And So On To 22 Stories
Last Saturday I finally made it to 200 Pandan Gardens for the interactive experience that is 22 Stories. Armed with M4 who’s eight years old, M5 who’s six and little M6 who’s three, I was curious how the morning would unfold. Hopefully we would have a happy ending.
And so we on we went, for the 10.30am- 2.30pm slot. Although four hours are allocated to each group to enjoy all 22 stories, we covered the following in an uproarious 90 minutes before leaving for lunch.
Our favourite realm was Wonderland.
Down The Rabbit Hole
We began in a library where the children met Alice. Excitedly, she told us about her magical books that could transport us into different worlds. Then she took us around the corner to a fireplace and ushered us through a little tunnel.
On the other side, was a lavish tea spread, hosted by none other than the Mad Hatter. He was a hit with my kids. For example, when the M4 greeted him as the Mad Hatter, he was very indignant and insisted on just being known as Hatter. In fact he was so comically affronted that the kids guffawed. Subsequently, M5 asked him where the Dormouse was. In response, a very flustered Hatter, denied any such guest coming to tea. This drew even more chortling. Joining in the heckling with glee, M6 asked where the White Rabbit was. Obligingly, the Hatter feigned confusion. Cue peals of laughter. In terms of entertainment, I think most parents will get their money’s worth right here in this room.
The Queen Of Hearts
After this we played croquet using upside down flamingoes, as the Queen of Hearts famously did. When the kids found out that every hole-in-one would score them coupons for free jam tarts, they set about the game in earnest. M4 did so well that subsequent photos inevitably featured him stuffing his mouth with jam tarts. The exception was the toothy grin of the Cheshire Cat, that hid M4’s mouthful of food.
The most difficult realm to get the kids out of was Storyland. Things started out innocently enough when we encountered a giant rubber duck. Apparently we were supposed to help Mama Swan look for her lost child in a sea of ducks. Fascinated, I thought it was very Instagrammable. Hence, I tried to take a group photo with it but M4 was still chomping on aforementioned jam tarts. As for little M6, he had scurried off to the look for Jack & The Beanstalk. Now I had to look for my own lost child. At that point, I felt a strong sense of empathy for Mama Swan.
Mindful that we were here to have fun, not take photos, I gave up and released the other two kids. Instantly, they found M6. Together, they shimmied up Jack’s Beanstalk and whooshed down slides onto rubber mats. And that was the loop their agenda became centred on. Going up the beanstalk & down the slide in a pile of giggles.
Land Of Nights
It Must Be Magic
The realm where the kids sat still for the longest period of time was inspired by Ali Baba’s One Thousand & One Nights. The sets were especially luscious, including the Arabian marketplace. On the magical carpet ride, the kids were all agog as they appeared to fly through space & skies filled with rainbows and over a balmy beach.
Then we went into a room where a Genie that looked like an enormous floating head did stand-up comedy. Unfortunately, I think the joke was on me when I was picked from the crowd to do some belly-dancing. M5 actually felt compelled to warn the room, “She doesn’t really know how to dance.” So I pulled my kids up to dance with me and at the end of the spectacle, M5 kindly patted my arm and said, “That was a good effort, Mama.”
At some point, after playing with Cinderella’s carriage, my kids scattered into various chambers.
First I stumbled into two bedrooms with M5. The one full of roses belonged to Sleeping Beauty. The other, full of mattresses piled high, belonged to the Princess whose sleep was disturbed by a pea. Directly behind the mattresses was a roomful of funny mirrors belonging to a vain Emperor. We didn’t meet this character. I sure hope he finds his old clothes before the Princess awakes. Sleep-deprived, she might not be in the best of spirits to deal with his new ones.
Wish Upon A Star
Later, M4 & I found ourselves in Snow White’s room that was filled with stars hanging from colorful streamers. She encouraged the children to write their wishes on paper stars and clip them to the streamers. Wondering if M4 would write about world peace or an antidote to all illness for children around the world, I asked him what he wished for. Apparently, he wished to find a legendary Pokémon. But of course. I couldn’t help but recall that was the only reason he followed me to the hospital when I gave my talk about Resuscitation For Children With Cardiac Arrest.
Regardless, he hung his wish up and we proceeded to the next space that looked like a bar. On the walls were neon lights that asked what our poison was. Mine’s an Old Fashioned but nobody was really asking. There were other red signs extolling death of the ego. Intense stuff for my nine-year-old to ponder over. We wondered about death a little and then wandered out.
M6 took immersive theatre quite literally when he plunged straight from a giant oyster shell, into a ball pit of pearls. We spent such a long time there that the others soon made their way over. They dived into the ball pit with delight. It was only slightly easier to remove them from here than Jack & The Beanstalk’s slide. By the end of this, I really did need an Old Fashioned!
And So Forth
We might not have completed all 22 stories but we did have a fantastic time in the hour and a half we were there.
22 Stories by ANDSOFORTH ends on 28th July, leaving 30 days left to catch it: https://22stories.com.sg/ .Grab a friend and have a whale of a time. Or bring your kids, clock your 10,000 steps running after them through 22 stories. Either way, go forth and have a fairy good time.