September. It’s the busiest time of the year as little ones across the UAE settle into a more formal routine after the long lazy days of summer and sign-ups for after-school clubs begin. With so many hobbies to choose from, it’s not easy carving up the calendar to fit it all in. As parents, we worry about over-scheduling, yet we also want to their stars to shine, let them have fun and make new friends. We’ve done the research for you and pulled together a mix of fun, educational, arty and sporty clubs, along with some valuable tips from the providers to make the choosing – and the planning – that little bit easier...
Stars in their eye
Whether their preference is an elegant arabesque or a toe-twitching tap dance, let them twist and twirl to their heart’s delight. A performing arts class is a great way to build confidence while having fun.
KIDS THEATRE WORKS
Little hearts beating for Broadway will jump at the chance of being part of a musical theatre class where they can sing, dance and be as dramatic as they want. Classes are open to kids from four years upwards and everyone enjoys the professional live show which is staged once a year to showcase all their hard work.
Timings and locations vary. Sas Al Nakhl Village and Khalidiya Village Residence. www.kidstheatreworks.com (050 158 5653).
FUSION ARTS DANCE SCHOOL
Fancy having a love affair with dance? Well this may be just the place to lose your heart. Fusion Arts Dance school gives kids the chance to have a creative outlet as they explore all things toe-tapping and muscle jumping.
Dhs 80 (per class). Cobra Gym, Al Bandar, Al Raha Beach (050 669 7913).
DUBAI PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL
It’s worth travelling that extra mile to enjoy a class with DPA Principals Lisa Scott-Lee, of Steps fame, and West End Star Johnny Shentall-Lee who are always on hand to share their experiences of the Pop and Musical Theatre World with their students. Their talented teaching team offer classes which cover all aspects of Performing Arts, within first class facilities at various Fitness First locations.
From Dhs70 per class. Fitness First Meadows, Lakes Club, Green Community and more to be announced soon, www.DubaiPerformingArts.com.
Ballet isn’t all about twirling and pirouettes, it builds muscles, keeps children fit and gives them a focus. With classes for mini twinkle toes right through to advanced, you can watch them progress with aplomb.
Timings and prices vary. Located at a range of venues across the city. www.turningpointe.ae.
Feel the beat
Music makes the world go round. If your little one loves to sing and bang out a beat it might be time to put their talents to good use. Think of all those piano recitals you’d have to look forward to!
AMADEUS MUSIC INSTITUTE
A foundation in music is a great way to stretch the brain and The Rhythm Music Centre have instruments to suit every child from piano and guitar to the ukulele and saxophone. Voice coaching is also an option for those who wish to reach the high notes.
Dhs1,200 for a 12-lesson package of 30 minute lessons. Free trail lesson available. 1st Floor, Hamden Centre, Hamden Street (050 415 6934).
Lessons for every level of musician are catered for with the main aim being to inspire a lifelong love of music in students. There is even a chance for them to join an ensemble, as well as participate in annual recitals and other stage performances.
Prices vary. 202, Falcon Tower, Al Nasr Street, www.musichub.ae (02 632 7888).
CADENZA MUSIC INSTITUTE
Enjoy a musical journey with a music class at Cadenza Music Institute, from the one on one lessons where they will learn to read music to the Little Mozart Music Garden where kids will learn to think and talk music confidently.
Prices vary. 2/F Unit 204, ADCP Tower B P/1340, Elektra-Najda Intersection, www.cadenzamusicinstitute.com (056 771 1445).
It’s never too early to have them make music. If you’re little monkey enjoys shaking and grooving, then a Music Monkeys class is just the ticket. The classes are a mix of music and movement with story time and sensory play to make it a very exciting activity for mums and tots from six months to four years.
Prices vary. Locations throughout Abu Dhabi. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a splash
With the balmy temperatures and year-round blue skies, having fun in the water is a huge part of most families’ down time here. So, knowing how to swim safely while having fun is par for the course. Give them a head start with some aqua adventures.
For children aged three years and above, this class incorporates some guided play and basic actions such as kicking, submerging and floating.
From Dhs1,000 per term, times vary. Al Yasmina School Abu Dhabi, Pearl Academy, British International School Abu Dhabi, (056 725 3163).
Learning the front crawl for the first time or brushing up on their breast stroke, there are classes to suit every level here. Hamilton Aquatics’ Learn To Swim programme is based on a framework developed by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), England’s national governing body for swimming, and is open to children from three years old and upwards.
Dhs1,700 per child, per term (20 weeks). Various locations including Brighton College, Al Muntazah, www.hamiltonaquatics.ae (04 450 8832).
4th LANE SWIM ACADEMY
If your child was born to swim and sees the pool as a home away from home, then this is the club for them. With professional coaches and first class facilities, every athlete will develop their full potential. And there is plenty of opportunity for competition to keep them focused.
From Dhs1,600 per term, times vary. Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel, New York University, Al Muna Academy (02 508 9118).
ARABIAN SWIM ACADEMY
It’s never too young to take to the water. You and your little splasher can enjoy a safe and fun introduction to swimming with a class at Arabian Swim Academy where expert coaches trained to deal with the tiniest tots will put them at ease. Classes are designed to build the child’s confidence and assist in their skill development. A fun class incorporating songs, games, activities and plenty of encouragement, too.
Dhs75. Timings vary, The British International School. email@example.com.
Some kids like to run like the wind, bat for glory or cartwheel like an acrobat. Whether you have a team player or a lone wolf, there are numerous sports to choose from to help them keep fit and healthy. And the added bonus is that it might just tire them out!
Let them have a go at setting new records as they train at the state of the art facility in New York University Saadiyat Island. Little runners from as young as four can run like the wind and learn from fully qualified coaches. Age-grouped training throughout the week is available, plus organised race nights against other clubs. Ready, steady, go!
From Dhs800 per term. New York University Saadiyat Island, www.ultimateathleticsuae.com (050 225 7024).
LITTLE STARS SPORTS CLUB
Backflips, round offs or even just the common roll-over. It’s no secret that kids love cartwheeling and not only is it lots of fun but it’s also a great activity to develop gross motor skills and inspire confidence. At the Little Stars Club little gymnasts can enjoy rhythmic and artistic gymnastics from the beginner right through to advanced.
Classes from Dhs1040, Al Nahda National School for Girls, Mushrif, Dubai www.littlestarsabudhabi.com (050 781 0635).
PROACTIVE SOCCER SCHOOL (PASS) ABU DHABI
The next little Messi in your squad or just a kid who wants to have a kickaround? This club will nurture the budding star while at the same time encourage kids who just want to have fun. For kids aged two and upwards.
Prices and times vary. Various locations including British School Al Khubeirat, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street (056 613 0262).
AL FORSAN RIDING CLUB
Imagine the freedom of jumping on a pony and cantering off into the sunset. Horse riding lessons teach many skills including balance, confidence and patience and the bond that grows between a child and their pony is very special. Saddle up and ride.
Prices vary. Saturday to Thursday, 4pm-7pm (each class is 45 minutes), Al Forsan Riding Academy, Khalifa City (02 656 5641).
From arts and crafts to building their own robot, some children love to stretch their minds and get creative.
ABU DHABI POTTERY
From basic pinch pots to wheel throwing, this tiny pottery shop is the place to go if they want to try their hand at making ceramics. Expert potters are on hand to guide beginners (age five and upwards) and the colourful racks of creations on display will provide endless artistic inspiration. A real hidden gem.
Dhs120 per session. Daily (except Fridays), timings vary, advance bookings only. 16th Street, Al Khalidiyah (02 666 7079).
A weekly class at Art Beat teaches children how to plan, build and construct their own art projects using a variety of mediums from glass to fabric to having fun with paint, glitter and glue. There are a whole host of opportunities to spark both the imagination and the mind.
Timings and prices vary. Shop 2, Muroor Road (02 444 5135).
Minds require a workout just as much as the body and computer whizzes will love the afterschool classes in digital technology, computer programming, robotics and coding. Computer Explorers offers combined classes and personalized tailored curricula with qualified teachers for ages five to 15 years.
Weekend classes. Timings and prices vary. Nation Galleria Mall, Corniche Road West, www.computerexplorers/uae (02 681 8824).
Miniversity teaches kids healthy keyboard skills. They cover typing not ‘swiping’, shortcut keys, email and internet safety and presentation skills – verbal and visual. The Saturday club is a fun, two-hour session where their imagination takes over. This brand new club currently only operates in Dubai but has plans to launch in Abu Dhabi soon.
Dhs175. 9am-11am every Saturday (six to eight years), noon-2pm, (nine to 12 years), Apex Atrium Building, Suite Motor City, Dubai (055 2747 107).