Thursday, August 2, 2012

Playgroup: A Desert Solution to Outside Play

There are beautiful, creative play places and parks in Abu Dhabi. One is very close to where we live. The only issue is that it is outside where the weather regularly hits over 105 during this time of year. The most busy time at the park is in the evening when the sun is down and the temperatures are following it.

Another solution to the temperatures for a place to play that I had never heard of before is found in playgroups throughout the city. Usually, this is a group of moms with kids of similar ages with someone who acts as a coordinator. Sometimes there's a small fee to go towards toys and snacks. Snacks are usually things like cheese, bananas, tomatoes, grapes, crackers, juices and generally healthy fare, so the fee is very reasonable. Plus, there's no way I would ever have the range of toys available otherwise. Something I like about playgroup is being able to test out toys and see what my kids really like. Some things that look interesting in the package are boring once they've played with it for a few minutes, and some are worth the money. The playgroup I have been to rents a big room where they have a place to store the ton of toys and people show up on the days playgroup is scheduled and get everything out. It is volunteer based and the people who are working don't have to pay the fee for that time.

Abu Dhabi is a very international city and this fact is emphasized in playgroups. English seems to be the language everyone has in common, but there are many more present and flowing. Besides the wide range of English accents, I know I have heard Tagalog, German, Arabic, French, Chinese, and several other languages I didn't recognize. Everyone is here for different reasons, in different occupations from different places, but with the common ground of kids and being expats it's not too hard to make conversation.

Kids who normally don't get to play with others have a chance here, though sometimes that means intense lessons on sharing. At the end of each playgroup that I have been to, the kids get little drums and play and sing kids songs as a dismissal routine.

Yes, we miss playing outside, but it's nice to have an air conditioned place to play in the mean time.

1 comment:

  1. thats really neat, and BIG. At least there's something to do inside thats fun for the kids.