School holiday survival: 10 Dubai summer camps & play centres
These play areas and camps will keep your children entertained throughout Dubai’s long, hot summer (and the longer-than-usual school holidays), whether for one day or for months…
How much? From Dhs950 Sunday to Thursday 10.30am to 5pm (ages three to 12) and Dhs1,200 Sunday to Thursday 9am to 5pm (ages 13 to 15). 10 per cent discount for repeat guests (aka, second week) or siblings.
Age: From three to 15 across the different camps
In a nutshell: Various camps at the luxury hotel make the most of the facilities (yes, including the waterpark)
The lowdown: There are a range of pay-by-week camps at the Palm Jumeirah hotel. The cheapest is the Young Adventurers, which still includes access to the waterpark (as well as daily lunch and healthy snacks). There’s a teen camp, and even a Junior Masterchef camp (Dhs1,700 for the week) that includes pizza making in Michelin Star Chef Giorgio Locatelli’s Ronda Locatelli and ice cream making in Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. The priciest camp is Aquamania (Dhs2,950), which includes a PADI seal team scuba diving course, fish feeding at the Ambassador Lagoon and more marine life activities. All prices include daily lunch and snacks throughout the day.
2. Kids HQ
How much? Dhs50 per child for two hours, Dhs100 for Toddler’s Corner
Age From three to seven for the main centre, one to three in the Toddler’s Corner
In a nutshell: Keep the kids entertained and give back to charity at this indoor play area.
The lowdown: Indoor play areas are a lifesaver over the summer, and the award-winning Kids HQ is one of the best, with trampolines, ball pits, climbing frames and more. There’s free popcorn and juice, a Toddler’s Corner with fun classes for little ones aged one to three years old, as well as a cafe where grown-ups can relax while the kids run wild. Best of all, between Monday and Wednesday throughout Ramadan, Kids HQ is encouraging children to donate their old things to charity, from toys and books to shoes and water bottles.
Umm Suqeim Road, Al Barsha 2, Dubai, Sun to Wed 8.30am to 7pm, Thur and Sat 8.30am to 8pm, Fri 10am to 8pm. Tel: (04) 3794233. Taxi: Kids HQ. kidshq.ae
3. Le Petit Palais
How much? General: Dhs80 for first hour and Dhs20 for each additional hour, or Dhs140 per day. Discounted rates are available for gold and platinum members.
Age From eight months to ten years
In a nutshell: Three storeys of indoor fun in a French style village for kids, tucked away inside Galeries Lafayette
The lowdown: The perfect place to keep your children entertained while you hit the shops, this indoor play area is divided into different sections to explore, including a studio where they can get a bit messy with arts and crafts, a mini mart where they can play at shopping, a beauty salon offering hair braids and nail art and a karaoke room for budding pop stars.
Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3827333. Metro: The Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. lepetitpalaisdubai.com.
4. Cloud 7
How much? From Dhs100
Age: From age three up
In a nutshell: A creative play zone in Level Kids department store at City Walk.
The lowdown: Cloud 7 is a brilliant place where kids can get their hands dirty with all sorts of creative pursuits (and without you having to do the tidy up). Let your little ones have a shot at candle making, soap making, cake decorating and more, plus there’s a digital lab where they can play on computers too.
Level Kids, City Walk, Al Safa, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 5108317. Taxi: City Walk. facebook.com/Cloud7Dubai
5. Little Explorers
How much? Dhs150 for a full day pass. Prices start at Dhs120 for drop and play access to workshops.
Age: Two to seven
In a nutshell: A mix of fun and learning, with creative play zones and workshops aimed at young children
The lowdown: More than just an indoor play area, the award-winning Little Explorers has special learning zones where little ones can take part in 90-minute workshops, ranging from arts and crafts to ceramics and cooking, many of which they can be left at while you run some errands. The staff are well-trained, with experience in early childhood education, so you can be sure they’re in safe hands.
Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur to Fri 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 2316286. Metro: JLT. theplaymania.com. Also: Mirdif City Centre.
6. Academy Plus Goju Kai Karate Camp
How much: Dhs1,380 per student, per two-week block
Age: Four to 18 years old
In a nutshell: A unique self-defence summer camp where children and teens can work on their fitness, get stronger and build character.
The lowdown: There are lots of advantages to children taking self-defence classes. Aside from the practical and health benefits, Goju Kai Karate is also about developing physical and mental resilience. The world-class trainers all have international instructor qualifications and teach the fundamentals of the practice during the summer camp.
GEMS Al Barsha National School, Al Barsha, Dubai, July 2 to 13, July 16 to 27 and July 30 to August 10, Sun to Thur 9am to noon. Tel: (04) 4035064. Taxi: GEMS Al Barsha National School. academyplus.ae.
7. Fit Republik
How much? Dhs1,200 five full days a week, Dhs1,000 five mornings a week, Dhs250 per full day. Two siblings get a ten percent discount, while three siblings get a 15 percent discount.
Age: Five to seven, eight to ten, 11 to 14
In a nutshell: A mix of sporty activities, team games and arts and crafts projects in a top notch facility in Dubai Sports City.
The lowdown: If you’re looking for a way to keep the kids entertained for a full day, you can’t go wrong with the Fit Republik summer camp, which offers eight-hour days for eight weeks during summer. Children take part in core activities such as gymnastics or martial arts, team sports such as rounders, team challenges (think egg and spoon races or tug-o-war) and arts and crafts.
Dubai Sports City, Dubai, July 2 to August 24, 9am to 3.45pm. Tel: (04) 5561800. Taxi: Dubai Sports City. fitrepublik.com
8. Du Dive
How much? Dhs230 for a five-hour day, Dhs1,000 for five-hour days weekly rate, Dhs130 for a two-hour day rate, Dhs600 for two-hour weekly rate
Age: Five and older
In a nutshell: Children can learn to dive while escaping the heat in DuDive’s indoor pools.
The lowdown: At DuDive, kids of all ages can spend a summer learning how to dive, which is a great way to keep fit and active during the hottest months. The intensive lessons, held in five-hour or two-hour chunks, are suitable for beginners and experienced divers, and regular assessment will ensure they progress quickly. Be sure to book ahead, as spots fill up quickly and are assigned based on a first come, first served basis. Kids will need to bring a towel, swimwear and drinking water, as well as a packed lunch if they’re doing the five-hour day.
Hamdan Sports Complex, Emirates Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 10am to noon or 10am to 3pm. Tel: (050) 5267700. Taxi: Hamdan Sports Complex. dudive.com
9. Just Play
How much? Dhs195 per day, Dhs525 for three days, Dhs745 for five days. Discounts are available for siblings or multiday bookings.
Age: Three to 16
In a nutshell: Just Play is hosting a multi-sports summer camp in the massive and air-conditioned fitness facility of Dubai Sports World.
The lowdown: For many, Dubai Sports World is the go-to place for an indoor workout once the temperature soars. At Just Play’s camp, children will be organised by age group on arrival, then get to partake in various activities including football, gymnastics, dodgeball and yoga, along with the brand new Ninja Warrior assault course.
Dubai Sports World, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8.30am to 2pm. Tel: (04) 3064000. Metro: Dubai World Trade Centre. justplay.ae
10. Kids DXB
How much? Dhs1,000 per week or Dhs300 per day (full day, 9am to 3.30pm), Dhs800 per week or Dhs250 per day (half day, 9am to 12.30pm). There’s a ten per cent discount for a second child and 50 per cent discount for a third child.
Age: Four to five years, six to 10 years, 11 to 13
In a nutshell: A mix of sports, games and personal development activities.
The lowdown: Along with team sports such as football, badminton and dodgeball, children who enrol in the KIDS DXB summer club also take part in personal development activities to help them nurture new skills, use their creativity and improve their problem solving.
Aktiv Nation (June), 10 Street, Al Quoz, Dubai, June 25 to 29, 9am to 3.30pm. Dubai College (July), Hessa Street, Dubai, July 2 to 6, July 9 to 13, July 16 to 20, 9am to 3.30pm. Tel: (050) 7772925. kidsdxb.com