The hot weather and the long summer holidays pose a problem for many parents in the UAE: what can they do with the kids? But there are ways to keep the little ones entertained and what’s even better is that many options are either free or cost effective, meaning there is more spare cash to use on holidays. Here are 10 ways to keep the kids entertained without burning a hole in your wallet:

1. Dinosaur excavation

Your little paleontologists can participate in an interactive experience and enjoy the exciting FOSSIL HUNT at the Dubai Marina Mall! 2-4 year olds can enjoy dino crafts, face painting, puzzles and dino rewards, 5-12 year olds can participate in the interactive bone excavation and rebuilding and dino history with certificate afterwards.  It is a free event but you need to go there to book your tickets as it is runs at different times of the day until the 6th of July.  While you are there, they have a little train running for a fee of AED 10, your little one can enjoy a 7 minute ride across the mall !

2. Dubai Summer surprises

It may only be on until July 14 , but take advantage while it’s there. The 15th edition of this shopping and entertainment event offers dozens of free activities for kids in malls across Dubai. Sign up for the daily newsletter so that you know exactly what events are on each day.

3. Organize play dates  and bake some cookies 

Inviting your child’s friends to your home might seem like a good idea but the question remains  – how do you keep them entertained? Allow them to become the chefs for the day by giving them dough to play with, roll and cut their favorite shapes.   Get their imagination going by getting them to make up different animals and shapes.  If you do not have time to make the dough at home, you can get them at different bakeries on Al Wasl Road or Waitrose has a cookie dough pack in their fridge section.

4. Take a tour in a mosque

For a little more culture, Jumeirah mosque is one of the city’s best-loved landmarks so rather than drive past, why not head in for a visit. Enquiring young minds often have a lot of questions about religion and it’s open from Sunday to Thursday from 10 – 11.30am so it will be a great morning activity.

5. Movies!

Make the most out of watching one of the favorite day time movies with your kids.  There are over 15 credit cards that provide discounts on movie tickets across the UAE or buy one get one free.  Make the most of the benefits of your credit cards this summer.  Look up all the discounts it offers for family outings.

6. Visit the aquarium

Home to over 400 sharks and rays, Dubai Aquarium in Dubai Mall is a spectacular sight and it’s free. While you are there, they can also watch the skaters on the ice-rink, take a look at the fountain show and pose beside the stunning waterfall. A visit to a toy shop where they can play on all the display toys will round off the day.

7. Let’s play on the island by Hamley’s

Your kids can enjoy an adventure organised by Hamley’s at the Summer Island every week from Thursday to Saturday free of charge. Activities will vary each week and will include Hawaiian hula dance, limbo and hula hoop competition, water and sand games, music chair, beach ball relay, arts and craft and a summer fashion week.  The activities will be held in Mirdiff City Centre  from 6th June to 6th July and in The Dubai Mall from 13th June to 6th July.

8. Visit your favorite mascot at Modhesh World

Modhesh World at the World Trade Center features a host of themed games and fun activities for the entire family for a nominal fee of AED15 per child or adult. They also host different mascots to entertain the little ones. There are daily activities till August 28th and it is held in Dubai World Trade Center.

9. Learn how to skate

Ice is fun! So why not have your kids skate and enjoy the fun. For AED55 you can start teaching your children how to skate and the session lasts for 2 hours and should they wish to spend the whole day skating then it will cost you AED125 for the whole day including a locker.

10. Explore the world with Little Explorers! 

For AED130 a day, your child can discover himself or herself in the 5 zones. You can also drop them off while you can complete your shopping or enjoy your movie at Mirdiff City Centre.  However, if your child is less than 3 years old, he or she will need to be accompanied.