RIYADH: The Riyadh Toy Festival kicked off this week offering a wide range of entertainment and educational programs for children of all ages, including on science, health and medicine.
Located near Boulevard Riyadh City, the 10-day event features live entertainment with popular characters from “Transformers,” “My Little Pony,” “Sonic” and “Barbie.” There are 35 areas showcasing famous international toy brands.
The festival includes several sub-zones such as “Downtown” for girls, “Countryside” for preschool kids, “Adrenaline Valley” with virtual reality activities, and the “Hasbro Gaming” area, which features life-sized games for families.
In the “Barbie” areas, children can have fun learning about different professions in an engaging environment.
Sara Nasser, mother of 5-year-old Mohammed, told Arab News it was important for children to acquire knowledge in a relaxed environment.
“I am a nurse and my husband is a radiologist, and we encourage our son to constantly ask questions about science and the human body,” said Nasser. She said Mohammed immediately gravitated toward the doctors’ station in the “Barbie” area.
Dr. Aya (who asked for only her first name to be used), an infectious diseases medical practitioner responsible for the doctors’ station, takes the children on a detailed journey through the human body.
“There are five stations that I have prepared to enlighten kids on the different types of doctors and have them engage with through physical application and virtual reality to keep up with the digital age,” she said.
The first station is about the digestive system, where kids are allowed to see step-by-step how food is processed in the body.
“One of the aspects I focused on engaging these kids with is where and how fat is digested in the system. And I was surprised by one (question) a kid asked because it showed me that he was making associations between what he was learning here and the real world.”
She said the child immediately told her that junk food was bad because it was digested much later in the intestines than healthier food.
The other stations focused on cardiology, ophthalmology, neurology, surgery and stitching, as well as first aid and CPR to prepare the children for emergency situations.
The festival runs until Jan. 1 and doors open from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight weekdays, and until 1 a.m. on weekends.