8 indoor play areas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to take your toddler to this summer: from Dig It to OliOli

Beat the heat and the boredom by taking the young and the restless to an air-conditioned space that offers hours of edutainment

Dig It offers construction-site-themed activities 
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Entertaining a toddler is no easy feat, especially during a record-high summer. Toddlers tend to fall in an awkward in-between phase when planning child-friendly excursions. They've graduated from breast- or bottle-hooked mellowness, and are now on the brink of or in the midst of their terrible twos, with an almost insatiable amount of energy. They are not yet eligible for summer camps for older children and, if they haven't started nursery, chances are they don't have friend groups to co-ordinate activities with.

For those spending the summer in the UAE with your toddler this year, indoor play areas with interactive, hands-on activities are your best bet for entertaining them while nurturing creative and social skills – in an air-conditioned space.

Whether you’re looking to spend some quality play time together or have ulterior motives to tire out your tot before his or her nap, here are some toddler-friendly destinations you can hit this year.


Attend a Toddler Fest at OliOli this week
Attend a Toddler Fest at OliOli this week

Veteran experiential play centre OliOli is hosting its first Toddler Fest this summer, from Sunday, June 13 to Thursday, June 17 from 9am to 4pm.

Open to children who are 5 years old and below, the event incorporates sensory play, interactive activities, art sessions, nature crafts, brain-training classes and storytelling sessions held in collaboration with small businesses in the UAE – such as The Bright Minds Institute, Music Monkeys, Natura Tribe, Wobbel Yoga and more – to help support the wider local community.

There will also be a much-anticipated puppet show hosted by the popular Magic Phil.

General admission tickets cost Dh126 (for one child and one adult) inclusive of gallery activities, and add-on workshops cost Dh30 each


Move, connect, explore, examine and imagine are the five crucial aspects of every child's body and mind that UAE "children's museum" woo-hoo! strives to cultivate through its interactive experiences.

In addition to its toddler-friendly activity rooms and installations, which range from a water-themed hall and soft-play treehouse to a cave where you can dig for dinosaur fossils, woo-hoo is hosting hour-long Toddler Time workshops every Thursday morning in June and every Friday morning in July.

Targeting children who are 3 and below, the workshops encourage little learners to play with different textures, sounds and colours through organised sensory-play activities. Head there on Tuesday, June 15 or over the next two Tuesdays, on June 22 and 29, to partake in a sensory story-time session followed by finger painting.

Each workshop costs Dh70 per child, with the option of adding an hour of play for an extra Dh40.


If you’re on the lookout for a new play area to take toddlers to, consider treating them to fiafia, a “colourful indoor playground”, which opened last month in the Dubai International Financial Centre, complete with the activities, installations and much-loved soft play area from its flagship Al Ferdous branch.

On June 19 and June 20, to coincide with Father’s Day, there is a special session with two hours of play with arts and crafts, a children’s meal and a coffee for dad. And, on Monday, June 21, fiafia is celebrating music day with two hours of music, dance and a hand-drum show.

Entry costs Dh55 for the first hour and Dh30 for the second hour; fiafia unlimited soft-play passes cost Dh300 for one month and Dh500 for three months.

Dig It

An interactive venue with an invigorating twist, Dig It transports your young ones to a construction site where they will become productive little workers.

At this Emaar concept located in Dubai’s Spring Souk, children can dress up in yellow hard hats and neon vests and get down to the dirty work – manoeuvring wheelbarrows, riding tractors, building walls and towers, playing with slime and partaking in other tasks that are modelled after real-life construction work.

They can also paint digger trucks on a large interactive drawing tablet and play in the construction-site-themed soft-play area.

Tickets cost Dh80 for a two-hour session, and 30-minute workshops cost an additional Dh30


Abu Dhabi’s indoor play park and children’s salon Caboodle has joined forces with Kindermusik with Silvia, the capital’s only Kindermusik programme, which focuses on music-based education for young children.

Every Wednesday until June 23, you can visit Caboodle to stimulate your toddler’s musical senses through singing and dancing. Three sessions will be held each week: Sing & Play (for children no older than 18 months), Wiggle & Bounce (for children who are 1.5 to 2.5 years old) and Laugh & Learn (for children who are 5 years or younger).

Along with enjoying the musical learning sessions, your toddlers can play with interactive toys and role-play kiosks, try their hand at a climbing wall or explore a soft play area complete with a trampoline and slides.

Each session costs Dh81.90

Cheeky Monkeys

This colourful indoor edutainment destination has branches across the Emirates, and has just launched its 2021 summer camp for children, open to those who are 2 years old and above from June 27 to September 2.

In addition to the soft-play area, toddlers will experience interactive and structured activities, such as creative arts and crafts, mini science projects and more.

The Cheeky Monkeys summer camp runs four hours a day for the duration of one week, with meals and snacks included. Parents can leave their children as long as they are toilet-trained, and can get a 5 per cent discount for a second child.

Camp costs Dh125 per session or Dh525 for the week, with a 10 per cent early-bird discount on bookings placed before June 17

My First Gym

If you thought fitness classes were only available for older children, you'll be happy to learn that My First Gym, located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is offering dance and gymnastics classes specifically for toddlers who are between 23 months and 3.5 years this summer.

The hour-long sessions incorporate pre-gymnastics, yoga, dancing, swinging, running and even singing, and will help children develop spatial awareness, and hanging, balancing and speech skills. Achieving little wins in these classes will also help toddlers build self-confidence, all while parents cheer them on.

Book through urbancircle.ae for a 10 per cent discount on packages: one session costs Dh150, five sessions cost Dh621 and 12 sessions cost Dh1,080

Orange Wheels

Located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Orange Wheels is a one-stop destination for soft play, role play, song, dance and snacks.

The play area, which is attached to a cafe and coffee shop, contains slides and climbing activities, as well as a mini shopping market, bakery and boutique where young ones can pretend to build hamburgers, bake croissants and more.

Orange Wheels has launched its summer membership offer, which entitles members to one visit per day, for a maximum stay of two hours.

Summer monthly membership costs Dh495 per child

For more ideas on how to keep your toddlers entertained, urbancircle.ae has some great options for sports, musical and creative activities, and Kidzapp.com offers deals and discounts for a variety of hand-picked children’s experiences