Keeping The Kids Busy & Having Fun During The Summer Months When It’s Hot, Hot, Hot!
Listen here, mama. There’s absolutely no need to panic – or to suddenly promote hours of screen time every day. Yes schools are out earlier during the Holy Month of Ramadan and yes it’s very hot and yes it will continue to be very hot for a good few months now BUT the good news is that there are absolutely loads of fun things for kids to do in Dubai even when parks and beaches and outdoor play is limited. And they don’t all cost a fortune either (honestly!). Here are some of our favourites….
It’s universally known that little ones love colourful, high-energy experiences, so there is something to be said for good old-fashioned climbing frames and real, wholesome physical activity. Adventure HQ by Adventure Zone offers just that, but in a temperature-controlled environment (hooray for the AC!). So what exactly is inside? Imagine a two-storey playground where the lower, safer level offers just enough excitement to keep the little ones going. We’re talking a hanging swing-bridge, mini cable slider and the classic – but seriously challenging – climbing frame made out of ropes. Adventure HQ is suitable from 4 years and up (to make sure they’re secure while scaling the walls like itsy bitsy spiders). However, all kids, provided they are over 90cm, are welcome. Our youngest ones were very happy on all the equipment closer to the ground: walking along beams, tackling stepping stones and climbing rope walls always with a cheerful staff member at their side to help. And for the more adventurous? There are colourful climbing walls to scale and a high-up course to navigate (we even had a go ourselves).
Get up close and personal with lots of beautiful butterflies in their specially built home just next to Dubai Miracle Garden. This mini garden-of-paradise is spread over several connected ‘domes’ complete with plants, colourful flowers, bird-song and lots and lots of butterflies! There are paths to meander, fruit feeding stations where you get to watch the insects feeding and special netted areas that allow the kids (and you!) to hold the butterflies. The domes are big enough to feel as though you’re having an adventure (and a bit of a walk!) but not so big to worry if the kids run off (which ours did – in search of butterflies amongst the blooms). Whatever’s going on with the humidity outside, the domes are maintained at a constant very pleasant temperature, making this attraction the perfect escape from the summer heat and a great place to fulfil your nature cravings!
For as little as AED 40 you and the fam can be scaling a climbing wall inside GO Sport, on the top floor of Mall Of The Emirates (just next to Common Grounds…handy for a post climb bite!). No pre-booking is required and they’ll loan you all of the equipment you need so just show up and scale up that wall!
Psst.. keep an eye out for special offers like half price climbs for kids!
We love Dubai Garden Centre and all the simple pleasures it brings. Whether you’re after a seriously good cup of coffee while the little ones sip on a babyccino (the Roseleaf Café is one of our absolute favourite spots in Dubai – the homemade cakes are to-die-for), you’re going to feed the fish or wander through all the greenery, this little haven is just so good for the soul. Wander around the vast outdoor space, jam-packed with trees and plants of every kind amongst which there are hidden a variety of animal statues and very realistic looking creatures! Cross a bridge over a crocodile pond, spot monkeys swinging in trees and watch out for a dinosaur (who roars quite loudly and can frighten teenies). Okay, so you’re still outdoors but it’s mostly under shade and can feel like quite an adventure. When you’re feeling a little too warm, head indoors to watch pretty tropical fish and sea creatures in the little aquarium and enjoy a drink surrounded by all of the indoor plants and flowers. The Garden Centre hosts regular events too so keep an eye on their Facebook page for details of everything from kids carpentry sessions to workshops on how to grow herbs and much more.
Is there a cooler place to be than with Mother Nature, under the sea?! The Dubai Underwater Zoo and Aquarium at The Dubai Mall is home to hundreds of fish, amphibians and mammals that call the massive tank their home. If you’re not feeling up to paying the entrance fee for the whole family, their world record breaking viewing panel (it’s the largest in the world!) allows you to see into one of their largest exhibits from the mall itself for free. Mind the sharks!
Everyone knows about the aquarium, but have you spotted the life-size dinosaur skeleton lurking in the souq area next door? Free to visit, checking out this skelly kept our little ones busy for about an hour and there’s a handily situated Cheesecake Factory for when tired kids – or mamas – need a sugar fix. When it comes to checking out the rest of the mall, we just discovered the Kiddie Kruzzers staion on the bottom floor; offering the perfect ride for that in-between stage of too big for the stroller, too small to walk. Those, and the lunchtime fountain show, help many a Sassy Mama roll up her metaphorical sleeves and make a day of it. Summer, bring it on!
Dubai Sports World is back this week, yippeeeee! The heat is no longer an excuse to avoid exercise (for you or the kids!) as this brilliant set up offers all you active people of Dubai a chance to enjoy heaps of sports indoors during the summer months. With one of the biggest indoor playing fields, which include football, rugby, basketball, volleyball, tennis courts and more. Book a court with your fam or simply join in with other players and enjoy playing your favorite sports in an indoor setting. They also run a fab sports camp for kiddos of all ages and including everything from trampolining to table tennis, yoga, dance and even an AWESOME Ninja Warrior assault course (we want a go on that…).
What? A real rainforest? In the desert? Ok so it may be smaller than the real thing but the flora and fauna that covers this relatively new indoor bio-dome plus the amazing creatures it houses are 100% genuine. An incredible eco project that aims to educate kids (and big people!) about the delicate balance of nature and ecosystems within an enchanting environment, this is one of the best places to connect with nature and let your kids explore the ‘wild’. The tropical forest simulates an expedition to the tropics, complete with over 3,000 plants and animals including insects, birds and sloths (yes, SLOTHS!). With majestic green trees, lush vegetation, a waterfall and more – set over a few levels – there are stations at which to stop and marvel and learn plus loads of green to soak up. The perfect summer activity for the whole fam.
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If you have glitter/rainbow/unicorn obsessed kids then this is the place for them to play! A walk-in version of the Happy Box (that cool monthly subscription box which brings creativity and colour into your home), The Happy Studio is a place for kids to be kids in a playful environment created within one of Alserkal’s fabulous warehouses. From arts and crafts to giveaways, dancing and games to face painting, décor, an emoji ball pit and lots more – expect a riot of colour and a whole lotta fun!
If you love hanging about at hotel pools (who doesn’t, right?!) now’s the perfect time to invest in a Privilee membership, mamas! Soak up some of Dubai’s most beautiful green gardens while lounging by (in) perfectly chilled swimming pools – heaven! Privilee also gives you discounts on f&b (including brunches) AND lots of the hotels offer use of their kids clubs too for when your little darlings need a break from the sun (and you need a break from them!). A 5 Star life-style without the 5 Star price tag. Hooray!
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We love this new addition to the Football Center in Al Quoz – a room dedicated to perfecting ninja skills around a super fun course that includes balancing, jumping, climbing and navigating. The perfect way for active kids (we’d say aged 6 and up – it’s not really for the littles) to get moving. Sessions from AED 80 per hour but look out for deals!
The much anticipated Laguna Waterpark has opened its doors and is guaranteed to become a firm fave with families, chill-seekers and sports lovers too. With four distinct zones – Splash, Slide, Surf and Relax (there’s a hang-out that includes a pool lounge with swim-up juice bar and cabanas…), there’s a central Water Slide Tower with five awesome rides; a comprehensive family zone with AquaPlay and Splash Pad; a WaveOz 180 Florider for surfing; a Lazy River; Pool Lounge; Cabanas; food & beverage kiosks and a merchandise store. Families can laze the days away meandering down the Lazy River or get lost in the magical AquaPlay – the Splash Pad sounds ideal for really little ones. UAE residents get a special entry fee of AED 99 per day, simply show your ID on purchase.
Wild Wadi is offering a Ramadan deal to UAE residents. If you’re above 1.1m tall you can get a day pass for AED 169, including soft drinks all day. And below 1.1m tall can get the same deal for AED 89 per day. Under two’s go free.
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More small-scale space centre than soft play, Little Explorers in Mirdif City Center and Dubai Marina Mall offer five different learning zones for children aged two to seven to run around in. Our little ones particularly liked exploring the rocket in the Marina Mall branch as well as the timed running space, which rates their speed compared to tortoises, ostriches, cheetahs and more. From learning about how things work to arts and crafts, this place will keep them busy for ages.
We’re all for spaces which encourage creativity and freedom – particularly when we can get involved with the kids. Medaf Studio has the best solution to painting on walls without getting in trouble in an expression room which will allow you and the fam to paint/draw/scribble on everything from the walls to the floor. Yup, here’s a place for getting messy and having fun too (plus keeping the mess OUT of the house!). And if you want to take your artwork away with you, each of you get a canvas too so that you can adorn the walls of your own home (without drawing on them!). There are qualified artists and art assistants on hand to help out, a café on site for that much-needed latte and loads more (check out their birthday party packages and school holiday camps too – hooray!). Time to paint the town (wall) red!
Get a 10% discount on a session in the Expression Room. Simply tag @medafstudio on Instagram and use the hashtag #sassyreaderslovemedafstudio – valid until Saturday, 30 June, 2018.
You know how much we’ve raved about interactive kids museum OliOli , particularly because this is somewhere to engage with the kids rather than just drop-off or watch from the sides – and somewhere that they can learn, use their imagination and discover something new every time they visit. The kids can burn off steam on the amazing climbing nets, put their engineering skills to test in the ‘inventors lab’, get creative in the ‘future park’, get stuck into good old fashioned den building in a room dedicated to just that, build lego vehicles and race them down ramps and splash about in a water area. And that’s just for starters.
Got a superhero fan on your hands, Mama? Or a little one who’s literally climbing the walls and insisting on jumping from every bit of furniture? Parkour DXB is the perfect place for them to practice their skills (safely) – in an awesome Al Serkal Avenue space (same building as Hapi – if you haven’t tried their coffee then you are seriously missing out). As well as regular kids lessons/sessions they also have a summer camp running which will teach them to run, jump, climb, and roll as they learn the various techniques and concepts of Parkour. The perfect way to keep active kids busy over the hot months (expect them to sleep well every night too – bonus!).
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How can we not mention skiing – or snowboarding – or even just running about throwing snowballs or toboganning down a mini Cresta run, in the desert?! Fun for the whole family, Ski Dubai is the world’s largest indoor snow park, housing an amazing 3,000 square meters of super soft snow! So trade your flip-flops in for some snow boots and take your littles along to master the slopes. The ultimate way to keep cool! Oh and available on The Entertainer too!
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Hidden away in Al Quoz (just near Limetree cafe – perfect for a coffee stop en route!), Blue Wave Dubai has two temperature controlled indoor swimming pools for swimming lessons AND a brand new Splash Island indoor aqua park that’s perfect for splashy fun at all times of the year. Open to kiddos aged between 18 months and 12 years (under 5’s need to be accompanied by an adult in the water), they’ll be able to burn off energy, have an absolute ball and keep cool too – perfect!
A firm favourite with everyone at sassy mama, this creative space is the perfect kiddie summer hang out. The kids will be equipped with two canvases, an apron, multiple brushes and a rainbow of non-toxic paints to choose from. There’s art on the walls and a range of books in case they’re short of subject ideas but we found just handing our littles ones a brush and setting them up at an easel was inspiration enough. The JamJar will also be running a range of art camps this summer (we’ve got our eyes on the superhero sessions), suitable for aged 5 and up (luckily there’s no age limit on ordinary sessions) and even has classes and workshops for adults as well. This is one playdate we’ll be heading back to – on our own!
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With 3 huge trampoline parks dotted around Dubai now, there’s plenty of opportunity for the kids to jump off some of that excess energy! From Bounce in Al Quoz – complete with over 100 trampolines, a free-jumping area, dodgeball court, giant inflatable airbag and more to Flip Out Dubai where obstacles, mini-foam pits, double-decker trampolines and loads of other cool stuff awaits. And for Mirdif mamas, Jump Boxx’s playground of over 120 interconnected trampolines, dedicated toddler areas and soft play space will keep all your brood very happy! Each of the trampoline parks have designated times for kids or ‘free-jump’ sessions where the whole fam can get involved.
Located just off Kite Beach (directly behind the skate park), this beautiful outdoor playscape has been lovingly created for kids aged between 1 and 12 years with everything from a vegetable patch and mini orchard to little ‘wadis’ to splash in, streams to navigate, beautifully crafted wooden play structures to climb, bunny rabbits to cuddle (plus a pony, chickens, tortoises and other gorgeous creatures, many of them rescues…) and barn-style indoor areas that offer arts and crafts plus special events and more. Set within the most beautiful natural environment complete with mature trees to climb, the lushest grass to roll around on and beautiful flowers among which to explore. And the best bit? Over the hotter months, this gorgeous space will be kept cool with mist machines – plus the kids can splash about in the water features and the Park House cafe will provide a lovely cool indoor space for ice-creams and snacks (it’ll be open during Ramadan too!)