Children’s activities in Qatar: A suggestion for every budget
What’s more challenging than getting through Doha traffic with your sanity and wits in place? Entertaining your children without turning them into mall rats or bankrupting yourself. If money is not an issue, you can always manage to find fun activities, but what if you are already peering into your empty wallet this month?JustHere lines up a whole range of activities to suit every budget.
Tasawory Kids in Nature Competition Green spaces surely aren’t in abundance here in Qatar, which gives us even more reason to appreciate what we have. Qatar Museums Authority is passing on the value of nature to our children through their newly launched ‘Kids in Nature’ online competition. Each month a new challenge is presented where kids aged 4 – 12 are asked to submit original artwork or poetry. These entries are then submitted to make an adorably informative interactive map celebrating nature in Qatar.
Fuwairit Beach Qatar is not exactly world-renowned for its beaches but recent efforts to keep the coastlines cleaned up have greatly affected the region’s reputation. Friends who have visited Caribbean beaches insist that Fuwairit can compete, mainly due to its calm waters and sandy surfaces. Kids can safely play in the low waves and enjoy the vast emptiness that is unplugging from technology for a day. There aren’t even bathroom facilities, which adds to the feeling that one truly is escaping from our busy and distracted lifestyles. Enjoy the family road trip time as you drive about 45 minutes outside of Doha on Al Shamal highway toward Al Khor. Take exit 79 (there is a sign for Fuwairit) and follow the road to the shore, being careful to stop where the ground becomes sand if you haven’t given in to the SUV culture of Qatar yet.
Aspire Park Pedal Boats Not only can we escape to the green side of the fence (literally) for some peaceful playtime, but arrive at Aspire Park after 5 p.m. to hop in a free boat ride. Free entertainment, of course, does not come without hard work as you’ll need to utilise those calf muscles to pedal your way across the pond because let’s be honest, the kids won’t be helping out much in this area. (But Mommy, I can’t reach the pedals!)
Kids Yoga at Yama Yoga Studios, Garvey’s European Family Family Club If you’re wondering what to do with your turbo-charged toddlers on a Saturday morning and hoping to find some peace and quiet of your own, bring your little ones to a Kids Yoga class, taught by Allana Beaton at Yama Yoga Studios, located at Garvey’s European Family Club. Beaton activates not only their spritely bodies but also their minds as she teaches poses through imagining watching sunsets on the beach, flying in airplanes to see the animals on tropical islands and iconic cities. Class consists of 45 minutes of active and non-stop yoga poses, finishing with an art activity and story time. Cost: QR45, unless parents want to take the simultaneous adult class, in which case price for kids is QR35.
Al Samariyah Equestrian Center Once you’ve warmed your children up to imaginary animals from Yoga, they just might be ready to experience an afternoon with live ones. Near the Sheikh Faisal Museum on the road to Dukhan stands the tranquil Al Samariyah Equestrian Center where children can ride horses through the closest thing you’ll find to a forest in Qatar (we are pushing the nature theme here!). See local blogger and JustHere columnist Christine Gerber-Rutt’s article for an account of the experience Cost: Hourly rides are QR60 for children ages 6 and under, or QR100 for ages 7 and up.
Entalek Kayak While green spaces in Qatar might be sparse, coastal waters are hard to miss if you’re willing to venture outside the shopping malls for the day. Qatar’s sole local kayaking company called Entalek knows how to take advantage of this element of nature and they want your kids to come along. Not only will the family get to bond while learning to steer the kayak (probably not unlike the pedal boat experience here), but this adventure excursion also boasts ecology talks and chilling with the fish and birds amongst Qatar’s own mangroves. Cost: QR200 for adults, QR150 for kids under 12 and QR50 for kids under 6.
Doha Mums Library The Doha Mums Children’s Library has been like a ‘Where’s Waldo’ book for as long as I have resided in Doha, but it seems the institution is finally ready to put down some roots in its new location at Al Jazi compound near Landmark Mall. Read more about the formerly nomadic Children’s Library in Just Here’s recent article. Although the library is only available for children of Doha Mums members, it’s indisputable that Doha will benefit as a community now that there actually exists such a place within our city. Even I, as a non-Mum, am ecstatic that families now have a place to celebrate their love of all things books. Cost: If you are in fact a Mum (or Pop) your family can become a member of Doha Mums, then pay an additional QR100 for library membership.
Yama Yoga Kids Ballet I once heard a story of a family who was concerned their child had a learning disability. She couldn’t sit still or concentrate in school. The family brought her to a psychologist who left her alone in his office while peeking through the window to examine her behaviour. She rose from her chair and started prancing around the room. The diagnosis: “Your daughter does not have a learning disability. She is simply a dancer.” For those children who were born to move, the winter session of Kids Ballet is beginning in November at Yama Yoga studios, at either the Garvey’s or Asas Towers locations. Cost: QR300 for a 6-week course. Classes vary for kids of ages 3 – 8.
Katara Beach & Sailing Katara may be famous for film festivals and karak, but there is also an opportunity to let your children get dirty in the sand and swim at the beach. Kids under 6 can enter for free, ages 6 – 16 for QR50 and adults pay QR100. Children can tackle the playground, pedal boats, or even kayaks and canoes. But if you’re ready to cash out your pockets for your child, you will buy them a sailing lesson through Regatta Sailing Academy. Membership for the academy is available for children up to age 18 for QR800. Course prices vary but can range from QR950 for group classes to private 10 hour courses for up to QR2500. Wakeboarding, Windsurfing, and Waterskiing lessons are also available at Katara if your kids are addicted to the wind in their hair.
Qatar Divers Yes, Ariel was my favourite Disney Princess and yes, I’m afraid to be underwater with marine creatures swimming past me for long periods of time. Don’t let your little ones end up like me – it’s not beneficial for vacation travel options. Instead, take them to learn the basics of diving or even become certified if they are 15 or older. Two courses are offered specifically for the young ones, 8 years and older. PADI Bubblemakers and PADI Seal Team are designed specifically for making sure your children don’t end up like adults like me, stuck on land. Price on request.
Are there other suggestions you would like to add to this list?
Photo credit for Fuwairit image: Lisa Sapp