If you haven't signed up your children for summer camp, don't worry - there's still time and plenty of options.
Camp for the kids
It's that time of year again when many families will be packing their bags and heading for cooler climes. If, however, you are staying put, the question is, how do you keep the children amused while school's out? Luckily, the UAE is well equipped to deal with this issue. And even if you've been a little tardy in signing the children up, there are still plenty of summer camps that are accepting registrations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
There's plenty on offer here for children to learn new skills, improve musical or artistic talents, tackle behavioural issues or simply make new friends. Instead of having to send them off to far-flung places for a week at a time or longer like they do in the US, there's a wide range of camps close to home with something to suit every child and any budget. If you're new to the idea, here's a quick overview. There are summer camps designed to benefit children of all ages, focusing on broad disciplines such as sport or educational activities and the arts, music and drama. Kids from as young as four or five can toddle off to camp for a morning or afternoon full of Plasticine and climbing frames. Even those hard-to-please teenagers are catered for, if you know where to look. To that end, we have compiled a collection of some of the region's most exciting and accessible camps.
This unique educational camp in Dubai for four- to six-year-olds and six- to 12-year-olds is all about the wonders of science. Kids are taught through games, activities and reading. The camp will run hands-on experiments and group projects to bring to life subjects such as space travel, animals and marine life, chemistry and physics. You'll have your very own boffin on your hands in no time.
Cost: Dh750 per week per child. Contact: 04 438 0377, www.mad science.org
Have you got the next Hannah Montana or budding musician on your hands? Kids who can't keep still will love this music and dancing camp that runs most days until the end of July. Children from ages two to 10 can learn different dances including Irish, tap and ballet, as well as martial arts and gymnastics for those looking for something a bit more physical. Summer Camp for Kids in Dubai offers a range of music classes so you can be sure your young ones are learning a valuable skill. Choose from piano, violin, guitar, cello, drum, viola, flute and voice. The ballet and music classes are accredited by the UK's Royal Academy of Dance. Cost: Dh550 per week or Dh200 per day. Contact: 04 422 2452, www.cello dubai.com
If you're looking for something a bit more niche, there's African drumming and rhythmic empowerment. Dubai Drums is offering children from four to 12 the opportunity to express their creativity through week-long morning courses of percussion workshops and voice lessons. The music is balanced with African storytelling, painting, improvisation and puppet shows. Parents can join in for the last half-hour of the morning. Anyone who has experienced the adult workshops in the desert will know how much fun this is. Cost: Dh550 per week per child. Contact: 050 659 2874, www.dubai drums.com
Reputed to be the largest sport camp in the UAE, ESports is perfect for those children who have more energy than they know what to do with and miss the physical exercise they get during term time. The camp runs in various locations in Dubai every week throughout July, August and into September. It offers a huge array of team sport such as cricket, hockey, football and basketball as well as the chance to try out some more unusual activities like climbing and water polo. Children can also chill out with games, arts and crafts activities but the main focus here is evident in the title. Cost: From Dh550 per week per child. Contact: 04 282 4540, www.esports dubai.com
Getting in on the act for the first time is Dubai's most outlandish hotel, Atlantis, which is making use of its world-class facilities. Split into niches, this is a once-in-a-lifetime summer camp. Kids from eight to 12 can spend four days at Marine Camp, learning the basics of dolphin training as well as going behind the scenes at Lost Chambers to see how the fish are cared for. Magic Camp for the five to nines is the best place for those budding David Blaines as one of the UK's finest magicians teaches them how to astound and amaze. Atlantis Kids Club is also open daily for movies and gaming for the under 12s. Cost: Dh950 per child for four days. Contact: 04 426 1387, www.atlantis thepalm.com
For the slightly older and thus more discerning young adult, Summer Rush is perfect. Dubai's only club for teenagers, Club Rush is open daily from 8.00pm to midnight and is somewhere they can make friends and dance the night away, often to a fancy dress theme. Cost: A Summer Night's pass is Dh500 for the entire season. For Dh1,500 you can combine this with a summer-long pass to Aquaventure. Contact: 04 426 1387, www.atlantis thepalm.com
Dubai Ladies has held this summer camp for the last five years and it's always a popular one. With its four-week programme it could provide a solution for parents who need their child occupied for a sizeable amount of time. From July 12 to Aug 6, children from six to 12 can spend every morning learning music, art, health and fitness. Dubai Ladies has arranged for a range of health professionals to give talks and there will be educational field trips. Children are grouped according to age and gently encouraged to try new activities. Cost: Dh1,215 per child for members and Dh1,350 for non-members, which includes transportation for field trips. Contact: 04 349 9922, www.dubai ladiesclub.com
If limelight is what the children are after, then get them to try the Theatre Arts Summer Camp in Dubai and take to the stage. From July 12-23, the Kids Theatre Works will give workshops on acting, singing, dancing, drama, improvisation and story time.
Watch your child's dream of becoming Kate Windslet or Aishwarya Rai get that little step closer with this professional and focused programme. The camp is split into ages four to 10 and 11 to 19. The older ones will get to tackle Shakespeare, poetry reading and choreography. Drama is always a great confidence booster and gets kids of all ages used to public speaking. Cost: From Dh700, with discounts for siblings and friends. Contact: 050 158 5653, www.kids theatreworks.com
Weekly themed camps until Aug 13 take over this Abu Dhabi hotel for children between five and 12. Each week all of the games, treasure hunts, sporting events, and arts and crafts will vary according to the theme. These include Around the World, Green Fingers and African Safari. Wet and Wild week from July 19 will focus solely on water-based games to beat the pinnacle of the summer heat. Cost: Dh80 per day for members or Dh350 per week. Non-members pay Dh100 per day or Dh450 per week. Contact: 02 697 9301, www.rotana.com
Dubai's Bead Palace is the place to head to for serious arts and crafts.Kids can get up to their elbows in glitter and glue, cutting and sticking to make scrapbooks and cards as well as learning more technical crafts like sewing, glass painting, knitting, pottery, woodcraft and jewellery making. Expect to be laden with handmade gifts; this camp has all the resources that many kids hanker after at home. The camp is open every weekday morning and afternoon until Sept 5 for children between four and 14. Cost: Book by the day for Dh140 or the week for Dh625. Contact: 04 349 7858
If you're thinking that all of the previous camps sound too advanced for your children, Kids Island Summer Holiday Camp caters for nursery-age kids in Dubai. Those between two and five can spend their mornings from July 5 to Aug 20 dressing up, singing, making 3D models, listening to stories and just having a good old play. Cost: There is a registration fee of Dh150 and three days a week will cost Dh405 per child (minimum booking of two days per week). A great, safe option for the really young. Contact: 04 394 2578, www.kids islandnursery.com
Taking over Adnec for eight weeks until Aug 15, Summer in Abu Dhabi is a children's extravaganza. Activities are grouped around five themed islands taking in science and technology, adventure, art, culture and heritage, and sport and entertainment. There will be a branded, on-ice-style show, as well as a magician's theatre and a top circus to delight and amaze the kids once they've exhausted the top facilities here. If you find yourself at a loose end or need to entertain lots of children for the day, heading here is a great bet. Register your details on the website below to receive information as it's announced. Contact: 02 444 6900, www.summer inabudhabi.com