Pop down to Deira for DSF fireworks, food and funfairs
Al Seef Street in Deira is a hub of hustle and bustle during Dubai Shopping Festival, and is not to be missed if you’re in search of some twilight fun with the family. Check out the funfairs and the numerous shows and street performers, not to mention the snack stalls. The best time to get there is around 7pm – and make sure you’re well positioned at the creekside on Al Seef Street when the nightly fireworks go off at 8pm. Free. Fireworks daily from 8pm. Until February 5. Al Seef, Rigga Road and Muraqabat Street, Deira, www.dubaievents.ae (no number).
Pucker up for the Powerpuff Girls
If your little action adventurers want a chance to meet the Powerpuff Girls in person, head to Sahara Centre in Sharjah every evening until January 31. The event is part of the Sahara Cartoon Festival, which offers fun activities for little ones.
Free. Daily 6pm-9pm. Until January 31. Sahara Centre, Sharjah, www.saharacentre.com (06 531 3666).
Mosey on down to Marina Market at Marina Walk
The perfect place for an end-of-the-week outing, this market has lots of stalls packed with baby and children’s goods, including favourites from 6AM Babies, IDesign for Babies, and ethical, fair-trade handicrafts. Enjoy browsing the stalls and picking up a bargain before popping into one of Marina Walk’s cafés for supper.
Free. Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm. Ongoing. Marina Walk, Dubai Marina, www.marinamarket.ae (04 325 5123).
Visit the Kaleidoscope Family Theatre at Marina Mall
Don’t miss this fabulous international theatre festival at Dubai Marina Mall. There are shows from theatre companies from all over the world – Cloud Man from Scotland, Babbling Comedy from Korea, The Princess and the Dragon, from Spain, and The Children’s Children Show, from the USA, to name a handful. The shows run daily from 2.45pm – pick up your free tickets at the Guest Service Desk at the mall’s entrance.
Free. Daily 2.45pm-9pm. Until February 5. Dubai Marina Mall, www.dubaimarinamall.com (04 436 1020).
Kids eat for free at Mango Tree Bistro
We love the fact that this family-oriented restaurant serves all manner of Asian cuisine – and that kids under 12 eat for free. The weekend meal deal, which runs from noon to midnight, includes balloon bending and face painting for the kids, and even a free family portrait of your dining experience.
Prices vary. Thu-Sat noon-midnight. Mango Tree Bistro, Mirdif City Centre (04 284 3635).
Get cultural at Global Village
The end of DSF is now in sight, so traders at this global market are often keen to part with their stock for less. Make the most of the bargains and sample some of the many cuisines available at this multinational
theme park, while kids will love the funfair. Tip: there’s a lot of ground to cover, so sensible shoes are advised.
Dhs10. Open daily 4pm-midnight. Until March 3. Global Village, Dubailand (04 362 4114).
A bird’s eye views from the cable car
The perfect afternoon activity, Creek Park’s cable car ride is a 30-minute treat. Get a fantastic view of the manicured gardens of one of Dubai’s finest parks, while taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Dubai Creek. The trip also provides spectacular photo opportunities. The ride takes you all the way from Garhoud Bridge, to the floating bridge, and the kids will love the fact that they get to dangle over the highway. Dhs25 per person. Open daily 10am-11pm. Ongoing. Creek Park, near Garhoud Bridge (04 336 7633).
Get stuck into Funday at Ping Pong
Chomp your gnashers round some seriously delicious dim sum while the kids entertain themselves with a range of fun activities and board games. Ping Pong at The Dubai Mall has teamed up with toy store Hamleys to provide a weekly evening of fun-filled board games for diners. The games include Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble, as well as the more modern Pictureka. Mum and dad can get to grips with a game of chess and dominoes while enjoying Ping Pong’s speciality Chinese-with-a-twist delights, including salads, desserts and a choice of mocktails and teas.
Prices vary. Open daily 6pm-midnight. Ongoing. The Dubai Mall (800 7464 1664).
Learn to skydive indoors at iFly
Kids bugging you to take them for a skydive? This is the place to be. High flying, adventure-loving tots can throw themselves into the vortex created by turbines churning out gale-force winds. Trained instructors to keep you happily in the air, and commemorative photos and a DVD also mark the occasion. Be warned that the powerful airstream makes dribbling an occupational – if hilarious – hazard.
Dhs165 (adults), Dhs125 (children). Open daily 10am-11pm. Ongoing. Mirdif City Centre, www.playnationme.com (800 534 7873).
Go bargain book shopping
Get the kids to collect their old, well-read books and take them to one of Dubai’s second hand bookshops. Book World in Satwa, House of Prose on Beach Road and Book ’N’ Bean at ACE Hardware in Festival City will all pay you cash for your old books, so you can put the money towards buying more (at bargain second-hand prices). Even better, once you’re fed up with the latest purchases, you can take them back and they’ll pay you all over again.
Prices and opening times vary. Ongoing. Book World, Plant Street, Satwa (04 349 1914); Book ’N’ Bean, ACE Hardware, Dubai Festival City (04 232 6992); House of Prose, Jumeirah Plaza, Beach Road (04 344 9021).