FREE! Rugby Sevens (www.dubairugby7s.com) Take your rough-and-tumble tots and hard-to-please tweens for some pure action on the first day of the Dubai Rugby Sevens 2009. There’s a family stand that’s silly-juice free, as well as entertaining extras at the nearby rugby village, including bouncy castles, the rugby passing challenge, face painting and even a crèche. There’s more than enough to keep everyone occupied. The Sevens runs until December 5, and while today is the only day where it’s free for everyone, kids under 12 pay nothing throughout the tournament.
Mamma Mia on Ice (04 367 6520; www.boxofficeme.com) Your last chance to experience Mamma Mia on Ice. Performed by a cast of world-class Olympic ice-skating champions at the Airport Expo Central Hall, the musical includes all the biggest Abba hits and is bound to be a blast. The show runs from Nov 30 and tickets are available at Spinneys and Hallmark outlets all over town and cost from Dhs100 to Dhs500.
Meet Santa at Wafi (04 324 4555; www.wafi.com) Get into the festive spirit by visiting Santa’s grotto at Wafi mall. The theme this year is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Dhs50 gets your little darlings a trip into the grotto to see Santa, a gift, a free pass to Encounter Zone, a kid’s meal at Planet Hollywood, the chance to win a family holiday in Austria and more. Get there early though, as the queue can be long.
FREE! Festive fun at Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730; www.jumeirah.com) Take the little ones for an evening stroll through the Madinat’s gorgeous seasonal festive market, meet Santa, enjoy an evening performance by a festive choir and browse a host of sparkly stalls laden with seasonal gifts, arts and crafts and other festive goodies. The market is open 5pm to 10pm on weekdays and 4pm to 11pm at weekends.
Mother, Baby and Child Show (www.motherbabyandchild.com) Interested in finding out about the latest in buggies, baby changers, nappies and all sorts of other goodies? Then pop down to the Mother, Baby and Child Show at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The kids will be entertained by Barney on stage, plus Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob, while mums and dads can have a good nose round the stands to check out all the latest gadgets.
FREE! Storytelling (04 434 0577; www.organicfoodsandcafe.com) Organic Foods and Café in The Dubai Mall is holding storytelling sessions for kids aged three to seven from 12.30pm onwards. Enjoy a peaceful lunch while kids grab a beanbag and enjoy a few well-read tales.
Giant gingerbread house (04 344 4161; www.mercatoshoppingmall.com) If you’re in the seasonal mood, take a trip to Mercato mall for a range of festive activities. The giant gingerbread house (which is two metres tall) must be seen to be believed. For Dhs10, children can go inside and take a guess at the number of sweets decorating it. Afterwards, pop upstairs, where Santa’s elves are busy in their workshop – another Christmas treat for the little ones.
FREE! Stories at Ductac (04 341 4777 ext 207) Take your tiny tots for a storytelling session at The Old Library, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. The sessions start at 10.30am and include a good old sing-song. Suitable for those aged three and under.
FREE! Christmas tree lighting (04 282 4750) Don’t miss the festive tree lighting ceremony at the Irish Village in Garhoud. Complimentary mince pies and mulled beverages complete the Christmas experience, which will be wonderful for little ones and grown-ups alike. The fun kicks off at 7pm.
FREE! Polo at Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club (04 361 8111; www.poloclubdubai.com) Pack a picnic tea and take the kids for an after-school polo match. Mum and dad can enjoy the match (and sundowners) while the little monsters burn off their excess energy. Matches begin at 3.30pm and last until sunset.
See Santa at Dubai Festival City (04 232 5444; www.dubaifestivalcity.com) Another jolly excuse to visit the man in red at Dubai Festival City’s very own grotto. The mall’s Christmas village is open daily until December 26 – we guarantee that good little girls and boys will love the festive atmosphere.
Café Ceramique (04 344 7331; www.cafe-ceramique.com) Enjoy a cup of coffee and a quiet lunch while your little ones decorate crockery, from mugs and plates to bowls and figurines. You can pick your venue, too – there are outlets at Mall of the Emirates, Jumeirah Beach Road and Dubai Festival City.
Catch a movie A perfect way for the whole family to unwind, why not book yourselves in for an end-of-the-week movie treat? Opening today across the city’s cinemas is the acclaimed Fantastic Mr Fox – an animated adaptation of the well-loved tale by children’s author Roald Dahl. Or how about a bit of extra-terrestrial fun? Astro Boy is another firm favourite at the box office this weekend.