Make school holidays more fun and enrol the kids in a creative workshop (or two)


Enrol your kids in the School Of Hard Knocks. — Royal Selangor Visitor Centre/Facebook

School holidays do not have to be stressful for parents as there are plenty of available programmes, (fun) classes and workshops in Malaysia that are specially catered for children of all ages.

For instance, unleash your kids’ artistic potential in a painting class, and let their imagination run wild. To make things more fun, find classes that pair both child and parent together. It’s a great way to explore creative minds, and an even better way to bond.

According to Penang’s Artsy Sip Art Centre co-founder Aaron Hwang, painting does wonders for kids. “It’s more than just creating pretty pictures, it’s also about honing their decision-making skills, sparking imagination and learning to work in a group setting.”

Hwang, who runs the art centre with his partner Kerwyn Lee, has been conducting acrylic painting workshops for nearly a decade with hopes to offer people from all walks of life an opportunity to express themselves through art.

They were inspired to start the business after noticing that many people seemed to be losing touch with their creative side. This then led Hwang and Lee to set up their own studio to encourage people to paint ... anything.

The duo has been blessed to have their space filled with children, who are excited to try their hand at painting, especially during the school holidays. “Parents love bringing their kids along to paint together. Some would also just drop their little ones at our place so that they can catch up with friends or enjoy some quiet time,” he shared.

A painting workshop will keep your young ones entertained. — Artsy Sip Art Centre/FacebookA painting workshop will keep your young ones entertained. — Artsy Sip Art Centre/Facebook

Having worked with children for many years now, Hwang said that the experience is very much different (as compared to dealing with adults) but in a pleasant way. “Some can be really immersed in painting during the whole session, while others might finish their ‘work’ faster,” he added.

In terms of challenges, keeping the little ones engaged is always an adventure. Creating a positive and safe atmosphere, where kids feel understood and are encouraged to let their creativity shine, is an important aspect of making their time at the centre enjoyable and enriching, Hwang said.

“It’s not just about putting up paintings or having an interactive session, it’s also about talking and actually listening to them.”

At the studio, participants are given the freedom to paint what they want on a blank canvas during the 150-minute time slot, using any or all of the art materials provided. Of course, the instructor will be around to lend a hand should they need one.

However, they can also choose to paint something based on the “theme-of-the-day”, which would be demonstrated in class.

The studio is open to participants of all ages, and kids below six can join the class with a parent. Book in advance as the painting sessions are quite popular.

The following is a list of other workshops your little ones can participate in that are also engaging and fulfilling.

Tufting is a good way to keep children engaged during the school holidays. — Tuft Space/FacebookTufting is a good way to keep children engaged during the school holidays. — Tuft Space/Facebook

Tufting

Tufting is a technique that was used centuries ago to create rugs and textiles. It involves pushing and pulling wool or yarn through a backing fabric, creating a “tuft” of fabric on the surface. While it is easy enough to learn, forming different patterns and designs may be slightly challenging.

There are many places in the Klang Valley that offer tufting classes, though not all of them will take younger participants. Tuft Space (tuftspace.com) in Shah Alam, Selangor, for example, welcomes teenagers – from age 13 – and offers two packages, one of which allows you to finish a project in a single day.

Tuftme (tuftme.com) in Petaling Jaya, meanwhile, has three workshop options and takes in children from age 10.

Root Studio (@rootstudio.my on Instagram), based in Kajang, Selangor accepts participants as young as seven years old. This studio also offers crochet and knitting classes for kids.

Pottery

Another activity that is engrossing and can be fun for the kids is pottery making. Children as young as five years old can try moulding their own clay at Zen Ceramic in Melaka.

Zen Ceramic, which also has an outlet in Petaling Jaya, has been around for more than two decades. It was founded with a single purpose – to reintroduce the traditional craft to the younger generations in an interactive and engaging way.

Necessary tools like plastic knives, canvas and a rolling pin will be provided if you chose to join a class here.

Participants can either create their own masterpiece via wheel throwing (a method used to shape the ceramic with a pottery wheel) or hand-building in a two-hour session.

Once you’ve done that, your products will be sent to the kiln to “bake”. The complete product can be collected within three to four weeks. To find out more, go to their “Litter Potter” page on Instagram (@littlepotterart), which caters specifically for younger participants. You can also check out @zenceramicart for other information.

Another place worth checking out is Clay Expression (clayexpression.com), which has been around since 2000. This studio is located in Subang Jaya, Selangor and offers numerous classes and workshops. It can accommodate students as young as 13 years old.

If you’re in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, check out Tao Art Studio (@taoartstudio on Instagram), which offers customised classes for younger participants interested in pottery-making.

Children can try shaping the clay with hands or a pottery wheel at Zen Ceramic. — Zen Ceramic/InstagramChildren can try shaping the clay with hands or a pottery wheel at Zen Ceramic. — Zen Ceramic/Instagram

Pewter power

Malaysia is known for its pewter, a substance composed of various metals, thanks to the world-famous Royal Selangor. This company has been around since 1885, and makes some of the most exquisite pewter products around.

Children aged 15 and above can put their creativity to the test at Royal Selangor’s The Foundry workshop, where they can make their own pewter accessories from scratch. There is a wide selection of moulds to choose from here, from pendants and rings to earrings.

Another interesting pewter workshop to check out at the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre in Kuala Lumpur is the School Of Hard Knocks, where kids can experience making their very own pewter dish using traditional tools. However, any child below 12 years old will have to join the session with an adult.

Parents can also take their kids to visit the centre’s museum that houses various pewter exhibits. One interesting display there is the pewter tankard, which is listed in the Guinness Book Of Records as the largest in the world, weighing over 1,557kg and measuring 2m tall.

Baking

For a “sweet” hands-on experience, let the kids get dirty in the kitchen!

There are many baking workshops out there that are catered and curated specifically for younger learners, including Good Times DIY Baking Studio (based in Petaling Jaya and Johor Baru, @goodtimesdiy on Instagram), Luna Kids (Klang Valley, lunakidsmy.com), ABC Cooking Studio (Klang Valley, abc-cooking.com.my), CW Cooking Studio (Miri, Sarawak, @cwcookingstudio on Instagram), The House (Penang, https://the-house.my/kids-cooking-class/), and Cuisine Boleh (led by “Chef Jean”, a French chef living in KL, @cuisineboleh on Instagram).

Baking and cooking-themed classes are usually the most popular activities parents will sign their kids up for, especially during the school holidays, probably because it is a life skill worth learning.

Generally, children will learn basic skills like prepping ingredients, reading recipes and understanding baking/cooking terms, and most importantly, hygiene!

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