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Blogs

News and updates from Fit For Sport.

How Our Holiday Camps Can Enrich Your Child’s Development

  • Written by Oisin Fahim on Wednesday 27 July 2022 in the category Kids Camps.

Let your child discover the enriching benefits of sport & activity in a Fit For Sport holiday camp, such as:

1. Developing Self-Esteem

Friendly interactions such as a high-five from a friend or teammate, a well-rehearsed celebration, or helping friends all contribute towards building confidence. Words of praise or encouragement from our passionate Activity Leaders are also vital contributors toward growing self-esteem. There is no doubt these positive words will be heard in all our camps this Summer, supporting children to learn to trust their abilities and push themselves in their pursuits.

2. Social Skills

Essential life skills such as teamwork and cooperation with others are all key contributors to success throughout our camps. With a busy activity programme lined up this Summer to cater for numerous interests and abilities – children will learn to interact with others from different ages, cultures, skills, and abilities to bring out the best in themselves and their campmates.

3. Resilience

Through sport and activity, your child can learn how to accept and cope with setbacks rather than feeling completely defeated. Fit For Sport’s encouraging activity experts will help children develop and enhance their resilience. From the smallest success of catching the ball for the first time to dribbling past five players like Cristiano Ronaldo – each success is relative to the individual, child and our enthusiastic teams will help children celebrate the result of a child’s determination and resilience in their active learning journey.

4. Enjoyment

Making sport and activity fun is an excellent way of ensuring children remain engaged and leads to healthier life choices. Our action-packed Summer programme will provide children with lots of different ways of being active in a fun way. With a brilliant mix of skills for sports which puts coordination, balance and agility to the test – Fit For Sport Summer Camps will ensure lots of fun will be had in all games, inspiring children to generate and enjoy a passion for sport and physical activity. 

5. Teamwork

There’s no I in team! Working together and communicating effectively is vital for children to exchange thoughts, information, and messages. Activity and sport provide children with essential lessons of learning how to work in a team, enabling them to strategise, identify and appreciate the skills and strengths of others to get the best out of each other.


Juggling Work and the School Holidays

  • Written by Oisin Fahim on Wednesday 27 July 2022 in the category Active Families.

Although the school holidays bring so much excitement for children, they can often provide parents with dread and fear due to work schedules. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are now offering more flexibility when it comes to working from home as a means of managing childcare arrangements, but this presents different challenges. Have a look at our top tips for juggling work and the school holidays below:

  • Set separate areas: - having different areas for work and family is an important task. Having a home office or a particular area can help you compartmentalise but also help your children know when you are working. Keeping your ‘family time’ and ‘professional time’ separate can also better help your mental health.
  • Make a plan:- A plan is important whether you're working from home with the children or needing to organise a form of childcare. If you are organising care for your children, print off a calendar so that you can write down who will be looking after your child on what days or which clubs or activities they will be attending so that nothing will be left to the last minute. If you are working from home and managing childcare, print off a daily schedule and put it somewhere, you and your child can see. Plan activities that your child can manage independently while working, then put in breaks and lunchtime so you can enjoy lunch together. Also, ensure you put the time that you are starting and finishing work.
  • No comparisons:- remember that social media is just a glimpse into someone’s life, and it never gives you the whole picture. Do not judge yourself and what you are doing against what you are seeing on someone else’s social media. Just because you aren’t taking your child out to the zoo every day during the holidays does not mean that you are doing a bad job, and it does not mean your child is not having fun.
  • Set Boundaries:- Ensure that at the start of the holidays, you are setting boundaries with your children. Why not sit down and make a nice colourful summer holiday rules poster. You and the children can decorate it and think of the rules together. Ensure that children know when they can and cannot distract you from work, etc...
  • Set up snack boxes:- At the start of the holidays, get each of your children a snack basket/box. You could buy a small storage basket or box, or they could decorate one that you have at home. This is now their holiday snack box, and with this comes rules. Each morning you put in each of their boxes the snacks they are allowed for the whole day, but once its gone, it's gone. If they get over-excited and eat all their snacks in the morning, they will soon realise that they have nothing in the afternoon and begin pacing themselves out.
  • Have a holiday water bottle:- Each morning, children use their bottle/cup for the day, and this is the one they are to keep for the whole day, so you aren’t running around once they are in bed trying to find all the cups. If you want to make life even easier, there are a variety of ways that you can make water/juice available to your children. Put a jug on the table at the start of the day; if worried about spills, then you can buy pump tops to fit bottles so they can pump their desired drink into their cup/bottle.

International Day of Friendship

International Day of Friendship is a day in which we appreciate and promote friendships from all backgrounds.

This day is celebrated across the globe and aims to bridge the gap between things such as race, language and culture; matters that have no bearing on how good of a friend you can be. Friendships can be fostered between anyone, anywhere, anyhow.

Some qualities of being a good friend include, but are not limited to, empathy, compassion and concern for others. It is essential to celebrate friendship every day; by doing this, we are showing that we value our friendships, we adopt these qualities, and we can develop a more selfless look on life.

How can you and your child celebrate the International Day of Friendship?

  • Plant some flower seeds; once they have bloomed, cut them and gift them to a friend
  • Write thank you cards, thank your friends for being your friends and say one thing that you like about them in it
  • Organise a picnic with friends
  • Use our Friendship Flower at-home activity, which you can print below:

So, why is it important to have friends and encourage our children to foster friendships?

Fostering friendships is a fundamental factor in early childhood development and is especially important for children under the age of seven. Developing friendships in these crucial years gives children valuable contexts in which they can learn and practice social, cognitive, communicative and emotional development skills.

By learning to navigate these early friendships, children can:

  • Develop a sense of belonging
  • Develop emotional maturity
  • Build their self-esteem
  • Decrease their stress levels
  • Learn how to be sensitive to the viewpoints of others
  • Learn how to engage in conversations
  • Develop their understanding of managing conflict
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms by having a friend to turn to for help

Child Psychologists have found that early childhood friendships contribute to a child’s quality of life and ability to adjust to changes within their environments.

How can we as adults help our children develop and establish these friendships?

  • Modelling Friendship Skills – Ultimately, children learn from what they observe; they have done this from the day they were born. If you have known friends for a long time, point this out to your child, so they understand how vital long-standing friendships are.
  • Encourage meaningful friendships with your child – As parents, we can notice how differently our children can act when in the presence of different friends. When we see the joy on our children's faces when they are with a particular friend, we must continue facilitating this friendship. If your child has this friendship within preschool and they will be going on to different schools, exchange contact details with their parent and see if you can organise some playdates.
  • Respect Individuality – it is essential to recognise that not all children are the same and to not judge your child by their siblings' friendships or those of other children the same age. Some children may have an outgoing personality and love to be surrounded by many friends whilst others may prefer to have a couple of close friends or even just one. Some children may find it challenging to make friends, and it is essential that we support them in making friends but do not pressure them to do so. Children will grow socially as they grow physically, emotionally and cognitively.
  • Listen - This is by far the most important thing we can ever do for our children. Navigating friendships for children can often be one of the most challenging things for them. We can support our children through conflicts and challenges by listening and offering our support and guidance.

Budget-Friendly Summer Activities

We understand that it can be difficult keeping children entertained over the school holidays, especially the 6 weeks of summer! So whether it's raining or sunny out, we've composed a list of summer activities which are also budget-friendly to help our families throughout the current rise in cost of living.

Local Activities

  • Join your local Fit For Sport club by booking now! We have a list of payment options available to help reduce the cost where possible.
  • Check out Facebook to find local wild swimming groups, they will share safe spots as well as wild swimming safety information so you can give it a try.
  • Geocaching – a never ending treasure hunt, follow the link to find out how to get started Getting Started - Geocaching UK.
  • Find your local Pets at Home store here to see what FREE activities they will be offering.
  • Have a look at what crafty activities your local Hobbycraft is offering here.
  • Head on over to your local Libraries website or pop in and ask what events they have on offer over the Summer holidays.
  • Some local shopping centres put on fun trails for you to take part in, keep an eye out in your local area.
  • Use up old nail varnishes or paints to paint rocks, you could collect the rocks from a day out at a pebbled beach. Once you have painted them hide them around your local nature reserve for others to find. Join your local rock Facebook page to see who finds them.
  • Set yourself a challenge to visit a new park each week, see if you can find a new favourite.
  • Walk in the woods and do texture rubbings of all the different trees. All you will need is some plain white paper and some crayons. You could collect leaves and bark and do rubbings of these too.
  • The Woodland Trust, Find A Wood - Visiting Woods - Woodland Trust, have an array of information. Find your local woodland area via their website and then scroll through the pages where you will find, foraging ideas, identifying birds, how to identify bird egg shells if you happen to find any, and much more.
  • Visit your local car boot sale and see what bargains you can find. Could you find something old and turn it into something new? https://www.netmums.com/local/car-boot-sales.

At Home Activities

  • Have a home cinema day, create your own tickets, popcorn cups, banners and drinks/snacks!
  • Go to your local beach and collect shells, and create a seashell photo frame to store your favourite memory this summer.
  • Create your own playdough at home following this tutorial, what will you create? Take photos of your makes and send them to family/friends so they can vote for their favourite.
  • Countryside online has some free farming related activities for you to take part in here.
  • Find items that you already have around the house (bedsheets, tablecloths, pegs etc) and build a den inside or out. You could have lunch in your den or watch a film.
  • Get the board games out and have a family games day/night. Keep a leader board of who wins each game to find an overall winner
  • Try some of Dobbie’s Little Seedlings gardening activities here.
  • Create your own ‘Walking Bingo’ to try with the whole family. Make a card of 9 things, these could be; a dog, a red car, a green tree etc... As you walk along you tick them off as you go, the person who gets theirs ticked off first and shouts 'BINGO!' is the winner.
  • Go for a walk and collect sticks to make a fire, ensuring it is safe to do so, then use skewers to toast marshmallows... Fancy something more? Make smores by placing your toasted marshmallow between two chocolate digestives... Yum!
  • Buy some sunflower seeds, paint and decorate terracotta pots that can be purchased from your local garden centre (make sure your name is on it) and have a family sunflower growing competition.

Passes / Subscriptions

  • Try Kids Pass (Kids Pass | Family Days Out Deals and Discounts)! £1 for 30 days and you can cancel anytime. This site offers up to 57% off days out and attractions, kids go free at aquariums, restaurants and more, 30% off adult and child cinema tickets plus up to 25% off family holidays and resorts.
  • Before heading off for a day out at an attraction check for any offers, one site worth checking is Picniq.
  • Help conserve historic sites and keep England’s story alive by joining English Heritage. Membership is £5.50 a month for 12 months, this is for 1 adult and up to 6 children, and £9.58 a month for 2 adults and up to 12 children. You will get unlimited access to over 400 historic places and reduced prices for over 100 special events.
  • Blue Peter Badge owners can gain entry into over 200 attractions. There are 8 different badges find out how you can earn yours here.

Top Tips for Staying Cool

  • Written by Oisin Fahim on Monday 11 July 2022 in the category Active Families.

With the UK experiencing a heatwave, here are our top tips for staying cool this summer!

Did you know... children aged 4-8 years should be drinking 1 litre of water a day, children aged 9-12 years should be drinking 1.5 litres and children aged 13 and over should be drinking 2 litres? Water is great for our bodies for a variety of reasons:

  • It carries nutrients to cells
  • Helps to remove waste products from our major organs
  • Boosts our metabolism
  • Keeps us hydrated
  • Helps us control our body temperature and much, much more

Water can often become boring to children, and as we become more and more aware of the damage sugar from juices and squashes can do to our children’s teeth, how can we get them to drink more water?

  • Try infusing water: you can add your child’s favourite fruit to their water or grow your own herbs to put them into it. You can buy bottles with a separate part for the fruit/herbs.
  • Try Ice Tea: Small and Wild have created a happy, healthy tea that will help keep children hydrated
  • Try Vidrate sachets: with zero sugar, natural ingredients and added vitamins and electrolytes, these are a great way to flavour your child’s water

Other ways to keep cool

  • Jazz up your ice cubes, add some fruit into your ice cube trays to make fruity ice cubes or see what different-shaped ice cube trays you can find
  • Create some frozen yoghurt; this is an excellent alternative to ice cream and can be made using natural yoghurt or coconut yoghurt for those with a dairy allergy. Line a thin tray and pour on your chosen yoghurt, add your favourite fruits and pop in the freezer. When you get it out, take it off the tray and break it into bark pieces
  • Use a dispensing syringe to fill raspberries with yoghurt and pop them in the freezer for a quick and easy healthy snack
  • Pop some grapes into the freezer. They are a great sweet-tasting snack straight from the freezer or use them to cool a drink without diluting it and eat as a snack after
  • Banana ice lollies are also a great idea, peel and cut a banana in half and then pop in a lolly stick. Cover in yoghurt for an added extra, and then you can sprinkle on nuts or sprinkles, freezer and enjoy
  • Freeze bananas and then blitz in a blender for some banana ice cream

Your Guide to Tax-Free Childcare

  • Written by Oisin Fahim on Thursday 23 June 2022 in the category Active Families.

Did you know – Fit For Sport’s active services are Ofsted registered, and as a result, we can accept Tax-Free childcare. The scheme allows you to access government-funded payment support that will give you 20% for every pound you pay into your account.

 

How does it work?

As an Ofsted registered provider – Fit For Sport can support families who utilise the government-funded Tax-Free childcare scheme to support payments on your childcare bookings.

The scheme offers eligible families up to £2,000 per child per year (or £4,000 for disabled children) free to put towards childcare costs. Upon a successful application, families will be entitled to 20% additional funds for what you pay into your account. For example, for every £8 you pay, the government will automatically add £2, effectively giving you a basic rate tax back on what you spend.

We understand that sometimes going through the application process can be confusing, and therefore we are here to support you with a helpful guide for your Tax-Free Childcare application.

Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare.

 

Am I Eligible?

According to the government website, Tax-Free childcare is available to:

  • Families with children aged 0-11 (or 0-16 if disabled)
  • Working families, including the self-employed, in the UK
  • Families earning under £100k and at least the National Minimum or Living wage equal to 16 hours a week
  • Families who aren’t currently in receipt of Tax Credits, Universal Credit or Childcare Vouchers

Find out more here.

 

How to use Tax-Free childcare at Fit For Sport 

How to register

Families will need to create an account or sign in to the government childcare services portal below. There is one single application to apply for either the 30 hours of free childcare for nursery-aged children or Tax-Free Childcare for older children. 

To start your application, please follow the step-by-step government guide and the registration link below. 

Start your application today!

 

FAQ’s

You will find further helpful information on how we continue to strive to make childcare affordable for all families here!

 

I can’t find my local Fit For Sport club/camp listed as a provider on the government website; what do I do?

You can select any Fit For Sport Extended School or Holiday Camp location listed on our website. We are in the process of setting each camp location up with Tax-Free childcare, but unfortunately, this can take some time. The funds will reach us regardless of which Fit For Sport site you choose. Please do not select the school location as this will not be paid into us.

 

I’m currently using childcare vouchers – do I now have to register for Tax-Free Childcare, or do you still accept childcare vouchers?

Yes, you can still use your childcare vouchers – however, as this has been discontinued for any new employers from 4th October 2018 - once you’ve stopped using Childcare Vouchers, you only have the option of Tax-Free childcare. 

You can continue to use Childcare Vouchers until your employer stops offering them or you change jobs. Find out more at Help paying for childcare: Childcare vouchers and other employer schemes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

What if I’m registered for Childcare Vouchers, but Tax-Free childcare would be better for me?

We recommend registering with Tax-Free childcare and subsequently discussing this directly with your employer.


Childcare Vouchers

  • Written by Oisin Fahim on Thursday 23 June 2022 in the category Active Families.

At Fit For Sport we pride ourselves on offering families flexibility with multiple payment options to support childcare costs.

Childcare Vouchers are also a popular viable payment method for families. We work with a variety of registered childcare voucher providers allowing families to book using their voucher provider of choice through their employers to make full or part payments.

 

What are childcare vouchers?

The Childcare Voucher Scheme is a UK government initiative aimed at helping working parents to benefit from tax efficiencies to save money on childcare. However, as of 4 October 2018, schemes are closed to new members as the system was phased out in favour of the tax-free childcare scheme.

Existing members are still able to use the scheme with their employer to book sessions with Fit For Sport. This is only applicable to those families who joined a childcare voucher scheme or a directly contracted childcare scheme on or before 4 October 2018

You can keep getting vouchers or directly contracted childcare as long as:

  • your wages were adjusted on or before 4 October 2018
  • you stay with the same employer and they continue to run the scheme
  • you do not take an unpaid career break of longer than a year

You can take up to £55 a week of your wages, which you do not pay tax or National Insurance on. How much you can take depends on the amount you earn and when you joined the scheme.

 

Which Childcare Voucher Providers do Fit For Sport work with?

We work with a number of registered childcare providers – to view the full list of available options please use click here: https://www.fitforsport.co.uk/about-us/fit-for-sport-club-directory.

 

How do I book?

To book all you need to do – is process your regular booking/dates required via your Fit For Sport online account. You can login by clicking here. At the checkout stage of making your booking, please select to pay via ‘Childcare Vouchers / TFC’. This will secure your booking with us. From here - all payments need to be made directly from your Childcare Voucher account.

 

Can I use my Childcare Vouchers to book through an Instalment Plan?

Yes! If you book early and your provider can accommodate it, our flexible payment plans allow families to pay via monthly childcare voucher instalments, helping you spread the cost. Find out more about our full affordability options and how we support our families with childcare costs here: https://www.fitforsport.co.uk/about-us/payment-options

 

Looking for information on the new Tax Free Childcare Scheme?

Follow the link below to start you application and find out more:

 

Please note – families will only be able to use one of the Childcare Voucher of Tax Free Childcare Scheme.

If you are unsure on any of the above please odn’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


Get Ready for Camp with Fit For Sport!

  • Written by Oisin Fahim on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in the category Kids Camps.

With the next school holiday just a few more sleeps away, our teams are excited to open their doors and are raring to go for another action-packed holiday full of fun! We’re ready, but let’s ensure you are too! Here are just a few handy tips from us ahead of your child’s arrival at our Holiday Camps!

 

What to wear...

With sport and activity on offer each and every day - we suggest active wear that is comfortable and practical to tackle a range onsite facilities and terrain. From enjoying a number of pulse raising activities in our sports halls, heading out onto grassy areas for some track and field or getting stuck into the arts and crafts table to showcase their creative flair - children should also come equipped with layers, wet weather gear to ensure they can enjoy all areas of the Fit For Sport experience!

 

Don't forget your swimming kit for Splash Attack!*

Partnering with your local venue - Fit For Sport are delighted to offer exclusive daily splash attack activities for Fit For Sport children! By booking onto our camps children will enjoy all their favourite splash attack activities such as, aquatics, water polo, swim skills and much more. Ensure your children doesn't miss out on all the fun in the pool - ensure you remember to bring your swimming kit!*

 

What to bring...

  

  1. Packed Lunch - In an energising day, children will need to bring along a packed lunch to camp to ensure they can refuel throughout a busy day of camp. We recommend healthy options with a selection of proteins, fruit, veg and carbohydrates that will enable children to remain alert and active all day. There are plenty of sugar free snacks which can will also ensure children can stock up during our breaks such as, crackers, popcorn, dried fruit and much more!
  2. Water Bottles - Staying hydrated is key, especially as we enter the warmer months. Please ensure children bring along a refillable water bottle that is labelled with your child's name. We will always have multiple water stations located around the site and our teams will ensure children are reminded to top up with fluids throughout the day to maintain hydration levels!

 

Screen Free Child Experience

As the UK's leading experts in engaging children through physical activity, we pride ourselves on offering a screen free child experience by stimulating children through a our multi activity programmes.

 


Holiday Activities and Food Fund (HAF)

  • Written by Oisin Fahim on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in the category Kids Camps.

The school holidays can put extra pressure on some families, especially those that find themselves financially struggling and/or have children who receive free school meals during term time. Due to this additional pressure, during the holidays, children may be less likely to access organised out-of-school activities and are more likely to experience social isolation and unhealthy habits in terms of nutrition and physical health.

To help support families, Fit For Sport is proud to work with a number of local authorities to offer the Holiday Activities and Food Fund (HAF) programme. Click here to see which of our venues are running the HAF programme for the upcoming holiday.

HAF is the Governments response to the above issues. It provides funding to Local Authorities and childcare providers such as Fit For Sport so that local families in need of additional support can book their children into out-of-school activities. Launching in April 2021, evidence has shown that free-funded holiday camps can positively impact children and young people.

HAF is for school-aged children from Reception – Year 11, who receive free school meals.

To check your eligibility, click here.

Local Authorities also have 15% flexible funding to provide free or subsidised holiday camp places for children who are not receiving benefit-related free school meals but who they believe could benefit from the HAF programme.

This could include:

  • Children assessed by the local authority as being in need, at-risk or vulnerable
  • Young carers
  • Looked-after children or previously looked after children
  • Children with an EHC (education, health and care) plan
  • Children who have low attendance rates at school or who are at risk of exclusion
  • Children living in areas of high deprivation or from low-income households who are not in receipt of free school meals
  • Children in transition phases between nursery and primary school or primary and secondary school
  • It is ultimately up to the Local Authority to decide who would benefit from this.

The main aims of the HAF funding are:

  • To ensure children eat healthily over the school holidays
  • To ensure children are active during the school holidays
  • For children to take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
  • For children to be safe and not to be socially isolated
  • For children to have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
  • We also aim to develop the understanding of the whole family on nutrition and food budgeting and signpost people towards other information and support via our family directory.

HAF funding is offered over Easter, the Summer Holidays and Winter. It is provided for the equivalent of 6 weeks over the academic year.

During our holiday camps, we offer children the opportunity to:

  • Develop new skills
  • Develop their knowledge
  • Consolidate their existing knowledge and skills
  • Try new things
  • Have fun and socialise

At Fit For Sport, we do this through our Whole of Child Philosophy, which is underpinned by our six programming areas. Using our programming areas, we ensure that all children are given equal opportunities to learn, discover and thrive whilst having fun.

During our holiday camps, we ensure that all children meet the minimum requirement of 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous exercise per day and have the opportunity to engage in other varying levels of physical activity. This enables them to develop their movement skills, muscular fitness and bone strength.

During our daily activities, we ensure that all children are gaining education and awareness of healthy eating and the critical role that it plays in their everyday lives.

Through our family directory and at-home activities, we also aim to educate the whole family on how to live a healthy and low-cost lifestyle.


National Growing for Wellbeing Week

National Growing for Wellbeing week celebrates the many benefits that growing produce can have on your physical and mental wellbeing. Strong evidence highlights the benefits of gardening on mental health; these include improved confidence, concentration and self-belief, improved mental and physical health, opportunities to communicate and connect with others, and the chance to acquire a new skill.

Children love to be outside, kicking balls around or finding bugs, but how can we get them involved in the gardening? Children will love to get involved with planting fruits, vegetables and herbs. Gardening is great for children as they can watch their plants grow and learn how to take care of them. Once they have grown their produce, they can reap the rewards and help cook something up with what they have grown.

This activity is also great for fussy eaters, as children are more likely to try new foods if they have participated in the growing process. Don’t let this stop you if you do not have a garden! Did you know that you can grow herbs on a windowsill? Save some jam jars, clean them out, fill them an inch from the top with soil, sprinkle the seeds of the herbs you would like to grow on top, add a dusting of more soil, water and watch as they sprout. This is something children can do with little direction too.

Why not make a start this weekend by growing some mint which you can then use in cooking, as well as for creating your own lip scrub!


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