Learning adventures for kids

by Laurel Pretorius
Learning adventures for kids
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Are you wondering if there are camping experiences just for kids, or weekends away where they can learn while having loads of fun? Laurel Pretorius shares the many options.

Remember back in the day, if we were lucky, our parents would send us off to a place like Happy Acres with our school friends in the holidays. We’d have such fun. Ghost stories around the campfire roasting marshmallows, staying up all night because we were so scared of the fireside ghosts but happy to be with our friends. Then woken up early the next morning to learn all sorts of exciting things about living outdoors and wonderful nature. We’d arrive home exhausted but with heads and hearts full of our best memories.   

Do these experiences still exist for children today? Weekends and holidays away where they get to learn while having fun. Where electronic devices and screens are forgotten over bonding with friends in nature.

Yes, they do! In fact, there are quite a number of diverse experiences where our kids can spend supervised, overnight time with their mates, connecting over adventures in the great outdoors.

Here are just a few adventures that we think your kids will love while learning something new:

Camps offering educational adventures:  

Scouts

One of the oldest and most established organisations operating on a global scale, it offers training in nature for kids. By becoming a scout your child gets to go on regular camping trips over weekends, which offer exciting educational experiences regarding everything from survival skills in nature to working as a team and bonding with fellow scouts.

Sign up your older kids (age 12+) to a scout group near you.

https://www.scouts.org.za/

Junior Honorary Rangers

Six regions in South Africa already support the Junior Honorary Ranger programme, which offers an alternative route to becoming a SANParks Honorary Ranger. The Juniors participate in a five-year programme, with progressive activities each year. The children who complete the programme then automatically become Honorary Rangers when they turn 18.

All of the awesome activities, which centre around conservation and wildlife, take place on the weekends.

https://www.sanparksvolunteers.org/volunteer/

Happy Acres

Happy Acres is a long-established, child-centric field centre nestled in the Magaliesburg countryside, offering holiday camps for kids with opportunities to discover themselves, understand the environment, and interact with peers. This unique setting gives children from diverse backgrounds, regardless of privilege, an opportunity to come together on an equal footing.

It’s a secure, adventure-world where youngsters can be themselves and engage in a variety of enjoyable activities, fostering personal growth and exploration.

https://www.happyacres.co.za/

Pony Camps

There are numerous horse-riding stables found in the rural regions of our country and some of them offer pony camps for kids who are passionate about horses. They usually operate over weekends and during school holidays offering loads of activities, including riding lessons, outdoor adventures, hands-on horse care, lectures, and games.

Children leave these camps having not only developed riding skills but also a sense of responsibility and a positive self-esteem from feeding, grooming and looking after the horses on a daily basis.

Here are some stables offering pony camps:

The Whitehouse Stables Riding School in Morning Star, Cape Town https://thewhitehousestables.co.za/pony-camps/

Shepherd’s Fold Stables in Lanseria, Johannesburg https://shepherdsfoldstables.co.za/ponycamp.html

Esperanza Holiday Camps in Pretoria East

https://esperanzaholidaycamp.wixsite.com/holiday-camps

BBK Trails Pony Camps, Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga

https://www.facebook.com/groups/www.bbktrails.co.za

Check out 9 tips to help your kids reconnect with nature

Quality time with mom & dad

Just sometimes, families, especially with smaller kids, feel more comfortable going away to spend time together, where little ones still have an opportunity to learn but with mom and dad at just an arms-length away.

Two experiences that stand out are:

Zeekoegat Homestead

Experience the magic of this family-friendly haven in the Western Cape which spans hundreds of hectares with lovely accommodation, rivers, dams, fields, and fruit trees. Your kids will have loads of fun while learning all about homestead life in the company of Zeekoegat’s beloved animals like Phoebe the horse, Galileo the donkey, Bessie the sheep, their 2 pigs named Gammon and Lulu, as well as all the turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, and friendly cows.Fun learning activities for children

It’s a memorable experience in an enchanting place where you’ll discover that the friendly hosts are passionate about animals and sustainability.

https://www.facebook.com/RiversdaleN2/

Antbear Eco Lodge

This wonderful agri-tourism venue, tucked away in the Drakensberg, offers an immersive farm experience where guests (kids included) get to do everything from collect eggs, milk cows, pick veggies and strawberries (when ripe), interact with the animals, and learn to make cheese and bread in an intimate setting.

The lodge’s stargazing experience is most memorable when guests get to camp in hammocks under the stars while a local villager shares with them African folktales and village stories.

https://antbear.com/
Also read How to foster nature-loving kids
Visit Free family fun in Joburg

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