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Crafty distractions for the little ones…
Creative ways you can keep the kids entertained and away from screens this summer holiday.
As the name suggests, this house of artistry is all about getting a little bit messy all in the pursuit of creating colourful abstract masterpieces. They run a few different programmes for adults as well as kids — with sessions in neon work, fluid paint, pendulum art, and spinning art. Prices start at around Dhs139 for an hour and include all the materials to go full Picasso on a piece of canvas.
AL Seef Village Mall. Tel: (02) 582 3353, @splatter_rooms
Keep the kids learning, entertained and covered in paint this summer with Art Central’s drawing and painting, and clay sculpting workshops. Sessions packs of four are priced around Dhs950, but they’re two hours long, the materials are all included and of course, you get to take your masterwork home.
Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island. Tel: (02) 679 6795, @artcentraluae
The artistry house formally known as Makespace, has a new name — Make, a new face, but their crafty collection of activities all go down in the same funky space. At Make Kids and adults can get involved in a dazzling range of arts, design, technology and craft workshops — with hands-on teaching sessions available in jewllery making, wordworking, cermaics and metalshopping. For a full list of their upcoming courses, keep your eyes on their social channels.
Block C1, Al Zeina, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 558 8624. @makeabudhabi
Creative Lab at Manarat Al Saadiyat
The Creative Lab Summer Camp is returning to Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat for a series of creative workshops between July 18 and July 28. With a special focus on music, there are daily 9am to 2pm sessions specifically designed for kids aged nine to 12. There’s Jingle Production with Berklee Abu Dhabi; Music Video Direction with Ayham Alsubaihi; Rap Song and Performance with Philip Rachid; Sound Effects Acting with Majid TV; Designing Music in Films with Gaby Habib; Historic Rhythms with Qasr Al Hosn and more. The package price for all this? Just Dhs800. You can register now on the twofour54.com website.
The National Aquarium
Located in the amphibious wonderland that is The National Aquarium’s Flooded Forest, a brand new interactive play centre — Bella and Rio’s Playground — designed with the specific intent of getting kids up close to nature, has just opened and is completely free to ticket holders. Named after local aquarium residents, the pair of hyacinth macaws, Bella and Rio’s Playground offers inspirational, exciting and educational experiences such crafting and colouring models of the Flooded Forest’s animals (including macaws, anteaters, monitor lizards, and capybaras) that will come to life on an animated wall display. More interactive educational fun stuff comes in the form of video mapping volcanos, tinkering with plankton, you can meet Khalid – the pearl diver, and get hands-on with an ice-age interactive feature.
The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi, Al Qana, Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi, general admission from Dhs105. Tel: (02) 418 6666. thenationalaquarium.ae
L’Atelier Des Arts
Part cafe, part art studio, all stunning — L’Atelier Des Arts, offers a massive collection of arts and craft courses for kids and adults. On the schedule, you’ll find actitivities like painting sunsets, dream catchers making, button art, decoupage, bear yarn (no idea what that is, but consider us in), interactive felt, mosaic making, paper quilling and a truly mind-boggling palette of other creative colours.
L’Atelier Des Arts, Mohammed Bin Khalifa Street, 9am to 10pm daily, sessions priced from Dhs105. Tel: (056) 400 2165, @latelierdesarts
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is home to a treasure trove of galleries, musems and culturally significant awesomeness. We recommend you take a quick look at our guide to some of the local highbrow highlights. But if we were to pick one, it’d be Louvre Abu Dhabi. In addition to housing one of the most beautifully curated, story-telling collections of art and objets-de-wow, they host movie nights, there’s a children’s museum, make and play sessions, paint and grape nights, special exhibitions (right now you can catch Stories of Paper) and even guided drawing tours. Held every Wednesday and lead by the Museum Educator you’ll learn insider skills, artistic trickery and see a different side to this world-class museum.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, every Wed 4.30pm to 6.30pm, Dhs81.50 (includes admission to museum, usually Dhs63). Tel: (02) 6736 688. louvreabudhabi.ae
Cake and Sprinkles
It’s all available to experience at Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation, behind Qasr Al Hosn until August 31 — as part of a fun-packed schedule of events under the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s (DCT Abu Dhabi) ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ campaign. Cakes and Sprinkles is a limited time pop-up pop-art patisserie serving up cakes, coffee, ice cream and spectating access to some stunning works of awe from 25 UAE-based artists, around a theme based on ‘the love of sweets’. There are also some incredibly fun interactive installations and fun-zones that look just perfect for a family day out.
Cultural Foundation, until August 31. @abudhabicf
Qasr Al Hosn
One of the most important cultural centres in the whole of the UAE, Qasr Al Hosn is a National Monument. Once the seat of the nation’s government, a home to the Al Nahyan family and the site of a national archive — the fort and watchtower (which dates to around 1790) now looks over its role as historian for the UAE. It’s also just opened a brand new House of Artisans component which offers guests the opportunity to learn about, and even try their hand at, traditional Emirati arts and crafts.
Al Hosn, Sat to Thu 10am to 7pm, Fri 2pm to 7pm, tickets Dhs30. Tel: (02) 697 6400, qasralhosn.platinumlist.net
This homegrown arts centre seeks to unearth and nurture local and regional talent. Warehouse421 provides a space that educates and inspires artists and art-enthusiasts. They also hold an incredible range of art and crafts workshops and summer club activities for kids. Activities include pottery classes, painting and themed sculpture making. You can see the full range of crafty fun, and reserve a space on the warehouse421.ae website.
Mina Zayed, Tue to Sun 10am to 8pm (closed Monday), free to enter, workshop packages from Dhs480. Tel: (02) 6768 803, @warehouse421
Art House Cafe
Art on the walls, art on the plates, art in their heart. Abu Dhabi’s Art House Cafe is all about providing a passionate experience, and the dining element is at the core of that. They’ve got a massive menu but their famous shakshoka is probably our pick of the brunch. Every inch feels, and smells like a truly inspirational, creative space, surrounded by botanical greens and abstract scenes. And because its a place that celebrates the creative spark, you can go full Picasso on a plate for Dhs20, there’s the option to paint masks (Dhs30) or a miniature brick painting (Dhs10).
Al Huwelat St, Bateen Area, Opp Al Bateen Villa No 15, 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 666 0175. @arthousecafead