Freej Folklore (www.folklore.ae). Check out this spectacular Arab theatrical production at the Madinat Jumeirah amphitheatre. The show celebrates Arab traditions, culture and heritage using a breathtaking combination of dance, music, animation and theatre, taking the audience on a journey into the past to highlight the myths and legends of the Arab world. The seven-act performance may be too much for wee ones to sit through, but older kids could learn a lot from the discovery of great historical figures such as Ibn Battuta and unique traditions such as pearl diving.
Shows run until January 17 with performances in both Arabic and English. Tickets cost Dhs200-Dhs1,200.
Dubai Marathon (www.dubaimarathon.org) Didn’t get your rear into gear to take part the world’s richest running event? Do what sensible, lazy folk do and watch from the sidelines. The 2009 Dubai Marathon will see around 1,500 runners, including Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie, legging it up and down Jumeirah Beach Road. The 26 mile, $1 million race (with an extra $1 million thrown in if the world record is broken) starts and finishes at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, where stands will be available for you to cheer on the athletes. There’ll be entertainment for kids too, at the nearby Marathon Village, with bouncy castles and a thrilling atmosphere. Another good spot to see the action is down at the Dubai end of Jumeirah Beach Road near the Union House flag where Puma will lay on a DJ, beanbags, cheerleaders and breakfast to help sustain supporters at the half-way point. The marathon starts at 6.30am, so you’ll have to be up with the larks to catch the serious action, but the fun continues throughout the day with a 10km and 3km run.
Pediatric first aid course (04 348 5452; www.synergyctrdubai.com) You know that first aid course you’ve said you must do but have never quite got round to? Now there’s no excuse. Synergy Integrated Medical Centre on Al Wasl Road (opposite the little Choithram store) is running a course this Saturday covering every possible mishap that the most accident-prone child could encounter – choking, fractures, bleeding, CPR. Hopefully you’ll never need to use most of it, but for peace of mind, check it out. The course is run by Dr Phillips, a former emergency director of the American Hospital and a doctor with more than 30 years’ experience. Participants are encouraged to ask questions.
Costs Dhs250 per person, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Bowling for boobs (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) Take the kids bowling and do your bit for charity at the same time. The ‘Bowling for Boobs’ effort, a global campaign which aims to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer, continues in the Middle East with a kids’ bowling session at Al Quoz Bowling Centre. Head on down for a morning of bowling, games, food and more. Register early and pass on the word to friends – the more people that register, the more fun to be had!
Costs Dhs10 per game or Dhs85 for three hours of unlimited bowling, 10am-noon.
Hamleys Games Challenge (04 339 8889, www.hamleys.com; Dubai Mall, 2nd level, near the ice rink) The world’s favourite toy store is hosting a special Games Challenge this month, where kids can try to land the helicopter on the bull’s eye, go treasure-hunting with a Hamleys’ metal detector and create a bubble within a bubble with the Fan Yang bubble creator – all to win fab prizes. Pick up a Challenge Card and participate in four of the six in-store games (only two for pre-school children). Once they’ve completed all the games on their card they receive their goodies and will be entered into a competition for an exciting prize for the whole family.
Free entry, 10am-midnight until January 31.
Kidobics (050 884 1966; firstname.lastname@example.org) A great workout for little bodies, kidobics is a fitness class for kids aged two to six. Mini fitness freaks get to run riot over obstacle courses and play with balls and parachutes, all in the name of exercise. The 30-minute classes are great for fitness, co-ordination, flexibility and balance as well as helping with other tricky tasks such as learning to take turns, share and follow instructions.
Classes for two-three year olds are held at the Lakes Hayya! Club at 10.15am and 10.45am, for kids aged four to six years at the Meadows Hayya! Club at 3.30pm on Sundays. Sessions cost around Dhs45 per session on a course basis
Happy Hands (050 884 1966; email@example.com) Desperate to know what your teeny bub is trying to say? Sign him up for baby sign language class. Suitable for babies from six months and taught by qualified sign language teacher Alison Brownlow, baby signing can reduce frustration and improve language and communication skills. The fun and informative classes will generally help you understand your baby’s needs.
Held on Tuesdays at 10.30am at Peekaboo, Mall of the Emirates, there are also sessions at Ibn Battuta on Mondays, The Lakes on Wednesdays and Arabian Ranches on Thursdays. Contact for details and prices
Dubai Autodrome (04 367 8700; www.dubaiautodrome.com) Are your little speed freaks driving you round the bend? Turn the tables and let them drive themselves round several bends at the Dubai Autodrome. Suitable for kids aged seven-12 years, they’ll love the four-wheel fun at this 1.2km mini-Silverstone complete with 17 corners, a tunnel and a bridge.
The ‘arrive and drive’ is a 15-minute session costing Dhs100. Helmets, kart suits, balaclavas and gloves are provided, just take your own sports shoes. Call or check the website for timings and availability.
Johnny Rockets (04 368 2339) Treat the kids to an end-of-the-week burger at this 1950s-style family diner. Forget the dubious mystery meat burgers of other establishments, this family-friendly joint proudly grills fresh beef right in front of your nose and tosses it into a mean burger with whopping slices of tomato and onion – no arguments over dinner tonight.
Marina Walk. Other locations: Jumeirah, next to the Village Mall (04 344 7859), Mall of the Emirates (04 341 2380).