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Crafty Kidz


Once upon a time there was a woman who owned an independent bookshop called The Shop Around the Corner. That woman was Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail.

When Amiri Gandhi saw the film, she knew she wanted to have a little store of her own.

One day, the child in Amiri who dreamt of designing cards for Hallmark merged with the adult arts graduate. And so started Kidz Factory in Al Wahda Mall.

Amiri tells us, “I was always Googling ideas and saving them but I never thought it would actually happen.”


Amiri worked in advertising for 15 years. After having two children, she felt there was a lack of arts and crafts options for kids in Abu Dhabi. So she decided to create a place where imagination meets art.

“There’s so much for kids to explore. If you don’t tap into your creative side, you’ll never know you’re an artist. You’ve got to put those thoughts into action.”

Kidz Factory is a two-storey, 400sqm centre with various arts activities for children 18 months and above. The factory’s cartoon mascot, Zumba the zebra, takes creative minds on a journey to create personalised arts and crafts.

From the moment you enter the factory-style space with its exposed pipes, paint splats and construction signs, your creative side will start to take over. Walking past the Doodle Den – a wall for leaving messages – in the corner, and through the Art Mart retail area with its selection of puppets and personalised goodies, you’ll find the Hobby Mill. This is where it all starts.

The walls of the Hobby Mill are lined with over 100 crafts that are split by texture and material: clay, metal, wood, velvet, soap, wax, paper, ceramics and jewellery.

Little ones can also conduct science experiments; use aroma oils and moulds to create shaped soap; melt and cast non-toxic metal to form charms or toy soldiers; create a foam mask; paint ceramic figures or make their own clock.


At the centre of the Hobby Mill is a conveyor belt with samples of what some of the crafts will look like when complete.

Once a child has chosen their activity, the team takes them through the gates into Zumba’s Workshop where they don a neon ‘super genius at work’ vest. Here, the creative staff will help them make the most of their activity.

“People are looking for activities for children other than running and jumping – something more meaningful and creative that still has an educational touch to it,” says Amiri. “At Kidz Factory, if the children make a paper quill dog, we’ll tell them facts about the smallest dog in the world, and so on.”

Amiri knows perfectly well that children can’t sit still and make crafts all day. Which is why she’s added the Digi-Zone with i-sketch tables, digital walls for doodling and a 5m long multiple touch screen. Kids can create graffiti art and print it onto mouse pads, T-shirts or stickers.

Upstairs is an area for wet art. More serious artists can settle down in Art Jam to try painting with oil, charcoal, watercolours and acrylics on canvas or draw caricatures.

“As an artist myself it’s nice to have a messy area where all the tools are already laid out, which is why we’ve provided all the paints, brushes, pallet knives and canvases,” adds Amiri.

There’s also the Tee-Junction where kids can design T-shirts using fabric paints, an air brush graffiti machine and iron-on embellishments.

Finally, the Splat Station includes a paintball room and a wall with floor to ceiling paper scrolls for little ones to go crazy.


“The idea is for them to make a mess. They can paint using stamps, brushes or sponges, add their handprint, whatever they want – that’s why it’s called the Splat Station,” adds Amiri.

The facility also includes an Art Lab – which will host workshops from trained artists such as decoupage, calligraphy or origami – and a baroque-themed Dudes ‘n’ Divas room – with black and purple velour furniture, black chandeliers and a runway – for hosting private events.

Little ones aged 18 months to four years can join the Busy Butterflies morning workshops. Amiri and the team plan to introduce more workshops – and some for adults such as gift-wrapping and flower arranging.

Each activity takes around 40 minutes to complete. Prices start from AED 35 and there’s no need to pre-register. Children under six must be accompanied by an adult.

Wanasa Land, second floor, Al Wahda Mall. Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-11pm.

For more information contact: 052 978 5982 www.kidzfactory-uae.com or search for Kidz Factory UAE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Rachael Peacock


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