work for your family.
There's plenty to do for kids in Singapore, like riding bikes along the riverside.

Things to Do in Singapore that Kids Will Love

There are so many things to do in Singapore that are not necessarily for kids, but kids can still enjoy them. You can read our Top 10 Singapore article to find out some of those places, but the things we mention here are strictly for kids.

We only had five days in the city, and we tried to get in at least one kid activity per day. I think we did a great job. Here are some activities that we did and highly recommend for younger kids.

  • Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden
  • SuperTrees – Garden Rhapsody Show
  • Singapore Zoo and the River Wonders
  • Water Splash Parks
  • Bum Boat River Cruise
  • Museum of Ice Cream
  • Keppel Centre for Art Education
  • Taking the Cable Car to Sentosa
  • Legoland Malaysia*
The Jacob Ballas Children's Park is informative and fun, a Singapore must-do.

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

The Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is part of the much larger Singapore Botanical Gardens. Open every day except Monday and with no entrance fee, it’s a great place to wander through some beautiful gardens with the kids.

There are kid-friendly activities like a hedge maze, swings and playgrounds, waterfalls to go underneath, and of course, places to just sit, relax, and maybe even have a picnic.

Entrance is free.

Watching the Garden Rhapsody is magical fun for kids of all ages in Singapore.

Supertrees – Garden Rhapsody Show

The Gardens by the Bay is probably the most famous attraction in Singapore, and the part that really speaks to kids is the Supertree Grove. Who doesn’t want to look up and wonder at the majesty of these robotic plants? And then being able to walk up on the skywalk between them? It’s all over!

Going during the day is fantastic, but going at night when they are all lit up and the Garden Rhapsody Show is playing is nothing short of magical. AJ loved lying on the grass, listening to the music, and trying to keep up with the lights as they danced through the trees.

Wandering around the Supertree Grove, the Far East Organization Children’s Garden (splash zone), and the park, in general, is free. However, the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are both paid entry, and well worth the price.

Peeking at some gila monsters at the Singapore Zoo is always fun for the kids.
Panda bun and drink from the Singapore Zoo, a great place for kids.

Singapore Zoo and the River Wonders

Singapore Zoo is one of the best zoos in the entire world. It’s not just me who thinks this either. We’ve done it all. From the night safari to the regular day exhibits and then the River Wonders, there’s so much to do and see that it will really take you all day and maybe half of the next one to get it all in.

In true Singapore fashion, the paths are clean and flat and well covered, easy to roll a stroller over, and the cafés have great foods for kids like this panda bun. I challenge anyone to go and not have the best zoo experience ever!

Singapore's splash parks are the perfect way for kids to cool down.

Water Splash Parks

One of the very best parts about having a city that is located right near the equator is that you know it’s going to be hot. Kids love summer and Singapore is a perpetual summer.

And what’s the best thing about summer? Yep! Water parks. Singapore has done them right! There are plenty of free and fun water splash parks all over the city. We tried to go to at least one each day. It’s such a great way to cool down and play, play, play.

There are a few things to keep in mind here. First, understand that parents need to be with their kids. There is no lifeguard. In all fairness, there really are no deep areas, but of course, kids are good at getting hurt, so be careful. Also, you will want to check the hours and maintenance closures. Just check each website before you go.

Entrance is free to these water parks.

We went to the following parks while we were there:

  • Gardens by the Bay – Far East Organization Children’s Garden
  • East Coast Park – Coastal Play Grove

There are just too many to go to in a short time, so look them up before you go. What’s perfect for your kids? If we had more time, we would have gone to others. Some of the other water parks you can go to are:

  • Tampines 1 – Wildlife Wet Play Area
  • Jurong Lakeside Gardens – Clusia Cove
  • Sembawang Shopping Centre – Splash Park
  • Westgate Wonderland
Kids of all ages love the Bum Boat River Cruise in Singapore.
Bum boat river cruise is a great thing to do with children in Singapore.

Bum Boat River Cruise

The Bum Boat River Cruise is definitely one of those activities that really wasn’t designed for kids, but it would be even better if it was.

I don’t know about your kids, but AJ loves transportation. Yes, he’s happy riding on a bus, a plane, really anything, so when he got to take a boat ride, he was ready. We sat him by the window, and he hardly talked the entire trip. He was having such a great time.

The Bum Boat River Cruise is perfect for little ones, because it only lasts about an hour. Sitting and looking for more than that might be asking for trouble, but it’s a great little trip.

The Museum of Ice Cream sprinkle pool is only one of the fun things to do in Singapore with kids.

Museum of Ice Cream

What do you get when you combine brightly colored playrooms with ice cream tastings? One happy kid! And a few happy adults to boot.

The museum is set up in such a way that they only let so many people in at a time, but then you have as long as you want to go through. However, you can only go in one direction; there’s no turning back.

We enjoyed the bouncy room, pool of sprinkles, all the colors, games, and of course the ice cream tastings. Almost all were flavors that we were not used to like apple pie, peanut butter, taro, and even pandan. All were sweet and yummy to try.

Important note: the bathrooms are at the entrance and you can’t go back to them. Go before you enter the museum.

The Keppel Art Centre is a fun indoor activity to do with kids in Singapore.

Keppel Centre for Art Education

Located in the old Parliament building, there’s more to this destination than just the art center. The building has many free exhibits from photography to sculpture, but for little ones, the most fun was the Keppel Art Centre.

Not the largest venue, there are about four rooms of activities for kids. They can draw, build, play laser light games, and just explore. It’s the perfect place to spend an hour or so either getting out of the rain or getting out of the heat for a little bit.

Entrance is free.

Cable Car to Sentosa Island, great things to do with Kids in Singapore.

Taking the Cable Car to Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is a vacationland made just for kids, well, kids of all ages. There is Universal Studios, a zip line, a bungee jump, an aquarium, a toboggan run, sandy beaches, and more. The best part of Sentosa, though, is getting there on the cable car. The ticket includes three portions of different cable car rides, and the views are spectacular.

Legoland Malaysia, is a quick trip over the border from Singapore, and one the kids will love.

Legoland Malaysia

Okay, so technically Legoland Malaysia is not in Singapore. It’s in Malaysia, but it’s a hop and skip (read: bus ride) to the park, and it’s a common place for families to go on their Singapore vacation. Since it was AJ’s birthday, this is one of the main reasons we picked Singapore…he loves all things Lego!

Singapore Attractions Map

When using our Singapore Attractions Map look for the yellow hearts. These places are the best for kids.

Singapore attractions map - with icons especially for kids.

What and Where to Eat with Kids in Singapore

Singapore is a foodie destination. It not only has amazing foods from all over Asia, but it also has plenty of foods from all over the world. Luckily for kids, there are many foods that they will recognize and want to eat.

Singapore's food options, there's something for kids of all ages.

One of the things we love to do is eat at Hawker Centers. These are basically just huge food courts where local vendors come together to share the communal space, but each stall is individually owned. They are so popular and serve such amazing dishes that some are even listed in the Michelin Guide.

What’s good about hawker centers for kids is they can always find something they want. Depending on how picky your child is, there are plenty of options. In the Lau Pa Sat Hawker Center, the first center we went to on this trip, there was everything from pancakes and donuts to all kinds of local dishes. AJ was happy tasting our choices while shoveling down some Bischoff pancakes from Munchi.

Food centers, not necessarily hawker centers, are found all over the city. One we frequented was a small one near the Lavender MRT station. It was the station nearest our hotel, and at least once, we were too tired to go any further, so it was convenient and of course, had plenty for AJ to choose from. He contentedly had some macaroni and cheese and fresh fruit for dinner while we all tried something new.

Singaporean soft-boiled eggs for breakfast is a great thing to eat for kids.

Of course, getting your child to try some of the local dishes is always one of the goals of traveling, right? We exposed AJ to some chili crab, carrot cake, nasi goreng, Hainanese chicken and rice, pumpkin porridge, and kaya toast. His favorite? Singaporean soft-boiled eggs.

For breakfast, Singaporeans usually have soft-boiled eggs. And boy, are they soft-boiled. AJ, Erika, and I loved them, but Jim and Michael felt they were too soupy. They might be a little too soupy for most American palates, but boy were they good.

We had them, some honey toast, and a great coffee each morning at a restaurant near our hotel called Hainan Story (Chapter One). It’s one of those things. Once we found something that appealed to AJ that would get him fueled for the day, we stuck with it. And hey, kids love routine, right?

The other wonderful thing is the abundance of fresh fruits and juices you can find just about anywhere. One thing we loved was the orange juice machines. You put in your money, and the fresh oranges are squeezed right there in front of you! So yummy and refreshing.

Family-Friendly Hotels in Singapore

One of the great things about Singapore is its love for kids. From the Grab drivers to the waiters, and of course, the hotel people, AJ was always treated with exceptional kindness.

We stayed at the Hotel Boss, which worked out perfectly for us. It had great restaurants nearby, a covered playground, a swimming pool, a bus station right outside the door, and was only one block from the MRT. We absolutely loved it.

Another great hotel for families is the Pan Pacific Singapore. Large family rooms are hard to come by in Singapore, but the Pan Pacific has you covered in style.

Singapore is a great place for kids, it is especially crossing the road.

Final Thoughts on Taking a Trip to Singapore with Kids

Singapore is a huge city! At first, this might be a little intimidating when planning a trip with your kids, but we found it to be very child-friendly, clean, and, most importantly, safe. I still can’t get over how happy I was about crossing the street!

If your child is anything like our grandson, he or she will love all the things kids can do, both indoors and outdoors. I’m not sure AJ will ever be satisfied living his normal life after being able to go to a different water splash park every day to cool off. I’m not sure I will either.

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.