Mama needed to buy groceries, send some emails and the kids needed to play. Solution – Fun Corner at the Spinneys Centre in Umm Suqeim. Before I had children I vowed that if and when I did, I would never set foot in one of these places – nor allow my kids to eat sugar – and never raise my voice. Within 5 minutes of arriving at the Spinneys Centre I had broken all 3 of these self-imposed rules, impatiently hurrying my troop past the temptations of the Early Learning Centre with promises of an ice cream if they behaved and then straight into soft play chaos. While this might be mamas idea of hell, we just need to face the fact that the kiddos love these play areas with their pumping music, overtly displayed unhealthy snacks and flashy lights and my 3 jumped in full of enthusiasm (while I tried not to think about the number of germs that these places harbor – yes this mama is a little bit OCD).
Luckily for us, we had arrived before 4pm after which time you need to commit (and pay) to a minimum of 2 hours which, with a sizeable family and at AED 60 per, would set you back a hefty amount – grrr – I also can’t see how any kids would last that long but again that might just be mama’s soft play phobia talking! The youngest was busy crawling towards a little area with play house and toddler toys galore while middle child attempted to gatecrash a party going on in the backroom and the eldest headed straight for a bouncy castle. All 3 kids were happy doing their thing and mama – who was lucky enough to have our wonderful nanny in tow – rushed to the supermarket for a few minutes before peeking in on the minis, 2 of whom were now busy tackling the climbing area complete with tunnels and a seriously scary looking near vertical slide while the 3rd played make believe on the ride-on motorbikes (good thing he’s still happy not to have money pumped into these things – long may that last!).
A big bonus about this play centre is that it is right next door to a Starbucks whose outside tables allow you to keep half an eye on your kids through the play area glass with coffee in hand – ideal when you need a caffeine fix but also perfect if you need to catch up on a little work and take advantage of the free WiFi. There are also tables inside the play area itself if you feel more comfortable being closer to the kids. Groceries done, coffee consumed and emails sent I took a deep breath and joined my littlies for their last few minutes of play (was definitely not going to risk being charged for a second hour!).
Fun Corner is not the best play area around but it’s ideally located if you need to multitask and fit shopping with entertaining the children – who loved it. Once our hour was up, the minis stretched their legs running up and down the Spinneys Centre and testing some of the ELC toys – and mama spied some seriously good looking kids meals being served up at the restaurant opposite which would definitely tick another box on another visit. Wandering back to the car we passed the icecream stand where I was reminded of my earlier promise (bribe) but with dinnertime on the horizon mama broke another of her rules and told a little white lie about it being closed until tomorrow – oops. But I stuck to my word and they enjoyed a scoop the next day so all is forgiven.
Fun Corner Spinneys Centre
Umm Suqeim / Al Wasl Road
Telephone: (+971) (0)4-3940315