1. Parents hoping to wean their children from the goggle-box, make a note: take your kids to the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF) – it’s back from October 8-13. Kids will still get their fill of screen time, but the festival, which is now in its fifth year, will show thought-provoking yet entertaining movies that will introduce them to the magic of cinema. There will also be movie workshops, media arts activities and a platform for the UAE’s young filmmakers to show their work to the world. Visit sicff.ae.
2. The weekend can’t go wrong when adorable baby animals are involved and we’ve got something better that YouTube videos of kittens – the cuteness is live at the Emirates Park Zoo where you can catch the park’s baby otters at feeding time daily at 10.45am, 3pm and 7pm. As the male and female siblings named Bruce and Jackie gambol around their enclosure sliding in the water, the park officials will be on hand to educate you about the species’ habitat and feeding habits. Call 02 5069000.
3. At hardware brand Speedex’s summer workshop for kids, popsicles don’t just beat the summer heat – they also defeat holiday ennui: Artist Julie Fraser is conducting a workshop for kids where popsicle sticks will be recycled to create art. The two-hour workshop on August 26 will leave kids with artistic skills that will stick to them. From 10am-12pm; Dh70 per child at Speedex Office, Al Quoz 4. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. If your kids have a tendency for drama, sign them up for children’s theatre school Hayley’s Comet’s acting courses. Budding Thespians aged three to 17 can hone their acting, playwriting and dance skills before performing in an original musical they’ve written themselves, featuring Broadway routines and pop music. They’ll learn all about characterisation, scenes and stage presence under actress Hayley Doyle, who has played Ali in the West End musical Mamma Mia! and trained at Paul McCartney’s Fame School. Autumn term starts on September 10 at Alex and James Dance studio in Media City; term fees start from Dh1,150 plus Dh100 registration charge for new students. Email email@example.com to register.