1. Make ice crayons.
Fill an ice tube tray with water, add a drop of food colouring into each segment, and place into the freezer. When solid, let the kids paint with the cubes on large sheets of paper.
2. Head to the museum.
Spend a morning or afternoon exploring Dubai Museum.
Open Sat to Thurs 8.30am-8.30pm, Fri 2.30pm-8.30pm. Dhs6 for adults and children over six. Free for children under six. Opposite the Grand Mosque, Al Fahidi Street (04 353 1862).
3. Host a movie afternoon.
Cook popcorn, pull the curtains, and press play. An instant home cinema experience!
4. Meet penguins.
Get up close to the lovable creatures at Ski Dubai.
From Dhs 145 (for adults and kids over 3). Open weekdays 1pm-9pm and weekends noon-9pm. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. www.skidubaipenguins.com (04 409 4090).
5. Grow a herb garden.
Let little ones select the herbs, help you plant them, and regularly water. Their faces will light up as the first shoots appear!
6. Make homemade pizza.
Spend an afternoon making pizza – from kneading the dough, to choosing favourite toppings, to munching your efforts for dinner!
7. Head to Kidzania.
Let their imagination run wild in the child-sized adult world.
Free for kids under two, Dhs95 for kids two to three years and adults, Dhs140 for kids four to 16 years. Open Sun-Wed 9am-9pm, Thurs 9am-11pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm). Level 2, Dubai Mall. www.kidzania.ae (04 448 5222).
8. Get messy.
Add jelly, cooked spaghetti, and flour to an empty paddling pool before allowing your kids to explore the textures and get really messy!
9. Burn off energy at My Gym.
Take part in one of the many classes on offer at this fun gym for kids.
520 Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 3. www.mygym.com/dubai (04 394 3962).
10. Paint with cars.
Let kids roll cars through paint to make colourful tracks.
11. Jump on a Water Taxi.
Travel Dubai’s waterways in air-conditioned comfort.
From Dhs60. For more info, www.rta.ae (800 9090).
12. Make a bubble wrap run.
Lay a large sheet of bubble wrap on the floor, securing the sides with masking tape. Kids can run or crawl across for instant fun.
13. Go on a shopping spree.
With nearly everything at Japanese store Daiso costing Dhs7, treat them to a shopping spree with pocket money.
www.daisome.com/locator (04 335 1532).
14. Explore a child-sized village.
Let them explore Le Petit Palais, with its mini house, grocery store, gas station, and beautician.
Dhs80 (first hour), Dhs20 (additional hours). Open daily, 10am-10pm. Le Petit Palais, Galeries www.lepetitpalaisdubai.com (04 382 7333)
15. Ice cupcakes.
Give children a selection of different coloured icing and topping for a tasty activity.
16. Head to My Favourite Things in Marina
Kids can enjoy a play area, crafts room, and giant sandpit.
Dhs85 (for one hour). Open daily from 9am to 9pm. Second floor, Dubai Marina Mall. www.favouritethings.com (04 434 1984).
17. Play a giant game.
Map a giant ‘Noughts and Crosses’ board on the floor with masking tape and use paper plates with pre-drawn noughts or crosses.
18. Try bag painting.
Squirt paint into a ziplock bag and seal. Stick to a surface with masking tape and allow kids to draw, squish and make shapes in the paint with their fingers. Mess-free fun!
19. Go skating.
Cool down with an hour at Dubai Ice Rink. Junior skaters can hold a ‘penguin’ to keep them steady on the ice.
Dhs55. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs 11.15-midnight, Fri 11am-midight. Dubai Mall. www.dubaiicerink.com (04 448 5111).
20. Try ice excavation.
Fill a container with water, throw in 5-10 small plastic toys, and place into the freezer. When frozen solid, give the kids spoons to excavate the toys.
21. Keep a journal.
Encourage children to write about their summer break in a journal, including tickets, leaflets, and photographs.
22. Treat bookworms.
Choose new books at House of Prose; a quaint second hand bookshop at Dubai Garden Centre.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Sheikh Zayed Road. www.dubaigardencentre.ae (04 340 006).
23. Have fun at Little Explorers.
With five different zones, this is education is disguised as fun. There’s a great water play section and a construction site for budding builders.
Dhs100 (for 90 minutes), Dhs130 (for all-day access). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-11pm. 1st Floor, South Entrance, Mirdif City Center. www.theplaymania.com (800 386).
24. Make ice-lollies.
Make smoothies in your blender, pour into moulds, and enjoy the next day.
25. Head to Arabia’s Wildlife Centre near Sharjah
Located indoors so you can spend the day in air-conditioning spotting reptiles, invertebrates, birds, and large carnivores.
Dhs15 (for adults and children over 13), Free (for children under 13). Open Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs 9am-6pm, Closed Tues, Friday 2pm-6pm, Saturday 11am-6pm. www.breedingcentresharjah.com (06 531 1999).
26. Create a digger track.
Fill a large container with sands and rocks, and let children drive cars and diggers through their own mini construction site.
27. Join a library.
Become a member of The Old Library and take out eight books at a time.
Dhs250 per annual membership. Open 10am-6pm Sat-Thurs (closed Frid and public holidays). The Old Library, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates. www.theoldlibrary.ae (04 341 4777).
28. Make a marble run.
Use toilet and kitchen roll inners to make a marble run on the wall, securing with tape at a height your child can reach to drop the marbles from the top.
29. Get wet at Aqua Play.
This Mirdif City Centre play zone offers lots of water-based rides and activities.
From Dhs11 (per ride), From Dhs25 (for soft play). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-midnight, Mirdif City Centre. www.theplaymania.com/aquaplay/ (04 231 6311).
30. Have an indoor picnic.
Too hot outside for a picnic? Move it indoors by serving a full spread on a rug spread out on the floor.
31. Take a ride on the metro.
Dubai metro is air-conditioned, offers amazing views, and is free for children under five. From Dhs1.80 for adults and children over five.
32. Make your own magazine.
Give older children coloured paper, a stack of magazines, scissors and glue – and get them to create their own Time Out Kids!
33. Have fun at Splash Pad.
Take kids to this fun water play area to spray, splash, and dunk to their heart’s content.
Dhs60 per hour. Open daily, 9am to 8pm Splash Pad, The Beach at JBR, next to the Hilton Hotel. www.thebeach.ae.
34. Go flying.
Give them a thrill at iFly; a skydiving simulator suitable for kids over three (weight restrictions apply).
Dhs220. Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thurs to Sat 10am-midnight. Mirdif City Centre. www.theplaymania.com/ifly (04 231 6292).
35. Get pampered.
Enjoy a spot of pink pampering with your little one at the Hello Kitty Spa.
Open daily 10am-10pm. www.hellokittybeautyspa.com (04 344 9598).
36. Make fossils.
Make salt dough by adding half cup of salt, half cup of flour, and a quarter cup of water to a bowl, and mixing with hands until a dough forms. Then use shells, twigs, and dinosaur toys to make imprints in the dough, before baking on a tray at 100′C/200F for three hours.
37. Eat in the jungle.
Head to The Rainforest Café to dine under canopies, with animals surrounding your table.
Open daily 11am-midnight. Ground Floor, Dubai Mall. www.rainforestcafeme.com (04 330 8515).
38. Make playdough.
Add one cup of plain flour, half a cup of salt, one tablespoon of cooking oil, one cup of boiling water, and a splash of food colouring to a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.
39. Go snorkeling.
Meet underwater creatures at The Ultimate Snorkel at Atlantis The Palm.
Dhs250 (with snorkel and mask as souvenir). Atlantis Hotel, Palm Jumeirah www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 0000).
40. Make cereal jewellery.
Thread cereal hoops onto string for an easy way to keep creative kids busy.
41. Visit a dinosaur.
The dinosaur in Dubai Mall is estimated to be 150-155 million years old? DubaiDino is near the Gold Souk on the Ground Floor.
www.thedubaimall.com (800 38224 6255).
42. Bat bubbles.
Make bubble blowing more fun by arming each child with a fly swat and getting the children to bat as many as they can.
43. Go for a train ride.
Jump aboard the Mini Express at Dubai Marina Mall, complete with authentic whistles.
Dhs15 (for adults), Dhs10 (for kids). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm and Thurs-Fri 10am-midnight. Dubai Marina Mall, Exit 32 off Sheikh Zayed Road. www.dubaimarinamall.com.
44. Make foam dough.
Mix shaving cream with cornstarch for a fun, sensory mixture that you can mould, shape, knead or crumble.
45. Feed the kids at Book Munch in Al Wasl
Take little book lovers to the kid-friendly café, where they can browse the book library and choose from a menu of book-inspired dishes.
Open daily, 7.30am-10pm. Al Wasl Square. www.bookmunchcafe.com (04 388 4006).
46. Play indoor bowling.
Roll a ball across the floor to knock down plastic water bottles.
47. Try marble painting.
Dip marbles in paint, throw them into a large container with paper lining the base, and tip and tilt to create brilliant patterns! Messy and fun, but do supervise the babies around very small marbles.
48. Cool right down at Chill Out Dubai.
At a temperature of -6’C, it’s easy to forget about summer temperatures in this ice-cold lounge.
Dhs50 for adults and kids over 12, Dhs30 for kids five to 12 years, Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-midnight. Time Square Center, SZR. www.chilloutatdubai.com (04 341 8121).
49. Make an amazing colour explosion with milk.
Fill a bowl with milk. Add a drops of different food colourings. Dip a Q-tip into washing up liquid and then lower it into the milk mixture – and watch the colours whizz around!
50. Meet King Croc.
Weighing in at a whopping 750kgs, King Croc lives at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
Dhs70 (for adults), Dhs55 (for kids 3-12 years). Open Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thurs to Sat, 10am to midnight. Ground Floor, The Dubai Mall. www.thedubaiaquarium.com (04 448 5200).
51. Make wacky balloon sacks.
Fill deflated balloons with playdoh, tie the neck tightly, and give to children to squash, squeeze and mould.
52. Ride the Palm Monorail.
The monorail runs along the trunk of Palm Jumeirah to Atlantis Hotel. Park in the car park next to One & Only Royal Mirage, before climbing on board. Just like Thomas the Tank Engine (sort of!).
Dhs15 (for single). Dhs25 (for return). Open daily 10am-10pm.
53. Buy the ‘I’m Bored Jar’.
Still bored? Pick up the ‘I’m Bored’ jar from the store Spontiphoria on Al Wasl Square, which is filled with mini popsicle sticks printed with a different activity for every boring moment. No more spare moments: guaranteed!
Dhs95. Spontiphoria, Al Wasl Square. www.spontiphoria.com (04 338 8827).