There are new activity workshops cropping up every week on the children's camp scene. Amanda Cassidy has a look at some of the most popular camps in Dublin ahead of Easter.
When I was a child, my parents told us that Holy Thursday was a traditional day for silence. We had a blast miming to each other, writing notes and playing silent chasing in the garden with our siblings. It never occurred to us that it was my parent's unique way of getting a day of peace and quiet (ish).
Similarly, each year when my mother would bake our Christmas cake, we'd be told that any loud noises would "shock" the cake into falling. We'd happily stir in our wishes and then tiptoe around the house praying our beloved cake would rise to the occasion.
The summer and Easter holidays of my childhood were mostly spent in Connemara - deliciously long days of tramping around the fields, finding treasure in between the cracks in the old stone walls and searching for fairies. Whatever the weather, we'd explore the lonely beaches, skip stones into the grey sea and listen to shells.
"You can hear nothing and everything," my dad explained as we pressed the cool, corally ridges to our ears.
Then, suddenly, activity camps seemed to come along all at once. Organised fun! What a shock to the system.
The first one we ever did was called FutureKids - an introduction to computers (Commodore 64, naturally). In fact, I firmly believe that my Excel and Word skills are now what they are because of this. Tennis camp was next.
'Tick, tock, scratch your back' was the ditty to learn how to serve on long sunny evenings during the summer holidays.
With five children in my family, camps were few and far between, but we loved and appreciated most of the array of new experiences we came across.
Now, I try to expose my own children to as many new concepts as I can. After an initial rest (we still like our pyjama mornings during the holidays), it is good for everyone to get a flavour of things out there besides school and sports. Here's a list of some of our favourites.
We all want to nourish a lifelong love of learning in our children. This family-run science club is based in Dublin but has just opened its first Galway franchise. The bespoke science-based programmes not only hold your children's attention but it also helps to develop their self-esteem.
"We teach them how to think...rather than what to think," says owner and mother of three Tracey Jane. "Our experiments help children to use teamwork, imagination and problem-solving abilities which best prepares them for the unpredictability of future challenges that they inevitably face in our constantly changing world."
From aerodynamics to giant vectors, engineering and magnetics your children can expect to be enthralled and captivated with a new interest in how things work. One day Easter Camps from Junior Einsteins run across the country this Easter. Check out the website for more details.
Robots are the next BIG thing! Over 65% of today's children will be employed in jobs that don't exist yet.
This camp, based in Dublin, helps introduce children to robotics is an essential step in preparing them for the future. Over the week at Learnit Junior Robotics camp, children will build robots to take on real-world challenges.
Creating physical and digital solutions, collaborating in teams to problem solve, developing computational thinking skills and much more children will be engaged in a truly fun and hands one learning experience. Check out their website for camps details.
Unfortunately, the Mill Theatre only runs camps in the summer, but the week-long camps are designed to immerse students in high-energy drama that includes acting, singing and dancing. This is theatre at its most thrilling.
On the last day of the camp, students will present their show for family and friends. Prepare to be dazzled. There are different themes for each week which include the Greatest Showman, Disney, Harry Potter and Mary Poppins. The Mill Theatre Camp in Dundrum Shopping centre starts at 10am and runs until 3pm each day. You will find more details on their website here.
It is never too early to start your children learning another language. The amazing Columbus camp runs year-round courses that include everything from baking and LEGO to story-telling, singing, bowling, Ceílí dancing and even junior toastmasters. The courses, run out of Old Belvedere club in Dublin 4, also specialise in tutoring for maths and languages with the Irish courses particularly popular.
This Easter, they are also running a Spanish language camp for children aged 3 years up, where they will play sports and do activities in Spanish after a short lesson. If you are interested in signing up (they run from 9am to 3pm) you can find more information here.
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