Summer camps 2019: Where to send your children in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
The holidays are here: choose among 30 summer camps in the UAE that suit various ages, budgets and interests
The summer school holiday will be upon us next week, and parents will need to chalk out a plan to keep children entertained for two long, hot months. Fortunately, the UAE has summer camps aplenty, geared to suit all manner of activity choices, budgets and age groups. Take your pick from the 30-plus options offered here, most of which start from Sunday, July 7.
Little ones between the ages of one and four can enjoy Bon Summer Stories at British Orchard Nursery, which has branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The books of award-winning author Julia Donaldson take centre stage, with one story presented weekly to inspire related activities. Founder Vandana Gandhi notes: “Children learn the EYFS [Early Years Foundation Stage] curriculum best through fun and play, and storytelling is a great way to enhance children’s sense of adventure, imagination and critical thinking, among other curricular topics.” The fee for the nine-week camp, which begins on Sunday, starts from Dh650 per week.
Toddlers and tweens
Environmental awareness, in the form of tree planting, is on the agenda at Club Mina, a multi-activity camp at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, for children between six and 12. The camp also includes obstacle courses, team-building challenges, and sports such as football, basketball, swimming and kayaking. Non-members pay 190 per day, Dh850 per week or Dh1,500 for two weeks.
The Jameel Arts Centre summer camp for children between eight and 13, aims to foster creative learning through workshops on mindfulness, drawing, storytelling, and zine and pattern-making. There’s an arts-specific treasure hunt, reading sessions on regional art history and screening of short films, for Dh1,400 per week.
If you’re looking for an outlet for an energetic child, consider the Summer Adventurers camp at Atlantis The Palm. This one’s for children between three and seven, who can take part in obstacle courses, treasure hunts and swimming pool fun, for Dh1,200 per week. Fairmont Falcons Kids Camp, also on the Palm Jumeirah, is a nine-week programme for ages three to 13, and features weekly themed activities such as Amazon Adventure, Inventor’s Workshop, The Big Bang Galaxy and When I Grow Up. The camp includes dance classes and fitness games held twice a week, for Dh200 per day, Dh460 for three days or Dh700 for five days.
Over at Dig It at Springs Souk, kids between four and 10 can participate in interactive games in three categories: team building, creative activities, and arts and crafts. Kids will make slime, create sand-bottle art, learn dance moves and play group games for Dh170 a day or Dh700 a week.
At Gulf Star, the early-bird pricing of Dh700 per week has been extended until Sunday, for the multi-activity camps held at Foremarke School and Jebel Ali School for children from three to 13 years. These include sports, arts and crafts, drama and adventure games, with a different theme each week.
Sporty types might prefer the Junior Athletes Camp at Atlantis The Palm, which has sessions for age groups three to seven and eight to 12, where they take part in sports such as football, badminton, basketball and taekwondo, for Dh1,300 per week. The special Fish Tales Tour gives kids a glimpse of what it takes to care for the resort’s 65,000 marine animals.
If it’s teenagers you need to engage, sign them up for the Kartdrome Summer Camp by Gulf Star, which takes place at Dubai Autodrome. In addition to the go-kart driving experiences, there is laser tag, race simulators, billiards, video games and other cool activities. Get an early-bird rate of Dh900 until Sunday.
Atlantis The Palm also has two camps for teenagers, for Dh1,400 per week: Teen Athletes has indoor and outdoor sports such as fitness challenges, basketball, yoga bowling and football, while Teen Xtreme is an adrenaline-fuelled experience that lets kids test their bravery on the Leap of Faith slide, go kayaking and take part in junior lifeguard training.
FitRepublik will host a summer camp for children between five and 14, which includes action-packed activities for different age groups. They can swim in the Olympic-sized pool; play on an inflatable floating obstacle course; get hands-on with creative projects such as T-shirt printing; compete in lip-sync battles and music jam sessions; and participate in gymnastics, rugby, martial arts and dance. This costs Dh525 per week for a half-day or Dh720 per week for the full day.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club has a range of camps this summer. There are two five-day Kids Fitness Camps (Dh475 for non-members) structured around cardiovascular, strength and stretching techniques that can be used daily in various sports. The Intensive Swimming Lessons sessions (Dh885) teach basic skills and stroke correction in a way that engages children so they pick up skills faster. The Kids Yoga Camp (Dh300) uses animal poses to bring attention to flexibility and co-ordination and body awareness, while the Kids Cheerleading Camp (Dh475) teaches choreographed routines, proper hand and body movements, and ends with a performance for parents.
City Football Schools has expanded with programmes in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where boys and girls up to age 18 can learn new skills and enhance their fitness on the field. The trainers are Uefa-qualified and use the same coaching methods as Manchester City. From Dh950 at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi and Brighton College Al Barsha in Dubai.
Dance and drama
The Courtyard Playhouse has two camps running this summer, for Dh1,155 per week. Storytelling Theatre Summer Camp is for children between four and seven, and explores books by Julia Donaldson including The Gruffalo, The Detective Dog and Tyrannosaurus Drip. The stories will be the inspiration for drama games, mime and role-play. The Junior Improvisers Theatre Summer Camp for ages eight to 11, meanwhile, highlights different styles of improv, and lets campers learn and refine performance skills through drama games, scene work and exercises that unleash creativity and humour. The camp ends with a performance for friends and family.
The Ballet Centre Dubai is hosting what it calls the Biggest Performing Arts Summer Camp for Dh800 per week, and it lets children between three and 12 years take part in activities including dance, martial arts, acting, singing and musical theatre. Qualified instructors will lead the classes, which aim to develop creative minds.
Science and the environment
OliOli is running a Morning Maker camp from 9.30am to 1.30pm and an Afternoon Adventures camp from 1.30pm to 4.30pm, or kids can take part in both for a full day of projects, experiments and Steam-inspired activities. They will make robots and slime, and use treasure maps and decoder glasses to find clues across the centre’s eight galleries, from Dh690 to Dh990 per week.
Sustainable City has a camp for ages four to 10, where each week they can learn more about a cause, such as climate change, recycling, food production and renewable energy by taking part in nature-focused activities. There will also be baking and art, for Dh700 per week.
Budding marine biologists, between seven and 12 years, can learn about the aquatic world at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo’s Junior Biologist Camp. Kids with a passion for ocean conservation and marine mammals will enjoy activities that help them learn about the different species and even feed them. Get 20 per cent off the Dh600 fee by booking today.
Get 10 per cent off for bookings made until June 30 at the Ivy Camps USA at Dunecrest American School, which costs Dh1,950 per week. This lets kids between five and 12 years take part in educational activities led by instructors from top universities, which will encourage them to think creatively, work as a team and build self-confidence. They can discover their passion among three tracks: build your business, performing arts and a Junior Ivy programme for younger campers that involves Steam activities.
Art and languages
Alliance Francaise in Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer French-language summer camps. In the capital, Tour de France is the theme and children between four and 10 can learn about the traditions, culture and games specific to each region of France, for Dh180 per day. They can practise the language through activities such as swimming, Zumba and theatre. In Dubai, kids between six and 10 can improve their language skills through 10 hours of French lessons for Dh1,250 each week. French-culture activities include arts and crafts, film screenings and treasure hunts along with weekly themes such as All About France, Francophone Superheroes and A Journey to the Future.
Children in age groups three to five and six to 11 can take part in thejamjar Summer Camp, where they can express themselves and generate ideas in a fun environment. The programmes, which cost Dh180 per day or Dh855 for the week, are designed to teach new techniques while experimenting with materials. Children in the younger group will focus on painting, collage and doodles, while the older group will learn about sculpture, texture and mirror crafts.
Young artists between eight and 16 can sign up for the Tashkeel Summer Camp, for workshops in papermaking, acrylic painting, engineering a hydraulic bridge, wire sculpting, screen-printing, calligraphy and cyanotype art prints. A single class costs Dh289, a week’s worth is Dh1,365.
The Art Explorers Summer Camp at Louvre Abu Dhabi is designed for children and teenagers to explore the museum’s collections and learn about the world’s cultures and history through the art on display. Children between six and 11 years will receive an “art explorers” map and a special rucksack, and take part in activities such as drawing, scrapbook-making and storytelling. Those from 12 to 16 will explore artworks through discovery games, art workshops and films, which they will document in scrapbooks. This costs Dh280 per day and Dh1,000 per week.
Children aged nine to 12 who are bilingual in Arabic and English can take part in the twofour54 Summer Camp, which features fun, educational sessions on topics such as film production, journalism, space, cultures, media law and cooking.
Children aged nine to 12 who are bilingual in Arabic and English can take part in the twofour54 Summer Camp, which features fun, educational sessions on topics such as film production, journalism, space, cultures, media law and cooking. The course costs from Dh3,150.
The Little Green Fingers summer workshops programme lets children between five and 11 years take part in activities such as growing their own plant, soap melting and carving, yoga and kite-making, for Dh120 per class or Dh200 for two days.
Over at Al Qattara Arts Centre Summer Camp in Al Ain, the focus is on art, education and archaeological workshops for children between six and 13. This includes weekly trips to the cultural sites of Al Ain, including Al Ain Palace Museum and Qasr Al Muwaiji. Daily art classes include pottery, paper quilling, mosaics, calligraphy, decoupage and drawing, and the month-long programme, from July 1 to July 30 costs Dh315.
Aladdin’s Cave at Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas features activities that let kids learn about the hawksbill sea turtles found on Saadiyat Island; sports and team-building games; face-painting; a lazy river and water slides; and cinema screenings. The camp runs from Dh200 per day, from Dh780 per week, or from Dh5,000 for all eight weeks, from June 30 to August 29.
ZSC Kids Holiday Camp is also great value at Dh1,050 per week, as it runs from 8am to 5.30pm, and includes outdoor sports and activities for ages five to 12, including bowling and football, as well as indoor sports and team-building challenges.
Dubai Sports City Summer Camp for children ages three to 11, is a multi-sport camp led by coaches from Spanish Soccer School, Dubai Eagles rugby, ICC Academy cricket and the CF Tennis Academy. Kids can also take part in activities such as dodgeball at the end of each day, from Dh695 per week.
If budget is no bar, look to the Aquamania Camp at Atlantis The Palm, which has separate weeks for children in age groups eight to 12 and 13 to 17. The programme features a programme of activities such as a boat tour, learning to scuba dive with the Padi Seal Team, snorkelling in the Ambassador Lagoon and learning about the mammals in Dolphin Bay. It runs from Dh2,500 per week.
Junior MasterChef, also at Atlantis The Palm, is for children between eight and 12 who are interested in the culinary arts. They will learn how to make sushi, pizza, Lebanese food and more from top Dubai chefs, for Dh1,700 per week.
Updated: July 11, 2019 11:36 AM