Need a fresh idea to fill half-term days? How about an adventure club, suggests Georgina Blaskey
Sharky & George are the party superheroes for primary-school-aged kids all over London. Their giggle-packed, mischievous approach to special events have birthday children’s faces hurting from grinning ear to ear for two hours, so imagine my children’s exaltation when they learnt that S&G run holiday camps. “OMG”, they squealed, “This is going to be the best holiday camp EVER!”
True to form, they weren’t disappointed. We pitched up in Hyde Park and the actual Sharky and the real-life George were there waiting. Watching their awe-struck faces when they realised they were in the company of the demi-gods themselves, the kids quickly turned their attention to what was on offer. And there’s plenty of it.
Divided into different groups of mixed ages, each one rotated between activities, from rocket launching to circus training to survival skills. With Sharky or George on hand to engage meaningfully with each child, no-one was left dwindling on the sidelines. Gentle encouragement soon got even the most reticent plate-spinner into circus mode, and it wasn’t long before armies of small fry with camo paint streaked across their faces chased each other around the grass.
The half-term camps run for a week and you can sign up for the full five days or just opt for one or two. Starting bright and early at 8.40am, the meeting point – the cafe at Will to Win tennis centre, off Exhibition Road near South Kensington tube – is easy to find and provides a much-needed coffee hit at that time of the day. Every session is different to avoid repetition if you’re planning to come more than once, with all of Hyde Park’s amenities put to good use. From boat races, nerd gun battles and den building to chilled out moments including t-shirt graffiti and art masterpieces, your child will emerge exhausted yet energised.
Highlights for my brood were the games they know and love from legendary S&G parties, such as the epic water bomb launcher and the massive bubble net. But we had a treat in store when the bugs came out. Mealworms were fairly popular – lots of children had a munch to huge whoops and applause from S&G. But then the big, bad boy of beetles came out. As my son presented his palm and put it in this mouth, I had mixed emotions of pride and revulsion. But he was delighted to be the only one to have tried it that day – watch out Bear Grylls, you’ve got competition!
With their graffitied special edition baseball caps firmly installed on their heads, my kids had to be dragged away from Hyde Park. Their favourite games from S&G parties had been combined with a day playing pranks and making mischief in one of their favourite London parks – all under the watchful eye of two of their favourite big kids. Their verdict? Best day ever!
£351 per child for one week (five day); £78 per child per day. 8.40/9am until 3.40/4pm