When expat children are not in school, they are engaged in a whirl of extra-curricular activities, sports lessons, play dates, birthday parties, and trips to the park. They typically have better social lives than their parents, which for Dubai is saying a lot. In the summer months, the heat forces children to stay inside but there are still plenty of things for them to do.
Most schools finish between 2 pm and 3 pm. They then offer a range of optional extra-curricular activities. The number and range of activities on offer varies from school to school. They may include chess clubs, Lego clubs, martial art lessons, drama clubs, sports activities such as swimming, football, cricket, netball, rugby and gymnastics. On top of that, there are other sports away from the school premises such as tennis, golf, horse-riding, climbing or sailing.
School sports teams
All international schools have school teams for the different year groups. These teams play against each other in regular matches and tournaments. Competition between different schools can be intense with results of major tournaments being announced on the morning shows of some of the local radio stations. Nearly all international schools are well-equipped with football pitches, sports fields, indoor sports fields and large swimming pools.
Many parents choose to send their children to sports clubs, on top of those that are available at the school. See the section about Sport under Health & Beauty for more details of sports available in Dubai. The most common clubs for children are:
Ballet and Dance
Dubai Little League
E-sports Climbing Academy
Wafi Mall, Tel: 04 324 0000
Dubai Football Academy
Elite Sporting Academy
International Football Academy
under 4s and ages 5-16
Manchester United Soccer School
In the cooler winter months, children play in the local parks. There is a wide range to choose from with small parks found in most neighborhoods. The larger parks include:
- Creekside Park (Oud Metha)
- Al Mamzar Beach Park (next to the border with Sharjah)
- Al Safa Park (Safa)
- Jumeirah Beach Park (Jumeirah)
- Umm Suqeim Park (Umm Suqeim)
- Za’beel Park (Bur Dubai)