It can be hard make the right childcare arrangements sorted for the long Summer holidays. In the UK more children than ever are choosing to spend their time in holiday clubs.
Throughout Cambridgeshire many of those children decided to spend their time at a Smartkidz holiday club. This year we had the best Summer ever!
We asked our children what they loved about this year’s Summer holiday. Here’s what we got up to and what they said about it:
1. Outdoor activities
At each of our sites our outdoor area is often the most used and well-loved space. Even on the rainiest of days you can find children in the junk area or under tree cover engaged in imaginative play.
We use these spaces in two main ways:
The first is for free play. Certain areas are set up for junk play, climbing, using a slack line or swing. These are always available for children to choose from and use as their imagination takes them.
The second is for supervised activities. This could be cooking, outdoor skills, games or team building activities. For these activities we have a short session that outlines safety guidelines and teaches the skill. After that children can join in the adult led activity as they like.
This Summer the most memorable sessions were whittling:
“I’m really having fun wood whittling; I waited a long time for it but it was definitely worth it in the end.”
And cooking outdoors with ingredients we foraged ourselves:
“Cooking with outdoor ingredients-Eww are we actually gonna eat this! Wow it’s actually awesome.”
2. Trips and days out
Every year we include day trips in our playscheme, they are always popular and this year was no exception. At the Wisbech Adventure playground we met the on site playworkers, explored the play barges and some of us even tried the zip wire.
This was a particularly memorable visit because of the free play opportunities that were offered. They had the items you would expect to see, like swings and roundabouts, alongside other exciting loose objects. These loose parts allowed the children to use their imagination and make the experience their own.
We also visited Jungle Parc at Irchester. This was a great experience with many children finding their limits in the jungle walk ways and pushing through.
“I’m really scared but I’m gonna push myself through this. I can’t believe I actually did it. “
When we visited Hunstanton beach, it was a great day out and we were able to try some of our favourite forest school sessions in a new environment. ‘Beach school’ soon captured the attention of everyone and children explored rock pools, paddled in the sea, flew kites, played beach games and tucked into an ice cream.
3. The Smartkidz Staff
Playworker: “What’s your favourite thing from Smartkidz this summer?” Children: “The staff!”
Staff at Smartkidz work hard to support our children and enable them to play in the way that they want. This has resulted in children feeling safe secure and cared for at all our settings.
We believe that our incredibly dedicated staff are our greatest asset, but when the children echo those feelings we know we must be right.
“Thank you, today’s the best snack ever!”
4. Visiting Activity Leaders
Over the years we have invited a diverse range of professionals to come and lead sessions with us. We’ve had Mike Mullen from BMX Academy,
“It was fun to learn some new tricks on bikes”
Mike, BMX half pipe world champion, told us how he developed his champion mindset, and demonstrated his skills by jumping over some of our very brave playworkers.
“Bmx day was awesome, I loved jumping the ramps! Having the best summer!!!”
Gripping Histories led a castle day, the Coddiwomplers taught us willow weaving and the Shredder Skate School came with skateboards and stunt scooters.
” I really enjoyed learning how to make new things with the coddiwomplers.”
Knights and castle day: “What would we have been 700 years ago? A knight, a lady, a farmer, A DINOSAUR. This is exciting taking us back to the past.”
“Trying on helmets- this is so heavy, it hurts my head. It’s amazing how they wore them. “
5. Festivals/theme days
Throughout the holiday we were treated to a full range of fun and theme day including: ninja training, PJ day, potions lab, goo lympics, National Play Day, bouncy castle day, escape rooms, Lego mania, music makers, junk yard, den building, Summer crafts, Nerf and crossbows, sports day and an obstacle course.
Even with all these exciting things going on, the one that proved to be the most popular was our cross setting social event. This was in the form of a festival day. All three Smartkidz clubs met together at Girton where children had the opportunity to try new things and meet new friends. They tried food, MOCK-tails, hair braiding, face painting, friendship bracelets, tie-dye T-shirts, and explored the small campsite area.
“I liked The festival day there was a variety of things and I got to meet new people”
As you can tell our Summer was better than ever. We love these Summer holiday clubs because each one is new and fresh as well as a development on from last year. Every year we observe carefully, talk to children parents and playworkers to already build our plans for the following year.
“The wet ‘n’ wild day was the best! The slide with the shaving foam was fun!”
We take pride in creating child first provision that is planned and guided through constant reflection. That way, while this year was amazing, we can guarantee next year will be even better.
Now that you know what we get up to, can you afford to miss it?