With the summer school holidays coming, many parents and families will be choosing which camps and activities their children will attend during this break from their academic routine. This article will focus primarily of making the right choice for children aged 10 and below and how to identify if your children will be nurtured and cared for whilst in the care of your chosen camp.

There are lots of different camps to choose from, ranging from specialist camps like football and other sports, to the multi-activity camps and those held at hotels and water parks. It is important that you identify if your child has a strong specific interest like Dance or Football for example and would be happy spending extended amounts of time with the same focus. This will help you to decide if you should choose a specialist or multi-activity camp.

Staff, Instructors and coaches

The first thing to consider is the staff, the quality of instructors and coaches that will lead and care for your child. The best camps will choose the majority of their staff because they work and lead young people as part of their primary careers. You should be cautious of camps that run on seasonal staff especially if they are quite young. This is ultimately the most important feature for a camp catering for children of the primary education age and will determine the quality of experience and safety of your child.

Schedule

Following the quality and experience of the instructors, the next important feature to take into account is the schedule of activities. When reviewing the schedule look for a variety of activities and environments, make sure there is a range of activities scheduled as children will get bored if doing the same activity and staying in the same room for the longs stretches of time. Be weary of camps that are heavy on arts and crafts as most children will get bored if they don’t have a full range of activities to challenge and stimulate them physically as well as mentally. Occasionally camps may change the schedule of activities they shared; do not be alarmed, this may occur in response to the feedback from the campers. Modifying the program in response to the experience of the young people or a safety precaution is a good sign. Another aspect to look at here is the amount of ‘free time’ and breaks incorporated into the day. Unstructured time should be kept to short sessions, long periods of ‘free time’  has the potential to create opportunities for things to go wrong. Good camps keep breaks throughout the day to short sessions, allowing just enough time for snacks, food and hydration but not long enough for potential issues to occur.

Location

The location of the available camps varies from schools, learning centres, fitness/leisure centres and even water parks. Each location type has it’s advantages however, a school setting is the most suited to managing groups of school aged children through a schedule of activities safely.  If you want further confidence request a tour of the location, make sure you are happy that the venue is safe and if swimming pools are used there must be a marked lifeguard by the poolside. No one should be in a pool without one. Ask this question when interacting the camp staff to ensure they confirm the presence of life guards.

I hope this brief advice will help you choose the right school holiday camp for your child(ren), remember that having the right adults caring for your child(ren) is the most important feature of a camp when making your choices!

Written by Siyavash Mokhtarzadeh, Business Development Manager, Kings’ Education

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