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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Summer learning: the campaign encouraging children to try something new

Education initiative gives children chance to learn scuba diving, photography and skiing for free

Children became ninja warriors for the day at Dubai Sports World as part of the #8WeekStreak campaign. Antonie Robertson/The National    
Children became ninja warriors for the day at Dubai Sports World as part of the #8WeekStreak campaign. Antonie Robertson/The National    

Dubai children are learning a lesson about living life to the full after signing up to try something new for eight weeks in a row.

The youngsters on their summer break are taking part in the Knowledge and Human Development Authority’s free 8weekstreak campaign.

The initiative encourages children to try their hand at anything from learning to play a musical instrument to volunteering, playing sport or making a friend.

Best of all, pupils are being rewarded for their sense of adventure with days out. The campaign, which started last month, will run until August 30.

To take part, pupils or their parents post pictures of themselves doing their activities on Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #8WeekStreak.

Youngsters are making the most of their summer holiday thanks to the KHDA #8weekstreak initiative. Antonie Robertson/The National
Youngsters are making the most of their summer holiday thanks to the KHDA #8weekstreak initiative. Antonie Robertson/The National

Children have won ski lessons at Ski Dubai and a photography workshop at Nikon Kids Photo Club.

Some went scuba diving at Al Boom Dive Centre and visited the OliOli children’s museum.

This week, they went to Dubai Sports World for the Ninja Warriors obstacle course.

Children as young as 6 tackled the obstacle course, where they had to jump on to planks, climb walls, walk on hanging tyres, jump on swings and cross a rope bridge upside-down.

Under the bright strobe lights, children queued while making friends and enjoying physical exercise.

Many who have not had the chance to attend summer camps were excited to be involved.

Children won a free day out at the Ninja Warrior Course at Dubai Sports World as part of the #8week streak campaign. Antonie Robertson/The National
Children won a free day out at the Ninja Warrior Course at Dubai Sports World as part of the #8week streak campaign. Antonie Robertson/The National

Ishita Bablani, an Indian, was at the event with her son, 7, and daughter, 5.

“Some activities can be expensive,” Ms Bablani said. “We didn’t enjoy any summer activities because we are short of money. We filled the form and we got the chance to come here.

“My children were super-excited about participating at this event. My son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is under supervision all the time. Other people around him are helping him here. He is enjoying the obstacle course,” Ms Bablani said.

“It’s really exciting as people like our (social media) posts. We do some experiments to teach them new things. I first make sure they learn and then click pictures. I want them to learn new things and this encourages us.”

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Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director general of the education authority, said: “Summer holidays are a perfect time for pupils to continue challenging themselves by developing new interests or pursuing their passion.

“Pupils will also learn to harness the positive power of social media by sharing what they’re learning with the wider community and inspiring others to do the same.

“I was inspired by one girl who said she wanted to be a scuba diver. She was inspired by the events happening in Thailand where 12 boys were stuck in a cave at the time.

“She saw the divers and she wanted to be one of them. That inspired me to do at least one activity every week with the children.”

Dr Al Karam said that part of the motive was to include those who did not have the opportunity to use these venues.

“You need to exercise the most in summer as you have different dietary habits,” he said. “I was very athletic when I was a child. Before school started, I would wake up and play.”

Samina Shaikh was at the event with her sons, Maaz and Munim.

Children were full of joy after enjoying a fun and free day out at Dubai Sports World. Antonie Robertson/The National
Children were full of joy after enjoying a fun and free day out at Dubai Sports World. Antonie Robertson/The National

“Activities here in Dubai are very expensive,” Ms Shaikh said. “This is the first time that we participated (in 8weekstreak). It’s free and it’s a group. The children get to participate in these activities with peers. Initially, they

were shy but now they are enjoying it.”

Farisa Najeeb, from India, was at the Ninja Warrior session with her daughters Nabeela, 8, and Bushra, 7.

“They are motivating children,” Ms Najeeb said. “This is the first time we came here. I don’t have time usually as I am job-hunting so this really helps out as the children are enjoying it. They encourage children to do new things.”