The start of the summer holidays signals family time, perhaps a few trips away, and lots of fun and ice-cream. But for many, it also means a big headache, especially for working parents who are only able to take a few weeks off. With childcare options slightly more limited over the holiday period, it’s summer holiday clubs that can often be the saviour during the long summer months of no school.
And, if like me, you have a kid who climbs the walls if they’re not being occupied 24/7, then summer holiday clubs also gives them much-needed stimulation and a chance to be with friends, or form new friendships.
Even though I fit my working schedule around the children, being able to keep Monkey entertained for six weeks is nigh on impossible. So we’ve always used summer holiday clubs to break the monotony.
Super Camps is one such summer holiday club that ticks all our boxes. Not only can they be found in over 80 locations across the UK, they combine multi-activities with specialist courses such as cookery and LEGO® building over five days. Monkey was keen in trying this particular course which sees children design their own LEGO® set but unfortunately, the dates didn’t work for us so he was more than happy to attend a week where he’d be joining in with a diverse range of different activities from imaginative games, playing football, taking part in team sports and painting projects. I knew he wasn’t going to be bored.
What impressed me straight away is that Supercamps is an OFSTED registered childcare provider and during my tour, it was clear that the instructors were all professional and had a good rapport with the children. In fact, after chatting to a few, I discovered that some are already teachers, or training to be. I was also glad to observe the structured feel of the fun play. During the morning welcome meeting children are reminded of the rules – such as the camp is a nut-free zone, and lunches should never be shared, but then the kids are also asked what activities they would like to do. It was great to see the kids involved in the decision making.
I also liked the idea of the kids being split into different teams in order to earn points during the week. Monkey was pleased as punch to receive a Superstar certificate and points on his first day for settling in so well. And was also proud when he revealed that he’d won his team 2000 points for good behaviour one day.
So while the emphasis is on fun and interactive learning, as well as building confidence, it is also vital to be an organised operation – and Super Camps have clearly nailed down a successful format.
It was only natural on his first day for Monkey to feel nervous. During the car journey, he was unusually quiet, so I reassured and reminded him how much fun he always has when he attends summer holiday clubs.
When we arrived camp manager James welcomed us and took Monkey into the main hall. This was my cue to leave, and I felt a twinge of worry as I drove away. Deep down, however, I knew he would be fine and, when I picked him up later that day, he came running out, shouting ‘Byeeee!’ at the top of his voice to his new pals.
Much like it is when he finishes school, it can be difficult to get out of him the finer details but when I asked if he’d enjoyed himself, he nodded enthusiastically. This was an indication that the rest of the week at Super Camps was going to be okay – and my instincts were correct.
Over the course of the next four days, I eventually gleaned more information. He loved playing hockey and bench ball, absolutely adored racing his friends on the go-karts, but was a little disappointed he wasn’t old enough to take a ride on the quad bikes. His favourite day was on the Wednesday, which was ‘Super Soak’ day. All the children had to bring in their swimming gear and spent hours getting each other wet – the perfect activity to do when it was so hot.
He also learned how to play a few card games, produce a few pieces of artwork and constructed some LEGO®. When it came to his final day, he practically skipped in and barely gave me a backward glance. The difference in his demeanour in comparison to the first day was phenomenal and when I asked him if he’d like to go back in the next school holidays, the answer was ‘yes.’
So I would take that as two thumbs up from Monkey – Super Camps was a big hit. And it’s fantastic to know that I have an excellent childcare provider so close to home. Plus with last-minute places available, too, it means you can use them even at short-notice should your plans change.
Need to know
• Super Camps provide holiday childcare for children aged 4-14
• There are available in 83 locations across the UK
• Special courses such as cookery and LEGO® are available. Please check date options online.
• Extended hours are available at an extra cost
• Childcare vouchers are accepted
• Lunch, snacks and refillable water bottle are provided by parents
• Prices start from £39.80 per day
* This post was sponsored by Super Camps, who also provided a complimentary week for Monkey to join their summer holiday clubs. As always, my opinions are my own. You can find out more and book places at the Super Camps website.