We are a Shopping Mall family. Yes, we love hanging out at the malls, enjoying the shops, the sights and the space! In this little island we are in, malls are a big hit cos of the tremendous humidity outdoors. Yet, after a while, even the kids realise all malls are quite the same! They have little shops, and 1-2 large departmental stores, 1-2 food courts and possibly a cinema. But when we heard that The Centrepoint has some interesting shops, we were a little sceptical, how different can it get? Haven’t we seen them all?
We were told that these two stores are really something different from a regular shop. One of them—Studio Miu Art is an art studio which was established in Singapore 18 years ago! And the other store—The Better Toy Store is a one-of-a-kind toy store that has more than 20 years history! Talk about longevity!! I knew we were in for a good time!
So one fine Sat in August, we explored these two stores! First up is Studio Miu Art, located at #03-34/35.
We were invited to join in a Parent-Child Pottery Workshop! Meet our lovely instructor who holds a degree in Pottery, from Kyoto—Saya Yamaguchi. She’s so talented and she gave really easy instructions for us to follow.
Our class was so fun as the art-challenged me struggled with my piece, while Nicole and Nadine had a whale of time letting their creative juices run.
After this, Teacher Saya would help us proof and bake the pieces. Thereafter, she would paint it with our chosen colors! Look at how excited Nadine was when picking her colours!
Alas, the final final product would only be ready after 2 weeks! We are really looking forward to seeing it!! And this certainly teaches all of us patience! 🙂
We found out the Studio Miu Art was started by a Japanese artist Maya Takahashi, and it is a workspace that encourages creativity for both children and adults by teaching lessons in fine arts from beginner to advanced levels. Besides Ceramics, they offer classes for Illustration, Manga and Chinese Calligraphy.
This made it really perfect for our family. Sometimes, when there’s some serious shopping that I’ve to do (for important things like shoes and bags), Daddy can bring the kids for a workshop. It’s just 1.5-2 hours long, and they get to bring the final piece home! (for pottery, we can get the product back after about 2 weeks… so there’s time to bake it and paint etc… which is done by the expert, not us!)
Here’s a glimpse of some classes offered at Studio Miu Art:
- Fun Toddler Art: children’s fresh introduction to drawing, painting and craft making.
- Children’s Regular Art Class: holistic learning approach to art in 2-dimensional and 3- dimensional forms, offered to children from 4 years old and above.
The classes are for all from 2.5 years old to adults! Woohooo!!
The studio was packed with lots of interesting art materials! It’s not what you expect—messy and disorganised. In fact, everything is nicely laid out (typical Japanese strength!) and the mess comes only at the work table when your own creativity manifests!
We just picked up our final pieces after the proofing and baking! Look at how wonderful it looks after the expert added the finishing touches! We were amazed how the paint and glaze adds a touch of professionalism to the products. (Nicole was lamenting that she added too much water to her rabbit which caused the beheading!)
We were sold. The kids now want to go back to the studio and make MORE pieces! Nathan is obviously wanting it more, since he missed it out the last time!
So here’s our final photo at Studio Miu Art! We totally enjoyed ourselves!!
Studio Miu Art is located at The Centrepoint, #03-34/35. It’s opened daily from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.!
Our next stop was The Better Toy Store. Now, I must say I’ve been to their previous branch at Ngee Ann City and really loved it. I thought a tour of this new outlet would be a bore, since I’m already familiar with this shop. But Oh No!! Not at all!! There was stuff that no one told me about in my past years of visiting their other shop!
Here are 4 things I learnt in my visit to the Better Toy Store:
These lovely stuffed toys have a huge amazing heritage! The first teddy bears are Steiff bears, handmade in 1880! Each toy is handmade and the materials used have no harmful substances, dyes or colours. All materials are of fine natural fibres such as mohair. And the best bit? The parts are all secured firmly so you can be sure your kids are safe. Do you know the eyes and nose are RIVETED into the body? Gosh!! Riveted!!! There’s no way the kid can pull out those eyes!
We heard how we can buy a Steiff toy for your child and it can be passed on to future generations! I would love that!!
The Better Toy Store does thorough research to bring in toys that have won prestigious toy awards from Europe. It is important to note that these are not a vote-in award for toys. Rather, the awards are given to well-designed toys, and these toys are so beautifully made, so clever and really so perfect. These include toys for new-borns all the way to puzzles and games for the pre-teens!
At the Better Toy Store, look out for any of these logos. Many of these toys are not battery operated, and they move simply based on the precision of the craftsman design. Imagine wheels that turn smoothly, train tracks that fit perfectly, edges that are smoothen perfectly. And all the products used are non-toxic, water-based, sweat and saliva resistant. Wooden toys are made from trees in Europe with sustainable forestry. All textiles are metal-free, balanced PH value, and chlorine free. Every toy has to follow strict and stringent safety standards from Europe.
I never took a 2nd glance at these award plastered on the boxes. Now that I know, I started consciously checking out award winning toys. Woah! It’s really worth the dollar spent!
I remember puppets when I was growing up. But I hated them cos my hands felt hot after holding them for a while. My fingers and thumbs felt stretched when I’m playing with them. BUT, it was not so for the puppets at The Better Toy Store.
Both Nicole and Nadine kept playing with the puppets, making funny sounds, doing pop ups and twisting and turning them to give us big surprises. I asked them later, did your hands feel hot? Were the thumb and finger holes very tight? And it was a clear no! They said it’s so fun, the puppets move so easily, and those surprise zipped parts are so so cool. (I think they didn’t even get to try out all the puppets available that day!)
Now this is my favourite part of the store! We were introduced to Djeco, a French Toy company, which made really pretty and beautiful toys and puzzles. The art works for all their products are brightly coloured and attractive.
The above is a toy for a 4 years old kid. It trains the child to use logic how to match the final piece with the photo shown. The child is given pieces of Transparencies with printed pictures. He has to figure out if he needs to flip the transparency, if the elephant should go first, or the turtles. Not that easy, but such a brilliant toy! There are 24 transparencies and 16 pictures for the kids. And all for $39.90. I think it’s brilliant and would make a great gift even for a 7 yr. old! (Even for me!)
We were blown away with the many toys offered at the Better Toy Store. If you are expecting the famous cartoon character toys, or stuff you see at the departmental store, you would be disappointed. Over here, every toy is a learning experience. We loved it!
The Better Toy Store is located at #03-07/07A/08, and it is open from 10.30 a.m. – 9.30 p.m.
And we have a giveaway for ONE special reader!
I’m so excited to present a wonderful huge hamper worth $130 from Studio Miu Art and The Better Toy Store. Check out what’s in the hamper…totally suitable from kids from 4-10 years old:
From Studio Miu Art:
- 1 Besform Drawing Block
- 1 Herlitz Marker Set
- 1 Giotto Crayon Set
- 2 Studio Miu Art & L’ESCALIER vouchers worth $10 each
From The Better Toy Store:
- 1 set of SES Face Paints
- 6 tubs of SES Glow in the Dark Super Clay
- 1 set of DJECO Temporary Tattoos
- 1 HANDELSHAUS TOYSPURE Wooden Tangram Puzzle
- 1 set of DJECO Mini Logix Game
- 1 set of HABA FEX Katzofant Card Game
So here’s how you can join the giveaway! All the best!
*Update: Centrepoint Singapore is sponsoring TWO hampers instead of one. Thus we have two winners in this giveaway! Congratulations!