Of course, there are Dubai summer camps that you probably see advertised all over the place at the moment but this could mean a big weekly outlay for the next six weeks.

I tried the summer camp route last year – fantastic, location-wise, but I wasn’t impressed with the activities, for what I was paying.

[If you *are* thinking of the summer camp route, read our comprehensive guide.]

Now this analysis is biased towards two- to four-year-olds and might not hold water for the older kids. As my daughter is still a toddler, most of the Dubai summer camps would be the same as going to nursery every day.

This year I am leaning towards varying the activities quite a bit week on week. The downside is that it’s much harder to organize and much more troublesome, as it will be a different place and times every week depending on the activities I pick. But still, I think I’ll give it a try to see how that works.

So here I am in the same dilemma of what to do with my three-year-old, considering I want variety and not just a summer holiday camp five days a week. I want to make the most out of the holidays to bring some new experiences to her rapidly evolving mind and creativity.

I got a list of different activities that are available, and am quite surprised, actually, how much there is to do. I am in the process now of setting them up in terms of days, timings and organizing transport. This is a full-time job on its own! So I thought I’d share it with the parents out there in the same situation as me and reduce your load a bit.

Some of the options I’m looking at mixing are:

  • Ballet lessons at Fitness First – a fantastic sport at this age to get the muscles as flexible as possible and great way to get used to classical music.
  • Dubai Ice Rink is really tempting – they have those classes for mums and toddlers with a professional coach, where the little one has some time to get used to the ice and eventually get their first experience. If you’re feeling funky, there’s even a disco session hosted by the resident RJ!
  • Something else I found was an indoor ‘bounce’ center. My toddler can’t really get out in the heat, so keeping her active is a bit of a challenge and bouncing is the best way to have her sleep well at night. This new facility, bounce.ae in Al Quoz, actually teaches the three- to five-year-olds co-ordination and activities through bouncing. Haven’t tried it but it sounds like a great concept!
  • The gym looks very good to me, as it’s a mixture of indoor exercise and physical activity -considering my toddler will not be spending a lot of time outside in the next few months.
  • The Little Gym in Ibn Battuta seems to be a couple of hours a day, generally between 10am and 1pm, and you can choose between gymnastic ,sports, karate or dance. For the sports class, for example, they have drills and teach the little ones co-ordination and teamwork.  Another option is My Gym, similar concept but in two locations: 520 Jumeirah Road; and the other in Barsha in the Lulu Supermarket building.  They have programmes for all ages, and adapt the physical activity as the kids grow up. They have options per day or multiple-day discounts.  The way they work is very similar to a regular gym group classes, where timings vary on different days.

Some other ideas for the bigger kids –

  • Dubai Sports World – indoor football, cricket, basketball, ping-pong, tennis and even skateboarding
  • Not really for my toddler but, for the boys, there’s the Soccer Circus at Mirdif Center, where the kids end up playing in a tournament in the stadium – great way to get the team spirit and stay fit over summer.
  • In Sportz Indoor Sports at Al Quoz – cricket, football, basketball, table tennis
  • Indoor Climbing at Adventure HQ
  • More ice-skating at Hyatt Regency in Deira, Al Nasr Leisureland in Oud Metha or the Lunar Dome in Stargate at Zabeel Park
  • Fitness First Swim Academy

Happy holidays!