FREE! Kids’ food at Toscana
Take the family for an Italian treat at Toscana at the Madinat Jumeirah. This easy-going restaurant with an outdoor terrace is perfect for dining with the nippers – and it’s cheap too, considering they eat for free.
(04 366 6730)
Cine-Splash at Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club
Movie buffs should get their rears over to the polo club near Arabian Ranches for a family movie you can watch from the pool (call ahead for exact film details). You can also tuck into pasta dishes, pizza and plenty of popcorn. The show starts at 7pm; entry is Dhs30 per person.
(04 361 8111)
FREE! Surfing lessons at Jumeirah beach
It was nine-times world champion surfer Kelly Slater who coined the phrase: ‘Surfing is like the mafia. Once you’re in, you’re in.’ And if you’d like your little dudes to join the club, learn a super-cool skill and get their dose of exercise and vitamin D in one fell swoop, get them down to Jumeirah beach for the free Friday surf lessons, run by Surfari. Sessions start at 7.45am, but email ahead to book your place.
Fun City talent contest
Take your talented little maestros, dancers and drama queens along to any one of Dubai’s five Fun City outlets in BurJuman, Mercato, Ibn Battuta, Arabian Center and Reef Mall. Kids aged three to 14 can compete for a range of prizes and the number one talent spot, too. If you’re out of town, don’t forget that Fun City’s outlets in Al Ain, RAK and Abu Dhabi are running Fun City’s Got Talent too, so your kids won’t miss out.
Sharjah Discovery Centre
This vast, colourful scientific edutainment centre near Sharjah Airport offers loads of space for kids to run off their energy, and boasts seven different learning zones to help capture their imagination. Perfect for kids aged two to 13, it’s possibly one of Sharjah’s best-kept summer secrets. With a Dhs15 entry fee per child, which includes all the activities, it’s a bargain too. However, be warned – the café is no longer open, despite what all the websites say, so make sure you pack adequate refreshments for the little monkeys. The centre is open Saturday to Tuesday 9am to 2pm, and Wednesday to Friday 3.30pm until 8.30pm.
(06 558 6577)
Jebel Ali Church playgroup
This lively and popular playgroup is perfect for active pre-schoolers. Sessions run on Sundays and Tuesdays from 9.30am, and the price, a very reasonable Dhs15 per child, includes a welcome coffee for mums and dads, and healthy snacks for junior. Run by a conscientious team, kids aged three and under can indulge in arts and crafts, plus play and singing sessions.
(050 550 0462)
FREE! Little Bundles Club
A great way to help out new and expectant mums, this chatty, friendly group meets in the Organic Foods and Café at The Dubai Mall every Sunday from 10am until noon for support and talks from the experts.
Little Chef cooking classes
Book the wee darlings in for a morning of culinary fun with experienced mum and domestic goddess Tina McFadzean. The fun begins at 9am with an hour of prep and cooking: cuisines include Italian, Thai, Japanese, British and lots of baking. Water and healthy snacks are provided, along with a mini chef’s kit, so they can create the same dishes at home for mum and dad. For Dhs150 per day, or Dhs700 for a weekly camp, it’s a delicious way to occupy them this summer.
(050 458 3015; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lou Lou al Dugongs at Lamcy Plaza
Take the little monsters for a session at Lou Lou al Dugongs – a multi-faceted edutainment centre with water play, sand, a jungle gym, soft play, a mini supermarket, kids’ library and free tots cooking classes laid on every hour. The entry fee is Dhs35 per child and there are no additional costs, so it’s brilliant value for parents who want their kids entertained all afternoon. It’s suitable for children aged two to 10, and there’s a sanity-saving café so you can sit down and relax too.
FREE! Kids’ food at Spur
Tuck into some seriously hearty grub at this South African family restaurant in Dubai Festival City, which serves steaks and burgers to die for and boasts its own kids’ entertainment area. Balloons, colouring sheets and crayons are generously doled out too, so mum and dad can enjoy their lunch in peace. Spur is also running a colouring competition for little artists. Mini diners can colour in their sheets (provided) and submit them for the monthly grand prize draw, which could win them a quad bike.
(04 232 8866)
Ramadan begins today
Kids bugging you to take them skydiving? Then this is the place to be. High-flying tots aged three and above can throw themselves into the wind tunnels to experience the thrill of indoor skydiving. There are trained instructors on hand, plus commemorative photos and a DVD to mark the occasion, and there’s an extra turn in the tunnel for thrill-seekers right up until school starts again. Peak rates (Thursday 3pm to Saturday 11pm) are Dhs195 for adults and Dhs145 for kids. Off-peak rates (Sunday to Thursday 3pm) are Dhs155 and Dhs125.
Playnation, Mirdif City Centre (800 534 7873; www.playnationme.com)
Lunch at Planet Hollywood
If you’re not fasting, pop down to the best movie memorabilia restaurant in town and tuck into some seriously hearty nosh. Planet Hollywood is open from noon to midnight throughout Ramadan, and is offering meals for just Dhs60 per person. The meal deal includes a main course with salad and a dessert, plus soft drinks, tea and coffee, and there’s also a separate kids’ menu. The themed restaurant is ideal for kids, who can check out all the cool gear on display and watch films too, while mum and dad tuck into Planet Hollywood’s legendary potato skins.
(04 324 4777; www.wafi.com)