With the summer break just around the corner, youngsters are being encouraged to inspire their minds and fire their imaginations with the MAKTABA at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) workshops.

During this year’s school holidays, MAKTABA will be hosting more than 35 workshops and 12 reading workshops from August 1 to 26, offering a variety of activities that combine fun with learning.

There will also be a special edition of the summer reading challenge, with children being encouraged to read 50 books to mark the ‘Year of the 50th’, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE.

The reading sessions for children will feature numerous writers narrating some of their stories, including Fatima Lootah, Fatima Sharafeddine, Dr Ahmed Al Shoaibi, Nooreyah Al Obaidli, Anna Kaminski, and Saif Abdullah.

MAKTABA will also be hosting Emirati artist Maitha Hamdan, who will be presenting art workshops on Wednesdays. Here, she will introduce children to the secrets of lighting art, teaching them how to paint with salt and create their own paintings with one thread, in addition to customising their own gift wrapping.

Another weekly seminar is the Game of the Week series, taking place every Tuesday. This will showcase a specific game, such as fencing or chess, to familiarise children with the history of these activities and ways to partake in them. The programme also includes awareness seminars and artistic workshops suitable for children of all ages.

“The summer break is the ideal opportunity for children to gain knowledge away from the routine of classrooms, albeit virtually,” said Shaikha Al-Mehairi, Library Management Director at DCT Abu Dhabi. “Children need to have the freedom to choose books that suit their interests and read them in their own time without the stress of homework and exams, as this improves their ability to learn and absorb the information presented in these books.

“This year, we are celebrating our beloved UAE through the summer reading challenge, where children are required to read 50 books in celebration of the ‘Year of the 50th’. They will also be required to log these books in a specific form to earn a special certificate that marks their participation. Adults can take part in this challenge as well by reading eight books that celebrate the history and achievements of the UAE.”

The Summer Reading Challenge starts on 1 July and runs until 31 August, 2021.