| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Most wanted

We track down the hippest stuff for the coolest kids

Hi-tech hide and seek

Do you think kids these days just want to plonk themselves in front of the telly or computer? Not so. Ye olde games of yore – think musical chairs, tag, hide and seek – are given a new lease of life with the Swinxs games console, which organises groups of kids for physical, creative and educational play, both inside and out.

We love the fact that it’s light enough to take with you when you head out for the day to the park or beach. Each child gets their own coloured XS wristband to communicate with the console, which monitors their scores. Swinxs comes with seven games, but you can refresh your list by downloading new games – quizzes, stories, relays – for free from www.swinxs.com. A digital twist on old playground pastimes, it talks, it organises the kids, and even acts as referee. Who needs parents? You can only buy these fab consoles in Mothercare (they cost Dhs880).

Words of art

When you have kids, your treasured coffee table books tend to get relegated to a faraway shelf, tucked away from sticky fingers and freeing the table up for important stuff like puzzles and picnics. But there’s a gorgeous new addition to the coffee table scene that will take pride of place in your family room.

An observation of growing up in the Gulf, Children of the Sun is a book you’ll read to your kids, flick through yourself and cherish forever as a keepsake of your time spent in Dubai. Packed full of stunning photographs and beautiful poetry, it illustrates the many experiences that make childhood in the Gulf such a unique experience: camel rides, beaches, parks, sand dunes – there’s even an ‘Ode To A Shawarma’.

Piyu Majumdar, a Dubai resident for 14 years and the bard behind the book, was inspired to get writing by the experience of raising her two sons in Dubai, as well as her work as a teaching assistant at the American School of Dubai. ‘My boys have grown up and moved away now, but when they left, I realised they had enjoyed a unique childhood,’ says Piyu. ‘All the experiences are there in the book – the neighbour who keeps a rooster, Satwa, Karama, plus traditional cultural things such as the sword dance and even the expat tradition of afternoon tea. The Gulf is unique. There are so many nationalities experiencing the old and the modern. It has the best of everything.’

The photographer for the book, Paul Thuysbaert, has lived in Dubai for 16 years and his children are still enjoying the Gulf experience.
Dhs149, available from Magrudys and other book stores across Dubai.

Really apeeling

Hip, modern and, most importantly, peel-offable and reusable, these decorative wall stickers will brighten up any kid’s room. We’re particularly fond of the season tube, which lets you bring some nature inside and create your own tree, complete with leaves (naturally), birds, butterflies and flowers. If you’ve got little graffiti artists running around, feel free to let them loose on the walls once you’ve stuck up the Wallcandy chalkboard animal set. Containing elephants, giraffes and rhinos, they can let their creative juices flow and leave you lovely little messages at the same time. Aww.
Season tube Dhs215, chalkboard animals Dhs225 from JustKidding (04 341 3922).

Split personality

Angels one minute, little demons the next, we sometimes wonder if our kids are possessed. Apparently this is quite normal, which is why we love the Bop ’n’ Beep doll from the Little Uglys collection. Bop ’n’ Beep love to do everything together, but they also bicker and get each other’s back up (sound familiar?). Incredibly cute in a kinda freaky way, check out their ugly (which, of course, means unique and special) pals Chuckanucka, Moxy, Plunko and Gato Deluxe.
Dhs75, www.babysouk.com.

By Karen Iley
Time Out Dubai,

What a drama

What a drama
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Little chefs

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