As busy working parents school holidays bring a mixture of joy and trepidation. How will we cover the days off? Will the children still have fun? Whilst we are very lucky to have my parents nearby, they are wonderful at helping out with the children, we typically still have some days to cover.
Back in October I was offered a free day at the Plum Activities half-term camp (well not me…my daughter, aged 5) in return for a fair and honest review of the activities etc on offer. So here goes….
Plum Activities run fun holiday camp days for children aged 4-14. They are currently based out of Wilmcote village hall (just outside Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire).
So here are the practical details (the not so fun bits!).
Timings and Price
Plum Activities offer a full day (9am to 5pm) for £30. They also offer an extended day (8.30am drop off and a 5.30pm pick up) for an additional £5 a day. Parents provide lunch and snacks. Early bird discounts are available (check out their Facebook page!). Plum Activities are not currently registered with Ofsted so you can’t pay with childcare vouchers or the government tax free childcare scheme.
Booking was totally straightforward. Having made contact with Plum Activities via Facebook I was sent a a Google docs registration form to complete. All very simple. Plum Activities really went the extra mile when it came to getting to know the child (children) before camp – they wanted to know their interests, likes, dislikes etc. This was a lovely touch. Its worth noting that whilst they offer an early bird discount, bookings could me made up until the day before (subject to spaces being available), so it’s worth getting in touch with them if you need last minute childcare.
Drop off and Pick up
Now this is always key to a good camp (for me as a parent who has a stupidly long commute to work!). How quickly and how easily can the drop-off be done? Is pick up just as easy? Plum Activities made this simple. The detailed pre-camp emails helped us make sure we had everything we needed and the ladies were on hand in the morning to ensure my daughter settled quickly (she was colouring before I’d even left!). Having signed my daughter in, she was asked, as were the other children, to make piles of their stuff (children were encouraged to keep everything together, easier said than done…). Collection was equally straight forward. As you may expect, my daughter had not managed to keep her stuff together but the ladies went above and beyond to repatriate the stuff in the days after camp! This wouldn’t be the case in a large, corporate camp set up and I really appreciated not losing coats, hats and gloves!
Typical Day at camp
The three ladies that run the camps have loads of experienced of working with children – they each have their own business – a forest school (Forest Foxes), a Just Dance (a dance school) Roots n Notes they are also mums! They use these skills to offer fun and varied sessions at camp. On the day my daughter attended they did pumpkin carving, scarecrow making, walked through a forest to the play park, where they had lunch and a play. They did some art and craft, had a visit from Warwickshire fire service, learnt a Halloween dance and had a Halloween party. Action packed and great fun!! The ladies who run the camp, aside from being experienced professionals in their own right are also busy mums. They get children! They know what they like to do, they know what they need to do and it seemed to me that their main aim was to give all children a perfect holiday day (the day that parents who are working would love to have but which time doesn’t allow).
What did my 5 year old think?
My daughter loved her day at camp. She was super proud to show us her scarecrow and pumpkin and nearly 2 weeks after and she’s still talking about the activities or demonstrating the dance moves she learnt! That’s what I call a resounding success!
What did I like?
– I loved the variation in activities and the amount of time they spent outside! She wasn’t cooped up in one space (as is common with other, more corporate camp days) but instead they were taken out and about.
– I loved that it had a family feel….it felt like she’d spent the day with friends and their children.
– I also loved the seasonal touches, the strong thematic element made it stand out from other local holiday camp.
All in all a wonderful day and we’ll certainly book in again!