We really can’t think of a better way to spend time as a family than heading to a bowling alley. Qatar Bowling Center (4432-9178), next to Al Bidda Park, is a huge venue that hosts bowling leagues as well as big family groups. Other, perhaps more kid-friendly options, include Gondolania Bowling Center (4403-9800) and Megapolis Entertainment Center (4437-8444).
Not all children thrive in team-based sports. Your child may be more interested in expressing themselves through dance. There are many studios offering dance lessons for children. Some popular options include Sophie McDonald Dance Company (5540-0419), with ballet, jazz and contemporary dance for multiple skill levels; Music & Arts Atelier and AIMAC Qatar (4416-1983), with a wide range of options from Western-style forms to classical Indian dance, even Bollywood.
Rock climbing is a physically demanding sport, but it’s also a cerebral one. Not only will kids gain strength and flexibility, but they’ll also engage their problem-solving skills to help them to scale up a wall. Esqalar (3388-2179) offers introductory and academy programs for children at the Aspire Zone.
Mindfulness is having a bit of a moment, and it can help your children find a sense of calm and relaxation. It’s particularly helpful for stressed out, anxious teens. Yama Yoga (6617-5802) has dedicated yoga classes divided up between kids, tweens, and teens, as each age group has different needs.
If you are an experienced yogi, then we highly recommend turning to YouTube for both kid-friendly yoga videos as well as AcroYoga routines that will have you and your child working together to achieve fun—and often silly—poses.
Learning to ride a bike is considered a developmental milestone in many countries and theory, most children can ride a bicycle around the age of five. That said, there are not too many safe places in Doha to practice outside of compounds. However, there are a couple of parks that do allow children to ride bicycles, including Al Bidda, Museum of Islamic Art, and Dahl Al Hamam parks.
For family cycling outings, Aspire Park has several kilometres of bike lanes, as does Al Bidda. Another option for groups is the 13-kilometre cycling path that parallels the Ras Abu Abboud Expressway. Safely separated from the actual road, the fairly level track runs from Ras Abu Abboud bridge to Hamad International Airport.
Martial arts are wonderful for teaching children discipline and boosting their confidence levels—but also, it just looks cool. There are plenty of martial arts academies in Doha that teach everything from Thai kickboxing to karate to wrestling. A few kid-friendly dojos include Royal Martial Arts (3335-1117), the Korea Taekwondo Center (4465-9066), and SFQ Sports Academy (6622-2962).
Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex (4440-9666) has tennis courts for hire, so booking ahead to secure a court is a must. They also organise coaching sessions for both children and adults. Alternatively, Al Bidda Park has tennis courts that are free to use. While you can book a court on the spot (depending on availability), it’s best to call ahead at 4428-7777 to claim a space.
Learn to conquer the seas with Regatta Sailing Academy (3363-2515). They offer sailing courses for both children and adults at their base in Katara. Over at The Pearl-Qatar, Blue Pearl Experience (6660-2830) offers kayaking, paddle boarding and kitesurfing sessions. For active family days out, Aquasports (6696-3494) organises a variety of experiences exploring Qatar’s coastline, including their highly rated mangrove kayaking tours.
If your child has boundless energy, get them on track with Doha Athletic Club (6605-1263), a running club headed by Olympic medallist Liz McColgan. If they aren’t ready for a regular running regimen, then play running games like tag or red-light green-light in a nearby park to get them (and you) off to a great start. That said, your child—like most adults— may not be enthusiastic about running. It’s worth pushing it, however, as running is a great way to promote a strong, healthy heart. Make it more exciting by gearing up for fun events like Color Runs—Doha hosts one every January that includes a one-kilometre kids’ run.
While this year’s event has already passed, you can get your family ready for the next one by running in some of Doha’s more scenic running routes, including The Corniche and Oxygen Park, or by participating in Qatar Running series, which has kids’ races throughout the year.