Toy Story characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear coming to Doha, 24 Jun 2019 12:43:38 +0400It might have started a long time ago, but we all fell in love with Toy Story back in the day (some of us may have even watched it more than seven times).

With Toy Story 4’s release date just around the corner, we are super excited to share that Toy Story is coming to Doha. Join the Toy Story squad, Woody and Buzz Lightyear, for another adventure as they get together for Toy Story 4.

Doha Festival City is giving us a reason to celebrate the summer by bringing a special interactive game station where children will get to play with the characters of their favourite family movie.

From June 27 until July 20, children can enjoy a variety of activities at the Toy Story station, located at the Center Court on the ground floor at Doha Festival City from 4pm to 10pm. The event is open to all, subject to a minimum spend of QR100 within the mall.

There are interactive screens teaching animation techniques, colour-in sheets, DIY gift cards and photo opportunities with the characters. Although this event is for kids aged four to 12, it will be exciting to watch them have fun and interact with the station. 

DHFC Kids Club members will have exclusive access on June 27, the opening day, from 6pm-onwards, and a priority access for any other day.

If you still have not registered your kids, you can sign up for the Kids Club membership free of charge via Doha Festival City website or by visiting Doha Festival City customer service desk located on the first floor.

The event comes as part of a series of activities that the mall management has planned for families during the summer holidays.
QR100 (mall spend). June 27-July 20, 4pm-10pm. Doha Festival City, Umm Slal,

The science of learning, 30 Sep 2018 07:49:43 +0400F ounded in 2016, Molecular provides fun, hands-on learning experiences to stimulate young minds. Offering a wide range of educational and interactive programmes from watersports to cooking and robotics, the company strives to teach children long lasting skills in a stimulating and safe environment. Co-founder Ramsey Ramadan says, “Our goal is to bring new and diverse experiences to our youth in a way that is safe, hands-on, educational and always fun.”

Behind the scenes
Behind Molecular are two passionate entrepreneurs with a mission to create a positive social impact for the younger generation. Ramadan, with a Masters in Sustainability, guides content and programme development, delivers communication and staff training and designs Molecular’s vision planning. Ramadan says, “The Molecular mission is to nurture a sense of curiosity of the world around us by creating activities, projects and experiments that stoke the fire of childhood imagination with great storytelling and accessible tools.”
Originally from the UK, co-founder Jade Richmond specialises in sports and event management. With experience as a lead executive, Richmond aims to provide a platform of immersive education and development for children. Behind the scenes, Richmond leads Molecular’s day-to-day operations, manages the relationship network and heads event management.

What’s on offer
Molecular constantly designs and refines programmes to meet the rapidly changing interests of the younger generation. There’s something for everyone with a host of interactive, science-based topics including chef and nutrition training, chemical science inventions, mystery solving forensic detectives, robotics and coding, master engineering and circuitry building, experiential field trips, and private events. Ramadan says, “There are many facets to education, but the fundamentals of learning are the same. We are consistent in delivering educational programmes and aim to make unfamiliar topics and experiences easy to understand, engaging and full of fun and entertainment.” Molecular has recently collaborated with Qatar Water Sport to bring a variety of marine and sea-based learning activities from sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, coastal ecology and on shore activities.

Empowering today’s youth
There’s a strong emphasis for hands-on experience with a DIY component in all programmes. At the core of the Molecular philosophy is a sense of empowering children to replicate all learning experiences outside of the classroom. Ramadan says, “The programmes are developed according to a set of core beliefs – sensory immersion is vital as we believe it takes the use of all senses to learn effectively. Themed storytelling and scenario challenges help to contextualise the learning process. Lastly, free hand experimentation stretches and tests the limits of newfound knowledge.”

The importance of teaching
Molecular believes that “everyone has something to teach and share”. Instructors come from a wide variety of backgrounds with a unique set of skills. All our instructors go through regular in-house communication training and creative development sessions. We believe that education is a two-way street – if you want to teach impactfully you must be willing to learn. There is no one teaching style that works for all. Essentially the fundamentals of teaching are the same and requires an open, curious mind,” Ramadan explains.
Programmes are held at various schools throughout Doha as part of afterschool activities. All programmes are open to public registration and information is posted online about events, trips and camps.
Visit, email or call 7797 8856.

Baby rhythm, 31 Jul 2018 20:00:00 +0400Our first interaction with our environment is sensory. Children collect information about their surroundings using touch, hearing, smell, vision and taste – forming memories and new knowledge of their world. Later in life, whenever they experience any of these sensations, they interact based on the memory they have of them.

“Without sensations, children’s systems wouldn’t develop,” says Dr Badr. “So, by improving input to kids’ brains through good sensory activity, we can enhance their knowledge and directly improve their skills too. That’s called the environmental effect.”

Babies in the womb start to develop a hearing system at the gestational age of 24 weeks, then hearing sensitivity gradually increases. By the last trimester in the womb, babies can hear music, and many studies have revealed that doing this can have a positive impact on children’s lives later on.

“Music has been used as a treatment tool for newborn babies, especially pre-term, for a very long time. Many studies have been conducted on what types of music achieve the best effect, but it’s classical music that’s mostly used for babies’ growth, rapid development, good psycho-motor achievement and developing talents for later in life. Its effects are also seen in appetite regulation in children, helping treat eating disorders including anorexia and also preventing obesity,” explains Dr Badr.

Now that we know that even ancient cultures used music to remedy many illnesses and health problems, how can you as a parent help your kids with music? The key is in the type of tunes.

“The right music can help your child relax more, making them happy. They’ll sleep better and it’ll aid their growth and development. Experts have found that children got more attached to the rhythm and lyrics of certain types of softer music, which yielded more positive results,” says the paediatrician.

On the other hand, heavy, scary music can have the exact opposite effect. “Rap, metal, marches and rock have a negative impact and may make children more restless. “Loud, slow and with lots of rhythm is the way to go,” advises Dr Badr. With the right music, children will move and have fun at the same time. Put your dancing shoes on mum and dad and join them.

Buckle up, 01 Jul 2018 04:51:45 +0400As a parent, your kids’ safety and comfort will come first when you’re choosing the perfect ride. Whether you’re shopping for a brand-new car or a used one, it’s difficult to know what exactly will make it the right choice for your family. What safety features should you look for? Will it withstand the wrath of your toddler’s missed nap time? Here are some top tips from the experts to help you navigate the options and settle on the best motor for your brood.

Be safe

“What many parents fear most, perhaps, is making an uninformed decision on such an expensive purchase,” says Raaed Sheibani, growth hacker at used car portal
“Safety is every parent’s main concern. The list of safety requirements can be long, but the most important things to look out for are comfortable seat belts for kids so they don’t mind staying buckled up, a forward-collision alert and adaptive cruise control to keep everyone safe even if the driver is distracted by kids in the back seat,” Sheibani says.
Now onto one of every car-owner’s biggest woes: parking. “Go for a car with a reverse camera or bumper-mounted sensors to be aware of even the lowest and smallest objects behind you as you’re reversing your car,” Sheibani advises.
“An Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is also a great safety feature because it improves your car’s braking ability and steering control.”

Ensure comfort
When looking for a family car, parents should also consider how comfortable it will be for their little ones. A driver’s peace of mind highly depends on that of the back-seat passengers and the tinier they are,

the harder they’ll be to please.

“Separate climate controls and cupholders are worth paying a little extra for if you’ll frequently have young passengers in the back seat,” says Sheibani. “It would also be great to have a convex mirror to give you a full view of what’s going on in the back. Try to get a car where the back seats also recline so the kids can sleep.”

Focus on cleanliness and space

Just because your car is a second home to your kids doesn’t mean it can’t be dirt-free.
“Getting a car with a built-in vacuum cleaner, a feature introduced by some new minivans, offers great value for money,” says Sheibani. Cookie crumb emergency sorted.

Space really matters, too. Kids don’t like cramped spaces, and if you’re planning on going for a long trip, you’ll need to fit lots into the car. So, the more seating and storage space your vehicle has, the better. “We’re talking decent practicality and loads of back-seat storage space and enough boot space to haul around kids’ paraphernalia,” says Sheibani. “Remember, if the little ones don’t have enough space to move around, they’ll start fighting with each other – sooner than usual. Also, ensure the car has a low window line so they can see out.

Get the tech

While we may try to reduce screen time, technology does make for amazing kids’ entertainment in the car. “iPod plugs, a USB connection for the back seat, or a DVD player will keep younger passengers entertained,” Sheibani says. “An adjustable holder for smartphones and tablets neatly built into the back of the front seat is useful, should they want to watch a movie. A car with built-in Bluetooth enables you to keep your hands free as you take calls on your mobile.” Also, if you’ve ever experienced being lost with a car-load of bored kids, you’ll probably know that built-in GPS is a good investment.

Remember, getting a family-friendly car doesn’t mean compromising on features that will make it fun for you to drive. So go for that sound system if you like. It’s also a good idea to take your spouse and kids with you on the hunt for the right car. Let’s just hope the kids don’t have too much fun in the showroom…
Find used cars in Qatar by visiting:;;;

The ten greatest kids’ books ever!, 01 Apr 2018 03:41:26 +04001 The Cat in the Hat
By Dr Seuss
There are unwanted guests and then there are top-hatted, fast-talking cats who turn your house upside down while your mum’s out. Two children find themselves at the centre of a magical, tongue-twisting mess when a boisterous moggy turns up at the door. Can he help undo the cartoon chaos he causes before mum returns? This is a masterpiece that should inspire a lifetime love of books.
Best for: Ages three to seven.
In a nutshell: Feline frolics for a rainy day.

2 Northern Lights
By Philip Pullman
Pullman writes for teenagers with intelligence, something the poor old so-and-sos are rarely offered by the constant stream of dreadful young adult material most often pitched at them. As a result, the celebrated His Dark Materials trilogy has proved a worldwide success with young and old alike. Northern Lights is the opener – set in a parallel universe to ours, where science, magic and theology co-exist. Lyra is an orphan who goes in search of her missing friend and finds herself in a world of ice bears and talking animals. It’s a dazzling thriller that continues with a new trilogy,
The Book of Dust.
Best for: Ages 12+.
In a nutshell: Brave and actually smart modern fantasy.

3 The Hobbit
By J. R. R. Tolkien
Tolkien never expected his story about Bilbo Baggins to be such a huge hit, but its instant success inspired the epic sequel The Lord of the Rings. For younger fans of fantasy writing, this is a great place to start: a quiet, stay-at-home Hobbit reluctantly finds himself on a daring expedition to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Dragon. It’s a dense read, but it crackles with wit, imagination and adventure, and is way better – shock horror! – than the trilogy of movies stretched to breaking point out of it.
Best for: Ages 11 to 15.
In a nutshell: Heroics in the Middle-earth mountains.

4 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
By Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s delicious fantasy, like the earliest fairy stories, has a cautionary tale contained inside. One by one, the children who have won the chance to meet the reclusive chocolate magnate Willy Wonka are punished for their brattishness. Dahl revels in the rich descriptions of each scene, every character and even the sad, squalid home life of the book’s anti-hero, the unassuming little Charlie Bucket.
Best for: Ages seven to ten.
In a nutshell: Thinking candy.

5 Emil and the Detectives
By Erich Kästner
Small-town boy Emil is taking his first trip alone to visit family in Berlin. When he loses the money his mother gave him, he is sure the suspicious man on the train has stolen it, but can he go to the police without proof? When he meets a gang of streetwise kids in the city, Emil finds his own way to get justice in a funny, fast-paced adventure as fresh now as it was when it was published in 1929.
Best for: Ages eight to 11.
In a nutshell: Pint-sized private eye caper.

6 Where the Wild Things Are
By Maurice Sendak
Dressed in his wolf costume, naughty little Max behaves like a wild animal around the house and is sent to his room in disgrace. There he suddenly finds his surroundings magically transformed into a strange new world. He sails to an island and becomes the king of the beastly Wild Things. But eventually, after lots of untamed fun, Max decides there’s no place like home and returns to his family. An American classic that salutes creativity and individuality. Terrific stuff.
Best for: Ages three to six.
In a nutshell: Escapism for free spirits.

7 The Gruffalo
By Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Donaldson’s genius for inventive stories and deft rhymes is matched perfectly by Scheffler’s playful drawings in this award-winning modern classic. A little mouse outsmarts the hungry forest’s predators, but can he talk his way out of being eaten by the knobbliest monster of them all? Didn’t you know? There’s no such thing as a… oh!
Best for: Ages three to seven.
In a nutshell: Beastly fun.

8 Peepo!
By Janet and Allan Ahlberg
As young parents, author Allan and (the late) illustrator Janet Ahlberg created a beautiful evocation of the small world surrounding a baby – the view from the cot of mum and dad’s bedroom, the washing in front of a fireside and a loving family home. Each scene is first glimpsed through a little hole as we see this world through the child’s eyes. Nostalgic yet timelessly lovely.
Best for: Up to aged three.
In a nutshell: Soothing quiet-time poetics. Perfect.

9 You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum!
By Andy Stanton
Fans of the sillier excesses of Roald Dahl and Roddy Doyle? Then they’ll love the smart, colourful, conversational genius of London author Andy Stanton. Greedy, miserable Mr Gum wants to poison a boisterous dog. Can his plan be stopped by a young girl, a hippy and the unruly woofer?
Best for: Ages seven to ten.
In a nutshell: Adventures in sublime nonsense.

10 Noughts & Crosses
By Malorie Blackman
Blackman created a thought-provoking modern classic with her Noughts & Crosses series. This first novel is a story that explores power and prejudice, and generations of two families torn apart by the racial and social division between the dark-skinned Cross class and the colourless Nought underclass.
Best for: Ages 12 to 15.
In a nutshell: Love battles power and racial division.

The Kids Festival 2018, 27 Feb 2018 08:45:23 +0400A first-of-its-kind dedicated kids festival will take place for the next four days, so that’s your weekend with your bursting-with-energy-kids sorted. The Kids and Schools Edutainment Festival is a brand-new event that celebrates kids in every way possible, from family-friendly entertainment to thrilling activities. Your kids can run around in Doha’s current wonderful weather and when they’re exhausted, grab a bite to eat from one of the food outlets at the festival.

Parents will have the opportunity to interact with several schools that will be present at the festival showcasing their range of facilities, services and unique propositions for children. The festival will additional have opportunities for children and their parents to experience the various food and beverage outlets, kids clothing pop-up stores, international franchises, toys and games and a bunch of other fun stuff. The Hotel Park will basically transform to a one-stop-shop for all the entertainment needs of children, for four days.

There are several zones across the location – a big wall on site for children to paint on, an arts and crafts zone where children will get to try their hands at street arts and crafts, green vegetables zone that will teach gardening and encourage kids to eat healthy greens, a fruit zone and a handmade market. We’re also excited (in a cute way) for the diaper Olympics, which is a contest for the best sport kid. Just imagine dozens of diapered babies crawling across for a chance to secure the coveted title. If you hear a loud “aww”, you know it’s us. See you there.
Free. Open daily 3pm-11pm. Feb 28 to March 3. Hotel Park, Corniche Street. For details on the schedule:

Summer movies for familiesWill Milner, 28 May 2017 07:53:03 +0400Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (July)

What’s it about?
Although technically a literary adaptation, any parent expecting highbrow culture needs to pull the pants from over their eyes. What you can expect from the animated version of Dav Pilkey’s book series is plenty of silliness and the sort of plot that appeals to kids. A couple of fourth graders hypnotise their head teacher into becoming the eponymous superhero to stop a turbo toilet from destroying laughter forever. Yeah, it is that kind of film. It comes from the same studio behind Shrek and How to Train your Dragon and stars hot comic property Kevin Hart so standards should be high.
Watch if you like: Captain Underpants books, Horrid Henry, Trolls, underwear jokes.
Who’s in it? Jordan Peele, Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll.

Cars 3 (July)

What’s it about?
Lightning McQueen is back and, we know he is just a talking car in an animated movie about, well, other talking cars, but after seeing the trailer where he flies off the track and gets all smashed up we have to own up to getting a bit emotional. Will he come back? Is he too old? What do cars do after they retire? We’re not going to lie, we’re probably going to end up watching this on replay a thousand times in a year or two, so we’re hoping that the message is that old people/cars can succeed if they just put their minds to it.
Watch if you like: Other Cars movies, Toy Story, underdogs coming good.
Who’s in it? Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Kerry Washington.

Despicable Me 3 (June)

What’s it about? We liked the Minions movie, but consider the babbling yellow sidekicks to be the least enjoyable part of the Despicable Me franchise, so it is nice to be back with Steve Carell’s brilliant Gru. He walks the tightrope between evil and good once again but this time must face up to a more successful, richer and less bald twin brother as he does so.
Watch if you like: Other Despicable Me movies, Minions, James Bond.
Who’s in it? Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (June)

What’s it about?
As if a wimpy kids don’t have enough to worry about, this cinematic adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s popular book series has faced a backlash before even reaching screens. This is the fourth film in the series, but a whole new cast arrives as the principal characters. That means Greg, Rowley and all the Heffley clan are all changed up for some fresh faces. That is the danger of young actors who age faster than the characters they play, of course. The new cast features Alicia Silverstone as “mom” (come on now, how old does THAT make you feel?!) and sees the usual procession of wimpy awkwardness as the family go on a road trip for granny’s 90th birthday. Lovely.
Watch if you like: Previous Wimpy Kid films, Horrid Henry, Nanny McPhee.
Who’s in it? Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright, Jason Drucker, Owen Asztalos.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July)

What’s it about? This is the third different Spider-Man series of the century so far, but unlike other versions the latest iteration will be part of a wider cinematic universe. That means we will see Robert Downey Jr. cracking wise as Iron Man Tony Stark, as well as a few other cameos from familiar superfaces. It will sit between Captain America: Civil War and an upcoming Avengers sequel, but as a one-off it sees Peter Parker trying to balance his life as a high school student and emerging as a crimefighter with incredible powers.
Watch if you like: Movie reboots, Marvel superheroes, spiders.
Who’s in it? Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Stan Lee.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (August)

What’s it about?
The original wasn’t one of the massive animations that are beloved by adults, but kids enjoyed the humans versus animals capers and forced music sequences pushing a Gangnam Style dance-off (presumably at the request of the Korean co-producers). This time round, the plucky park animals are battling with a corrupt mayor. Most of the cast is back and Jackie Chan and Gabriel Iglesias are among the new arrivals. As a street-fighting mouse and tough groundhog, of course.
Watch if you like: The Nut Job, Over the Hedge, Secret Life of Pets.
Who’s in it? Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Jackie Chan, Maya Rudolph.

Transformers: The Last Knight (June)

What’s it about? Multiple Oscar or Emmy-nominated and winning actors Anthony Hopkins, John Turturro, Stanley Tucci and Mark Wahlberg are the human talent sharing screen time with the robot race that keep coming back to Earth to blow things up and disguise themselves as cars. We’ve seen the trailer and it looks to have just as much slow motion-running and robo-scrapping as all the others. Consider it an extended advert for the toys you will be asked to buy later in the year.
Watch if you like: Films about toys, explosions, talking cars.
Who’s in it? Mark Wahlberg, Gemma Chan, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock.

Wonder Woman (June)

What’s it about? Oh, great, another line of comic book story arc you need to be fluent in or lose the respect of children. Wonder Woman inhabits the same world as Superman and Batman, but this is a story dedicated to her. Gal Gadot plays the Amazonian princess in disguise who leaves her island to help stop World War One. Standard superhero origin plot maybe, but Gadot is great.
Watch if you like: Superhero movies and strong female role models. Turn page 66 for more on why we think you should take your kids to see this film.
Who’s in it? Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, David Thewlis.


Come the autumn, the big family movies won’t stop...

Coco (December)

What’s it about?
We don’t want to give them an easy ride, but simply seeing the Pixar logo attached to this project is enough to make us interested. The Disney-owned animation studio has earned the right (see below). Here Pixar tells a new story and is bringing new characters for us, probably, to fall in love with. Based on the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead the story sees a 12-year-old boy looking to uncover secrets about his musical father and travelling to other worlds.
Watch if you like: Toy Story, The Book of Life, Spirited Away.
Who’s in it? Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renee Victor.

Ferdinand (December)

What’s it about?
Carlos Saldanha adapts the popular children’s novel about a bull who prefers sniffing flowers to fighting. Having already been at the helm of animal animations Ice Age and Rio, the December release seems an assured winner for young children and trailers suggest this will be a charming favourite for younger audiences.
Watch if you like: Ratatouille, Ice Age, Rio, non-violent conflict resolution.
Who’s in it? David Tennant, John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (December)

What’s it about? Remember Jumanji? When Robin Williams and some kids were transported into a board game? This is a distant sequel-cum-reboot. Updated with Dwayne Johnson and a video game instead of a board game, it looks like being plenty of jungle fun and seems to be an attempt at a new franchise for The Rock.
Watch if you like: Jumanji, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Hook, Zathura.
Who’s in it? Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan.

Justice League (November)

What’s it about? You know how The Avengers brings together different superheroes into a single evil-battling squad? This is just the same, but with better heroes from the DC stable. That means Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and more are all present under one roof. There is some cobblers about them banding together to fight extra-terrestrials but are you really going to an ensemble comic book movie for the plot?
Watch if you like: Superman, Batman, The Avengers.
Who’s in it? Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Jesse Eisenberg.

My Little Pony: The Movie (October)

What’s it about? Any child could like this big-screen story based on the Hasbro toys so we don’t want to generalise. But it is a head start if your kid loves the colour pink, prefers cuddles and fairy dust to war games and toy guns and has already started collecting the mini equine toys. If that sounds like your offspring then an all-star cast awaits for a story about Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and more Ponyville favourites on a journey to save their kingdom.
Watch if you like: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Lego: Friends, loving things.
Who’s in it? Zoe Saldana, Emily Blunt, Liev Schreiber, Sia.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December)

What’s it about? This really needs no introduction. Children, and parents who grew up with the original trilogy, have been waiting for the latest instalment in the saga since seeing a bearded Luke Skywalker take delivery of a lightsaber in The Force Awakens. Will be one of the biggest films of the year and keep up the current run rate of a Star Wars movie every year.
Watch if you like: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One, epic sci-fi.
Who’s in it? Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver.

The Lego Ninjago Movie (October)

What’s it about?
A spin-off movie of a spin-off toy line. The folks behind The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie are involved in this so expect it to be closer in style to those cinematic releases than the Netflix TV series based on the same characters. That means we can look forward to lots of ironic humour, quirky asides and knowing jokes for adults. This time the action does not focus on the wider Lego world so cameos are kept to a minimum and instead focuses on a more linear storyline centred around Lego ninjas defeating monsters and riding dragons. While non-too subtly brainwashing kids with toy ideas as well.
Watch if you like: The Lego Movie, Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, Angry Birds: The Movie.
Who’s in it? Olivia Munn, Justin Theroux, Dave Franco, Jackie Chan.

What’s on TV?

There are also some real highlights to look out for on streaming TV services this summer...

You know how you love to stream a full series after the kids have gone to bed? It is just the same for the little ones, too. Check out these new Netflix Originals available in the UAE.

Buddy Thunderstruck: When kids are barraged with 3D and modern animation, there is something charming about this stop-motion animation comedy. The visuals have a kitsch retro appeal but the humour is all 2017.

Legend Quest: If there are two things that kids love on screen it is legends and quests. Throw in some ghosts, wacky humour and a cast of quirky characters and attention will be rapt throughout the summer with this animated fantasy comedy-horror.

Tarzan and Jane: It seems every generation has its own retelling of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan story. The latest is a computer animation from the same folk that made the Kong: King of the Apes series. Expect the whole story to be updated as Tarzan battles foes in jungles urban and, er, jungly.

Trollhunters: This big-budget animated Netflix and DreamWorks collaboration has the voice talents of Kelsey Grammer and the late Anton Yelchin and is created by Guillermo del Toro. The story is all trolls, knights and comedy and it is a noticeable step up in quality with A-list talent.

Pixar is the animation studio behind the most imaginative, beloved and cross-generationally appealing films of the past few decades. Since Academy Awards began recognising animated films as a category in 2001, Pixar has scooped the top award eight times with the next closest, Disney, at just three. OSN will celebrate the films of Disney Pixar with a special pop-up channel running from June 23-July 28. That means a total of 13 Pixar movies will be available over the course of three weekends. In real terms that means a movie marathon including the Toy Story trilogy, the Finding Nemo series, Wall-E, Up and Cars. OSN Movies Disney Pixar could save you a fortune in DVD and cinema costs. See for details.

Parenting questions answered, 26 Feb 2017 04:40:35 +0400Before their first kids are born, parents think they have it all figured out. But, as we’ve found out, most of us just wing it, muddling our way through each challenge as it hits us, hoping none of the other parents notice that we don’t know what we’re doing. However, just as no two kids are the same, neither are two sets of parents and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to raising children. So we asked three Middle East experts to reveal different ways we can all deal with some of the most common concerns...

Newborn to 12 months
How can I get my baby to sleep longer?

Joanne Jewell: “All babies are different. There are many studies that tell us a child’s sleep is mainly dependent on their genetics rather than anything you are do or don’t do and evidence shows that at six months only 16 percent of babies reliably sleep through the night. However, look at your baby’s sleeping environment, bedtime, time spent napping during the day and whether they are experiencing any separation anxiety from you when they go to bed.”

Andalene Salvasen: “This can happen because of a habit that has been created. If you’re feeding them through the night, they will keep waking up through the night. They do not need feeding at night at this age – their digestive system needs to rest. You can start by reducing the amount of feeds every night.”

Amy Vogelaar: “All babies grow up and sleep through the night on their own, they just do it at their own pace. All your hard work and devotion now, will pay off later, resulting in a happy, secure child who feels loved and has positive associations with sleep.”

Ages one to three
How can you teach your child to share with others at playgroup?

JJ: “Try talking calmly at home, before going to playgroup, about what is going to happen there. Empathise about how it can be hard to share and then give a coping strategy if they find it difficult. This will usually be asking you or another adult for help.”

AS: “Playing games at home with mummy and daddy, using sharing, is very effective. Take a toy, play and say: ‘Now its mummy’s turn – good waiting! Now it’s your turn’.

AV: “For many kids, being in a large group of children who are likely to grab your toys off you is a very stressful activity. If your child is having a hard time, consider finding smaller groups for play sessions, or find a friend for one-on-one play and make sure there are enough toys to go around.”

Ages four to seven
How can you help a child who acts out when they get to the school gate?

JJ: “At this age separation anxiety can be more prevalent, especially around times when your child feels they’re going to disconnect from you. If you can find time to give them extra connection before and after school – an extra hug or a few minutes chatting quietly – this will help. Keep the routine at home as calm as possible. Talk about how they feel and empathise that it can be hard to say goodbye in the morning.”

AS: “Four-year-olds understand working towards a goal. This is a good time to use an incentive chart to motivate them towards changing behaviour. Explain what will happen when they moves up his chart. The reward should be building memories with mum or dad – not toys or sweets. After every fifth successful dropoff at school, they can claim their reward. And remember to DROP and GO, don’t linger.”

Ages eight to eleven
How do you cope with hormonal children heading towards their teens?

AS: “Evening primrose oil is a great addition to the breakfast table to help with those mood swings, as well as a healthy diet. Your parenting style also needs to change with pre-teenagers. It is by no means the same as with under sixes, who need a firm, assertive approach. For example, ‘I said it, you do it!’ It lays the foundation for respect and allows them to earn and appreciate the freedom they crave as they grow.

“However, you have to move onto the teacher/trainer style when a child is six to 12 years old. Then they earn the right to negotiate. Soon, it moves onto the coaching parent, a style that is suitable for teenagers. Here, you would use a more questioning approach, wider boundaries and less rules, allowing children to contribute suggestions for consequences of behaviour.

Family-friendly airports, 29 Jan 2017 06:33:37 +0400When it comes to air travel, the GCC is pretty much the centre of the universe. Well, planet Earth anyway. Every year, hundreds of thousands of us jet off from here to all four corners of the globe. Whether it’s to get home, or have a much-needed holiday, family travel can quickly become a nightmare with fraught connections in airports that sport little more than a fast food court.

For most of us, budget will dictate the route we take, but what if you could get the inside track on the airports worth diverting to, to break up the journey? Anyone with kids under six will tell you how appreciated a playground, or even just a decent café overlooking a clean soft play area would be on a layover for families who’ve been cooped up on an A380 for eight hours together – not least when there’s still another seven hours to go. Here’s our pick of the best...


Munich Airport, Germany

Europe’s first five-star airport awarded by Skytrax, they seem to have pretty much thought of everything. In fact, you may struggle to get the kids out of Kinderland, a newly-renovated, supervised play zone in Terminal 2, and on to your connecting flight. Pretend to check in and board a real-life A330, run off steam in the impressive play area, chill out in the children’s cinema, use the entertainment technology for free, and get creative in the make-up studio that’s set up especially for any wannabe mini supermodels. There’s a separate play zone for toddlers aged three and under and a separate Parents’ Lounge for you to relax in with a cuppa, get some work done, or just switch off. If, after all that, you’re still feeling whacked, book yourselves into a Napcab sleeping cabin to re-charge the batteries before the next leg.


Chicago O’Hare Airport, North America
Nickelodeon magazine named the airport’s Kids On The Fly zone “The Most Awesome Airport Play Area!” so expectations are pretty high. This action-packed exhibit located in Terminal 2, past security, is an interactive educational play area where youngsters can explore an aeroplane, see inside a control tower and play in a model helicopter. If you’re going through Terminal 1, you can’t miss the 72-foot-long Brachiosaurus skeleton model, on loan from Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, and there is a replica of a World War II F4F-3 fighter plane on display near the security checkpoint in Terminal 2 to properly amuse any budding plane-spotters.


Changi Airport, Singapore

Named the Skytrax World’s Best Airport for the fourth consecutive year, this airport is ridiculously family-friendly with everything from mega-slides instead of escalators (see pic), playgrounds across all three terminals and five themed gardens on butterflies, sunflowers, orchids and cacti, as well as a fairy tale-style enchanted garden. There’s even a rooftop pool at Terminal 1, cinemas screening free movies at terminals 2 and 3 and the chance to experiment with kinetic rain and art installations. Check out their website for more.


Sydney Airport
Terminal 1 now has free new dynamic gaming technology for its youngest passengers, providing interactive virtual and touchscreen entertainment. Virtual Kick-Off on level two, Departures, uses augmented reality to simulate a football match so kids can use their legs and hands to manoeuvre a virtual ball through the goal posts. For smaller travellers, “The Cubby House” is a series of large touchscreens where kids can “play” with animated animals in a modern version of tag, pop as many colourful balloons as they can or help a band play their musical instruments.

Middle East

Hamad International Airport, Qatar

Skytrax awarded this, ahem, the Best Airport with the Best Airport Staff in the Middle East last year, so if you’re the type to get to the airport nice and early you’ll find it a doddle. Activity nodes stationed around the passenger terminal on concourses A, B and C are designed to keep young travellers entertained with lots of fun things to do such as watching movies, playing games on the Mac stations and exploring the interactive art pieces. Dedicated family rooms and family toilets – so as to avoid the issue of sending your kids to the bathroom unaccompanied – are a welcome touch, especially for mums travelling alone with sons. (Oh, and good luck with that...)

Robert Mouawad Foundation, 29 Jan 2017 06:31:26 +0400Simple, contemporary, unisex – these leather and 18-karat gold bracelets not only look stylish, but support underprivileged children around the world. Qatar Charity has teamed up with the Robert Mouawad Foundation to raise money through the Hand in Hand initiative.

Designed specially for this purpose, the bracelets will be on sale at Mouawad boutique in Lagoona Mall with a portion of each sale going to Qatar Charity, supporting its efforts to improve the education and upbringing of children.

“Mouawad is committed to making a lasting contribution to the communities where it operates,” says Pascal Mouawad, co-guardian of the Mouawad brand. “The bracelets are made with the intention of taking action on behalf of children in need, while highlighting the spirit of goodwill.”

Support for the care and education of children across the globe is at the core of Qatar Charity, and this new collaboration has made it easy (and fashionable) for the rest of the country to get involved, too. Buy one for yourself, or even as a gift. The classic, simple design of the bracelets mean anyone and everyone can show their support and contribute to a great cause.
QR1,850. Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 2pm-midnight. Mouawad Boutique, Lagoona Mall, West Bay Lagoon (4411 9984).