Sunday 20 October 2019

Looking for the right summer camp for your child?

Whether your child is a budding scientist, Lego fiend or natural born performer, keeping them amused when school is out will be much easier if you book a summer camp, writes Denise Smith

The only problem you’ll face is choosing which one. Photo: Deposit Photos
The only problem you’ll face is choosing which one. Photo: Deposit Photos

As much as you love your little scamps, summer can stretch out endlessly if you don’t have activities organised to sate their boundless energy.

If you find yourself continuously struggling to fill your children’s’ schedule with enough fun and games on a normal weekend, then planning ahead to ensure your little ones are entertained during the long, lazy days of summer should be one of your top priorities.

While some parents are of the opinion that summer camp is nothing more than a glorified babysitting service, the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you want to broaden your child’s wider social circles, introduce them to new skill sets and help them achieve a sense of independence, summer camp is where you should begin, which is why they are proving more popular than ever.

And if you’re still not convinced, celebrities including Zooey Deschanel, Natalie Portman, Lea Michele and even Julia Roberts spent their childhoods taking part in relay races and baking marshmallows by the camp fire.

Now, more than ever, there are a plethora of options when it comes to choosing the right summer camp for your child. Whether they have an interest in sports, art, performance or science, the only problem you’ll face is choosing which one.

• Starcamp

If your child has the X-factor and your main lines of communication occur through song and dance, Starcamp is the all-singing all-dancing summer camp of dreams.

Aimed at boys and girls aged four to 12, Starcamp is lauded as Ireland’s leading summer camp for performing arts. Not just your ordinary summer camp fare, the award-winning camp was born out of a desire to instil children with self-

esteem and confidence through performance, fun and games. So if your child is not a natural performer, never fear, mentors are incredibly aware of nerves, shyness and various levels of ability of all those who attend.

Running from 9.30am-2.30pm for five days during the summer months, everything offered is curated especially for your child’s health and wellbeing. There is a focus on music, which is proven to ignite developmental and intellectual skills in children, and dance and drama.

Aside from that, there’s a superhero masterclass taught by real superheroes, a daily arts and crafts section and news and weather reporting.

At the end of each week, there is a Friday finale showcase where all are welcome.

• Tech Kidz

Not every child will be convinced of the merits of summer camp, especially if they value their time with their games console. Naturally, Tech Kidz is a hit with computer game aficionados.

The multi-activity technology camps introduce children between the ages of seven and 14 years to coding, programming and game development. Kids will also learn to design and create their own computer games, including characters, backgrounds and sounds. However, it’s not all fun and games: parents will be glad to hear that children will also discover how to stay safe online as they develop their social and personal skills.

Camps are based in Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.

• Art Zone

For boys and girls who love nothing more than diving into the world of their favourite superheroes, this leading summer camp offers Comic Book Illustration courses (10 to 16 years) where children can create the pages of their own comic book. From the initial storyboard brainstorming session, specialist tutors will guide students through their concept, character development and story-telling, drawing, design and illustration techniques.

For other creatives, children aged between eight and 12 years can step behind the lens and learn all about photography.

Not forgetting those who have an eye for fashion, the Fashion Academy aged 10 to 16 years will tutor kids on mood boards, fashion drawing and design. Children will also be taught how to use a sewing machine with expert tuition.

With 10 locations around Dublin, and a further seven across Leinster, Artzone summer camps are run by qualified art teachers throughout the summer.

• Whizzkids Summer Camps

For tech-minded kids, Whizzkids summer camps are where it’s at. With an emphasis on having fun with technology, children aged eight to 15 will learn web design, animation, video-game design and programming, 3D digital design and undertake a host of hi-tech challenges, including the Whizzkids Spy Academy. With time indoors and out, there is a healthy mix of action.

Locations include UCD Dublin, DCU Dublin, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Limerick IT, Cork IT, and Tralee Institute of Technology.

• Anyone 4 Science

If you have a young Einstein on your hands, this fun and informative camp for kids ages four to 15 focuses on everything from pneumatics, renewable energy, acids and bases, geology and more.

With 24 venues from Cork to Dundalk, camps run each weekday from 10am-2pm.

• National Sports Campus Summer Camps

The Multi Sports Academy includes over 20 different sports for children aged five to 13. Participants can enjoy fencing, archery, swimming, water polo, cricket, gymnastics, trampolining, aquazone and more.

The Sports Campus based in Blanchardstown also offers gymnastic summer camps and inclusive multi-sports camps for children with disabilities.

• Astropark Camps

Blending football with a healthy dollop of fun, Astropark Camps based in Tallaght and Coolock, place a high emphasis on soccer coaching as well as fun and games.

Each day after a morning focusing on football, there’s a different fun activity in the afternoons. Kids will enjoy amazing inflatable games, including a giant obstacle course, bouncy dodgeball and Nerf wars. Camps are suitable for kids aged four to 13.

• LearnIt Lego Education Summer Camps

For children who have interests beyond arts and crafts, performing arts and sports, Learnit Lego-themed camps are designed to inspire and develop the skills of tomorrow’s engineers.

Offering a range of age-appropriate workshops, each camp covers concepts including mechanics, engineering, robotics, construction, science and creativity.

For fans of Robot Wars, Junior Robotics Camp is the perfect choice. Children will be introduced to Lego robotic models with working motors, gears, cams and sensors. They will then have the opportunity to bring their models to life by programming them with intuitive WeDo robotics software.

With three different Lego camps to choose from you will be spoiled for choice: Junior Engineers (6-8yrs), Senior Engineers Summer Camps (9-12yrs) and Senior Robotics Summer Camps (11+ yrs).

Locations include Dublin, Cork, Galway, Clare, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Louth, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath and Wicklow.


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