April 20, 2021

Dubai parents call for more play areas for children


Parents have called for more children’s play areas in residential communities across Dubai.

Many malls in the emirate have places where children can play but parents said it can be difficult to visit them because of work and other commitments.

Parents also said children did not have enough chance to play outdoors.

Athar Ahmed, 32, a marketing manager from Pakistan, who lives in Mamzar, said that while there is a children’s area in his residential building, it is always full.

“They have a few things like a soft play area, building blocks and a small maze tunnel but because it is the only one in the building and we have a lot of families here it is always packed,” he said.

As an alternative, Mr Ahmed, his wife and three-year-old son Yafi go to Mamzar beach.

“It’s close by so we take my son with his toys and he can play a little but it’s not ideal,” said Mr Ahmed. “There aren’t any play areas near where we live, so once or twice a week we take him to the Chuck E Cheese in Oud Metha and occasionally to the play area at Wafi Centre.

“It’s not ideal because my wife and I both work, so we have to make special arrangements to do so.

“I think it would be much better if there was a basic play area nearby with swings and a slide that is within walking distance.

“It will give him the chance to be outside instead of us having to drive for half an hour to a mall.”

The family considered moving to an area of the city where there were play areas but work commitments meant it was not possible.

“Mamzar isn’t that cheap to live so it wouldn’t be a big thing to go somewhere like The Springs, but the problem is that I work very close by and it’s easier to get to and from the office,” Mr Ahmed said.

For Indian mother of two Samita Kaur, 35, who lives in Al Qusais, the only options are for her children to play in the small garden or go to a mall.

“My sons are 4 and 5 years old and although we could keep them entertained in our garden when they were younger they’re getting to the age that they want a bit more space,” she said.

“There are a lot of villas around this area but one of the things we are lacking is somewhere they can go outside and play in a safe environment.

“The play areas in malls get so busy the children hardly get a chance to play, and although there is a park in our area, it’s too far to walk and we have to make a special trip.

“Even a small patch of land nearby with a climbing frame would be enough.”

Playing outside with other children their age was healthy and helped youngsters to develop social skills, she said.

“There are a few communities in Dubai that have these kinds of areas and I think it’s something that should be adopted elsewhere, especially the older areas of the city.”

Mohammed Al Fardan, head of public parks at Dubai Municipality, said play areas for children were provided at various places in Dubai, including the older areas of the city.

“In fact, we are looking to improve and add facilities,” he said.

Some older play areas may also be replaced with newer equipment, he said.


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