Fun programs for kids that promote healthy bodies and minds
Rhythmic Gymnastics: Described as a blend of ballet, gymnastics, dance, and apparatus manipulation (club, hoop, ball, ribbon and rope), this sport has a little bit of everything and is about as close as you can get to structured goofing off. Universe Gymnastics, led by Russian pro Olga Balachina, started in Phuket but began Bangkok classes last year (trial classes are just B300). In February they expanded the program to include a toddler group for kids three to six.
Meditation: Health is more than just skin deep, and overall holistic wellness starts in the mind. Mindfulness for Children is based on the serene shores of Pranburi, in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, and organizes group and private meditation classes for kids (ages 7-11) and teens (12 and up) to help cultivate awareness, calmness, and kindness. Check the website for prices and schedules.
Basketball: Coax out your kids’ inner Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant with classes for kids at Top Flight. Children aged 3-15 can attend the weekend workshops, with programs aimed at understanding the game and enhancing fundamental basketball skills. Kids learn the value of teamwork and sportsmanship while having a “ball”. Saturday classes start from B6,000 for 10 sessions, and Sunday classes from B7,200 for 12 sessions.
Parkour: Walking the walk has never looked so cool. Parkour is a training discipline that turns every-day life into a fun-to-navigate obstacle course, and improves overall fitness using bodyweight resistance and running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, and rolling. Asia Parkour’s ‘Ninja Kids’ program teaches children 6-15 that jumping around is a sport that can rev up those motor skills. Prices for drop-in classes are just B550.
Summer Camp: Outdoor play is key in nurturing a child’s individual strengths. Schools with environmental education programs score higher on standardized tests in math, reading, writing, and listening, and it is good for the spirit too—stress levels fall within minutes of kids seeing green spaces, and studies show that immersion in nature actually makes children more caring and generous.
“Kids thrive in the great outdoors,” says Merritt Gurley, director of Thailand Summer Camps, a sleepaway adventure camp for kids 7-16, set in the lush forests of Khao Yai. “There’s something special about being surrounded by trees, the calm and quiet that comes from observing nature. And as parents we have to find ways to give our kids a break from their electronic devices.”
Noticing a lack of environmental education options for kids in Bangkok, Merritt teamed up with the experts at the Wild Planet—an activities provider who has worked with international schools on field trips and excursions for more than 20 years—to launch a summer camp at Wild Lodge, the organization’s picturesque eco-adventure center. The location is just a three-hour drive from Bangkok, but the lush setting feels worlds away from the bustle of the city.
The four-acre property includes cozy cabins, campsite, salt-water infinity pool, reading sala, and dining area. The camps run from Monday to Friday, offering activities centered on outdoor play, such as archery, cycling, rock-climbing, zip-lining, hiking, swimming, canoeing, and whitewater rafting. Campers will build confidence and independence while learning how to navigate the jungle, preserve the environment, and work in teams. There’s even an aerial course for the more intrepid campers, complete with a high-ropes, timber platforms, and a climbing wall, designed to promote courage and social cooperation.
The dates, which coincide with school holidays, are: June 26-30; July 3-7; and July 31-August 4. The price is B21,000 per child (all-inclusive), and families sending siblings receive a discounted rate of B19,000 per additional child (all inclusive).
By Helen Highwater