Planning a holiday en famille? Kids and parents, know now that kids’ clubs are very 2013. Caroline Davies outlines eight proper children’s activities for the imaginative and adventurous
1. RUN OVER ROOFTOPS
The practical way to teach look before you leap. Sign your child up to learn parkour, the art of ‘overcoming’ obstacles, progressing from a frog leap to full blown urban exploring. You can tell your child it’s good exercise and great for their balance, but they’ll be doing it to look like Spider-man.
Where to do it: Baltimore, USA
Age range: 6-14 years
Top tip: The phrase bouncing off the walls might take on a new meaning.
2. BUNGY JUMP
Fresh air, great views, a heartstopping plunge… Even the thought of watching your child jump from a great height, tied only to a piece of elastic, can cause sweaty palms. No longer the preserve of the gap year student, bungy jumps are available even before they hit the tweens in New Zealand.
Where to do it: New Zealand, find a good gorge
Age range: Certain bungy jumps are possible from 10+
Top tip: Buy the video. You might not want to watch it live.
3. LEARN TAXIDERMY
Some children love animals. Some love gore. There’s something for everybody at a taxidermy class. Death Warmed Up specialises in anthropomorphic taxidermy: animals engaged in human activities. Starting with baby rats and progressing to the advanced stage of foxes, you may end up with an entire menagerie. Try to find an iPad app which teaches anatomy and creativity in the same hands-on way.
Where to do it: Death Warmed Up, Stockport
Age range: 9-17 years (under 16 needs adult permission)
Top tip: Don’t bring your own pet.
4. RIDE AN OSTRICH
Camel rides are so 2010. To guarantee that your child comes back with the best holiday diary, let them ride an ostrich. For those of you who haven’t read National Geographic in a while, ostriches can’t fly, but they can sprint. Up to 43 miles an hour. Just watch out for their legs; a single swipe can kill a lion.
Where to do it: Cango Ostrich Farm in Oudtshoorn, not far from Cape Town, South Africa
Age range: 6+
Top tip: Don’t grab their neck. It’s their throat, not a joystick.
5. SWIM WITH SHARKS
You’ve made the mistake of showing your 8-year-old ’Jaws’. Perhaps the only way to confront the fear you have instilled in your child is to face it head on. Deep Sea World in Scotland offers scuba diving with sand tiger sharks. Around 3 metres long with rows of ragged teeth, they look vicious but are known to be docile “unless bothered”.
Where to do it: Deep Sea World, Scotland
Age range: 8+
Top tip: Keep your hands inside the cage.
6. DO A BOBSLEIGH RUN
One of the most risky of the Winter Olympic sports, groups of four squeeze into a fibreglass sleigh and set off on their steel runners down an icy track for over a kilometre, reaching up to 100km/h. A step up from sliding down the stairs on a cushion.
Where to do it: Innsbruck, Austria
Age range: 12+
Top tip: Hold on tight.
7. RECORD AN ALBUM
Is your child a mini Mariah or a budding Kanye? Set your small songbird’s sights high and rent out an entire studio for them to “find their sound”. Villa RockStar at Eden Rock has an inbuilt slick studio, Grammy award winning producers and the console used to record John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to tease out a hit. Beware; once you let your child near a mic, you’ve no idea where it might end.
Where to do it: Rock Star Villa, Eden Rock, St Barths, Caribbean
Age range: If they can hold a note…
Top tip: Think twice before putting it online. Remember Rebecca Black?
8. BECOME A HORSE WHISPERER
Life isn’t all about digging in your spurs and cracking the whip. Teach your child the art of equine deliberation. Horses are pretty picky about who they listen to; highly strung conversation causes them to panic, too quiet and they don’t consider you a leader. Lessons for life…
Where to do it: Monty Roberts, California
Age range: You can start learning a language at any age.
Top tip: Horses’ ears are their tell. Not all lessons translate to the boardroom.