Summer camps 2022: A guide to the best and most popular non-sports camps

Camps across the island cater for all interests, including drama, technology and art

There was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when summer camps were not at all plentiful. Even in large towns and cities, there were often few choices for children during the long summer months.

In recent years, however, summer camps have exploded in popularity – even the Covid pandemic could only temporarily put a halt to the increasing number on offer each year.

For many parents, choosing a summer camp, is an annual and often expensive task, so here is a handy list to help you, and your children.

We have divided the in-person camps into two. If you are looking for sports related camps - GAA, rugby, tennis, water-sports, etc - click here for our guide.

Below is the other one, containing camps which, at least in general, do not involve sports. Hopefully, you find something that catches your interest for the summer months.

ANYONE4SCIENCE

This year the popular camp is offering two sets of activities for primary school children. The first includes a range of fun experiments about botany, bioplastics, pulleys and levers, entomology (the study of insects). The second programme is a series of experiments inspired by the David Walliams books – Gangsta Granny, Grandpa's Great Escape, The Demon Dentist and of course Slime. Each day children do a range of experiments based on the theme from the books. Locations Cork, Dublin, Galway, Sligo, Wicklow Dates and times Through July and August, there are morning camps (10am-12.30pm) and afternoon (1.30pm-4pm). Full-day camps, including lunchtime supervision (10am-4pm), are also available Ages All primary school age (5-13 years). They also have some teen camps suitable for students who have completed first-third year in secondary school Cost Prices start from €125 for a morning or afternoon camp for the week Website anyone4science.com

ARTZONE

For the creative person in your house, the camps are run by qualified art teachers. The academy camps promise drawing, painting, illustration, fashion, sculpture and clay construction. There's also stories and games, with all equipment supplied by the organisers. Locations Three locations in Dublin: Rathfarnham, Dundrum and Glenageary Dates and times Five-day camps in June, July and August Ages 5-12 years. Camps are divided into junior (5-6 years), intermediate (7-9 years) and senior (10-12 years). There are also Academy Camps aimed at 10-16-year-olds based in Rathfarnham Cost €150 Website artzone.ie

BRICKS4KIDZ

A nice way to bring out the creativity in children during the summer with Lego-themed camps. Bricks4Kidz is an international children's franchise that provides play-based educational programmes, with Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) being at the heart of the camps. Stem is prominent in education and plays a vital role in our everyday lives. Locations Not nationwide, but there are camps from Antrim to Cork and Donegal to Waterford. Dates and times Five days – June, July and August Ages 3-16 years (age range varies in some camps) Cost Prices vary, but generally €99-€110 Website bricks4kidz.ie

CONNEMARA MATHS ACADEMY

These camps are a mix of Steam (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) and adventure activities. Rockwell College is well known for its sporting and leisure facilities – so it's a paradise for those who enjoy field and water sports – including swimming and kayaking, as well as those interested in science and computer labs. The camps are popular with overseas students, so airport transfers are offered. Location Rockwell College, Co Tipperary Dates and times 4 weeks in July (each 6-night camps) Ages 8-17 years Cost €895 Website connemaramathsacademy.com

DESIGNER MINDS

A week jammed with coding and robotics, sports science, circuit building, engineering and design, creative challenges, architecture, team-building games, Minecraft ... and more. This is for children who love to create, design and code. Designer Minds is also hosting art camps this summer – painting, drawing and some digital design. Locations STEAM camps in 70 locations and Art camps in 38 locations Dates and times Five-day camps, July and August Ages 7-13 years Cost €140 Website designerminds.ie

DIVA ART AND ANIMATION

Dún Laoghaire Institute of Visual Arts (DIVA) is a new art centre. Art summer camps will cover a wide range of activities. The team of tutors will guide the young artists through activities such as clay modelling, plaster casting, watercolour, acrylic and oil painting, life drawing, pencil techniques, collage making, paper sculpting and character design. They also offer specialised camps and weekend workshops in Animation where students will make their own movies and learn the magic behind bringing a character, setting, and storyline to life from tutors who work in the industry. Location Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Dates Camps run weekly through July and August. Ages 7-18 years. Cost €150 for one week, €60 for weekend workshops. Website divadunlaoghaire.com

INDEPENDENT THEATRE WORKSHOP

The Independent Theatre Workshop is running a wide range of camps from June to August. The camps include dancing, drama, singing and puppetry with young children; musical theatre workshops inspired by Romeo & Juliet, Legally Blonde and Wicked; and "Acting Intensive" for young adults. Locations ITW Studios in Clonskeagh and Drumcondra and Beechwood Centre, Ranelagh Dates and times One-day and five-day camps available Ages Several different camps available, 4-18 years Cost Prices range, depending on duration and ages – €25-€160 Website itwstudios.ie

INSPIRELAND

The creative summer camp includes activities such as illustration, print, animation, model-making, plaster of Paris, graphic art and street-art stencils. All of the tutors are art college students and post-graduates bringing what they've learned to students of all ages and ability levels. Attendees also get a week's free access to the Inspireland Online tutorials, so that they keep making art from home long after camp has finished. Locations Institute of Art, Design & Technology Dún Laoghaire; and Limerick School of Art & Design Dates and times Five-day camps, 10/10.30am-2.30/3pm Ages 9-19 years Cost €160 Website inspireland.ie

LEARNIT

Learnit Lego education-themed summer camps are designed to inspire the creators of tomorrow. Over the course of five days, children learn about and apply a variety of Stem concepts, including mechanics, engineering, robotics, construction, science and creativity through fun, engaging and hands-on challenges. Locations Cork, Dublin and Limerick Dates and times Five-day camps in July and August Ages 6-16 years Cost €100-€145 Website learnit.ie

LINGOTOT

Introducing a new language to a child in a fun way can be a gift, and Lingotot offers award-winning language classes run by qualified language and native teachers – including French, Spanish and Chinese. Locations Galway, Louth, Meath and Waterford Dates and times July and August Ages 3-12 years Cost €125 Website lingotot.com

LITTLE LINGUA

This summer, the popular camp is running some exciting international camps. The camps will include a choice of languages: Irish, Spanish, French, or English along with sports, and arts and crafts. Locations Bray and Greystones, Co Wicklow Dates/times July and August, 10am-1pm Ages 7-15 years Cost €165 Website littlelingua.com

MUSICAL STAGECRAFT

Participants in the AIMS (Association of Irish Musical Societies) youth workshop will take part in improvisation, mime, dance, singing (solo & choral) and acting. Past workshops have featured extracts from shows such as West Side Story, Grease, Clown, 42nd Street and Les Misérables. A fully residential workshop, the course will end with a concert on the Friday evening. Location Ursuline Convent, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Dates Sunday, July 3rd to Friday, July 8th. Ages 15-18 years. Cost The fee, including tuition, meals and accommodation and some extras, is €220. Website aims.ie/

NEXT STAGE

Run by actor and drama teacher Evelyn Shaw, Next Stage offers a fresh, fun approach to performing arts training, suitable for the shy newcomer and seasoned performer alike. The focus is on singing, dance and drama, and building confidence, having fun, making friends and improving performance skills in a friendly and non-pressurised environment. Locations Castledermot, Co Kildare; Dunboyne, Co Meath; and Balally and Donnycarney, Co Dublin Dates and times Five days, 10am-3pm, in July and August Ages 4-13 years Cost €85 Website nextstage.ie

PLAYACT

For junior campers (4-12 years), the camp is an opportunity for children to immerse themselves into the magical world of make-believe, unleash their creativity, bring their ideas alive, make new friends and have loads of fun. For teens (13+) the focus of the camps is on making a movie, with script writing, directing, acting, storyboards, costume, props and lots more. Location Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin Dates and times 9.30am-1.30pm, June, July and August Ages 4-17 years Cost From €150 Website playact.ie

RÉALTA DRAMA

A morning workshop in July for children. Parents can head off and soak up the Galway International Arts Festival vibe while the children get creative and have heaps of fun. Location Croi Na Gaillimhe, 1 Mill Street, Galway City. Dates and times Friday, July 22nd, 9.30am - 12.30pm. Cost €36. Website realtadrama.com (email: hello@realtadrama.com).

SCHOOL OF IRISH ARCHAEOLOGY

The camps provide a fascinating alternative to sports-themed camps and other school-break activities for children. If your child is a curious explorer with a thirst for knowledge about their past, why not let them try an archaeology camp? Locations Various Dublin locations, including Sandyford, Terenure, Harold's Cross, Malahide and Dalkey Dates and times Five days, 10am-3pm, from July 4th to August 19th Ages 7-12 years Cost €130-€140 Website www.sia.ie

SEARSOL

If your child loves computers, perhaps this is the camp for them. The course covers a range of topics, including touch typing, word processing, presentation slides, image editing, creating cards, avatars, comic books, collages and 3D animation with children divided into two age groups: 8-12 (Level 1) and 13-18 (Level 2). The camp is suitable for children with learning differences such as dyspraxia or dyslexia. Locations Dundrum, Lucan and Malahide in Dublin Dates and times Five days, mornings and afternoons, during July Ages 8-18 years Cost €100 for first child Website searsolcomputercamps.com

SHAKESPEARE IN A WEEK

Paul Cullen has been teaching, acting and directing Shakespeare for more than 35 years. This camp is perfect for teens who are interested in drama – they get to choose, study, learn, rehearse and perform a Shakespeare play all in one week. Location Arclight Drama Studio, Cornelscourt, Dublin Dates and times June 27th-July 1st, 10am-3pm. Friday will run from 10am-8.30pm to include performance Ages 12-18 years Cost €125 Booking Email paulvcullen@gmail.com

STARCAMP

A camp for the little person in your life who enjoys singing, dancing and acting. The activities listed also include magic tricks, comedy, arts and crafts, TikTok dances, comedy and jokes and kids' news desk. Locations 240 venues nationwide Dates and times Five days, 9.45am-2.30pm, July 4th-August 26th Ages 4-12 years Cost €99 Website starcamp.ie

TECHKIDZ

In their 22nd year running summer tech camps, TechKidz teaches children everything from basic computer skills to animations, coding to robotics. The classes are divided by age, with smaller children having fun with animation, coding and paint, while older children get experience with 3D design, game making and Raspberry Pi. Children will also be taught about staying safe online. Locations Venues in Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford Dates and times Five-day camps, 10am-12.30pm or 2.30pm-5pm Ages 7-13 years Cost €115 Website techkidz.ie

The Little School Nature Camps

Keep the children busy with lots of outdoor fun - while also learning about nature. Activities include scavenger hunts, bird watching and nature crafts. Location Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin 14. Dates and times Morning and afternoon camps, from July 4th to August 5th. Ages 5-11 years. Cost €135-€150. Website thelittleschool.ie

TUTTI MUSIC

Tutti Music Ireland is running an orchestral workshop for teenagers in August. This fun and dynamic course includes solo performance, conducting, performance platforms and many other interactive music activities with professional musicians. Tutti Music Ireland is run by Ciara Harrington and Isabel Ryan, who have many years' experience working with youth orchestras and ensembles. Location Rathmines, Dublin 6 Dates August 8th-12th Ages 11-18 years Cost €300 Website tuttimusicireland.com

WHIZZKIDS

Whizzkids have delivered its popular blend of education and entertainment to children across Ireland since 2003. The high-tech camps blend digital skills classes on topics such as web design, 3D modelling, game design, coding, animation with sports and a host of fun hi-tech challenges. Designed for children of all abilities, no prior experience necessary and classes are broken by age. Groups are small and all lessons will be suited to that age category. There are half-day and full-day options. Locations Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Tipperary and Westmeath Dates and times Five days, 9.30am-3.30pm (half-day camp, 9.30am-1pm) through July and August Ages 8-15 years Cost €175 (half-day camp, €120) Website whizzkids.ie

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