Playeum – Children as Creators

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Pablo Picasso



Playeum’s goal is to provide opportunities for Singaporean children  to  engage  in  free  and  creative  play nurturing the artist within.



A visit to PLAYEUM in Gillman Barracks is a visit to the world of child’s play. To the founder and keepers of Playeum, play is a serious issue. ‘In  order  to  establish  a  culture  of  meaningful  and  impactful  play,  and  with  a  formal  research  agenda,  Playeum  is  developing  a  dedicated  creative  space  for  children  and  families.‘ In an interview with Vanessa Anne, Assistant Manager, Communications & Events of Playeum she stressed that the concept of play as an important, indeed, necessary part of early childhood development and a keystone of the philosophy underlying the space and its staff. 



Too often, Ms Vanesa Anne thinks, youngsters are streamed into “make or break” patterns of study, tests, and academic pursuits. Recent studies show that simple playtime is an vital part of socialization and knowledge acquisition. This is Playeum’s raison d’etre. Conscious of the artistic aspects of kids’ playing, Playeum offers an open, sunlit, inviting space for kids to, well, PLAY!  The “Dark Room,” magnetic boards, drawing materials, mobiles, provides interactive and colorful invitations to creativity. The “Dark Room,” magnetic boards, drawing materials, mobiles, multi-shaped cushions, and colorful wall hangings invite collaboration and exploration.



The Saturday afternoon when I visited with my 9-month-old son, the place was buzzing with activity – kids having fun amid a kaleidoscope of fun-filled opportunities. OK, maybe Christopher was a wee bit young for the artistic challenges. Nonetheless, his eyes darted around the room especially intrigued by the ‘old kids’ engaged laughter. 



Juggling net-cloths, manipulating crystal balls, twirling silver hoops, balancing peacock feathers, the French entertainer for the afternoon, Mickael Bellemene ,  provided hands-on fun for the youngsters. Eye-catching and simple, his “tricks” were simple enough for kids to try, yet visually appealing. Even Christopher’s eyes were glued to the balls, hoops, and feathers. I can’t wait to return when he can join the more mature gang.



Available online, ‘Children As Creators:  An Urgent Need to Re-imagine and Re-define Play in Singapore’ by Sumitra Pasupathy, Jennifer Loh Nee Sian, and Sirene Lim, offers an in-depth look at the learning base supporting Playeum. From the article:



“Founded by Sumitra and Jennifer, Playeum is Singapore’s first charitable centre for creativity  and  culture  to  nurture  the  next  generation  of  creators,  innovators  and  thinkers.  Playeum  inspires  creativity  and  collaboration  in  children  and  families  through  innovative  and  playful  experiences.  Over  the  past  6  years,  Playeum  has  engaged  over  50,000  children  and  families  in over 150 programmes and novel experiences through collaborations with other museums,  public  institutions  and  creative  practitioners.  Playeum  has  been  the  recipient  of  four  international  awards  from  the  UK  based  Campaign  for  Drawing  for  innovative  work  on  community  engagement  in  The  Big  Draw,  and  has  been  named  a  Pacesetter  by  the  Lego  Foundation  through  the  global  ReZImagine  Learning  Challenge.’


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Photos by Playeum


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