The Full Monty If you’ve got kids who are into everything, or you have more than one that needs occupying during the holidays, then a multi-activity programme may be just what you’re looking for. There are plenty of camps around town that offer everything from football to drama, music, swimming, arts and crafts to games sessions. Added bonuses include sibling discounts, so it’s great if your younger child is still a bit shy, as at least they’ve got big bro or sis around to give them a bit of moral support. Plus you only have to do one drop-off.
We like E-Sports Holiday Camps, which offer every kind of exhausting activity you could shake a hockey stick at, including wall climbing, drama, dodge ball, IT club, tennis, soccer, swimming, cricket, relay games, gymnastics, basketball, arts and crafts and more (including hockey!). Siblings get 20 per cent discount and kids need to bring swimwear, a towel and lunch. Ages 4-14, Between Dhs120 and Dhs175 depending on the venue (daily) or Dhs500 to Dhs750 (five days). 8.45am-2pm. Jumeirah Primary School, Wellington International School, GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis, GEMS American Academy, Dubai American Academy, Dubai British School, Royal Dubai School and Wafi, April 1-5, 8-12 and 15-19. To register email email@example.com or call 050 58668204; www.esportsdubai.com.
If you like this, try: Active Sports Academy Ages 4-14, Dhs150 (daily), Dhs375 (three days), Dhs550 (five days). 8.30am-2pm. Get a discount if you sign up with a friend. DESS and Regent International School, Sun-Thurs. 050 5597055; www.activeuae.com.
Dubai Holiday Camps Ages 3-13, Dhs125-150 (daily) Dhs495-595 (five days). 8.15am-1.45pm, Raffles International School, Deira International School, Dubai International Academy April 1-5. www.dubaiholidaycamps.com.
Be a Sport! Swim for it If your kids are still struggling to master doggy paddle, why not get them to improve their strokes at Libra Multi Activity Holiday Camps? They offer the perfect solution, with structured programmes which take children from basic water safety through all four strokes with fully qualified instructors. If your kids swim like fish and just want to improve their Olympic chances, then this camp promises all kids a swim session a day, plus classes which include dry-land training and nutritional education too. It’s not all about swimming though, as there’s a whole host of sporting activities, games and arty fun thrown in too. Ages 4-14, Dhs800 (five days), Dhs550 (3 days), Dhs200 (per day). 9am-2.30pm (early drop-offs at 8am for an additional Dhs100). Jumeirah Baccalaureate School, Jebel Ali Primary and Greenfield Community School, April 8-12 and 15-19. Call 800 LIBRA (54272) or 055 922 8362.
If you like this, try: Speedo Swim School Five Day Camp, offering five 60 minute lessons of swimming and training spread over the week, Dhs450, Dhs225 or two hour squad training for Dhs350, 4.00pm-8.00pm, April 8-12, Horizon School; Also Three Day Camp at Dubai International school and DESC also offering teaching, training and squad sessions Dhs270, Dhs140 and Dhs210, 04 354 9525; www.speedodubai.net.
Anyone For Tennis? Fantastic for all over fitness, improving hand-to-eye coordination and burning off all that excess energy, tennis serves up everything an active kid needs. The folks at the Clark Francis Tennis Camp stress it’s ‘just for fun’ but they also put your fledgling Federers and apprentice Azarenkas through their paces. Sessions include technical instruction, fitness training and supervised match play from full time professional tennis coaches. Ages 5-16, Dhs150 (daily), Dhs600 (five days). 9am-noon, April 1-5 and 8-12. Dubai Tennis Stadium, Al Garhoud. 050 685 8304; www.clarkfrancistennis.com.
Football Fever Get them practicing their dribbling techniques and indulging in fitness training, drill practice, matches, penalty shoot-outs and organised tournaments. The EFA Football in the City week-long Spring camp run by E-Sports is a great option for kids of all abilities. Ages 4-16, Dhs150 (daily), Dhs650 (five days). 9am-1pm, April 8-12 and 15-19 Wellington International School. 050 286 1041; www.esportsdubai.com.
If you like this, try: Libra Soccer Camp Ages 4-14, Dhs800 (four days). 8am-2pm, April 1-12. Sharjah Football Club, 800 LIBRA (54272) or 050 105 1999.
All Sports Of Fun If your little ones have moved the goalposts and want to try a whole net-full of sports, then the guys and galls at I.F.A mix it up with their Multi Sports Camp. With a different sport played every half an hour, boredom is banished with an exhausting range of games including basketball, football, cricket, volleyball, tennis, hockey, tag rugby and more. Ages 5-12, Dhs650 (full week with full days), Dhs350 (full week with half days), Dhs150 (full day), 9am-2pm, Dhs75 (half day), 9am-12pm, Star International School. 04 454 1683; www.ifasport.com.
Little Camp Nursery Camps These work well for little kids used to a structured schedule and are also very handy for trying out a nursery you are looking to enrol your child in later in the year. We like The Kensington Nursery Camp, because it’s jam-packed with activities. Little ones get to participate in all the usual arts, crafts, music and drama, dress up as well as a spot of science-based shenanigans, but there’s also emphasis on physical activities and outdoor play, including enjoying the onsite children’s botanical garden and the nursery’s very own petting zoo. The camps are based around the themes of ‘My Pirate Adventure’ for the first week and ‘Over The Rainbow’ during the second, where they will get creative, learn facts and have an end of week party. Breakfast, snacks, lunch and afternoon tea (for late pick-ups) are included. This camp also caters to slightly older children, so siblings can go together and make the most of the 10 per cent discount. Ages 2-7, Dhs165-195 (daily), Dhs1,300-1,600 (10 days) 7.30am-2pm and 6pm, April 8-12 and 15-19. Umm Al Sheif Street, 04 394 4473; www.thekensingtonnursery.com.
If you like this, try: British Orchard Nursery Ages 2-5, Dhs135 (daily) Dhs675 (weekly). 9am-1pm, April 8-19, Beach Road and Mankool Road branches. 04 398 3536, 04 395 3570; www.britishorchardnursery.com
Kid’s Island Spring Camp Ages 2-5, Dhs145 (daily) Dhs435 (three days) Dhs580 (four days) Dhs725 (five days). 8am-12.30pm, April 8-19, Kid’s Island Nursery, near Safa Park. 04 394 2578; www.kidsislandnursery.com.
Little Scholars Academy Ages 6 months-4 years, 7am-1.30pm, Dhs175 (daily) Dhs775 (5 days) or 7am till 6pm, Dhs250 (Daily) 1,140 (5 days), April 8-19. Offers bus service pick up and drop off, Dhs150 (daily) Dhs600 (weekly) Umm Suqeim, 04 395 5532; www.lsa.ae.
Orange Tree Children’s Nursery Themes are clouds, rain and rainbows. Activities include gym and fitness classes, Kindermusic and Kinderdance, arts and crafts, outdoor play, gardening, cooking. Ages 18-months to five years, 9am-12 noon, Dhs50 (daily) Dhs250 (per week). Additional transport also available. Al Jafliya, Bur Dubai. 04 386 1575 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Play centre it again Sam! Nurseries get full pretty quickly, so your chances of getting a place at a children’s play centre may be better. A favourite of ours is Favourite Things because it’s a dedicated kid-friendly zone with loads to do that will suit tots of two, right up to strapping eight-year-olds. The packed itinerary includes cooking and wacky science lessons, Fit Kidz exercise classes, puppet shows, song and dance sessions, storytelling, magic, arts and crafts, dress-up and am-dram as well as face and body painting. Book well ahead. Ages 2-4 with an adult or 4-8 unaccompanied, Dhs155 (daily) Dhs620 (five days). 9.30am-1pm, April 1-26. Favourite Things, Marina Mall, 04 434 1984; www.favouritethings.com.
If you like this, try: Little Learners workshops (formerly Cite Des Enfants) Ages 2-10, Dhs100 (for 90-minute session). Run throughout the day, from 10am-10pm weekdays and 10am-11.30 weekends. With egg hunts and handy crafts at Playnation, Mirdif City Centre. 055 218 6122; www.playnationme.com.
Mini Monsters on Sheikh Zayed Road (04 325 5331) is a multi-storey jungle gym with loads of slides and tubes, Kids classes are available and there’s an on sight café too. It costs Dhs50 for one hour, Dhs80 for 2 hours and Dhs100 for the whole day. www.minimonsters.ae
Little Explorers (800 LEISURE) where Dhs130 will get kid and mum inside their fantastic learning zones for a full day. www.littlexplorersme.com
And There’s More….. Camp Drama Unleash your little drama kings and queens on the Libra Performing Arts Camp. It’s a great all rounder and includes choreography in hip-hop, tap dance, cheerleading and circus training as well as acrobatics. Musical theatre, prop and costume design are all part of the dramatic fun and games too. Students work towards a mini-performance on the final day. Ages 4-14, Dhs550 (three-day programme). 9am-2.30pm with an early drop off at 8am for an extra Dhs100, April 5-12, Jebel Ali Primary School. 800 LIBRA (54272); email@example.com
Camp Cooking Get stuck in to the Cooking Up Spring Camp, taught by foodie mum, Tina McFadzean who teaches food and kitchen safety, as well as basic techniques and recipes from around the world. Included in the camp are ‘foodie field trips’, an apron, recipe book, tools, certificate, daily lunch and healthy snacks are provided. Ages 5+, Dhs700 (five days). 9am-1.30pm, April 8-12. 050 458 3015.
Camp Crafts For pint-sized Picassos, it doesn’t get much better than DUCTAC’s Spring Art Camp. Get your little ones drawing, painting, decorating ceramics and other media, while learning about famous artists, art techniques and art history from all over the world. Students hone their technical skills, receive personal guidance from art instructors, share ideas with friends and get messy! All art materials and an Art Camp t-shirt are provided. Ages 6-12, Dhs900 (five days). 10am-1.30pm, April 1-5 and 8-14. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, 04 341 4777; www.ductac.org
Camp Science Pick from a range of Mad Science programmes including the Garden Camp, where smaller kids can find out about creepy crawlies and plants that are found in their own back yard, to camps for slightly older brainboxes who want to discover more about crime scene chemistry. Ages 4+. Prices and venues TBC. April 1-12. (04 337 7403) www.madscience.org. Camp no more... If you don’t fancy packing the kids off to camp then check out our alternative activities
1 Out and About For bikes, bouncy castles and boating lakes, check out Safa Park or head to Mushrif Park for a proper cycling track, mini international village and petting zoo. Jumeirah Beach Park and Al Mamzar Park are ideal for beach bums and both have great picnic areas, playgrounds and snack bars. Creek Park is a brilliant all-rounder. Take a tour on the cable cars (Dhs25 for a 40 minute trip). Pack a couple of towels and head off with the kids to one of the free beaches at Umm Suqeim beach, Jumeirah open beach, JBR beach or get the kids fit and also soapy clean on slippery soccer beach at the bottom of Al Manara street which also has paddle boards for hire at Dhs25 per hour for bigger kids with balance.
2 Animal Madness Head to Ski Dubai to meet the cute new inhabitants at their Penguin Encounter experience. Kids aged between 3 and 12 have to be accompanied by an adult and for Dhs175 per person including artic weather clothes and gloves, you get up close and personal with your very own flippery friend. Weekdays the penguins are working their stuff, posing for pictures from 1pm-9pm and from 12pm-9pm on the weekends. Just warn the kids they are not allowed to take one home. (800 534 7873). Motor down to Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (www.awpr.ae) for animals, superb picnic areas and a botanical garden and see if you can spot a white lion, Dhs15 for adults, Dhs5 for children. Posh Paws Animal Sanctuary and Petting Zoo (050 273 0973; www.poshpawsdubai.com) welcomes small visitors to their super sanctuary seven days a week. Entry is free, but donations are welcome.
3 Arty stuff If they can be trusted around shelves piled high with precarious pottery (this one is best for five and ups) Café Ceramique (04 344 7331) is a great option for crafty types. Get them pot-painting from Dhs60 while you enjoy a coffee. If that whets their appetite, book them an arty session at Jam Jar (04 331 7303) a fully functioning studio with all the paint equipment they’ll need to create a masterpiece. Price depends on the canvas size with Dhs85 the minimum, up to Dhs250 for the biggest.
4 Get Physical Check out the Hyatt Regency (04 209 1234) nine-hole mini golf course. Open from 8am-5pm. It costs Dhs45 per person. If you fancy a swim but don’t have access to a compound pool, try the municipality swimming pools at Al Mamzar and Mushrif park, Dhs10 for adults, Dhs5 for children. However, be aware of the different timings for men and women. Emirates Equestrian Centre (050 558 7656) near Bab Al Shams does Dhs20 for a pony ride, or if you’ve got enough kids to make up a couple of 5-a-side football teams, why not hire a pitch at the Ahdaaf astro turf pitch (04 347 7666) in Al Quoz, behind Times Square for Dhs450 per hour.