Kids activities... They are the bane of every parent's life but besides keeping the young ones occupied, they also teach new skills. Still, there comes a time when those weekly swimming/piano/ballet lessons just don't cut it anymore. Certainly, when those school holidays roll round, you need interesting activities that will hold your child's attention for more than an hour. So get your kid out of his after-school rut and check out our selection of activities which may inspire him to become a rock star chef who practises Capoeira and wake boards for fun!
When Nathalie says let's make a burger, there's no such thing as buying a chewy burger bun, slapping together some mince and a few sad pieces of lettuce. The kids make their own bread roll and beef patty from scratch and the end-result is a gorgeous little gourmet burger. Kids' classes here usually comprise a three-course meal—starter, main, and dessert—and there is an emphasis on French cuisine so dishes like egg cocotte with mushrooms and spinach, saumon en papillote (salmon wrapped in foil) and raspberry financiers (French cakes baked to look like little gold bars) are on the menu.According to Nathalie, the children who attend her class love everything, from the preparation to the explanations, and always leave the class feeling proud of what they have cooked. They watch her and then they have to do it themselves, which is the best way to learn. After the class, the children sit down together and taste their culinary effort.Some classes are based on celebrations like Christmas and kids learn how to make Christmas log, gingerbread men and a gingerbread Christmas tree, all from scratch. Kids classes are usually once a month so book ahead and remember that this is only for gourmands aged eight and above.
Capoeira was created by African slaves brought to Brazil from Angola almost 500 years ago. After a fraught history, its contemporary image is one of acrobatics, strength, rhythm, flexibility, and all-round fitness. Here in KL, Movimento Simples de Capoeira (formerly known as Academia Bantus Capoeira) is synonymous with Capoeira and their children's classes are extremely popular. And, why? Firstly, cool factor—the lively music, the gymnastics moves like handstands, cartwheels and backflips. Children not only learn these but also how to play the instruments and sing the songs. Capoeira is a sequence of events combining music, singing, clapping and an intricate play of respect, rhythm and fitness.There is a grading system but it differs according to schools. Here, there are two belt systems: one for the children (aged three to 14) and one for adults (15 and above). Children's belts change annually and there are ten of them, whereas adults have to go through nine belts which are changed when their principal teacher deems them ready. Movimento holds kids classes according to age group: CapoTODS (ages two-and-a-half to four), CapoMINI (ages four to six) and CapoMAX (ages seven to 12). They also occasionally organise a Capoeira Camp during the school holidays where the child attends class every day for a week.
Putrajaya is home to the federal administration of Malaysia, so it is quite surprising to discover that it is also a great place to bring the kids for a session of wakeboarding or waterskiing. Marina Putrajaya is located in Precinct 5, next to the large and rather garish Pullman Lakeside Hotel, and this is where wakeboard and water-ski lessons are available for adults and kids. If strenuous activity isn't your scene, there's tubing (a big rubber tube pulled behind a speedboat), knee boarding (perfect for the younger kids) and the ubiquitous banana boat.The 'Learn to Water-Ski in Four Lessons' programme can be completed in two to four days and comprises land training and skiing using the boom (the spar on the side of the boat), moving on to skiing behind the boat on the rope when you are confident enough. Once this has been mastered (remember kids are braver and have far more energy than us!), they move on to learning how to move from left to right across the wake of the boat. If you have children of different ages, one can wakeboard or water-ski while the other kneeboards. This is a great family day out or an excellent venue for a birthday treat—the perfect excuse to get the kids interested in an outdoor sport which is challenging and fun.
Living in the tropics has many advantages: namely, the awesome weather, being surrounded by coastline and islands and the easy accessibility of all these places. Scuba diving has always been a very adult activity and is associated with certain risks, as with any other sport, and parents have to be very clear about this.Global Scuba are a PADI 5 star dive centre who do all courses from Open Water Diver through to instructor levels, and even specialty courses like Nitrox diving and digital underwater photography. They also sell diving equipment and have a small selection of kids' sizes for wetsuits, fins, masks, and snorkels.
The centre runs the PADI Bubblemaker course for eight-year-olds and above where kids are introduced to scuba diving in a safe pool environment in water less than 6 feet deep. They also run the PADI Junior Open Water course, the minimum age for which is ten. The course begins with knowledge development and theory followed by pool training (confined water) at the PJ Palms Sport Centre. It culminates in an island trip and four open water dives, and certification. All this can sound a tad overwhelming especially for a protective parents, but children need to be challenged and if Mum and Dad are already divers, this is a fantastic hobby for a family to enjoy together.
The best part of this interesting concept is that the kids can express their inner Jackson Pollock and parents don't have to clean up afterwards or worry about paint splattered everywhere. An art studio which provides painting classes for all ages from six onwards, the centre also offers something called art jamming which is basically painting with your friends. They can organise kids painting parties for birthdays or any other special event, and provide everything including unlimited paints, use of easels, aprons and painting equipment. They don't just leave a bunch of eight-year-olds with paints and brushes to erupt into an all-out paint battle! They provide instruction, give ideas and help out; and your budding little artist can bring his canvas home...'Look Mummy, I painted you as a blob!' You can bring your own food and drink or they can help arrange catering.
The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre is best known for their stage productions and great support of the local performing arts scene. Education and communnity outreach are how they connect with the public, and throughout the year there are interesting programmes designed to expose children to the wonders of the theatre. Their popular school holiday programmes include classes in children's theatre, hip hop and contemporary dance, speech and drama boot camp, creative writing, script development and poetry. Every facet of the performing arts is covered and the classes culminate in a live performance where kids get to showcase their talents and what they've learned. If your kids fancy themselves little thespians or divas, then this is definitely the place for them to nurture their dramatic leanings.
Let's say you've tried the gentle arts and craft route, and you've realised that your child has a lot of energy to release, preferably in a controlled environment surrounded by other kids, Ice skating may be just the sport to take up. Bfore you get images of your offspring whizzing round the rink pretending they're Olympic speed skaters, perhaps some lessons might be in order. There are two ice skating rinks in KL—the renowned Sunway Pyramid Ice, which is big enough to host ice hockey tournaments, and a new one located the Curve, which is much smaller but has the added advantage of having 'penguins' (skating aids for the little ones which they can hold on to for balance). Learn how to figure skate and play ice hockey at the Sunway rink where there are holiday programmes and lessons throughout the year.
If skating on ice doesn't rock little Johnny's boat then try inline skating (also known as rollerblading due to the popularity of the Rollerblade brand). Skateline is a one-stop shop, which sells everything you need to skate, but more importantly is very active in promoting and organising skate events. Their skate lessons take place at Kiara Park on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can have on-on-one coaching or get a few kids together for a group class. Inline skating isn't only about tricks and speed (although that's what makes it so cool!)—it also improves fitness and balance and can lead to inline hockey and speed skating. Skateline also does a unique event called the Saturday Night Skate (more suitable for older teenagers), a monthly event that takes place in various parks encouraging skaters to explore and socialise while skating.