Those of us choosing to stay in the UAE for the summer would once have had to settle for parking the kids in front of the television for weeks on end. No longer. Children of all ages can now spend their summer baking cupcakes, honing their water skills, learning Arabic and fine-tuning their mental arithmetic thanks to the oodles of activity camps on offer. It's a relief for working parents, as well as those who can't stand the sight of another mall soft-play area. And just imagine the skill set the children will have come September; they'll be leaving their bucket-and-spade pals in the shade.
Little ones (0-5)
This Dubai outpost of the popular New York play space, which won an award for best day camp, has recently opened at Gold and Diamond Park. It offers a host of activities for children ages three and four including gym, music, cooking and art. Runs until August 30, two sessions daily (9.30am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 5.30pm).
• Call 04 380 6064 or go to www.appleseedsdubai.com
Taking its cue from the Olympics, Little Wonders in Jumeirah is running an Around the World in 45 Days programme in which children will get to visit each of the seven continents. Activities include storytelling, arts and crafts and cooking. Open from 7am to 6pm, until September 6. This is a great one for working mums.
• Call 04 348 7195 or go to www.littlewonders.ae
The Children's Garden
Kids can try their hand at learning French and German, as well as take part in splash time, music and plenty of art activities at The Children's Garden summer camp, which runs until July 26, 9am to 2pm, at both its Green Community and Jumeirah nurseries.
• Call 04 885 3484 or go to www.childrensgarden.ae
Older ones (6 - 14)
Dubai Public Library
Parents looking for more culturally relevant activities will be delighted by Dubai Public Library's programme, which includes glass painting, Arabic calligraphy, storytelling and origami. Until July 18 at its Al Safa, Hatta, Hor Al Anz, Al Twar, Umm Suqeim and Al Rashidiya branches.
• Call 04 226 2788 for more information
Dar El Ilm School of Languages
Summer is a great time to build on your child's language skills. Children ages four to 11 can choose from Arabic, English and French. The emphasis is on oral communication, with arts and crafts thrown in to keep things fun. Sunday to Wednesday, 9.30am to 12.30pm, until August 29.
• Call 04 331 0221 or go to www.dar-el-ilm.com
The Farjam Collection @DIFC
Children of ages seven to 10 can nurture their inner artist at Farjam Gallery's Become an Artist summer camp. Activities include painting, calligraphy, ceramics, sculpture and photography. Until July 26, 8.30am to 1pm.
• Call 04 323 0303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ski Dubai is running five-day camps for all levels of skiers, open to children of ages three to 13. Each daily session is 60 or 90 minutes depending on the age. Older children can try snowboarding, too. Until July 15, 10am, 12pm and 2pm.
• Call 04 409 4242
Speedo Summer Swim Camp
Enrol your kids in the Speedo five-day courses at Dubai International Academy, Collegiate American School or Hamdan Sports Complex, to get them to feel confident in the water. There are two age groups, three to six and older than six.
• Call 04 354 9525, or go to www.speedodubai.net
Atlantis The Palm
The Active Camp from July 15 to 19, includes kayaking, scavenger hunts and beach games. The Aqua Camp from July 22 to 26, gives 13 to 18-year-olds the opportunity to scuba dive and learn about marine life. The Adventure Camp from July 29 to August 2, involves games, pizza-making and a talent show.
• Go to www.atlantisthepalm.com/teenscamp for more information
Little ones (0 - 5)
Teddy Bear Nursery
Sports, water splash, music and art are all on offer at this popular Khalifa City nursery until August 16, 8am to 1pm.
• Call 02 556 8566 or go to www.teddybearnursery.net
Fun City's play areas are among the best in town, so it's great news that they are, for the first time, offering a summer programme. Activities include music and dance, cooking, martial arts and children's theatre. Available for children ages three to eight.
• Call 02 681 5527 (Marina Mall) or 02 550 7407 (Delma Mall)
For children whose behaviour could do with improving, Playhouse is offering art and theatre therapy workshops in which a psychologist will evaluate the child's behaviour and design an individualised programme to help improve attention, verbal skills and motor activity.
• Call 02 666 0124 or go to www.playhouse.ae
Older ones (5 - 14)
Manchester City FC School of Football
Football lovers, ages six to 14, can spend the summer honing their footy skills alongside professional trainers at ADNEC. Until July 19, Sunday to Thursday.
• Email email@example.com or go to the CityStore Abu Dhabi in Marina Mall or the Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City to register
The Club runs a range of camps, including a multi-activity camp until August 30, two-day dance and musical theatre camps as well as three and five-day design and technology courses.
• Call 02 673 1111 or go to www.the-club.com
Summer in Abu Dhabi
It's back and it's huge with plenty of live shows, activities and games for children up to age 12. The Lost City Adventure is great for older children, while young ones will love the snow dome. Until July 19, 3pm to 9pm, Sunday to Thursday; 2pm to 10pm, Fridays and Saturdays, at ADNEC.
• Go to www.summerinabudhabi.ae
The Hilton's summer camp is a family favourite and offers sporting and craft activities for four to 12-year-olds until September 2. Sunday to Thursday, 9am to 3pm.
• Call 02 692 4205
Until July 29, children ages four to 12 can take part in face painting, football, swimming lessons, yoga and treasure hunts at this five-star hotel. Sunday to Thursday, 8.30am to 3pm.
• Call 02 509 8910 / 11
Millennium Hotel, Khalifa Street
Budding eco-warriors, ages three to 11, may want to take part in The Millennium's Green Summer Camp. In addition to the usual swimming, cooking and craft activities they will also learn how to recycle and reuse their old stuff. Sunday to Thursday, 9am to 3pm, until August 31.
• Call 02 614 6000 ext 7555
Gulf Star Sports
Gulf Star's multi-activity camp, for four to 14-year-olds, includes football, swimming, water polo, basketball, dodge ball, dance, art, drama and music. Until August 30.
• Call 50 429 4860 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Haddins Summer Camp
A sports lover's dream, this summer camp for children from ages four to 14 includes ball games, ice skating, boxing and combat club, bowling and an obstacle course.
• Call 050 104 7948 or email email@example.com
The state-of-the-art sports resort is offering its first summer camp, which aims to work on children's teamwork skills by offering a range of activities and use of its fantastic facilities. Open to children ages five to 15.
• Call 02 556 855 or go to www.alforsan.com