UAE parents share strategies for keeping kids sane and entertained indoors over the summer
UAE parents share strategies for keeping kids sane and entertained indoors over the summer Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

With temperatures at their peak and COVID-19 top of mind, many children are spending far more time indoors than they might usually this summer. We asked UAE parents for their tips for keeping children happy and entertained without needing to venture outside.

Katy Granville
Katy Granville and children Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Katy Granville, mum of Caspar and Leo

Indoor Picnics!

"In our house, this means throwing an old blanket on the floor in the living room and serving their lunch on lots of plastic plates. (Or if I’m feeling really lazy, ordering food in from a sandwich shop!)"

Dawn gardening

"I throw the kids out into the garden as soon as they are awake, while it’s still cool enough. Later in the day, I get my three-year-old watering the plants before dinner — he loves to ‘help’ and it’s a great way to burn off the last bit of energy before calming down for bedtime."

Tara and Jordan Lambert and family
Tara and Jordan Lambert and family Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Tara and Jordan Lambert, parents to Koby, Mia and Kai

Edutainment all the way

We try to keep a routine going and to keep our children engaged with learning.

Art area

Create an art area with water colours, crayons, blank paper and trays filled with cheap materials such as shaving foam and corn flour.

Reading routine

This is really important so that children continue their habit and love of reading over the long school break.

Keep a summer diary

Writing a few sentences each day is a great way to capture the fun of summer and they love sharing them with friends and teachers once they are back to school.

App inspo

Download the Pinterest App on your phone for endless ideas for creative play. Our recent favourite was designing a board game and playing it with our children. We enjoyed the healthy competitiveness!

Kyle Bennett and children
Kyle Bennie and children Image Credit: Supplied

Kyle Bennie, dad of Mirren, Scarlett, Kain and Jack

We try and get prepared for the summer with everything we need for lots of games and activities. Here are some of the things we like to do:

Body tracing

Get big drawing sheets of paper from IKEA. We draw around each other and colour each other in — it’s fun for the kids to draw funny dresses on daddy. or a moustache on mummy. IKEA also sells colouring sheets in rolls which can entertain for hours! We opt for washable pens as otherwise the sofa is always looking like a rainbow by the end of the day... doh!

Makeshift movie theatre

We like to turn the living room into a movie theatre — we close the curtains, get the blankets and big pillows on the floor, get some popcorn on the go and put out some little sweets and treats. We tend to do this closer to sun-down so its an easy transition to bedtime — that’s if the movie doesn’t hype them u, so chose the movie wisely.

Board games galore

Top Trumps, jigsaws, Pie Face and Guess Who are the normal go-to games for us, which are good fun and keep the children entertained.

Mini chefs

Baking and food prep — the kids love being involved in baking (especially cakes, brownies and cookies) and they enjoy spending time in the kitchen and helping out with dinner prep, or eating as they go along.

Wissam El Cheikh Hassan and children
Wissam El Cheikh Hassan and children Image Credit: Supplied

Wissam El Cheikh Hassan, father of four

Earning Screentime

It's easy for summer holidays to descend into non-stop TV or iPad use, so I give my children a list of things to do before they can switch on the TV, and their TV intake cannot exceed two hours in a day.

READING: They all need to read a certain number of pages in their reading book – 20 for my 10-year-old, five for my secen-year-old and one page for my four-year-old.

WRITING: Afterwards, they need to write a page, or draw a picture about what they read.

MEDITATE: All the kids mediate every day, ranging from two minutes for the youngest to five minutes for the oldest. This involves sitting alone and taking deep breaths.

CHORES: They all help with making their beds and tidying their rooms. This usually take a good part of the morning.

ACTIVITIES: My kids do Muay Thai three afternoons a week. On other days, we do Bounce, or go swimming before sunset. It is hot, but you will mind the heat more than they do. We avoid malls because they ssem more cranky when we do go.

Zeina Shoaib and children
Zunaira Shoaib and children

Zunaira Shoaib, mum of two boys

All about the arts and crafts

Definitely arts and crafts and water play are the best way forward. Things like kinetic sand or paints, beads, or even baking... These are all things that keep the little ones busy for hours and stop them from whining all day.