RiuLand has activities for ages 4 to 7, and 8 to 12. As a spokesperson puts it: "RiuLand places a premium on outdoor, physical group activities instead of more static pastimes." Themed days include Riu Olympic, Piratesland, Ecoland, parties and contests, and children's plays staged weekly in the resorts' theaters and starring -- the kids. (Club Med, by the way, has had weekly mini-Club shows for years with great success.)
Kids Clubs at all-inclusive resorts are not created equal: some brands go all out, with multiple programs for different ages, and tremendous opportunities to learn sports, trapeze, or dance routines. On the other hand, many all-inclusives have the "friendly little club" variety -- often with caring staff, but low-key, and with just one group for ages 4 to 12. Tweens tend to find this age spread "babyish"; another point to watch out for is reliance on tv and videogames.
Good news, then, that a big brand like RIU is making a point of active kids' programs. First resorts to get RiuLand are the Riu Bambu, Riu Mambo, Riu Merengue and Riu Bachata in the Dominican Republic; Riu Negril and Riu Ocho Rios in Jamaica and Riu Tequila in Mexico. Lots more resorts in Mexico will ramp up in winter 2009/10.