Summer holidays. If you know me, you know I don’t really like them. I love the actual going on holiday part, and the nice days out and activities, but I hate those long days filled with inactivity, constant feeding and fending off boredom. Plus, I’m an introvert who craves alone time so I suffer from lack of recharge in my batteries over the summer holidays.
I’m always looking for ways to entertain the kids that they’ll be comfortable with. My eldest, William (9, nearly 10) is especially difficult. If he had his way, he’d never leave home. He loves his computer, playstation, books, TV and Mummy. If we have to go anywhere, even the park, he doesn’t want to, and it’s a big effort to get him to go anywhere. He’s fine once he’s out, and he enjoys himself, but I dread the debate over going.
Barracudas activity day camps got in touch a while back to see if we would try out a day at their activity camps, and I immediately thought of William. It would definitely get him out and enjoying some different activities. I did worry though that he would feel left out or unhappy. I told him about it in advance, and we looked at the Barracudas website together and talked about the sort of activities they do. During the summer they always say bring a swimming costume, plus long sleeved tops and trousers for some of the activities.
On the day, his bag was packed and he nervously made his way to the camp. It was held in a local secondary school to us. I was impressed at how well signposted it was, there was a sign up outside the school, then bunting was all round with more signs directing you where to go. It all added to the excitement, and took away any anxiety I had about going to a strange place and getting lost. I took the other children with me, and Phoebe got a bit jealous that she wasn’t going.
Once inside the reception, there were two friendly greeters and we checked in. William got a sticker with his name on, and was assigned his group according to age – Piranhas. There was a big timetable board displaying the days activities, which we all got excited by. He was hoping to do archery, and that was first on the list! There were two choices for each block, which was a nice touch. He was escorted personally by one of the group leaders and he gave me a big smile as he went up the stairs.
I was given a unique fob and a password, so that I could collect him safely. Before you go, you need to fill in and print out a safety form which includes nominated people who can pick up your child. Even though I knew I would be doing it, I put a couple more just in case. I felt reassured he was going to be in good hands. We had an hour range to drop off and pick up, so it was very flexible. There’s also the option for an early or late add on if you needed it.
When I picked him up, he was full of life! He loved it. He’d tried archery, fencing, motorsports, lacrosse, done a talent show (watched a talent show) and more. He’d met a friend and he wanted to go back next week. If I had the funds I would book him in for a few more days for sure.
Overall, I found it really well organised. The staff were super friendly and great with kids. They rotate the activities so they don’t get bored, and there’s a choice of activities each time. I loved the fact that they were in age groups, so everything was age appropriate and they could find their peers. The activities were broad, so not all sports based or art based but a nice mixture. Barracudas have multiple locations across the south of England, so you can find a camp near you. They take children from 4 and a half to 14. It costs around £45 for a day (9.30-4.30), or you can book a 5 day week for around £199. You can even use your childcare vouchers as full or part payment. You can book online, and in advance. It’s not only summer holidays, but Easter and half term too. Why not book up some days? I’m planning for next year.
Disclosure: collaborative post