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1.The Winter Graden Market The St Regis Dubai  -  When : Weds Nov 29 to Tues Dec 26  - An enchanted winter wonderland with entertainment and themed activities for everyone to enjoy, including a selection of retail and food stalls (which you pay for, of course), children’s activities and attractions, and even an appearance from Santa himself.

2. Fairmont The Palm, Christmas Tree Lighting When : December 7 from 5pm Contact 04 4573388 Meet Santa Claus, who will be at the lovely tree lighting ceremony. Kids will receive gifts, enjoy festive carols, hot chocolates, minced pies, and many treats and surprises.

3. West 14, Oceana Christmas tree lighting - When : Thursday December 7 at 6.30pm Contact 04 4477601. 

This is a special beach side Christmas. Enjoy the stary-sky and the cityscape lights as a giant Christmas tree gets lit up on a cool winter day. There will be carols, sweet treats and Santa too.

4. Christmas Tree lighting at Raffles Dubai - When: December 6 from 6pm to 7pm . Contact 04 3248888

Watch the 20 foot Christmas tree gloriously illuminated with hundreds of twinkling lights. Nibble on festive treats and sip a glass of warming mulled grape as Raffles Christmas Choir sing traditional tunes, and Santa Claus makes a special appearance with a sack brimming full of gifts for the little ones. Raffles giant Gingerbread House will be revealed, full of wonderful handmade Christmas treats and gifts to purchase.

5 Christmas Tree Lighting at the Irish village - When : Mon Dec 4, 7pm to 10pm, free entry. Tel: (04) 239 5000

Christmas carols, mulled wine and minced pies on offer. Tis the season to be merry!!

6 Fort Island’s Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah - When : Sun to Weds, 3pm to 1am, Thurs to Sat 12pm to 1am free entry. Tel: (04) 366 8888

This large 1,750 square metre winter wonderland features a German-style Festive Market and guess what is a special Arabian touch ? A  ride on an abra boat with Santa. Theres's going to be games, tiny tots can have a ride on a North Pole train while bigger kids can enjoy the giant snow ball zone. There will also be something new this year ; an interactive LED Christmas tree and daily appearances from Santa himself 

7. Movenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate, Christmas tree lighting. when : Tuesday, December 5th at 6pm The huge 20ft tall tree will be illuminated in all its glory, with the sound of Christmas carols filling the air and themed treats for all the family!

8. Christmas Markets at Reform -  when : 12pm to 6pm on Saturday November 25 and Saturday December 9

Kids can enjoy a magic show by Magic Phil, Santa grotto and face painting while adults can get some christmas shopping done. There will be more than 30 vendors selling fashion, jewellery and homeware pieces from boutique stalls . 

9. Sofitel Chrismas tree lighting -  when : December 18 from 6pm onwards Contact 04 4555656. Christmas tree lighting and  festive carols by the Sofitel the Palm Christmas Choir, followed by the Sofitel candle ritual.

10. Towers Rotana Christmas Tree lighting - when : December 12 from from 7pm to 7.30pm Contact 04 3122201

Have your family pictures taken with Santa by the Christmas tree. Enjoy a special Christmas tree lighting and carols.

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With #Dubaifitnesschallenge well swung into action and the weather getting outdoor friendly, I've complied a list of must-do activities to get your child off the couch and explore beautiful Dubai. Don't fret, this list here is budget friendly and most activities come free. So read on, get out, discover and get fit!

1. Light and Sound show at Wafi - Immerse yourself in an amazing convergence of light and sound where the tale of ‘The Return of the Pharaohs’ unfolds.

When/ Where : The show will run every evening at 8 pm and 9.30pm starting 1st October 2017 , November, December, outside Wafi

Price : Free

2.  Dubai Graden Glow & Dinosaur Park/ Museum/ Ice park - 8 degree -  the world’s largest themed garden comprising 10 different themed landmarks, including a Burj Khalifa replica made entirely of medicine bottles.

When/ where : Zabeel park Gate 6&7. Open Saturdays to Wednesdays: 04:00 PM – 12:00 AM. Thursdays, Fridays & Public Holidays: 04:00 PM – 01:00 AM

Price : Ticket Fee Dhs. 60 per person ( Handicapped and children under three can enter for free).

3. Take an Abra ride across the creek and show kids around the spice souqs.

Where : Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai.

Price : Aed 1 for a one way ticket.

4. Aventura Nature adventure park - outdoor adventure park that has just opened in Dubai, spread across 35,000 square metres of the ghaf forest in Al Mushrif Park. Aventura has a total of 83 challenges in and between trees and 20 ziplines distributed over 5 adventure circuits: Rangers, Explorador, Aventura, Xtreme, Thriller, and 3 training circuits. You can spend up to 3 hours crossing the circuits as many times as you want!

Where : Al Mushrif Park

Price : Three-hour tickets for the circuit cost from Dh60 for kids

5.Global Village - Explore different culture, food and shop the world at this destination. With kids entertainment, stage shows, dance,  al fresco theme park with various zones based around different countries, there's lots to discover here with the kids.

Price : General Admission Ticket: AED 15.

6. Take a trip to Wahat Al Sahraa. Discover Flora and Fauna with the lil munchkins. While you are there you can also pick up some kitchen garden herbs and plants to introduce a fresh hobby of gardening.

When/ Where : Al Khawaneej, 8am -6pm.

Price : Free entry

7.  Posh paws- Do you have kids who are ardent animal lovers and who would love to pet them. Get your wild hearts out for a little adventure with some petting farm animals.

When/ where :   Open daily 8am-12pm, 3pm-6pm. Al Khawaneej, near Dubai Desert Equestrian Club, opposite Dubai Municipality Veterinary Clinic 

Price :  Dhs20 (for adults), Dhs10 (for 2-16 year olds). Under 2’s are free.

8. Walk or jog aroud Dubai water canal boardwalk

Price : Free

9. Visit the many Parks (Zabeel, Creekside, Jumeirah, Safa, Al Mamzar etc) sprinkled all over Dubai. It's picnic season yet again! Take advantage of the cooler months.  Most parks are complete with bbq grills, children play area, running tracks etc. Especially try out the Playhouse in Mushrif park and the biking tracks in Nad Al sheba.

Price : Different price for different parks. Ranges from 5- 20 Aed, not more.

10. Take kids out for a Bike or scooter ride by the beach, build sand castles and collect some interesting shells (Jumeirah, Um suqueim, Al Mamzar etc)

Price : Free

11. Splash fountain at Marina walk . Smaller kids love this especially and it's a great way to cool down and get moving

Price : Free

12. Breakletics -  (Only during Dubai Fitness Challenge) A mashup of fitness and breakdance. Try this, everyone can do it, it highly effective and revolutionary.

 When/ where : Dubai Festival City, 17-18 November.

Price : Free

13. Pound : (Only during Dubai Fitness Challenge)  Recommended for kids 6 and above. Pound uses lightly-weighted drumsticks called Ripstix to create resistance as you drum along to the beat of different music genres.

When/ where : Dubai Festival City, 17-18 November.

Price : Free

14. SuperHero Walkathon  -   (Only during Dubai Fitness Challenge)  Kids are going to love this, especially as they get to don their favorite superhero costume.  Promising to transform the city into a scene straight out of your favorite superhero movie. The 3.2 km route will lead you through the streets of Dubai Marina – in the company of Batman, Superman, Spiderman and co.

When/ where :  Dubai Marina, 3 November, 2-4pm.

Price : Free

15. Mums and strollers Walkathon -  (Only during Dubai Fitness Challenge) You're a yummy mommies with a baby who can't  walk yet? No worries, the Dubai Fitness challenge  has got you covered too. Parents are invited to bring their little ones and their strollers to this casual, sociable event taking place in the leafy surrounds of Mamzar Park.

When/ where : Mamzar Park, 7 November, 9.30-11.30am.

Price : Free

 

     

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    In my recent Back-To-School discussions with parents, every parents concern seems to be leaning towards the steep cost associated with educating kids in this region. With rising costs in education, what are the options for UAE parents?  UAE is seeing a significant rise in Home Schooling and I have been hearing fabulous reports from friends who have chosen to go down the path of 'Home Schooling' their kids. In the near future i am looking at featuring experiences from veteran home-schooling parents and accredited associations involved in the process. 

    For now, the focus is on options for parents who prefer to send kids to good schools and not get bankrupt in the process.  Good news for UAE residents!!- 'Affordable schools' are scheduled to pop up  this year and in the coming year. Newlands School in Al Warqa ( English National Curriculum, IGCSEs, A-levels)) is one of the first ones to come up this September 2017, with fees starting at 19,200 AED in FS1 to 26,400 AED in Year 6. Founding parents of the school also enjoy a great discount. The school will also offer five free scholarship places for Emirati girls as part of their commitment to the Emirati community. NewLands school also boasts of  the smallest class sizes (maximum of 25 pupils) than other schools in the same fee range

    Newlands School offers a British curriculum and a holistic international education that focuses on innovative teaching and learning about the real world. The board of governors of Newlands Schools are the owners of Beacon House, the world’s largest school group by student population. They have a proven track record of setting up and running successfully schools in south-east Asia and the Middle East. This is definitely an option to consider for parents looking at a decent English National Curriculum at affordable pricing.

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    What? Zippy Kids Store

    Where ? Dubai Mall, Festival city Mall

    What’s in for kids summer fashion this year? Light weight fabrics, pastels, comfort fits, tropical prints and motifs

    Looking for your kids to be a style force to be reckoned with? I just discovered Zippy kids store and was wowed by their selection of nursery accessories, feeding essentials, travel must-haves and fashionable ensembles. They also have a buy one get one free promotion running this season. What I absolutely loved was the breathable, summer clothes that they carry. I was also impressed by the price point for the quality and their stylish designs. My boys are sporting our favorite tees from Zippy.

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    The other day I was passing by Hamley’s (I am aware every parents dreads this walk) and my 4 year old son ecstatically screams “mom I need to get that super-hero set”. I responded, “you don't NEED TO, you just WISH YOU could have it. You're wish will be granted for your birthday”. To that he responds “why cant you get it now” . My reply “i am not carrying money for it now and you have a room full of toys, so there is NO NEED for more”. His jet-set response was “use your credit card”. I was shocked, What does a 4 year old think a credit-card is? A magic card to swipe away?? I most certainly had a fitting response to offer him.

    On that note I have a few questions to pose. Were you taught how to manage money as a kid and make responsible spending/saving decisions by your family? Or did you just figure things out with time? Did your school have a special subject on personal financial management? I wish we did . Most of us went to schools that focused on academics and fell terrible short on teaching us how to manage our personal health, wealth and stress. Raising financially savvy kids means to be intentional about teaching them concepts on saving, investments, spendings, budgeting and planning. Our parents probably never taught us this and now stepping into the ‘parent shoes’ it can be an overwhelming task for us to attempt teaching the same. So, where do we begin?

    I was interested to learn that UAE has a first of it’s kind ‘Money Savvy kids program’. The courses are presented by trained professionals and covers a broad range of money matters. I had the privilege to meet and learn more about the program from founder Marilyn Pinto. I was so impressed by the concept and the value it adds, hence decided to enroll my oldest for the same. Now, my 8 year old is one who has a need to be engaged and has to have interesting content delivered to him , or else you’ve completely lost him. He got back from his first day of ‘Financial Literacy course’ and was on a roll talking about his learnings, the fun atmosphere and he also brought home a piggy bank he made to carry on his interactions/learning at home. He looked forward to attend the courses every Saturday mornings at ‘Up Town School’. (they do offer courses in other locations too)

    I understand that parents are the biggest influence on children's financial learnings. However, what other tools can we offer to make our kids financially capable adults. Kids in this day and age are juggling a number of after school activities and coaching. Have you ever considered an after school coaching for kids on finance? It could develop a strong foundation for life-long financial competence. If you ever consider (i would strongly suggest all parents to consider) a financial education program for your young ones, then ‘Kids Finance initiative’ comes highly recommended to you.  So glad i found them.

    For more info on the program follow :

    http://kidsfinanceinitiative.com

    https://www.facebook.com/kidsfinanceinitiative/

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