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Press rewild: outdoor summer camps for children

The past year has been tough on parents and children alike. And whilst we are closer to schools...

26.02.2021

The past year has been tough on parents and children alike. And whilst we are closer to schools reopening, we still have no idea what this year’s summer holidays will look like. Post-Brexit border checks, COVID tests and quarantine make it likely that more of us than ever before will choose to holiday at home. But six weeks is a long time and all of it can’t be holiday for every member of the family. Summer camps are a wonderful way to break up the break and to give children an opportunity to make new friends and learn new skills.

Try to find a provider that will give your child something which they don’t do during the rest of the year. So if their school is in the centre of a city, look for a countryside experience where nature-based activities are a priority. If they have little opportunity to act, dance or sing during term time, opt instead for a camp that teaches drama or circus skills.

Education is all about breadth of experience. Schools rarely ever provide everything so think of these kind of opportunities as a supplement to term-time activities and look for the best your budget can allow.

Camp Wilderness

Wilderness runs camps lasting either three or five days throughout the summer in four separate countryside settings. The Bushcraft Company is behind these activity holidays where children can expect to cook in the wild, learn archery, build shelters and generally prepare for a life of outdoor adventure.

Age: 6 to 15 year olds
Day or residential? Residential
Price: £216 for three days or £360 for five days
Location: Oxfordshire, Berkshire or Kent
Visit here

Little Forest Folk

As the name would suggest this is an outdoor, day camp for smaller children. All activities take place in a woodland setting and children spend their days exploring, building dens, using tools, hunting for mini-beasts and creating works of forest art. The company also runs 7 outdoor nurseries so this is very much their area of expertise.

Age: 3 to 7 year olds
Day or residential? Day
Price: £80 per day approx.
Location: Outskirts of London
Visit here

Oppidan

If Enid Blyton had run a summer camp… At Oppidan, children sleep in tents and eat around a camp fire in an idyllic countryside setting. Activities involve sports, treasure hunts, orienteering, problem-solving challenges, assault courses, cooking and coding. As befits a business that provides children with mentors, camp staff are chosen for their capacity to lead and inspire.

Age: 9 to 13 year olds
Day or residential? Residential
Price: £520 per week
Location: Near Henley, Oxfordshire
Visit here

First Hand Experiences

FHE provide outdoor experience that are perhaps slightly ‘softer’ than those found at some of the other camps (less zip slide, more children’s yoga). They put greater focus on artistic activities so attendees can expect to weave, sculpt and carve as well as foraging for and making their own food. Poetry, drama and music making complete the camp curriculum.

Age: 8 to 14 year olds
Day or residential? Both
Price: £220 for three days or £439 for seven days; £195 for a 5 day day camp
Location: Surrey
Visit here

Mill on the Brue

The family run Mill on the Brue has been organising adventure-filled weeks for children on a 25 acre farm in the beautiful Somerset countryside since 1982. The list of activities for children is vast and varied and includes orienteering, rafting, archery, foraging, apple pressing, shepherding, video making and crafts.

Age: 8 to 14 year olds
Day or residential? Residential
Price: £662 for one week
Location: Somerset
Visit here

Camp Bonas

Inspired by popular children’s adventure stories, Camp Bonas offers a range of hands-on activities like fire making, bushcraft and kayaking. Also built into the week-long camp are chances for creative reflection, journaling and story writing. Children sleep in log cabins and have the run of the surrounding woodland in a completely screen-free environment.*

Age: 8 to 13 year olds
Day or residential? Residential
Price: TBC
Location: Quantock Hills, Somerset
Visit here

*Bonas MacFarlane, the organiser of Camp Bonas, and Scholato are related businesses

Photograph courtesy of Camp Wilderness

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