apple seeds might just be a mama fantasy come true. With a spacious indoor playground, regular kiddie classes including art, music, language, sports, science and even cooking plus an onsite café that serves only well thought-out organic treats and a seriously good latte AND easy parking right outside the front door – this is the perfect play space. Located in Dubai’s Gold & Diamond Park, apple seeds is a far cry from the usual noisy and hectic children’s play areas, mainly because entry is strictly for members only (more on that later) but also because the space itself is beautifully planned. There are no electronic games with flashy lights and pumping music, nor is there a sensory overload of toys crammed into a tiny area – instead apple seeds offers a spacious indoor playground, various classrooms and the aforementioned café, all very tasteful, stylish and surprisingly calm given the mostly under 5 clientele!
With 5 kids in tow, we arrived at the centre to try out their cooking monsters class, aimed at ages 2.5 – 3 years when accompanied with a parent (3 years and up can be dropped off). We had time to spare so let the minis let off some steam in the play area – which was a complete hit (to the point that trying to get them out for the cooking class slightly disturbed the extremely zen-like vibe for a few minutes!) Themed around a scaled-down cityscape complete with grocery store, apartment building with slide and yellow taxi-cab, the area also has squishy areas for teenies to crawl around in, a huge lego table on which to build and create and a few soft structures for the kids to climb on. Mama was very quickly involved in some super imaginative role-play, hailing taxis, going shopping and visiting each others ‘apartments’ whilst also keeping one eye on my youngest who was busy practicing getting steady on her feet. There were a few other children at play but mainly under the watchful eye of their nannies – this is most definitely a great place to enroll your littlies if you’re a working mama who needs to know that they are having fun somewhere safe and lovely!
Our little cooking monsters were soon ushered into a nearby classroom/kitchen where a tiny sink allowed for tiny hand washing before aprons were handed out and we were ready to begin! What followed was a wonderful 45 minute session of proper mama/kids bonding while they were introduced to a load of ingredients, making as much mess as they wanted (with the added bonus of it not being my kitchen to clean up afterwards!) Our teacher Rachelle explained that the theme of the class was the ‘farmers’ market’, asking each of the children to name vegetables that a farmer might grow on his land before confidently announcing that the mini-chefs would be preparing a 3 course meal of: Arugula Salad with Homemade Dressing, Parmesan and Croutons, Couscous with Vegetables and Berry Crumble. I was skeptical – but with much enthusiasm the kids were encouraged to mix, measure, taste and combine various pre-measured ingredients and I have to say the end result really was impressive! Sadly my little salad-dodgers didn’t much fancy any of the healthy stuff but got stuck into the crumble (uncooked at this point as we were to take it home for the oven bit) and were so happy and proud to see mama polish off their dishes. I even learnt a few tips myself – who knew that smashed up figs were so delicious in a salad dressing?!
To round off our apple seeds experience, we were invited to join the ‘Songs For Seeds’ class, a rockin’ music programme that encourages children from newborn to 5 years to sing, dance and play along with a live, three-piece band. The kids were soon grooving away, experimenting with various instruments, dancing under a bubble-machine and spinning the animal wheel to reinforce animal names and sounds. The staff made a point of remembering each child’s name (such a classy touch), involving them in their songs and cheering them on – I hadn’t expected that mine would last the full hour but they loved it. Tired and happy, their imaginations having run wild, we loaded the kiddos plus half eaten crumble into the car and vowed that we would be back. apple seeds is the perfect combination of play and learning –your little seedlings are guaranteed to have a ball, particularly when the mercury rises and we seek refuge indoors. Membership starts at AED 3,140 per year (don’t fall off your chairs mamas, the fee can be paid in monthly installments and includes 2 kids). This gives you unlimited access to the playground in addition to free special events and discounts on classes and also at the café and on birthday parties held at the venue.
Sunday – Thursday 9-6, Saturday 10 – 4
Currently closed on Fridays but they mentioned that this might change which would complete the fantasy!
Sassy Mama Tip: Demo classes offered on a first come first served basis if you want to try before you buy
apple seeds, Dubai Gold & Diamond Park, Tel: (+971) (0)4-380 60 64, www.appleseedsdubai.com