UAE: Things to do with family in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai this weekend

A child learns through observation and exploration, and this makes taking them out that much more important, believes Sana Fathima J, a Dubai-based mum of a three year old.

She tells Gulf News that not only is it imperative to expose them to the world but also follow their lead when it comes to engagement. “Children are always ready to explore the world, the way the world is without trying to modify its natural aspects. For example, when an adult goes on a picnic, we generally find a nice place in the park and we make arrangements to sit on a clean mat. But if you leave a child in a picnic spot he or she will never search for a clean place, choosing instead to run into the park and explore as it is. Kids are such great explorers… under the guise of protecting our children we always stop them from exploring and discovering new things. ”

Heading out with children gives them a gambit of experiences. “They are exposed to different weather conditions, for example; they get to experience certain things which cannot be explained, they need to be felt. Their body tries to adapt to the new weather and cope with that. Their immune system gets activated, starting to make them strong, ”she adds.

Outings can be great teachers, she says, for they expose kids to other people and social behavior. And it teaches them new skills, depending on the activities they undertake. “Even a walk at the park means they will get to hear new sounds, they get to touch different things which improve their sensory and motor skills,” she explains.

Tips for taking your child on an outing

Sana Fathima J, a Dubai-based mum of a three year old, offers the following to-do’s:
Stay hydrated and fed: Make sure both parents and kids are not hungry and are well hydrated. As a mum myself, I know the starting point of most tantrums are hunger.
Dress comfortably: A grand day out with the kids requires flexibility and quick thinking – wearing comfortable shoes and clothes can be quite an asset.
Take snacks: Take snacks or favorite foods for you as well as the kids to preempt any hangry episodes.
Carry extra clothes: Take with you all the essentials your kid needs, from diapers to an extra dress.
Have fun: Don’t think of it as a chore – enjoy yourself and your child will too.

What to do this weekend

Running out of ideas on how to keep the kiddos entertained and not drain the monthly budget this weekend? Don’t worry, we’ve got things all sorted out. Whether your child is a coding wiz or a nature lover, here are things to consider doing over the weekend.

DUBAI

Art, The Makers Market at Times Square

Keep the kids in a productive mood when you visit – and shop – at the locally produced market with home-grown buys. Workshops are on a jumping schedule and depend on the vendors available on the day, but lessons can include slime making, decoupage, bracelet making, personalizing a card, making bath bombs, and painting and drawing. Entry to this cool shopping area is free for all and it can be enjoyed from 10am to 6pm.

Coding Camp UAE

Make staying at home more fun by logging into this online workshop that’s been designed and run by an International Baccalaureate-experienced Irish Design teacher. Perfect for kids aged 7 to 13 with a penchant for programming, this 90-minute class is all about interaction, team work – and cool coding projects. The free lesson will be held at 1pm on Saturday.

3D Selfie Museum in Dubai

Who doesn’t love a good selfie? For the best shot, head over to the world’s largest 3D museum in the world, with more than 185 artworks to pose by. Expect giggles, chortles and gasps as you wander the crafty exhibits. Kids under 3 get in free.

The Green Planet

Dubai’s indoor rainforest offers kids a chance to discover and learn about wild animals and unusual plants. They can experience a thunderstorm and even camp outdoors here! Kids under three get in free.

Golden Mile Gallery

With a menu of classes to choose from, kids are bound to be entertained through the day even as the pop-up market, from 12 to 8pm, carries on at Building number eight. Classes include Messy Morning Play; arts and crafts, sustainable kid’s workshop and a sensory play class. Between 1pm and 4pm, there’s a mini meeting of parents of determination, to talk about children and development.

Magrudy’s

Those aged 12 and over can learn all about crochet and knitting at this workshop at the Jumeirah branch from 11am to 1pm every Sunday. Registration is mandatory, but who knows, it could be the starting point for a precious scarf made by your very own child.

Traditional Architecture Museum

This is a great spot to teach kids about Dubai’s ancient building practices and its history. The museum, on the banks of Dubai Creek, was originally built in 1927 as the home of Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum. Today, you’ll find exhibitions showcasing tools and construction elements employed in the UAE. Timings: Sunday to Thursday: 8am to 2pm

ABU DHABI

There’s plenty to do at the Louvre, from discovering new artwork to relaxing under the building’s artistic canopy.

Louvre

There’s plenty to do at this famed museum, from discovering new artwork to relaxing under the building’s artistic canopy. For children though, the canvas of fun just got broader. The ‘Emotions! The new art adventure ‘, aimed at 4 to 10 year olds, is only on till the end of May and offers a number of experiences, from listening, drawing or acting, that explore emotions. Another interesting kiddo draw is the interactive adventure ‘A Costume Adventure’, which centers on how artists from time immemorial have used clothes to reveal a person’s personality. In this section you can create your own digital avatar and explore original artwork to collect accessories for your character. You can also ‘transform’ yourself into a character from one of the artworks by dressing up in costume.

Heritage Village Abu Dhabi

This traditionally outfitted area offers a look at life nearly a century ago. Here you can see stone huts, Bedouin tents and palm leaf houses. There’s a museum on site, where kids can get more information on the sort of jewelry people wore and the weapons they wielded. There are also copies of the Quran on display. Infrastructural information such as early day irrigation systems and wind towers that functioned as air conditioners also abound. There is an old school souq on the premises as well, in case you are in the mood for a souvenir or two – just remember to haggle.

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022

Inculcate a love for reading and learning through exposure to books, documentaries, speaking sessions and cool shows this weekend. The book fair runs from May 23 to May 29.

SHARJAH

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

From workshops on cooking to classes on self-esteem and self-love, this reading festival, which is on until May 22, is one that will cultivate a thirst for knowledge in the young ones. When visiting, check out the Robot Zoo area, where there are eight animal robots and 15 activities where the kiddos can learn about nature.

Sharjah Art Museum

Sharjah has a rich catalog of museums and one of the must-visit entries is this one. The three-storey building has both permanent and temporary exhibitions and a library with more than 4,000 volumes. Located in the Arts Area, the museum is open from 8am to 8pm.

The Sharjah Discovery Center

Fan your child curiosity about science and tech by heading into this center, which is divided into seven interactive zones: The Drive Town, Airport, Build Town, Petroleum Refinery, TV Studio, Climbing Walls, Water World, Sound Zone and an area to learn about human anatomy. It’s open from 8am to 8pm from Saturday to Thursday; kids under two get in free.

Desert Park

Love animals? Try this farm where kids can learn about Arabian Wildlife and interact with farm animals such as goats and sheep. Timings: 9am to 5.30pm (Sunday to Thursday); 2pm to 5.30pm (Friday); and 11.30am to 5.30pm (Saturday).

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