Kid’s Corner for crafts and cooking opens at Souk el-Tayeb

BEIRUT: The season for winter fun Downtown may have ended, but spring is bringing in more outdoor activities for families.

Farmer’s market Souk el-Tayeb has replaced the ice rink in Beirut Souks and is relaunching this year with families in mind.

In addition to the fresh food, the idea is for the produce and homemade goods market to have a kid-focused area where children can play while their parents go shopping.

The new Kid’s Corner opens Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. along with the farmer’s market. It has arts and crafts and even kiddy cooking classes. There are also other plans for egg and cake decoration and painting classes.

On a sunny afternoon in March, while mothers and fathers bought fresh vegetables, fruits and homemade pastries, children were decorating Mother’s Day gifts.

Meanwhile, bread-makers from the countryside stuffed sandwiches with fresh vegetables while other vendors squeezed fruits for juice.

For a fee ranging from LL5,000 to LL20,000 children can work on projects like card decoration, wood painting, potting plants or making animal cut-outs with glue, sand, markers and paint.

About a dozen children were busy in several different craft areas decorating pots, planting flowers and getting messy with art supplies to make brightly colored pictures. Some worked on the ground with sand and glue, while others used a broad pallet of paints to color their posters and paint their pots.

Lana Nassar, who works at the Rol and Lol crafts stand, one of the kid-oriented areas in the souk, says every week will feature a different theme with a focus on arts and crafts.

The kid’s area and the souk in general is enclosed and isolated from the hustle and bustle of the street, making it a safe place to play.

“We lack outdoors stuff to do in Lebanon,” Nassar said.

She hopes the kids’ corner will be a step to remedy that.

Nassar says the souk offers an opportunity to get shopping done and have fun outdoors, a rare combination in the city, especially for families.

Organizers say there has been a positive response from parents, especially because of the themed-event days.

“They follow the activities that revolve around occasions,” organizer Mira Makhlouta said. “For example when it’s apple seasons they will be doing an apple dipping.”

She said there are also plans to decorate candles for Palm Sunday and paint eggs for Easter.

“Every time they keep asking me what’s going on next week,” Makhlouta said. “People are very interested, and whoever comes [to the souk] asks about what we do.”

That’s the reason Rasha Moughrabi came with family to the souk as well. She works at a kid’s shop in Saifi and appreciates how few events there are for children in the city, and those events that do exist are rarely held in such a calm environment as the Beirut Souks area.

She plans to return for the good food and activities. “I like the idea, they have nice stuff,” Moughrabi said. “It’s good, especially in this nice weather.”

The Kid’s Corner is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Souk el-Tayeb in the Beirut Souks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 23, 2012, on page 2.




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