Explore science, playground style

Explore science, playground style
Some of the highlights of KidsSTOP include a 7m slide for kids to learn about gravity.

Children will be able to try out a giant slide, unearth fake dinosaur bones from a sandpit or pilot an imaginary plane, at a new children's science centre this June school holidays.

KidsSTOP, for children aged between 18 months and eight years, will open on June 6 at the Singapore Science Centre's OmniTheatre building. Other delights include a "music lab" which can be reached only by climbing a 9m structure. Many features are set up to encourage exploration, said centre director Gerald Tee at a media preview yesterday.

About 500 kindergarten children were also invited to go play at the new 3,000 sq m facility.

Tan Jia En, five, said: "I like the dinosaur pit best. You can dig and find dinosaur bones."

Said Mr Tee: "We tried to move away from structured education. It's all about free play and letting them do whatever they want to explore."

But, at the same time, safety measures are strictly enforced, he added. On the giant slide, for instance, kids have to wear hard hats and overalls to make sure their clothing does not snag on anything as they slide down.

Learning at KidsSTOP does not stop at science, said Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, chief executive of Science Centre Singapore. "We will look at this place as an opportunity for learning not just the so-called purpose of education but also social behaviour - graciousness, cooperation and what friends are all about."

linettel@sph.com.sg

This article was published on May 10 in The Straits Times.

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