Like everywhere else in the world there are things to do with your kids and you'll know that just like being at home these things cost money. Dubai is no exception, while it does things bigger and better it also does things at a higher price.
Just like anywhere else in the world where you live there are things on offer that are just too expensive to factor into weekly activities. Not all expat kids and families spend their weekends skiing, at sporting events or having weekly brunches. Most kids do after school clubs, play for local football teams, do ballet or gym or dance classes, go to brownies and cubs, just like you'd do with your kids back at home on a weekly basis.
Family days out back home in the UK usually included a picnic, visit to the local park or soft play. Bigger trips such as visits to Safari and Theme parks were reserved for holidays and special occasions, just as they are here, now.
In Dubai you can take your kids skiing, visit a water park, can go to Adventure HQ to go climbing, spend the day at Kidzania or go trampolining at Jump Box. Go bowling, visit the aquarium, go to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, the zoo, Dubai Dolphinarium and swim with dolphins, ride a banana boat and various other water activities on the beach.
I've seen lots of blog posts recently about 'Things to do in Dubai with children' All well and good, but without a bottomless wallet, most are out of people's price range, you may find that depending on where you stay some things are included in the price of the hotel, for example free entry to water parks and beach access. However, there are many other things available to do that aren't included in the price such as 10 minutes on a banana boat at the cost of AED100 which at the current exchange rate is £19.
I have no idea what happened to just being on holiday at the beach, being good enough for a family holiday, with a bucket and spade, going for walks, wandering around local malls, having picnics in the car park in the rain. My kids haven't suffered for being dragged around historical sites, visiting museums when it's been too hot or too cold and wet to be outside. Yes they moaned at the time, but we'd factor in a day on the beach, one or two treats, if they behaved such as boat trips or tree top adventures and a day in a water park.
My kids now look back on the holidays as adults now with wonderful memories 'do you remember our bus trip to Tunis, the mud baths, the beach with the turtles, the cathedral in France, the day is rained none stop and we still went on the beach and climbed the sand dunes?' They also talk about the less exotic holidays, camping at Bream sands in the rain, the donkey rides on the beach, the picnics eaten in the car in the rain, the day the car broke down and we had to wait 5 hours for a tow on the side of the M5. The lights at Blackpool, taking advantage of a family English Heritage membership and only going places with free entry and being told firmly at the beginning of the day there was no money for the gift shops, but they could have an ice cream. Of course there was always something one of them wanted and a strop would ensue but we stood our ground and the matter would soon be forgotten, when we got home.
Everybody these days seems to think that if they don't spend a fortune making sure their children are occupied every single minute of the day, especially on holiday that their children will be bored or heaven forbid, upset and feel hard done by. Nearly every child I see these days is walking around with some kind of electronic device, they own phones, tabs and laptops, loaded with apps, downloaded films and TV shows, 3G internet access so they can keep themselves entertained every single second, of every single day. They bring all this on holiday with them, then the parents spend a fortune on top of this to entertain them.
I just don't get it.