(Mostly) Free things to do with your family this summer in Dubai

The summer holiday is a wonderful opportunity for us to really connect with our loved ones. Unfortunately, the hot Dubai days make it difficult to spend time outdoors. As a result, many of us are spending our time strolling through the malls and parked in front of screens.

Here are some things that you can do to bond with your family this summer - and most of them don't involve screens or malls!

Check out some local and international art

Art is a wonderful way to teach children about history, culture, and religion. Exposing kids to different points of view teaches them to be more open-minded and respectful. Intercultural competence is really important in our globalized world, especially in a multicultural hub like the UAE. There are a lot of great options, but my top picks are Dubai Museum, Sharjah Art Foundation, or the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Start with the Rain Room if you miss the cooler climes of your hometown.

Give back to the community

Cultivate kindness, empathy, and gratitude in your children through volunteering. Research shows that acts of kindness - including volunteerism - strengthens our community and boosts our individual well-being. Volunteering as a family is a great way to give back while connecting with one another too. I recommend reaching out to Dubai Cares and Al Noor Foundation to learn about volunteer opportunities near you. 

Cultivate your culinary skills

Take a trip to the local fruit and vegetable market. Your children will learn about organic food, and maybe even a thing or two about negotiation! You can work together to create a meal when you come home. Learning to cook is a great lifeskill, but research also shows that mastery is a key component of happiness. Check out some excellent, fresh, and no-bake recipes (for the littlest chefs) on The Toasted Pine Nut blog.

Host a family game night

Spend an evening playing board games. This is a great way for kids to practice turn-taking, adhering to rules, and cooperation (with a dose of healthy competition thrown into the mix)!

Enjoy a potluck picnic

It’s lovely to share a meal with our nearest and dearest, but hosting can be exhausting. A potluck picnic is a great way to enjoy people's company without getting bogged down by lavish preparations. Involve your children by letting them take charge of something that they are interested in. For example, they can prep a dish or organize the décor. Make sure to appreciate and praise them for their efforts.

Watch Incredibles 2 with your family

I wanted to round out the list with an activity that does, in fact, involve the mall and some screens. At the end of the day, it's not realistic to totally eliminate these two things during the summer in Dubai. 

I recommend a trip to the cinema to see Incredibles 2. (You may want to watch The Incredibles first, if you haven't seen it already). One of the most interesting things about the movie is the superhero who is a stay-at-home-Dad (SAHD). This concept is relatively different and certainly a taboo in my culture. It's a great topic of conversation with your family. You can talk to your kids about the SAHD concept, and whether they believe their Dad would make a good SAHD. You're bound to get some cheeky (and maybe even profound) views.

Wishing you a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable summer, no matter where your adventures take you!

About the Author

Misha Qadri is a Psychology student proceeding to her Honors year at Heriot-Watt University. She has been representing her class for the past three years and now aims to start a student mentoring programme as School Officer of School of Social Sciences to work towards improving student experience. Misha is an enthusiastic student who actively volunteers for charitable and psychological events. She aspires to work in the clinical field as a family and couples' therapist.


Sarah Rasmi