Family fun in Dubai this week

Indoor spring market, musical auditions and a special dolphin's birthday party

Thursday 20

Ibn Battuta Indoor Spring Market ( Brighten your day with a trip to the indoor market at Ibn Battuta. The New Covent Garden Market (from The Walk at JBR) will be setting up stalls to offer everything from kids’ items and handicrafts to hand-made jewellery.

Magnolia cupcakes at Bloomingdale’s Bakery ( These divine cupcakes have to be sampled to be believed, and they’re a must-have end-of-the-week treat for well-behaved girls and boys (and their hungry mums). Go on, treat yourselves!

Friday 21

Auditions for Hairspray at Ductac (04 341 4777; Are your tweens and teens super-talented performers, forever in front of the mirror, hairbrush in hand, singing their hearts out? Auditions are taking place for an all-singing, all-dancing production of hit West End musical Hairspray, and the producers are searching for local talent to appear in the show. Auditions for kids aged 11 to 14 run from 10am to 2pm, while older kids, aged 15 to 18, can try their luck between noon and 2pm. Give it all you’ve got!

Car boot sale at the Dubai Autodrome ( Sort out your junk, sling it in the back of the car and motor on down to the Dubai Autodrome car boot sale. Entry for sellers costs Dhs150 per car, and you’re advised to get there early to secure your spot.

Saturday 22

Dubai Dolphinarium’s birthday bash ( Your last chance to enjoy Dubai Dophinarium’s second birthday celebrations! Head down to the show to see Flipper and friends do their stuff. You and your little nippers can also dive into hundreds of extra activities including games, prizes, art contests, face painting and magic shows. Tickets start at Dhs100 for adults and Dhs50 for kids.

Triple P Workshop for parents (04 348 5437; If your family’s harmony is conspicuous by its absence, you may want to sign yourself up for this parenting course, covering everything from effective parenting strategies to managing common behaviour problems and taking care of yourself as a parent. The sessions cost Dhs1,900 per couple and run over eight weeks.

Sunday 23

Baby Arabia storytelling (04 434 1984; Get your little linguists off to a flying start with this mix of stories, singing and nursery rhymes, all in Arabic. A must for mums of all nationalities who want a baby group that encourages Arabic from the beginning, it’s ideal for children aged five months up to three years. Two groups run on Sundays at 9.30am and 10.30am at the Kadomz Dance Studio in Dubai Marina Mall, and 10 storytelling sessions cost Dhs600.

Monday 24

Ifly Dubai Playnation, Mirdif City Centre (800 5347873; Kids bugging you to take them for a skydive? Then this is the place to be, without the extreme altitudes. High-flying, adventure-loving tots can throw themselves into the vortex created by iFly’s huge wind turbines, which churn out gale forces of up to 200kph. There are instructors on hand to keep you happily in the air, plus photos and a DVD to mark the occasion. Off-peak rates make it easier on the pocket, too – adults are Dhs165 and children are Dhs125 from Sunday morning until 3pm on Thursday.

Tuesday 25

The Parenting Place workshop (04 348 5347; Parenting can be a tough old job, but knowing that other mums and dads are having just as rough a time of is a great comfort. Head down to The Parenting Place at KidsFIRST Medical Centre on Al Wasl Road for a pep talk from the experts on a range of subjects. This week’s topic is all about disobedience. The session costs Dhs60 (or Dhs200 for four consecutive sessions) and workshops run from 10am until 11.30am.

The Perfect Show ( Head down to the Palladium for this glitzy, fast-moving show filled with stunning dance medleys and acrobatic performances from stilt walkers, belly dancers, tango experts, Bollywood pros and more. Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost Dhs150 each.

Wednesday 26

Star Tots playgroup (800 543 7873; Ever lamented the absence of traditional ‘playgroups’ in Dubai? You’ll be delighted to hear that Mirdif Mums and Star International School in Mirdif have teamed up to launch a new mums-and-tots group. Held in the Foundation Atrium of the school, kids will enjoy half an hour of free play, followed by an hour of structured activity including arts and crafts, storytelling and singing, then more free play. There are also coffee and biscuits for mums and a healthy snack for kids – it’s a fun, value morning out at just Dhs20.

FREE! ADD Support group (RSVP to This community group for parents of kids with attention deficit disorder meets once a month to provide support, advice and info. This month’s discussion will be about medication, and will be led by Dr Sharma Rasheed.

Thursday 27

Shrek Forever After (In cinemas across Dubai)You may have thought it was time to call ‘time out’ after the third instalment of Shrek, but for fans of the not-so-jolly green giant, today’s the day when the fourth – and supposedly final – film hits our screens. Fed up with his life as domesticated dad, Shrek is not a happy chappy and longs for his days as a real ogre. He signs a pact with the smooth-talking Rumpelstiltskin and finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away. The graphics have been given the 3D treatment, which should add a new dimension.

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