| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Family fun in Dubai

Mother and Child show, animal sanctuary trip and more stuff for kids

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Thursday 2

Celebrate UAE National Day at Festival City
Little ones can learn about local life and have loads of fun soaking up Emirati culture at Festival Centre’s day-long celebratory event, with musicians and entertainers as well as locally-focused kids’ workshops.
Free. From 10am. Festival Centre, www.festivalcentre.com (800 3323).

Join in a National Day workshop at Cité des Enfants
Kids will get a 30-minute session on the UAE’s main cultural customs and symbols, and can design their own flag, before spending an hour exploring the edutaiment centre’s five zones.
Dhs100 (ages four to seven). Every two hours from 10am-6pm. Mirdif City Centre, www.citedesenfantsme.com (800 534 7873).

The Mother Baby and Child Show
Get ahead in the parenting game by visiting Dubai’s largest annual family event. Experts will deliver seminars and provide products for testing and buying. There’s lots for little ones too: meet Cartoon Network characters including Ben 10’s Humungousaur, and don’t miss Kidville’s award-winning music class Little Maestros in action from 3pm to 5pm.
Tickets Dhs25 (Dhs10 for kids) available on the door. Thu 2pm-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-10pm. Dubai International Exchange Centre, www.motherbabyandchild.com

Friday 3

EDITOR’S PICK Family Fun Day at Animal Sanctuary
Get festive on the farm at Animal Sanctuary’s seasonal family day. Pint-sized pet-lovers can participate in ferret-hugging, pond-cleaning, horse-riding activities and learn all about farm life. Meet newbie Sami the Eagle Owl, cheer on the pets in the guinea pig, rabbit and tortoise races and get stuck into the organised games. There’ll also be yummy treats to try.
Dhs10 for adults, Dhs5 for kids. 10am-3pm. The Animal Care House, take E611 to Sharjah/Ajman, turn right to Dhaid/Al Zubair at exit 84, www.poshpawsdubai.com.

EDITOR’S PICK Have a blast at the Rugby Sevens
Rugger-rats rejoice! There’s tons of family fun at the Dubai Rugby Sevens. As well as cheering on the on-field action from the family stand, little ones will be entertained in the Rugby Village: a huge area bursting with inflatable fun, computer games, face painting and even a crèche.
Adults Dhs170 for the day or Dhs300 for a Friday and Saturday ticket; under 12s free. Matches kick off at 9.20am. The Sevens stadium, Al Ain Road, www.dubairugby7s.com (800 4669).

Saturday 4

Decorate a gingerbread house at Radisson Blu
One of the sweetest traditions of the season, little ones will love creating a gingerbread masterpiece. Buy your sticky home for Dhs70 and the hotel will provide icing, Haribo sweets, Smarties, biscuits and more to slap all over it. Check out the hotel’s gingerbread house display for inspiration and pick up gingerbread goodies in the market. This fun-filled afternoon will also include festive games, before Santa puts in an appearance.
Dhs70 for blank house. 2pm-4pm. Radisson Blu, Dubai Deira Creek (04 205 7333).

Sunday 5

EDITOR’S PICK See a festive spectacular at Ductac
There’s nothing like a seasonal soiree to get you feeling festive, and Ductac’s Let It Snow promises to deliver traditional tunes and festive cheer. Laurence Olivier Award-nominated actress Alison Jiear will belt out Christmas classics (think ‘Jingle Bells’), show tunes and Disney numbers with her live band. Also boasting a very special Santa, this is an unmissable festive family night out.
Dhs120-150. December 3-11 (except December 7). 7.30pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4777).

Monday 6

FREE! Tree lighting at Irish Village
Enjoy some al-fresco festive fun at The Irish Village’s tree lighting evening. Sit beneath the tree and listen to the choir singing carols as you sip mulled beverages and munch on home-baked mince pies. Bliss!
Free. 7pm-9pm. The Irish Village, Garhoud (04 282 4750).

Tuesday 7

FREE! Half Pint’s Christmas garden party
Pick out the prettiest festive partywear for your little ones at fashion label Half Pint’s seasonal party. As well as showcasing the brand’s festive frock collection, gorgeous gifts and handmade decorations, they’ll also be serving free coffee and mince pies. See the website for directions.
Free. December 7-9, 9am-midday. www.halfpint.ae.

Top tips from Super Granny
Suffering from parenting woes? From tot tantrums to fussy eaters, author and parenting coach Andalene Salvesen (aka Super Granny) will deliver plenty of practical advice to help you combat some of the most common parenting problems in this Mum’s Night workshop.
Dhs100. 7.30pm. Palm Jumeirah, babyangelsclasses@gmail.com (050 745 8289).

Wednesday 8

Have a laugh at Manda’s Magic Christmas Show
Make December even more magical with a trip to the theatre. A fun family comedy show with a seasonal twist, little ones will be mesmerised by Manda’s top tricks and super sidekicks. Expect audience participation and plenty of laughs, plus a surprise visit from Santa.
Dhs65. 3.45pm and 5pm. For details, email dubaigetsvideo@gmail.com (050 456 0413).

FREE! Power the Christmas tree at Festival City
Pint-sized peddlers can help make the Christmas tree come alive by hopping on one of 20 bikes at Festival City’s annual tree-lighting ceremony, while the children of DESS sing seasonal songs in the background.
Free. 6.30pm. Festival Square, Dubai Festival City, www.festivalcentre.com.

By Kate Birch
Time Out Dubai,

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