Seasonal camps have all of the things that children love about holidays – fun activities, new friends, daily excitement – but none of the hassle of traveling and being outside of the comfort of their home town. So, if you’re staying in the city this summer, you will need to have all the help you can get to keep children entertained, every day, for 72 days(!). We’ve tracked down 19 summer camps in Abu Dhabi offering everything from pro sports training to science experiments. Get booking!
Abu Dhabi Pottery
This art studio and community group has a series of classes and arty lessons for children over the course of the summer. Instead of the all-day childcare-style of other camps, Abu Dhabi Pottery offers a detailed look at a specific subject for a few hours rather than taking kids in for a full day. In this case, the emphasis is all on arts and crafts and your child can learn drawing, design, jewellery-making and, of course, pottery and ceramics. The types of technique and progress made will depend on each student and the number of sessions, but there is nothing to suggest you won’t have a new range of family heirloom vases knocked up by the end of summer.
Dhs200 (single session), Dhs1,800 (ten sessions). Jul 1-Aug 31, 10.30am-12.30pm, 4pm-6pm. Opposite Khalidiya Park,
www.abudhabipottery.com (02 666 7079).
Al Ain Zoo
It only makes sense that one of our favourite tourist spots-cum-learning centres in the emirate would have one of the most intriguing sounding camps. Fun With Science is an educational camp that seems likely to turn excitement levels up high as well. Each day of the one week camp has indoor and outdoor activities with a different theme. Zoo science, animal and plant science, sustainability, space and planet science and general science – did we mention science? – are all on the curriculum for seven to 14-year-olds. There will be plenty of opportunities to spy animals alongside all that academia.
Dhs500 (weekly). July 16-20, July 23-27. 8am-1pm. Al Ain Zoo, Al Ain, www.alainzoo.ae (800 966).
Your child does not have to speak French or have a deep-seated love of Gallic culture to appreciate this French-themed summer camp, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. Sport, art and education are all on the menu and we expect it is all served up with the Alliance Française sense of fun and adventure.
From Dhs130 (daily). July 2-August 31, 9am-2pm. Alliance Française, Villa 75, Street 32, www.afabudhabi.org (02 612 2900).
Happiness and health are on the agenda at this summer camp from the Bodylines gym at the popular Abu Dhabi hotel. The facilities are good and children can join in sessions of swimming, sport, and arts and crafts to keep them busy through the day. Plus, the price is inclusive of lunch and kids who are in for one full week get a camp T-shirt! Result.
Dhs190 (daily), Dhs700 (weekly). June 25-August 17. 8am-2pm. Beach Rotana, 10th Street, Al Zahiya, www.rotana.com (02 697 9302).
City Football Schools
Football-crazy boys and girls get the chance to have an amazing week-long kickabout with qualified football coaches at this Manchester City-themed camp. Bring along a packed lunch and footy kit, and the coaches will organise matches, training sessions, games and fun challenges.
Dhs950. June 25-July 13. 8.30am-2.30pm. City Football School, IPIC Arena, Zayed Sports City, www.cityfootball.com
(056 420 5685).
It should come as no surprise that Abu Dhabi’s swankiest hotel has a VIP camp for kids this summer. For starters, children will be given lunch and, naturally, it is going to be a feat of culinary excellence. It isn’t called the Seize the Summer Day camp because of the great food, though. It is more down to an action-packed itinerary of activities from archery to Zumba. As well as the usual mix of classes, there are premium sports such as air-conditioned football, tennis coaching, yoga and more. Weather permitting, there is beachside fun, too, including banana boating, waterslides and a lazy river to negotiate.
Dhs220 per day. July-August, 10am-5.30pm. Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, www.emiratespalace.ae (02 690 8888).
Falcon British Nursery
There is a Fantasy Island theme to camp at this British-style nursery this year that’s sure to keep the kids wholly entertained. What sets it even further apart, however, is the weekly theme changes that will make it all-summer fun for children staying in the Emirates. Every week has a different theme, and these include: Dragons, Castles and Knights; Pirates; Superheroes or The Wild West. It all seems likely to score well with the younger children in your tribe.
Dhs400 (mornings or afternoons), Dhs800 (full day). June 25-September 7, 8am-6pm. Falcon British Nursery, Saif Ghubash Street, www.falconbritishnursery.com (02 444 8814).
Hilton Abu Dhabi
The annual summer camps at the Hiltonia Beach Club are favourites with families and offer a broad range of activities. We like the variety, meaning that whatever your child’s interests there are entertainment options tailor-made just for them. So, they could be trying watersports one day at the Hilton Abu Dhabi’s beachfront and trying their hands at Little Chef classes the next. It’s all overseen by the Hilton’s highly-trained staff.
Dhs200 (daily), Dhs900 (weekly). June 25-August 31. 9am-3pm. Hiltonia Beach Club, Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah, www.hilton.com (02 681 1900).
This nursery and kids’ club has summer-long activities for young children and toddlers. While not suitable for older children, it does offer wholesome activities and plenty of engagement for younger kids. Activities include gardening, sensory play, cooking, sport, music and more. The hands-on tactile approach means there is lots for children to see and do and is likely to aid with early-years development.
Dhs200 (daily) Dhs750 (weekly, under three), Dhs650 (weekly, three-to-six). July 2-August 3, 8am-12.30pm. Kidz Venture, Mangrove Village, www.kidzventure.ae (02 550 0255).
Chances are, you have thought about the fun side of summer holidays and have family vacations planned. If what you’re looking for is a little educational top-up to keep kids engaged in learning throughout the break, then consider a few sessions of summer school. Kip McGrath education centres are staffed by qualified English and maths specialists who can create personalised programmes to target gaps in a child’s learning and give them a boost to reach their full potential. Lessons can be booked in blocks of five or ten.
Dhs180-250 (depending on package type). June 25-September 10, 9am-3pm. Kip McGrath, Al Raha Mall, Channel Street, Al Raha Beach, www.kipmcgrath.ae (02 558 8505).
Lady Bird Nursery
Young children (two months to seven years) have a broad mix of thoughtful activities to look forward to at this nursery. Planned activities include an art project, baking lessons, yoga, messy play and drumming sessions. Fun!
Various prices, from Dhs450 (two days per week 7am-2pm) to Dhs950 (five days per week, 7am-4pm). July 2-August 31, 7am-4pm. Lady Bird Nursery, 4th Street, Al Zaabi, www.lady-bird-nursery.com (02 667 3881).
My First Gym
Variety is the order of the day at this active camp. Obviously, there is an emphasis on enriching mind and body, but depending on the day your child rocks up there are a few differences. More specifically, that means Around the World (Sundays), Magical Disney (Mondays), Olympics (Tuesdays), Dance (Wednesdays) and Crazy Science (Thursdays). Activities are targeted at children aged between three and ten, and are hosted by trained and first aid-qualified staff. Expect gymnastics, dance, karate, sports, relay races and even a sprinkling of arts and crafts as well.
Dhs200 (daily), Dhs910 (five days), Dhs1,700 (ten days). June 25-September 7, 9am-2pm. My First Gym, Delma Street, opposite Zayed Educational Camp, www.myfirstgym.com (02 444 3560).
Early-years fun awaits at this camp, which is aimed at four-month to seven-years-old, in a relaxed, creative and well-structured environment. A packed itinerary sees a routine of art, rest, stories and activities. As well as a well-planned-out daily itinerary, there are themes throughout the week such as tennis Thursdays, watercolour Wednesdays and tapas Tuesdays with extra cooking fun.
From Dhs650 (two days per week 8am-2pm) to Dhs1,375 (five days per week, 8am-5pm). July 2-August 31, 8am-5pm.
Odyssey Nursery, Khalifa City A, Street 20, www.odysseynursery.com (02 665 5994).
The modern facilities at this play place make it a favourite for a weekend drop-in with the kids. Throughout the summer, the fun is extended with a diverse range of value-added activities. Science, cooking, music, arts and sports are all included, making this something of a “best of” with a little bit of everything. The climbing walls, mini-village and well-maintained classrooms and play areas hold enough surprises to keep boredom away.
Dhs180 (daily), Dhs700 (weekly). July 2-August 31, 10am-3pm. Orange Wheels, Al Wahda Mall, www.orangewheels.com (02 667 4411).
Sheraton Abu Dhabi
Take a deep breath before listing all the activities at the Sheraton’s summer camp. They include, but are not limited to, boat cruises, Zumba, beach games, island picnics, arts, crafts and sporty challenges. It is enough to keep children entertained for long stretches and parents have free usage of resort facilities during camp hours. Multiple payment options mean your kids can join for an afternoon or the entire summer, and there are discounts of up to 25 percent for siblings. Separate age groups for four- to nine-year-olds and ten- to 14-year-olds mean that your kid will be in age-appropriate sessions.
Dhs180 (daily), Dhs700 (five days), Dhs1,300 (ten days), Dhs2,100 (20 days). June 25-September 7, 9am-2pm. Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road, www.sheratonabudhabihotel.com (02 677 3333).
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island
The Sandcastle Kids Club has a summer takeover with loads of activities for youngsters between the ages of four and 12. There are indoor and outdoor activities at the charming play area, with a themed cave, sand pit and dedicated kids’ club. There are indoor exercises, arts, fun games, swimming lessons, water volleyball and more. As well as new friends and good memories, kids will also walk away with a special summer camp T-shirt, bag, baseball cap, snacks and a bellyful of lunch.
Dhs260 (daily), Dhs1,050 (weekly). July 2-August 17, 9am-3.30pm. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, www.stregissaadiyatisland.com (02 498 8991).
Not a summer camp exactly, but this special member’s deal at Yas Waterworld is certainly worth a look at for additional fun and education. Annual Pass members at Abu Dhabi’s best waterpark have exclusive access. The Junior Aquatics Club includes lifeguard lessons, swimming practise, ride races and expert slide tips. What’s more, the Annual Pass gives you unlimited, year-round access to the water park, meaning you can visit whenever you like. A family annual pass lets four people have access to Yas Waterworld
for 12 months and costs Dhs2,950.
Exclusive to Yas Waterworld Annual Pass members. First Saturday of every month, 8.30am-9.30m. Yas Waterworld,
Yas Island, www.yaswaterworld.com (02 496 8008).
Zayed Sports City Holiday Camp
Claiming to be the longest camp in Abu Dhabi, the Zayed Sport City camp is an all-day affair. As the location suggests, it is ideally suited to active children and activities include bowling, sporty challenges and games. Aside from these rigorous activities, there will also be arts and crafts sessions. Even with a ten percent sibling discount, the Dhs1,000 price tag is quite steep, but considering there is around 50 hours of entertainment it actually works out at around Dhs20 per hour. The camp welcomes children aged five to 12.
Dhs1,000 (weekly). July 3-August 24, 8am-5pm. Zayed Sport City, www.zsc.ae (02 403 4222).
Zayed Sports City Academy Ice Skating Camp
Children over the age of five can take an intensive week of skating lessons and go from novice to future Olympian in the space of a few days. Using a tried-and-tested curriculum and certified coaches, skaters will start to show improvements from day one. As well as lots of on-ice time, the sessions build endurance, flexibility and co-ordination in routines off-ice. What are you waiting for?
Dhs750 (weekly). July 3-August 24, 9am-1pm. Zayed Sport City Ice Skating Rink, Zayed Sport City, www.zsc.ae (02 403 4222).