That desert feeling has definitely arrived: it’s 40 degrees in the shade and the last thing anyone wants to do is work up a sweat, which could be a problem considering that the World Health Organisation says children should have at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.
There’s no doubt the summer holidays are long and it can be hard (not to mention pricey) to fill them, but when you pull out your credit card, make sure it’s for something energetic.
Water parks are a great way to stay active outdoors in the summer. Try Yas Waterworld (www.yaswaterworld.com) in Abu Dhabi, where there are 43 slides, rides and attractions, not to mention Flowboarding (similar to surfing); or head to the Aquaventure Waterpark at The Palm in Dubai (www.atlantisthepalm.com/marineandwaterpark) to enjoy water slides and river rapids. There's also a Junior Scuba Diving programme at The Atlantis, for children age 8 and over.
If you're craving colder climes, check out the indoor snow resort at Ski Dubai (www.skidubai.com) where you can go skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing. Or spend an afternoon at the Dubai Ice Rink (www.dubaiicerink.com) at The Dubai Mall where you can enjoy a special "mums and tots" session, or let your teenager throw some moves at the disco sessions.
For those who like things extreme, try the skydiving simulator in Mirdif City Centre Dubai, or tackle the “Sky Trail” – an obstacle course suspended along the ceiling of the mall. For those who like their feet on the ground, there’s bowling. It’s still active!
Younger children who love role play will adore KidZania (www.kidzania.ae), an interactive centre in The Dubai Mall where children can try out more than 80 role-playing professions, from fireman to doctor, in a replica of a real city built to scale for kids complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles and a functioning economy. Pilots navigate planes, television anchors read the news and chefs cook up tasty food.
Of course every day can’t be spent at a ski resort or water park, but getting your kids moving at home counts towards their 60 minutes.
A few more games ideas
- Challenge your kids to keep a balloon off the floor with their feet. Then encourage them to make up some passing and catching games with the balloon.
- Set up a pyramid of plastic cups then bowl a tennis ball at the pyramid.
- Play hide and seek.
- Set up your own egg-and-spoon races.
- Play limbo – try to shuffle under a rope, leaning backwards, without touching it. Lower the rope each time.
- Play musical bumps or musical chairs.
- Let your kids build a den or fort – prepare for your lounge to be rearranged.
- Try out elastics – all you need is a long piece of elastic with the ends tied together. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to help you get started.
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