You wouldn’t guess by looking outside that it’s time to talk about summer. If you have school-aged kids, it’s time to start planning what they’ll do when school’s out and you’re still at work. Let’s talk about summer activities for kids.
Schools in Finland finish by the end of the first week of June. They start again around mid-August. This leaves kids with two and a half months of vacation time.
Although employees in Finland do have rather generous amounts of vacation time globally speaking, parents are still left with trying to figure out how to take care of their kids when school’s out and they are still at work. Thankfully there are different types of summer activities for kids available.
Most of the summer activities for kids are scheduled for the three weeks before Mid-Summer and then again for the first couple of weeks of August. This is because the most popular vacation time in Finland is July. Activity organizers assume that that’s when families vacation together and there’s no need for their services.
The problem of filling up the time of vacationing children really concerns only school-aged children. Although individual daycare centers may close for July, the municipalities do provide families with an alternative. This might mean that during the summer your daily routines will change as you need to take your child to a different daycare center. But at least your child will have daycare. School kids are on their own.
Why talk about this now?
You might wonder why we bring this topic up now. Summer vacation is still three months away. Well, we bring this up now because now is the time to check out what your options are and decide what you want to do.
The organizers start advertising their services just about now and the most popular summer activities for kids fill up fast.
Experienced parents beat rookies in this sport. And by rookies, I mean parents of first graders irrespective of nationality. I myself didn’t realize that one had to be on to it this early in the year when our kids were in first grade. Thankfully my mother-in-law alerted me to the enrollments. Without her, I would have waited until late April and early May just to find out that interesting summer activities for kids were already full.
In some cases, it might be that the organizers don’t yet take enrolments, but if you check out the various possibilities now you’ll be able to take note when the actual enrolments begin. If they tell you when their enrollments begin you better be prepared to sit by your computer that second. Otherwise, it might just be too late.
Summer activities for kids – plenty of variety
There is really a lot of variety in the summer activities for kids, provided that you are willing to pay and your kid speaks Finnish. You can choose between day camps and away camps, between camps with different topics, and you can choose different organizers. Day camps organized by cities and churches are often quite inexpensive. Those by commercial actors can be quite pricy.
Here we’ll give you some suggestions to check out and research further. The info for these is only in Finnish. You’ll find English-language camps further down.
Science and nature camps:
- Day camp run by SeaLife in Helsinki. Camp info is also in English, but camps are in Finnish.
- Gardening, environmental and science camps in Kumpula, Helsinki. Most of the camps are full already, but there are some spots still available.
- Science camps by Aalto University. Most of these are full already and the enrollment began March 2.
- Nature day camps by Korkeasaari Zoo (enrollment ends March 13)
- Science camps by the University of Helsinki. Info available starting March 9 and enrollment begins March 13. These always fill up fast.
- Nature camps by the Finnish Nature League
- Science camps by Heureka. Info and enrollment from March 16 onwards. This year they have also an archaeology day camp and space and space technology-themed camps.
- The Science Centre Tietomaa in Oulu organizes summer day camps. Info and enrollment later on in the spring.
- Science camps by the University of Turku. Info and enrollment are available from March 23 onwards.
- The Finnish Science School (Tiedekoulu) organizes day camps in robotics, coding, science in Helsinki, Espoo, and Turku.
- Science camps by Snellman Kesäyliopisto.
- 4H camps in Espoo
- Sports day camps in Espoo
- Sailing day camps in Helsinki
- Away camp and a day camp by Puistolan urheilijat in Helsinki.
- Horse riding camps by Hevosopisto, by Palmun ratsutalli, and by Ruoveden ratsutalli. There are plenty of other stables across the country that organize horse riding camps. Just google “kesäleiri” and “ratsutalli”.
- Check out your local football clubs, dance studios (particularly tanssiopisto) and other sports clubs. They very often organize day camps in their respective sports. Your child doesn’t need to belong to these clubs to participate in their day camps.
- Parcour camps in Turku.
- Summer is a great time to teach your child how to swim. Use the term “kesäuimakoulu” to search for summer swimming schools in your area.
- Scouting day camps in the Helsinki metropolitan area, also away camps
- Scouts in the Turku region also organize camps. Enrollment begins March 16.
- Coding day camps in Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Hämeenlinna, and Jyväskylä
- Day and away camps with different themes in the Helsinki region
- kesäleiri.fi is a search tool for both day and away camps. This service includes summer camps by six different organizers.
- Away camps in different parts of Finland particularly for children in need.
- harrastushaku.fi is a site for the Helsinki region where you can search for activities throughout the year. It includes also summer camps. We have listed some of these camps individually here but you can find more through this service.
- Day camps in dance, theatre, music, arts, and circus in Helsinki
- Valteri summer day camps for kids you need extra support
- Away camps by YMCA Tampere.
- Architectural, design, animation, and art camps in Helsinki.
- Day camps on a farm in Punkaharju
- Churches across the country also organize day camps. Check your local parish website for further info. Here’s an example from Turku and Kaarina.
- Cities may also organize day camps in local playgrounds. This example is from Turku.
- Harry Potter-themed away camp by Turku YMCA. The Turku YMCA also has other camps.
- Camps by the University of Jyväskylä.
- Science and other camps in the Joensuu region.
Possibilities in English and in Swedish
Some activity organizers do provide summer activities for kids also in English. Here are some possibilities:
- International Day Camps for ages 7-10, scouting
- Folkhälsan organizes camps in Swedish in the Helsinki region and also in Österbotten.
- LearningFun/the Kids Club organizes a day camp in English in Tuusula and an English language summer camp in Korkeasaari.
- Linguajoy organizes day camps in English.
- EduCamp Finland doesn’t have their Summer 2020 programme up yet, but they have away camps.
- Ice hockey camps in Vierumäki.
- Norwich City FC Football Camp in Eerikkilä. This football camp is also in English.
- Architecture and Art summer camps in English in Helsinki.
- The Exhibition Centre Weegee organizes day camps in Espoo during the summer. The camps are primarily in Finnish, but they do encourage English and Swedish speaking kids to attend too.
If your child doesn’t speak Finnish or speaks it very little you can always still ask the camp organizers if he/she is welcome to attend the camp. Please note, however, that the organizers might discourage you from doing that. Proving extra assistance to someone always takes up resources and some organizers might not be willing to do that.
Make sure that you find out if the price of the day camp includes lunch and make sure you know what type of lunch that is. You might have to provide our children with snacks to help them with their energy levels.
The camp instructions always tell their recommendations for clothing, footwear, sunscreen, water bottles, and also for insurance coverage. Outdoor camps also tell what they have as alternative activities in case of bad weather. It’s good to know what you can expect to get for the price and what is expected of you and your child.
Hope you are able to find great summer activities for your child!
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