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Billy's Blog

Huntingdon October Kids Camp

halloween

Our activity camp fun will be running in Huntingdon between October 23-27, with Autumn themes as we prepare for Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Youngsters who enjoyed our Summer camps for kids are invited to join us at our Huntingdon camp for more of the same action at Hinchingbrooke School, Cambridgeshire.

We offer a safe and well organised programme for children to enjoy. Hinchingbrooke's great location is close to the railway station and town centre which makes this site convenient for busy parents.

And with the cold, darker days drawing in, our all-weather location is just perfect to provide many of the activities we offered at our Summer camps for kids.

The school has a specialist sports status and Barracudas really benefits from fantastic facilities, including an artificial grass pitch, indoor swimming pool, archery range, motorsports track, dance studio and several large indoor areas including a gymnasium and a large sports hall as well as vast outdoor playing fields.

So the weather can’t stop us from keeping our kids busy and active.

It seems October half term camps are not easy to come by in this area. So we decided to help with the half term kids activities by extending our service to this busy time of the year.

Our activity holidays are Ofsted registered, giving parents peace of mind, whilst ensuring maximum fun. Our camp takes children aged 4.5 to 14 years and offers activities including swimming, basketball, football, drama, archery and many more.

Our programmes have been developed over 25 years and although still a family owned company offering a professional service to families, we care for more children at our Easter and Summer activity camps than any other operator.

We combine professional teams of staff, fantastic facilities and best quality practice in childcare, introducing innovative programmes to give youngsters a choice and keep them busy.

We do it with enthusiasm, professionalism and fun, with the aim of giving every child such an amazing experience they can’t wait to come back.

Whether your son or daughter has enjoyed the Barracudas experience before and wants to return, or you’re struggling for things to do in the October half term with kids, why not book them in for an experience they’ll love?

Book here and we look forward to welcoming you in Huntingdon.

The importance of childhood friendships

friends

How many times have we played down a fight which our child has had with one of their friends – wondering why they are making such a fuss about it?

“Just find someone else to play with,” we urge them, shrugging it off.

Developing friendships in early childhood is, of course, an important part in our social development.

But research shows that, as well as teaching youngsters to interact with their peers, friendships have an incredible impact on mental and physical health.

It’s about so much more than learning to share with others. Friendships in early childhood give us a sense of belonging and decrease stress. After all, feeling lonely or socially isolated can lead to depression, health issues and a shorter lifespan.

At Barracudas Summer camps, while we encourage social skills, child development is an important part of bringing youngsters together to form friendships, and we do our very best to give them a healthy and happy experience.

Helping children make friends is an investment in their future wellbeing.

Despite stereotypes, forming friendships in early childhood is as important to boys as it is to girls. It’s human nature to form attachments and to want closeness and support from others, regardless of gender. Which is why we encourage close friendships at Barracudas camps, as part of confidence building for children. While making new friends is great for developing self-esteem, there’s a lot to be said for nurturing current relationships too.

Teaching social skills like these will stand your son or daughter in good stead in their future life. Long-lasting friendships, which endure through childhood and into early adulthood, are effective ways of teaching empathy, as they go through changes and challenges together.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for friendship. We all thrive socially in different ways. There are, however, ways to help children develop relationship skills that will cultivate deep, meaningful connections with others. And it’s important to note that the benefits of friendship are based on quality, not quantity.

Here are some tips for parents on helping their kids develop positive, warm friendships.

Set an example to stay connected

The ability to nurture friendships are often shaped by watching a parent’s dedication to their friendships. So make time to stay in touch with your own pals.

Coach good friendship skills

Identify one friendship skill your child lacks - then help them develop it. Trouble expressing feelings, for example, can be discussed in a constructive way, either by sharing your own (“It makes me happy when you tell me you love me”), or by helping them to label feelings (“Did it make you feel sad when your friend didn’t want to play with you?”).

Encourage important friendships

If there is a relationship that brings your child joy, then support it. If the kids attend different schools, make time for them to see each other outside of the classroom. Children are often at the mercy of their parents’ busy schedules. Don’t let a friendship die because you’re too busy to drive them to visit their pal.

Respect your child’s personality

Some kids have a lot of friends, while others feel happy with a few. Celebrate and support your child’s personality and needs. One youngster may be more outgoing than a sibling - and it’s important not to compare them.

 

Your child’s daily sugar intake: How much is too much?

Healthy eating advice can be confusing, and recommendations to reduce the amount of sugar in our diet can leave us wondering ‘how much is too much?’ Should we be sourcing low sugar snacks for kids, or getting sugar swap ideas to replace their sweet treats with something better for them? 

It’s not recommended that we cut sugar completely from their diets. The occasional treats are fine.

But the effects of sugar on children can be obvious, especially in their younger years, when too much of it leads them to become hyper – followed by a tearful comedown afterwards.

Obviously, as they grow it’s the extra calories which can lead to weight gain and health issues which we’re also concerned about.

So these simple guidelines should give you an idea of what to aim for when it comes to daily sugar intake. Child health is so important, after all. And by instilling good habits from a young age, we’re setting them up for a long and healthy life.

Age 4-6                     19g of sugar    5 teaspoons

Age 7-10                   24g                   6

From 11 years          30g                      7

This might seem fairly straightforward, until you realise that a single can of fizzy drink contains around 9 teaspoons of sugar.

This is why healthy snacks for children are so important.

We consume a certain amount of ‘free sugars’ in our diet – the sugars which naturally occur in fruit juices and syrups, or those which are already added to foods.

So the guidelines above are to prevent us from adding too much.

You might have seen this image being shared on social media – created by a clever teacher who wanted to get the message home about the hidden sugars in our everyday drinks.

sugar
 
 

So what sort of swaps do we recommend?

Well, as you can see from the above, nothing beats water for quenching the thirst without rotting their teeth. But if they like their fizzy beverages, try some sparkling water with a little unsweetened fruit juice added.

A glass of cold milk is also high in calcium, but if that’s too plain try blending some fruit with ice and milk to make a delicious smoothie.

Other effective sugar swap ideas would be to take away their sweet cereals in favour of crumpets or bagels, or even some granary toast with a thin spread of jam.

And instead of biscuits or sweets, always have some low sugar snacks for kids, such as breadsticks with cheese or houmous, rice cakes with peanut butter, or even a plain scone is better for them.

Using these sugar swap ideas during the week also means they can look forward to a sweet treat at the weekends – it does them no harm.

But the most important tip of all is to become a role model. Practise what you preach and let youngsters see you setting a good example.

It will benefit the whole family in the long run.

 

The 2017 Highlights of Barracudas Summer Camps

What a Summer we’ve had!

Our Summer camp activities were enjoyed by hundreds of children at our 39 locations over the school holidays.

The fun and convenience of Summer camps for kids means your child is both cared for and entertained during the long weeks away from the classroom.

Nicola Fabro told us her little one had a brilliant time at Barracudas Camp: “My five-year-old daughter has just been to the Welwyn Barracudas and totally loved it! All the team were great and had a lovely tone and approach with the little ones, and she settled really well. The activities were perfect and aimed just right for her age. She did such a mixture of sports and activities which she has never tried before. Well done to all the team for your hard work and keep it up...we'll be booking again!”

Another mum whose child enjoyed our special brand of Barracudas Summer fun was Michelle Smith, who said: “My son, aged 6, has just finished his second day at Barracudas, Chigwell. He had an amazing time and is completely shattered! He particularly loved the go karts, assault course, foam fencing and football. Thank you. Will definitely be attending again.”

At our holiday clubs for kids, we try to pack in as many items from our list of Summer camp activities. And this is often appreciated. Kelly Young said: “My son, nine, went for two days at Wycombe Abbey - one raining all day and one sunshine all day. He had a brilliant time both! In my opinion, such great value for money - in two days he swam, quad-biked, fenced, crafted, made friends and loads of games and running about. It was perfect for him (only child!) and he went knowing no-one but came out of each day buzzing with what he'd done and who he'd met. THANK YOU!”

It's great to know our Summer camp activities for kids are appreciated – by both the youngsters and their parents.

We love hearing how you’ve enjoyed Barracudas Summer camp, so don’t forget to share your reviews on our Facebook page.

 

group frame

Ashford dress up

Archery

group jump

group cheer

Teaching problem solving skills to kids

Problem solving

As children begin to explore the world around them, they naturally engage in the process of problem solving. “What happens if I…..?” or “I wonder if I can…”  Adults can help them to grasp their independence, gain a sense of self, and pick up the skills to see a dilemma through from start to finish. That’s what problem solving skills are - the tools which allow youngsters to make their own decisions, after weighing up the pros and cons of their actions. And these lessons lead to success both inside and outside the classroom.

One of the main benefits of children coming to Barracudas is that we put them in situations which may be outside of their comfort zone just a little – and then take a guiding role to seeing them through. We’re always there. But by encouraging kids to consider their own approach to new and different challenges, we watch them grow and develop into confident young people. This may be through specific problem solving games, or simply by spurring them on to attempt something they’ve been nervous to try before.

Problem solving for kids is a process which couldn’t be simpler:

• “I see a problem”
• “Let’s stay calm”
• “What can I do?”
• “Let’s try this”
• “Did it work?” (If the answer is no, go back to step 3)

Depending on their age and stage of development, every child will view problem solving exercises differently. But from the age of 2, youngsters are able to remember how they’ve tackled problems in the past, or how they’ve seen others get past a dilemma. From there, the skills develop into adulthood.

Here are a few ways you can encourage problem solving activities at home, just with everyday issues which might arise.

Don’t intervene
The temptation will be there to fix things for them. But if it’s not too difficult, give them a chance to work it out.

Keep channels open
Communicate – don’t just leave them to their own devices. But ask open-ended questions like “What do you think would work?” Try not to judge their suggestions based on what you would do. They may take a different approach, but get good results.

Let them fail
If they are not likely to hurt themselves, let them try actions which you know are going to fail. Then brainstorm with them about what went wrong. If they try real solutions and discover the consequences for themselves, they’ll know what to do next time.

Empathise and guide
Offer just enough support and comfort if things don’t go as planned, to avoid frustration turning to tantrums.  And guide your child to a solution rather than telling them the answer, with questions like “If we try this, do you think it would work – or should we go another way?”

Make it fun
Problem solving activities for kids can be turned into fun quizzes or treasure hunts, with a small prize or reward at the end to encourage patience and endurance to see a task through from start to finish.