Pillow fight at kids day out at 8Q sam
On the ground floor of 8Q sam, Singaporean artist Dawn Ng has created an art installation that is the very epitome of cuteness: a room covered with green carpet and with 200 small cushions for children to arrange in any way they like. On the walls are the words, 'Hop! Hop! Hop!'
You would expect, with all the explicit suggestions in this work called Walter's Garden, that little children would hop around like bunnies.
But the reality was a little more chaotic. One boy is lying on the floor, while his younger brother pelts him with the cushions and shouts: 'Pillow fight!'
And that is what I realise taking a group of five children to the Art Garden, 8Q sam's art exhibition for children: Their reactions are completely unpredictable but honest.
If an artwork fails to engage them, they simply walk away. No artsy posturing for them.
In the party are three girls from the United World College of South East Asia in Ang Mo Kio: Singaporean Gaby Ho, seven, Japanese Kina Takahashi, seven, and American Alaina Hauber, eight, and Singaporean brothers Ryan Yeow, 11, and Matthew Yeow, seven, both pupils at Maris Stella Primary.
They have the energy of a pack of puppies and tear around the museum like monsters. Running after them - especially up the stairs - is no joke.
We start at the very top, in a gallery designed and decorated by artist Joo Choon Lin. Her work centres on a girl called Ringmaster who makes her own toys and battles chocolate monsters.
The story plays out in a stop-motion animation film, and spills out into the gallery as chaotic murals and little toys. The muddy colours and DIY art school aesthetic do little for the children and they do not linger.
They quickly drift to the dark room on level three, where the girls lie down on the floor to play with Daisies, an artwork by Theodore Watson which projects daisies onto the floor. When you walk over the daisies, they disappear, only to reappear a few seconds later.
It is a simple idea that is beautiful and eloquent, evoking the fragility of the natural world and is interactive enough to hold the girls' attention.
It also has a very zen atmosphere: One of the girls sits cross-legged on the floor with her eyes closed, as if in meditation.
The boys gravitate towards Funky Forest, another work by Watson. This is an interactive ecosystem where children create trees with their bodies and then divert the water flowing from the waterfall to the trees to keep them alive.
The children are rapt because of the sense of mission and adventure. It also helps that they seem like players in a beautiful videogame world.