Only a generation ago, there was little choice for children during the lengthy school holidays but with the advent of online activities, increasing numbers of working parents and the rising level of child obesity, the range and scale of school holiday activities has mushroomed and this summer will see over 5 million children participating in activity camps across the UK.
With the European Soccer Championships and Rio Olympics making this a summer of sport, parents are seizing the opportunity to harness the enthusiasm of our high-profile athletes and players to get their children active and providers like Kings Camps are reporting a 15% increase in participation levels for this summer.
Sports clubs and academies tend to focus on sports performance and they attract the same children throughout the year, whereas multi-activity camps are specifically designed for children of all abilities, enabling them to be active, have fun and learn together as they try a range of new and familiar activities.
“Our daughter isn’t hugely into sport and was reluctant to attend, but loved her 1st experience and wants to attend next summer. She loved “trying new sports” and the coaches who included her in everything.” Says Shivaughn, a parent from Stirling.
A typical day-camp provides school-aged children with the opportunity to try fun games, team-building activities, team sports, athletics, creative activities, challenges and competitions during the day at a local school, university or other sports facility.
It’s not just benefits to children that have been an important element to rise of inclusion summer camps. Since 2008 the cost of childcare has increased 48% with the average place costing over £220 per week (Childcare Survey Plus 2016), compared with a full week at camp costing £177, for the same number of hours each day.
In 2012 an Ofcom report on media consumption in the UK estimated that on average, 3-4-year-olds spends three hours a day looking at a phone, tablet or TV. This rises to four hours for 5-7s, 4.5 hours for 8-11s, and a whopping 6.5 hours for teenagers and many parents are taking action so that their children don’t fall into this downward spiral.
“I had fun in my child-hood, but I do wonder how much fun kids have now. Many parents seem to be happy to let screens and aps and YouTube clips take the strain and entertain the kids in the holidays” says Rachel, a parent from Chesterfield whose daughter attended Kings Camps earlier this year. “I love that my daughter is active and getting sweaty, doing team work, learning skills, taking some calculated risks and being physical!”
Kings Camps are part of UK children’s charity the Kings Foundation, whose mission is to get children active and Richard Holmes, the charities CEO has led the rise of school-holiday initiatives aimed at combatting childhood Inactivity. “We love to give children the option to learn new sports which they wouldn’t usually get to do at school as well as participating in fun versions of traditional sports. Over the last 25 years we’ve seen the transformative value of sport and activity affecting the lives of over 1 million children. It’s great to see that even with the growing level of passive entertainment options, children still enjoy that real, energising, all together experience that you get from a week of fun and healthy activities.”