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.
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).
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.
We all need some funky T-shirts for summer, kids included, which is why we’ll be checking out Benetton’s latest offerings. The Italian fashion house has a great range of quirky motif tees for girls and sophisticated varsity numbers for boys. We were spoilt for choice, but were smitten with this retro tennis T-shirt and the hip teddy bear top for girls. For boys, this vibrant squid number will mean you won’t lose him in the dark.
Giant squid T-shirt Dhs110, teddy bear T-shirt Dhs100, tennis T-shirt Dhs190, from United Colors of Benetton, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4646). Other locations: Deira City Centre and Jumeirah Centre.
Every boy loves toy cars, but these Automoblox are a bit special. A car and a puzzle rolled into one, you pull apart the wheels, pluck out the family of passengers, change the tyres and rebuild the car from scratch. Dubbed a contemporary heirloom toy, Automoblox cars capture both the character and durability of classic wooden cars as well as the vibrant elements of modern design, inviting kids of all ages to get creative. We can’t stop fiddling with this C9 sportscar in ravishing red, but there’s a range of saloons, pick-ups, mini-vans, SUVs and compacts in some funky bright colours, and all the parts mix and match. Captivating and cool, kids may struggle to tear this toy away from mum and dad.
Dhs148 from Kidz Inc, Al Quoz (04 340 5059).
Looking after kids is a major juggling act: balancing, feeding, wiping, cuddling – having two hands free is a nigh-on impossible feat. So imagine how thrilled we were when those funky designer folks at Boon came up with a squirty baby spoon that allows you to feed bambino one handed, letting you dunk your biccie in your tea, write a letter, make a phone call, or just wave to the little one as he guzzles his pureed carrots. The squirt-dispensing spoon comes with a cap so you can pre-fill it for when you’re out and about. One squirt measures a handy bite- (or slurp-) sized portion and the easy-to-fill bulb itself holds three ounces of baby food.
Dhs50, from JustKidding (04 341 3922).
As an eco-friendly alternative to plastic sippy cups – and a pretty cool one at that – we simply had to include the Safe Sippy in this month’s green issue. Dubbing itself ‘one small step in creating a less toxic world for our children’, the Safe Sippy uses clean, non-leaching steel and the plastic bits are free of Bisphenol A and other nasty chemical stuff your tot really doesn’t need.
In three colours, there’s also a thermoplastic rubber sleeve, ideal for keeping cold drinks cold as the sticky summer draws near. The no-leak spout is designed with developing mouths in mind and the cup’s tapered waist and ribbed sleeve helps kids grasp the bottle when they’re too big to hold the handles. Oh, and it’s dishwasher safe too.
Costs Dhs69 from www.dubaibabies.com.