Summer camps and play schemes for children in Dorset

Sometimes, the six week break during July and August can be likened to a military operation with a mammoth juggling of schedules and diaries. Summer plans often draw on a complex combination of annual parental leave; a family holiday; childcare help and favours from family, friends or neighbours, as well as organised structured childcare.


If you’re considering formal childcare in the shape of clubs, courses and classes, there are few things to think over first…


Check the credentials of your Childcare Provider

Check that staff are appropriately disclosure checked and possess the necessary qualifications to teach children before booking your childcare. Look for operators who are Ofsted registered, and if the childcare is sport-related, that they are members of the British Activity Providers Association - - as they are subject to a thorough independent inspection scheme.


Help with childcare costs

The government is introducing new ways to help parents with childcare costs. You can get government help paying for childcare if it’s provided by a registered childminder, playscheme, nursery or club; a childminder with an Ofsted-registered childminding agency; a registered school; or a home careworker working for a registered home care agency.

For working parents, extra help with childcare costs is available through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit. It offers up to 70% of the childcare costs, up to a maximum of £122.50 per week for one child and £210 for two or more children.

If your employer offers childcare vouchers, you can get up to £933 a year in tax and National Insurance savings. The amount you’ll get depends on your earnings. Childcare vouchers from your employer may affect the amount of tax credits you get. There is a calculator on the government’s website which can help you decide if you would be better off taking childcare vouchers or not. Visit

The government has launched a new interactive website designed to help parents consider all options connected to childcare costs. Take a look -


Book your childcare now!

Usually the best holiday clubs get booked up really quickly, so now is a good time to reserve a place at your child’s favourite club, class or course. Sometimes there’s savings to be made by planning ahead too with some holiday clubs offering early bird deals.


Types of summer childcare

The long summer break can give children an opportunity to learn a new skill or enjoy a favourite hobby such as cricket, dance or arts and crafts. Here are some of the options open to your child…


Coding Clubs

Digital and coding activities are fast-becoming a number one pastime for many kids. Writing code to make robots move and to make shapes dance across a computer screen is a fully absorbing activity and is particularly suited to children who revel in a mental challenge. Good places to look for kids’ computer and coding courses are at the local libraries and community centres.

Indoor Activity Clubs

The increased demand for childcare over the last few years has seen a rise in innovative childcare options. Cookery classes, creative art workshops, animation courses, and reading and writing clubs now give children more opportunities to acquire a new set of skills. Contact your local arts centre for children’s arts and crafts courses.


Performing Arts Courses

Children are given an opportunity to embrace their ‘inner performer’ at one of the many stage schools that run courses in dance, drama or music during the school holidays. Often ending with a finale performance towards the latter part of the week, parents are able to witness first-hand the results of the hard-work.


Sports Courses

From football to climbing, from tennis to swimming – there are so many sports courses on offer in the area. Many courses take place over consecutive days and are run by fully qualified coaches or instructors. Many sports and adventure-sport courses work towards an award or certificate, so each child is presented with a mark of achievement as well as benefiting from childcare.


Multi-activity Holiday Clubs

These non-residential full day and half-day courses are held at local venues, often sports centres. These clubs are desirable for many working parents due to their degree of convenience and flexibility, partly due to their location, and partly due to the early and late pick-up options that are sometimes offered. Structured to accommodate children mainly over the age of 8, group-based activities offer a taste of adventure, craft or physical exercise.


Holiday Playschemes

Many local authorities run holiday play schemes and, because many are subsidised by the local councils, they are often well priced.



Your Childcare sorted for the summer

Look no further for your childcare needs because Funtastic are offering very special out of school care throughout the year. It offers a wide selection of fun and exciting activities and workshops for all ages, both indoors and outdoors, with a great selection of toys and games meaning that whatever the weather, it is always fun at Funtastic! On top of this, a healthy breakfast and hot dinner, with a hot lunch are included during the holiday club. To find out more about the amazing club, and to register and make a booking, visit




Sign up to Super Camp

Super Camps' fabulous new Multi-Activity programme allows children to get involved in some great new activities. As well as taking part in the fun-packed programme, children are cared for by fully qualified and vetted staff to create a thoroughly enjoyable time on camp. As Ofsted noted, Super Camps runs "an excellent programme of well-planned, fun and exciting activities that contributes highly to the children’s play and learning environment".

The Early Years programme, just for 4 to 5 year olds, ensures learning and development within a fun environment. The 6 to 9-year-old crews can explore new activities and take on new challenges such as The Avengers School of Archery, Super Camps Driving School and Motor Mania. The 10 to 12 year olds can get together in their very own common room as well as spend more time tackling activities in depth. Camps run throughout the school summer holidays. Save 15% with code PRIMARY15. To make a booking call 01235 467300.




Summer Performing Arts Courses at Big Little

Big Little have some very exciting projects lined up for the summer for children aged 5 upwards which will give students the chance to develop their skills in singing, dancing and acting, culminating in a show performance. Big Little has been running summer courses for many years with very experienced creative and pastoral care staff and prides itself in giving students the best possible experience in a caring and nurturing environment. 

A five-day musical theatre course, for ages 5-12, will be running in Ringwood at St. John’s Church Hall, Poulner on Monday 24 to Friday 28 July and in Bournemouth at the performing arts block, Bournemouth School for Girls on Monday 31 July to Friday 4 August. To find out more or to make a booking visit or call 01202 434499.




A summer of watersports from Shore Sports

During the school summer holiday, Shore Sports will be running 3 weeks of Kids Clubs, aimed at children aged 8 – 16 years, of all abilities from complete beginners through to the eager racers out there. The clubs provide a fun but structured way to get children on the water and give them the chance to improve their skills.

At the Multi Activity Kids Club, youngsters are able to enjoy a taster of many watersports such as windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and raft building. ShoreSports is a watersports school, run by qualified instructors, that uses the safe and shallow waters of Christchurch Harbour. For more information contact or call 07867 575280




Endless Fun at Kinder Active

Kinder Active is an activity and sports based members’ club and pre-school that provides your child with a healthy and confident lifestyle through a unique programme. Kinder Active also runs a daily after school club.

Memberships enable children to attend every day, allowing them to take full advantage of the facility and excellent programme on offer, such as use of the crèche facility and children's club, and the activity camp during the school holidays. Kinder Active host children’s parties so treat your child to a birthday they’ll remember, with balloons, games, tennis, football, disco and endless fun. For details visit or call 01202 299220.









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