(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

SINGAPORE – Engineer Michael Lim was standing outside a 50m-long inflatable obstacle course, as his daughter, six, and two nieces, 12 and 14, were bouncing inside.

His wife, 45, was supposed to be looking after the children, but the 45-year-old admitted he had no idea where she was, saying with a chuckle: “The float is very long.”

They were among the thousands at the inaugural “I’m Proud Of You” family festival, which kicked off at Singapore Expo, Max Atria Gallery and Hall 1 on Saturday (Oct 7).

Organised by MindChamps Preschool and The Straits Times, the festival aims to give parents the opportunity to spend quality time with their kids. 10,000 participants are expected over the two days the event takes place. It is billed as “the largest indoor carnival ever organised in Singapore”.

Children and their families who came by on the first day enjoyed fun activities such as live pony rides, ziplining, and trampolining.

They also learnt about parenting issues from talks and panel sessions by Straits Times personalities and MindChamps staff. Similar talks will continue on Sunday, in addition to shows and games on stage.

At about 5.30pm housewife Fathima Pathal was spotted with her 36-year-old husband and seven- and three-year-old daughters. The family has been there since 10am. She laughed, saying that they had done “everything” in the hall, and that her children enjoyed the Magical Bubble Show so much that they were in fact going to watch it a second time.

Ms Fathima also enjoyed the talks, saying her favourite was the “News in Education and Character Building” session. “It was very good that it taught kids how to read the newspaper, so they can learn,” she said.

Some 200 needy families, who are beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, received free tickets to attend the festival.

Mr David Chiem, founder and group chief executive of MindChamps, said he hoped for this to be a day families will remember.

“Compassion, being one of MindChamps’ values means giving back to society even in the smallest way, and we are honoured to be able to bring a little joy to the less privileged on this special day.”

When asked how he felt about the event with his family, Mr Lim said: “It definitely helped us to bond. As long as the kids are happy, we are.”

I’m Proud Of You runs on Saturday and Sunday at Singapore Expo, Max Atria Gallery and Hall 1, from 10am to 9pm. Tickets for one-day access area available at the door and www.iamproudofyou.com and cost $48 per child (from ages one to 12), and $38 per adult, with babies up to one year old getting in free. The promotional code “ST30” can be used to get a 30 per cent discount.

More Info: www.straitstimes.com