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Camping Europe With Kids = Free Kids Clubs

August 06, 2010

family travel kids clubs in Europe camping France
 

One of the great joys of family travel in Europe is camping because of all the family friendly amenities like pools, saunas, playgrounds, free kids clubs and opportunities to connect with other Europeans. I've  written about our favorite campgrounds in Europ the big tents we see and the fantastic budget prices, but I wanted to write specifically about the social advantages for traveling children.


camping europe with kids france kids club fun
 

They often call the kids clubs "animation" and most campgrounds have them for free in the summer and often also on the weekends all year round, especially in the  luxury European campgrounds. They actually often have "animation" activities for adults as well, but we have yet to participate in that. Some of the places really get carried away with Disney-like mascots dressed in costumes and have everything from learning-to -sail lessons to archery, but we usually prefer less animation focused campsites as they are often geared to families that basically spend their whole vacation/holiday just at the campsite and we tend to want to tour some. 

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camping europe kids clubs abroad animation fun

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 Our 9 year old Mozart really loves kids clubs and is even planning her up coming birthday celebrations in Barcelona around starting the day with some bingo at the kids club of our favorite Barcelona beach resort . She also really loved our month in Dubrovnik because she adored the kids club there and their free daily ice cream time. Most of the photos here though, are from a recent stop in the south of France because the kids club was right across from us, so easy to grab some pictures. Usually the assistants who watch and entertain the kids speak several languages as the group of kids in Europe campsites usually speak several different languages and are from several countries. Thus we also like it as a way to immerse into a language and finding ways to communicate, connect and have fun with other kids even when one does not share a language in common.

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This was not a thrilling campsite or location in Agde, France, called Le Neptune, but it was decent and Mozart so loved the kids club that we stayed extra days and let go of some of our plans for the area. We were very comfortable under some shady trees near the Midi canal, and we could relax in our lounge chairs or do some work online outside at our campsite with the cheap wifi while we watched her at the kids club, ride her bike around or go to the pool with her new friends at the life-guarded pool, between family swims or explorations around the area.


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Most of the kids and people at the campsite were French, but there were a few from Holland or Germany, so mostly the assistant talked to the kids in French. Luckily, she was also fluent in Spanish and knew some English, so she helped Mozart ( and the others) when needed. During the time we were there, they made a lot of craft projects like bead bracelets and a mask for a performance they did, played many group games like "duck,duck, goose" which is "tomate, tomate, kitchup" in French or musical chairs etc., baked a cake together and learned a group dance together that they later performed for all the parents all dressed in certain colors with their masks.

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Simple camp-like activities, but a great way to help the kids connect and have a place where they can join in and come and go as they please. I was happy that Mozart was getting nicely immersed in French and learning more French words and she was happy meeting new friends and always having fun things to do. They sometimes went off to a large field area where they played more games and soccer as part of the kids club. In Barcelona sometimes they go as a group to the zoo on the property, play games on the soccer/basketball/ball courts or go butterfly hunting etc. 

family travel in Europe & abroad camping kids club fun
 

Campgrounds in Europe are a little like safe small neighborhoods where kids can roam about freely and most people are on vacation/holiday so are in good moods to enjoy life. Often they also have kids club dances in the evening as well that kids from toddlers to teens participate at ( although the toddler version starts earliest and teens last the latest). The macarana is a big hit at many campsites, especially with the tween set and Mozart loves it. 

camping europe with kids at animation disco dancing macarena
 

You really can't beat these free kids camps if you are doing long stay travel in Europe. Your kids will love them and it's also a good time for the parents to get a little work done or just read a good book without interruptions. Many of the families don't camp at all, but stay in the bungalows or cottages by flying or driving to the campsite for a family holiday or vacation. ( Europeans tend to call vacations holidays, so we've gotten really use to this term now). Have you tried them out? 

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Our lead photo is entered in Delicious Baby Photo Friday!
 







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Heather on her travels

They really do look as if they're having a glorious time - I'm off to a large campside near disneyland Paris at Berny Riveau staying in a mobile home in October and I'm wondering if there will be much for my children who are now teenagers and would just yawn at the thought of anything organised - but they still perk up at the thought of a trip to Disneyland Paris!

Erica

This sounds like so much fun for the kids! Reminds me of a camp near my parents summer cottage that we used to cycle to as kids. The whole camp felt like a playground and we met so many new friends every day. Good times!

soultravelers3

Heather - Sounds fun! Often they do have things for teens that they seem to enjoy. I know the disco always seems filled with teens and it tends to be a safe place to let them hang out. Many campsites have discos or entertainment every night in summer and often on the weekend.

Being from California, we have purposely avoided Disneyland Paris. We prefer to go to the more European style places so might try Asterix Park when we get to Paris soon. Funny! ;)

soultravelers3

Erica - It really is a fun and wholesome place for kids while they tour Europe. We almost never meet Americans on our travels and sadly, most Americans are in standard hotels ( that could be anywhere) or apartments so rarely meet Europeans while traveling Europe.

I didn't know about the free kids camps before coming, but it's a secret that more American families should know about!

Camels & Chocolate ( Kristin)

It's so cool to see all the friends Mozart makes on the road! Most people would think traveling around the world at that age with little consistency would be hard for a kid her age, but I love seeing how she embraces it to the fullest.

soultravelers3

Thanks Kristin! Actually, she has a lot of consistency by the way we have planned our travels...slow and repeating special places.

We've spent the last 4 winters in a tiny village in Spain and we have been to Barcelona 10 times since 2006, often staying a month so she has deep friendships in those places, plus keeps up with friends she meets as she travels & at home in Ca via email and webcam calls.

Most kids are very happy when they are on vacation and her whole life is one big vacation! What's not to like? ;)

The key to travel with kids and keeping consistency is slow travel for sure! She actually meets more kids and learns so much through our travels. What a life this kid has!

Sophie

Wow. I live in Europe and didn't know about this! Will have to check it out; have a feeling my 9-year-old would love it :)

Jeremy B

What a great idea for traveling in Europe with kids! This was a fun read and might I say, very budget conscious!

3 Kids Travel

We love this article. Little did we know about the free kids program at camping grounds around Europe. If you have more info, we will love to learn about your favorite spots.

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