Remember the days when you could mooch around the malls, try on a few items and even stop for coffee? Nope, we don’t either. Shopping trips have become a race against the clock, or at least until the tugging and whining becomes too much to bear. So, three cheers for the Favourite Things crèche at Marina Mall. On weekday mornings, you can drop off your kids between 9.30am and 1pm, leaving them in the capable hands of the friendly Favourite Things team. They get an hour or two of fun in the play room, while you get some well-deserved ‘me’ time. You don’t even have to be a member to take advantage. The crèche is open Sun-Thu 9.30am-1pm (last admittance 12 noon) and costs Dhs40 per hour for members (Dhs60 non-members). A maximum of 12 children are permitted, so call to reserve your space.
Favourite Things crèche (04 434 1984; www.favouritethings.com).
If you’re tired of excessive brunches filled with over-inebriated guests, loud music and various other gimmicks, then take the kids to this friendly family brunch in the Grand Hyatt. Freshness is the buzzword here, with the menu changing weekly depending on seasonal ingredients. Featuring truly international fare, there’s fresh Italian pasta, Arabic mezze, shawarma and kebabs, with chicken tikka and fish masala at the Indian station. With everything prepared before your eyes, there’s none of that lukewarm stuff that often greets you at other brunches, and each station offers dishes especially for little ones: less spicy curries at the Indian station, shish taouk and manakish with cheese at the Arabic counter and, at the grill, fried mozzarella sticks. Kids will love the ‘rainforest’ atmosphere as well as art activities, balloon benders and face painters. Those aged six and over also enjoy complimentary access to the hotel’s kids club. Brunch runs from 12.30pm-4pm and costs Dhs170 for adults, Dhs75 for kids aged six-12 years, free for those under six.
Friday Family Brunch, Market Café (Grand Hyatt Dubai, 04 317 2222).
The Singing Kettle is bringing its madcap musical adventures all the way from Scotland to Dubai. Flavoured with cheeky Celtic humour, The Singing Kettle team will have the entire family dancing, singing and laughing with their superb singalong songs such as ‘Shove Yer Granny’, ‘Music Man’ and ‘Over the Irish Sea’. Brace yourselves for a hefty dose of audience participation – everyone is encouraged to get dickied up in whatever costume takes their fancy. If you want to join in, head down to DUCTAC at Mall of the Emirates this weekend. There are shows at 11am and 5pm on Saturday and 10am, noon and 5pm on Sunday. Tickets cost Dhs80 per person.
The Singing Kettle (04 341 4777; www.timeouttickets.com).
Fancy a bit of culture? Check out the family workshops in Sharjah. At 11am, the Archaeology Museum is talking all about how families used to live in the Bronze, Iron and Greater Arabia periods and children aged six to 11 are welcome to head along with their parents. At 3pm, the drop-in session at the wonderful Sharjah Aquarium is all about green sea turtles. Kids aged five to 12 years old are welcome.
FREE! Sharjah museums (www.sharjahmuseums.ae).
Are you expecting? Or have you recently had a baby and are in much need of support or a friendly ear? Check out the Little Bundles Club, which meets every Sunday at Organic Foods & Café in The Dubai Mall from 10am-noon. Enjoy a coffee and a natter with other mums while the kids get to grips with the play area. The group also meets on Thursdays, 9.30am-11.30am at Caribou Coffee in Uptown Mirdif and occasionally hosts talks by experts.
Little Bundles Club (email@example.com; www.mirdifmums.com).
Enter the DIFF painting contest Kids feeling creative? Dig out their crayons and paints and get them to enter the Dubai International Film Festival painting competition. Children aged five to 12 years can submit drawings and paintings in any medium on the theme ‘children and film’ and the top 12 entries will feature in the DIFF 2010 tabletop calendar. Enter through schools by November 1.
Enjoy a midweek treat at Sugar Daddy’s bakery while at the same time doing your bit for charity. The fact that part of the proceeds from the special-edition cupcakes, complete with pink and white frosting, go to the King Hussain Cancer Foundation in Jordan should go some way to easing the guilt.
Cup cakes (Sugar Daddy’s; 04 344 8204, Village Mall, Jumeirah).
The East High gang have been a bit subdued recently, but we’re delighted to inform you that they’re back. From the cool of the pool at Desert Palm, you can catch Troy and Gabriella belting out the tunes in the first HSM movie. The show starts at 6.30pm, and costs Dhs30 including your towel and popcorn. Other snacks and drinks are available at an extra charge.
High School Musical at Movies and Munchies (Desert Palm, 04 323 8888).
If you’ve been reading the October issue of Time Out Kids you’ll no doubt have stocked up on a proper first aid kit. So now’s the time to find out how and when to use all your spanking new plasters and bandages. Pop along to the Family First emergency first aid course, run by St John Ambulance certified instructor Rachel Jex, from 9am-noon, and for Dhs250 you’ll learn just that.
Emergency First Aid (050 953 5075/04 394 1000; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.keithnicholl.com).
Throwing a Halloween party? Check out the Party Centre for all sorts of creepy cups and spooky plates to display your gruesome grub, as well as fiendishly good costumes and all manner of gory gear.
Halloween preparation at the Party Centre (Garhoud, 04 283 2353).