‘Fishing’ for Ideas?
‘Winding down’ our children with some ‘quiet’ activities on a Saturday night? Yearning for some bonding time that can be relaxing for parents too? As modern parents challenge ourselves towards the ‘less screen-time’ ideology, how about bringing them out to the sun to experience an old-school activity that was once a popular pastime in Singapore during the ‘Kumpong days’? Longkang fishing!
‘Longkang’ means drain in the typical Hokkien dialect. Some of us (older generation) especially the daddies would have done Longkang fishing in the ‘traditional way’- chasing and catching fishes from canals and drains on a wet day. Simple joy I call it, free play and fulfilling. I was sharing with my little one on ‘fishes that give birth’ after watching a female guppy ‘popping’. She was so amazed and I thought why not let her keep a few pet guppies so she can witness that process live? And yes, we did that, on the condition that Heidy must catch them herself!
@81 Lorong Chencharu #01-01 Singapore 769198
Previously, this was where the ‘Bottle Tree Park’ was situated. After a huge effort to give this place a makeover, we now have a one-stop entertainment cum leisure park called ‘Orto’ at this hot spot in Yishun. Many of you would have heard of the various sports facilities Orto houses, from Futsal to even a Trampoline Park, and the ever popular prawning and fishing for the young and old. In today’s review, I’m only gonna share about their Longkang fishing which is the rather small section of Orto.
Why it is interesting?
Most kids love playing with or in water. The idea of getting themselves wet and having that sense of ownership is very rewarding when they manage to scoop that little fish right before their eyes. Heidy has a rather short attention span, so I was pretty surprise she actually lurked around the Longkang for more than an hour!
Things to note
For $12 unlimited time, each child will be given a free tank and fishing net. There is no limit to the number of fishes they can catch too. Although they recommended Longkang fishing for children age 4 years old to 12 years old, they didn’t stop us as we went into the Longkang with Heidy too. As a safety precaution, the Longkang had been modified so that it is shallow and wide, very much like a waddling pool in my opinion! You and your kids are allowed to walk (please stop your kids from running and splashing water) inside the Longkang while fishing. It is ONLY open on weekends, during public and school holidays from 9am to 11pm.
What should you bring?
- A set of clean clothes for changing
- A hat/cap (the area is not sheltered so wearing a hat can well protect your kids from direct sunlight cos they will be out for quite some time)
- A dry towel/ plenty of wet wipes for cleaning especially the legs
- Mosquito patch (please don’t spray repellant as it may affect the quality of the water in the Longkang!)
The washrooms are located just a few metres away so it is quite convenient. Many families love Orto as there are quite a few restaurants which you can dine in. However for us, we didn’t find the food quite suitable for Heidy, or perhaps I feel the eateries are more catered for older kids and adults. So what happened was she ate the prepacked pasta I cooked (okay, and plenty of snacks) while we ate ‘Mookata’!
Alternative? HomeTeamNS Sembawang
@301 Canberra Road #01-08, S759774
Okay this was chanced upon as my hubby organized a company event at Hai Bin. Unlike the ‘big scale’ Orto, Hai Bin is mainly a place famous for their prawning. It is a great place for gatherings and BBQ cum chalet. We explored both places for their Longkang fishing and the main difference? Apparently the fishes are bigger BUT less survived! Why?
While at Orto, where the staff will actually place the fishes you catch from the given tank into a big plastic bag pumped up with oxygen and water, here at Hai Bin, there isn’t such service hence you just have to bring the fishes home in a tank you prepared. So I guess that explains why the survival rate is lower. But when we were there, the staff poured in new fishes and Heidy was happy as her catch rate was much higher than that at Orto. We paid $10 for the unlimited play, a pail to contain the fishes plus a net (both to be returned) and another $2 for a new tank to bring the fishes home.
Personally, I prefer Hai Bin to Orto as hubby and I could catch a beer and some finger food while Heidy played independently. The ‘bar’ was nearby and I could monitor her closely. The best part was there was normally live soccer screening going on. So parents who wanna chill while the kids get busy fishing around can come here, while those who prefers accompanying the kids may like Orto more given the more ‘nature’ feel. Out of the many times we visited both, Hai Bin is always less crowded be it on an afternoon or at night so perhaps this can be safer for little kids too.
In a nutshell…
Heidy loves the thrill of Longkang fishing as she learnt to strategise how to scoop fishes with a small net. I was surprised when she observed that fishes like to ‘hide’ under large stone structures so alerted me not to walk like an elephant and ‘scare’ her fishes away. She said that ‘if I aim at that fish I will look at it and not look at other fishes so I can catch it finally’ HAHA. So much ‘theory’ for the adventure of fishing!
So, for $10-$12 unlimited play in both places, I think the price is reasonable given the type of satisfaction and fun in the process; not to mention bonding with parents and the tickling fishes around your feet! That’s what learning through play is all about, right? Of cos, some parents choose to let the fishes go while the rest allow their kids to keep them (the entry fee will be the same whether you keep the fishes or not) It’s really up to you! Heidy fed her fishes everyday and we were lucky to witness the guppies giving birth that a few times! (it WILL happen if you stare and admire the fishes as long as she did hahaha) It was way more enriching than watching youtube videos.
Hope you guys will have fun!
To make the trip more meaningful, here are some Themes / Areas of discussion you can embark on prior or after the visit J :
- Caring for animals
- Responsibility in keeping pets
- Reproduction in fishes
- Fishes that lay eggs VS fishes that give birth
- Natural environment for survival in fishes
- Diversity of Living things
- Needs of living things
Content Source: Mummy Mandy
Edited By: Preschool Resources
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Preschool Resource