20 alternative after-school activities

Extra-curricular fun for your little ones

20 alternative after-school activities

Art therapy painting class with Saray Hassan
In these classes, kids will learn the basics of colour theory and painting while also bettering their communication and behavioural skills through art. Each session lasts two hours, with four sessions recommended to help kids get the most out of the programme. Suitable for kids aged seven to 15 years old.
Dhs95 one session, Dhs330 four sessions. Sun, Tue and Thu from 4pm. Bistro Lounge Café & Restaurant, Al Khalidyah, Abu Dhabi, skilldeer.com.

Budding gamers with SAE
Dubai’s SAE Institute will host an after-school games camp to introduce kids to the basics of digital programming using Scratch and Unity3D. Designed for kids aged nine to 14 years, the focus is to enhance problem-solving skills through online games development. Students learn how to create a platformer game (an action game, similar to Super Mario), how to use Scratch for programming and how to use Unity3D scripting to create a ‘space invaders’ type of game. The camp takes place over 20 hours, every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, starting September 14.
Dhs1,500. SAE Institute, Block 2B, Dubai Knowledge Village, Dubai (04 360 6456)

Capoeira classes with Afro Ritmo Dubai
Get the kids into this Afro-Brazilian martial art, combining dance, acrobatics and music for an altogether different activity. Suitable for kids aged three and above, the class is taught by an experienced capoeira professional and adapted for different ages and fitness levels. Classes require students to wear comfortable attire, but no shorts. Dance costumes are available for Dhs150 for trousers and Dhs50 for T-shirts. Sessions last 90 minutes.
Dhs50 (one session), Dhs270 (six), Dhs500 (12). Mon & Wed 7.30pm, Sat 6pm. Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina, skilldeer.com.

Coding for kids at Buddy’s Institute
Millions of students around the world now study coding at school, and it’s increasingly considered a fundamental skill, though not all schools in the region offer classes. Suitable for kids aged seven to 13, 50-minute group or private classes are available with Buddy’s, whose courses last 12 sessions. Help your kids understand topics such as sequencing, loops and conditionals (and, who knows, become the next Zuckerberg…).
Dhs100 registration fee. Prices and timings vary. Cluster Y, JLT, Dubai, buddysinstitute.com.

Dance classes at Bodytree Studio Abu Dhabi
The Emirates School of Dance at Bodytree is run by a group of professional dancers, with classes designed to create a foundation in technique as well as encourage artistic self-expression in kids. With curriculum aligned to global dance standards, there are a huge range of options to choose from, for children as young as two and upwards. Choose from dance preparation, ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, teen fitness, Zumba, Pilates and more, with classes held at different times throughout the week.
Prices and timings vary. Corner of Hazza Bin Zayed and Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street, and Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, bodytreestudio.com.

Floor gymnastics for girls with Al Qemah Sport
Gymnastics can help build strength, coordination and flexibility. Sessions in this course, which last one hour, are suitable for girls aged three to 14 years old, incorporating stretching and different exercises to upbeat music. Students are assigned to groups based on their age and skill level.
Dhs350 (eight sessions), Dhs650 (16 sessions), Dhs900 (24 sessions). Mon 5pm, Sat 2pm. Emirates National School, Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi, alqemahsport.ae.

Goju Ryu Karate group class at Universal Martial Arts Academy
Learn one of the traditional Okinawan styles of karate, Goju Ryu, which combines circular and linear movements with hard striking attacks and softer, open-hand techniques. Learn how to block and control an opponent, and improve confidence and self-discipline. Each student is trained at their own skill level and pace. Suitable for kids aged four to 17, with sessions one-hour long. Uniform can be purchased at the centre for Dhs125.
Dhs240 (eight sessions). Daily 4.30pm and 5.45pm. Indian Academy School, Al Qusais, Dubai, skilldeer.com.

Golfing with Golf DXB
Running in tandem with school terms, with breaks during winter, Easter and summer, Golf DXB hosts courses for all level of young, aspiring golfers, starting from the age of three, all the way up to 16. Each term last 12 weeks, with a one-hour coaching session every week, plus tournaments throughout the period and a one-time 30-minute private lesson, among other elements. Not sure your kids will want to commit to a whole term? Try sessions are available for Dhs80.
From Dhs400 for one month. Enquire for times. The Track, Meydan Golf, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai, golfdxb.ae.

Green Living with Mariska Nell
Artist and environmentalist Mariska Nell uses recycled materials and non-biodegradable items to create sustainable art and champion zero waste living. Nell facilitates art workshops for children and often visits schools to educate young students on sustainable living and how to turn everyday items into creative pieces.
Workshops cost from Dhs100-Dhs300, suitable for children aged seven years and older. Contact Mariska Nell on Instagram via Designbymariska.

Ice skating lessons at Al Nasr Leisureland
This, mums and dads, is where Time Out UAE Kids first strapped on a pair of skates. Several decades on, and the sports facility is still going strong, with squash, tennis, swimming and fitness coaching all still regular fixtures. Ice skating on the Olympic-sized rink can be booked for private or group lessons, with annual membership options available too.
From Dhs250 (single private lesson, non-member), Dhs2,000 (ten private lessons, non-member), Dhs190 (single group lesson, non-member), Dhs1,700 (ten group lessons, non-member). Oud Metha, Dubai, alnasrll.com.

Kodu Gaming at Fun Robotics
Kodu is a Microsoft Labs software, through which kids can create their very own games to run on Xbox 360 or Microsoft windows. After learning the basics of programming and game building, kids will be able to build games of varying complexity and share them with friends. You could be looking at the next big thing at EA… Hopefully. Suitable for kids aged eight and up.
Prices and timings vary. Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, fun-robotics.com.

Machine sewing basics
Budding fashion designer on your hands? Expert dressmaker Shilpa Paul teaches the basics of machine sewing and techniques to create a range of different pieces during two-hour private classes. For kids aged 12 and above (female students only), areas covered include threading and bobbin winding, stitching, button sewing, hooks and eyes, zippers and gatherings.
Dhs140. Sun-Thu 10am-5pm, Sat 4pm-7pm. Bur Dubai, Dubai, skilldeer.com.

Mad Scientists at Wisdom Warehouse
Dubai-based science enrichment program CuriosityLAB facilitates hands-on science education for kids, offering ten modules, each lasting ten to 12 weeks (1 x 50 minute session per week). Each module is based on a story, for example, ‘How to be a Pirate’, which brings kids through everything from wave dynamics, navigation and canon fire to nutrition, sailing and weather patterns. Another module narrative ‘To the Moon and Back’ looks at the science involved in space exploration, from Isaac Newton to Einstein to modern-day rocket science. Other modules include Saving the Planet, Engineering an Invention and How to Build a Planet.
Suitable for kids from five to 12 years, sessions run every day after school (Sun-Thu), costing from Dhs1,520 (10 weeks) to Dhs1,827 (12 weeks) to Dhs170 (single session). Wisdom Warehouse, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, www.curiositylab.ae (050 407 9007).

Performing arts classes with Diverse 
One of the region’s premier performing arts organisations, Diverse has a huge range of classes for little limelight-lovers. There’s musical theatre, dance fusion, tap and modern dance, contemporary dance, mini musical theatre, hip-hop, singing lessons, toddler ballet, gymnastics and acro tricks, street jazz and more. Classes range in age suitability, with options for kids aged two up to 21.
Prices and timings vary. The Curve Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, diversechoreography.com.

Robotics Fun Club at Fun Robotics
No prizes for guessing what’s at the heart of this one… A fun and easy way to get into robotics, kids start by building models and attaching simple sensors and motors, before plugging them into computers and configuring their robot’s behaviour using easy, icon-led software. There’s also a Robotics Fun Club 2, which builds on the skills learned in the first course. Kids will strengthen their knowledge of the eight science and engineering practices by asking questions and solving problems through analysing and interpreting data. And you thought your job was hard. Suitable for kids aged seven and up.
Prices and timings vary. Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, fun-robotics.com.

Rhythm and Rhyme sessions at Music Monkeys
This one is for the under-threes. So not necessarily entirely relevant to this feature’s age-group, but possibly their siblings’... Music Monkeys kicks off a new term this month in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, offering classes for Baby Monkeys (three to ten months), Cruising Monkeys (11 to 17 months), Mini Monkeys and Jumping Monkeys (toddlers from 18 months to three years). Classes encourage parents and caregivers to bond with their baby using songs and rhymes, using age-appropriate props to stimulate fine and gross motor skills and drumming, clapping, bouncing and shaking to introduce counting and colours.
A 12-class term costs Dhs660 (class only price), Dhs819 (inc. soft play) and Dhs960 (includes pool/kids club access). Email dubai@musicmonkeys.ae, (Dubai); contact@musicmonkeys.ae (Abu Dhabi); rak@musicmonkeys.ae (Ras Al Khaimah).

Self defence at The Ballet Centre
The oldest dance school in Dubai, The Ballet Centre has been hosting self-defence classes for kids for more than 30 years. Suitable for children from three years and up, Taekwondo teaches physical skills to enhance personal safety as well as build self confidence and fitness.
Dhs1,220 per term (14 weeks) or Dhs100 per class for adults. The Ballet Centre Jumeirah 1 and The Ballet Centre Motor City, Dubai, www.balletcentredubai.com (04 344 9776).

Take to the stage with The Hive
Dubai’s performing arts theatre The Hive offers two after-school programmes for kids: speech and drama lessons for four- to 18-year-olds incorporate acting, reading, performance, sound and lighting and a public speaking class called Speak Up.
Classes run midweek from 4pm-8.30pm and at weekends from 10am-6pm. Dhs90 per lesson. Al Safa M Tower, Bur Dubai, Dubai (055 992 0718).

Young Entrepreneurs Club
Child showing real savvy with their pocket money, and a mind for business? This club is designed to inspire kids and teens how to follow their dreams for a young age, with guidance on starting, running and solving the possible challenges of a real business, all taught using cartoons, worksheets and fun maths and word problems. Suitable for kids aged eight to 16, each session lasts
75 minutes.
Dhs900 for ten sessions. Sun-Thu 2.30pm-7pm, Sat 2.30pm-6pm. Prime Business Centre, Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai, skilldeer.com.

Cooking classes at SCAFA

Because kids need kitchen skills. Dubai’s School of Culinary and Finishing Arts runs a whole range of kids’ (and adult) cooking classes from its full-service training centre in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Options for kids aged seven to 13 include Italian, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, dessert-making, cake-baking, mains, knife skills, breakfasts, and much more.
From Dhs255. Cluster I, JLT, Dubai, www.scafa.ae (04 379 4044).

Be the first to get all the latest Abu Dhabi news, reviews and deals into your inbox by signing up to our free newsletter, click here to sign up.

More from Kids, Activities, Back to School

Mini burritos, mini quesadillas and more to choose from


Follow us