Bowling City: (050 396 0811, firstname.lastname@example.org) The Dubai Festival City-based Bowling City is offering kids aged six to 12 years an incredible 100 games of bowling for Dhs400 – and for the less mathematically inclined among you, that works out at just Dhs4 per game, a whopping 80 per cent cheaper than the regular price. The game card can be shared by more than one child, although only one player per game may use it. There are even staff on hand to demonstrate how to bowl, hopefully meaning little nippers don’t lose any toes. Valid 10am-3pm, Sun-Thu.
Family cooking classes: (www.atelierdeschefsdubai.com) Summer is a time to explore new tastes, so say the folk down at L’atelier des Chefs, the innovative cookery school at Le Meridien Dubai. Which is why they’re letting young ‘uns loose in their kitchens. Well, not quite... Kids aged seven to 12 years can come along with mum and dad and find out how to make easy, healthy, kid-friendly recipes while also learning about nutrition and basic kitchen skills.
No beans on toast in sight, organisers reckon the mucky pups will prepare a fabbie three-course meal which could include dishes such as lamb cutlets with green beans, stuffed Portobello mushrooms with red mullet, chestnut and parmesan crumble and mini chocolate financiers with dark chocolate caramel sauce. After concocting that impressive menu, which can be scoffed on the spot or packed up as a takeaway, kids can top off the class with an afternoon of swimming. The session starts at 10.30am and costs Dhs350 per person.
Hatta Fort Hotel: (04 852 3211; email@example.com) Lash on the sun screen and slap on the hats as you reward your brood (and escape the city) with a trip to Hatta Fort Hotel. This is your last chance to take advantage of the special pool rates, with day entry Dhs90 for grown-ups and Dhs50 for kids under 12 years old. A perfect spot to enjoy the facilities and the beautiful mountain scenery.
FREE! Fun at Magrudy’s Bookstores are not just for browsing, y’know. While you’re checking out the school supplies, leave the little ones to enjoy story-telling sessions (Jumeirah branch), a painting competition (Dubai Festival City) or name plate crafts (Ibn Battuta Mall).
Cooking camp: (050 458 3015; firstname.lastname@example.org) Foodie mum Tina McFadzean is, rather bravely we feel, opening her home to kids aged over five years for cooking camp. Little chefs will learn all about food preparation and get to try their hand at recipes from around the world. Go for the day (Dhs120) or sign up for the whole week (Dhs500).
FREE! Mall-walking: (email@example.com) You may scoff, but where else can you find a free, indoor activity class that parents and kids can enjoy together? We’ve tried this one and can vouch for it, it’s not as easy at it looks (three laps of the Mall of the Emirates is equal to three kilometres) and it certainly gets the blood pumping. So, drag the lazy toe-rags out of bed and do a few zippy laps of power-walking. With any luck, they’ll be so tired they’ll leave you in peace for the rest of the day.
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Horse riding: (04 883 6000; firstname.lastname@example.org) Take the kids for an early morning canter at the stables at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. All class of equestrian can enjoy trekking, trail riding or lessons with instructors at the paddock or outside. Prices range from Dhs150 for a 30 minute riding lesson to Dhs200 for a one hour outdoor ride. The stables operate daily except Mondays from 7am to 12 noon and again from 4pm to 7pm.
Finding Nemo at Movies & Munchies: (Desert Palm, 04 323 8888) This dazzling sea adventure is a big hit with kids and adults, telling the fishy tale of Nemo, desperate to break free of his over-protective, neurotic father. On his first day at school, the small fry manages to get himself hooked and whisked off to a dentist’s fish tank in Sydney. Dad, with the help of scatter-brained Dory, must overcome his own fears to rescue the little fella. Where better to watch this marine marvel from the cooling comfort of the pool? For Dhs30 per person, enjoy the movie and a bowl of popcorn, or you can splash out on barbequed burgers, hot dogs, marinated wings and ice cream.
FREE! Clear out: It’s nice to be nice. Enter into the spirit of Ramadan and start the weekend with a therapeutic clear-out. Set an example to your kids by de-cluttering your wardrobe, and get them to sift through their toys and clothes, ditching unwanted items. Look out for the striped, Ramadan tents where you can donate unused belongings to charity, or if the little ’uns have eight toys they’re not playing with anymore, they can take them to the Early Learning Centre and get a Dhs50 voucher on any purchase over Dhs250. ELC will distribute the toys to local charities.