Nine mostly sporty Hong Kong summer camps for kids
Summer camps teach children new skills while keeping them entertained
For families not heading abroad on their summer holidays, there's plenty on offer around Hong Kong to keep the children interested and occupied.
Enter the summer camp. A holiday tradition, summer programmes have kept young ones entertained over the years. "Summer holidays are a perfect opportunity for children to have some fun and enjoy the break from their busy school schedule," says David Azar, who runs Hong Kong-based athletics company, Sport4Kids.
The company runs a summer programme focused on improving and honing children's sporting abilities and coordination.
"This physical activity helps young children build strength, develop aerobic fitness, grow friendships, create a healthy appetite and learn new skills," says Azar.
Local companies offer a diverse range of summer courses for all ages, including day programmes, week-long courses and even overnight stays.
These courses are not just about keeping the children entertained, says education specialist and counsellor Kathryn Sly of Easy Peasy Services. Besides the physical benefits, she says children learn social skills and cultural understanding, develop a sense of independence and confidence, and have fun learning new things, while spending time unplugged from technology.
"Attending a camp can help with a child's persistence in trying something new, developing competence at a new skill and self-reliance," says Sly.
Carolynne Knowling, a Sai Kung-based mother of four, is well versed in the summer camp routine. Her family has been surfing the scene for five summers with Treasure Island, which offers surf camps on Lantau Island.
This year, her family will be spread across three programmes. Knowling says these camps, when done right, have the potential to be much more than just something to fill in time, with the children developing a genuine interest in the sport or activity.
"My eight-year-old just loves the Hebe Haven Yacht Club sailing camps," says Knowling. "She keeps coming back to this one holiday after holiday. She is now a cadet member of the club and often sails on a Saturday. I feel she is learning something useful; it is much more than just a time-filler."
Here's a selection of summer camps to suit virtually every taste, age and interest.
Surf Hong Kong
Adventure Surf Camp is a three-day, two-night activity in Sai Kung Country Park. Activities include surfing, stand-up paddling, kayaking, cooking by the campfire and snorkelling. Meals and camping are provided. Suitable for ages eight to 17. Costs HK$2,700 per child. Details and registration at surfhongkong.com or email [email protected]
Run by Hong Kong-based organiser Pro-Active Learning, SuperCamp is a concept that originated in the US and has been running here for 23 years. Focusing on children aged 10 to 17, the courses aim to develop life skills, hone academic skills, and work on problem solving and creative thinking. An adventure day is included. Programmes range from eight to 10 days and run throughout July and August out of St Stephen's College in Stanley. Proactive-learning.com; Tel: 2736 9898
Children and teens embrace their energetic side through dance and movement-based camps at Flex Studio's One Island South location in Aberdeen. Think yoga, hip hop, musical theatre, aerial arts and, for the little ones, a class with a theme from the Disney movie Frozen. With options available for children aged four and older running in July and August, Flex says it offers a dynamic blend of exercise and fun. Details and registration at flexhk.com or call 2813 2212
Harry Wright International Swimming
Learning to swim or improving your technique is the focus of Harry Wright's specialised training curriculum. Classes start from two years old (with parents) and are available as once-a-week lessons, or an intensive five-lessons-per-week course until August. Details at harrywright.com.hk Tel: 2575 6279
These summer camps have venues in Pok Fu Lam, Happy Valley and Hung Hom. Sport4Kids says it will help children develop and sharpen their sporting skills and all-round coordination. Holiday camps blend action sports such as rock climbing with the traditional (soccer, hockey and basketball) to give a balanced athletic experience. Camps available for children aged two to 10 years old. Details at sport4kids.hk Tel: 2773 1650
Treasure Island Surf Camps
These camps on Lantau's Pui O beach cater to younger thrill seekers. There are beginners' lessons for those aged five to nine and intermediate classes for nine- to 15-year-olds. There's also a five-day Adventure Camp available for nine- to 18-year-olds that combines surf camp as well as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and a night under the stars. Courses run until August 14. Pick-up and drop-off at Central pier. Details at treasureislandhk.com Tel: 2984 8711
Blue Sky Sports Club
Five-day adventure camps teach children how to kayak in the Geopark or use stand-up paddleboards. While keeping children active, this camp says it will keep them cool and on the water "in more ways than one". Courses for ages eight to 16. HK$3,300 (non-members). Details and registration at bluesky-sc.com Tel: 2791 0806
Mandarin Shaolin Kung Fu Camp
Budding linguists and kung fu enthusiasts can partake in Mandarin Teacher HK's three-day camps in July and August, where they will learn and improve their Putonghua skills as well as embrace the Shaolin way. During the camp, participants will live in a traditional Shaolin environment and learn the basics of kung fu. The camp is available to people aged from five to 20. Details at mandarinteacher.hk Tel: 6117 9980
Easy Peasy Services
It's not only about getting children to move their bodies, says Easy Peasy, whose summer programmes also help children mentally prepare for the new term. From writing and social skills to organisation and planning, children will leave confident and ready for school. All courses are designed by education specialist and company founder Kathryn Sly. Details at easypeasyservices.com Tel: 2468 3749 [email protected]