Clubs offer tons of fun for all ages, from camps to nights out

Modern play has taken on new meaning and direction as parents and childcare advocates incorporate applicable education into everyday activities. STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics — careers are the fastest growing in the country and salaries are sometimes more than double non-STEAM jobs.

STEAM-based learning recognizes that life is not a series of multiple-choice questions, but rather a messy, hands-on world where teamwork and creativity reign. It moves away from traditional instruction into more cross-curricular methods like teaching kids how to build a LEGO bridge and test its strength, or using marshmallows and pasta to construct atoms.

Inspiring Curiosity At Camp

Many McConnell Golf clubs offer camps during summertime and shorter school breaks to help kids (and parents) get the most out of their time away from school. No matter the occasion, camps are planned to maximize fun and feature a different theme each week over the summer — or for a day the kids are out of school, like President’s Day or a teacher workday.

The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation offers summer camps for kids ages 3-5 and 6-11 and feature a variety of entertaining themes, including Animal Planet, Disney, LEGOs, wet ‘n wild, and sports camps for golf and tennis.

The club partners with Challenge Island, a local,member-owned STEAM-based company that creates appealing activities to grab kid’s attention but also engage with them to use logic, reasoning, and creativity.

One of the more popular STEAM-based camps at Wakefield is Slime Camp. Each day is based on a different theme, like Space Day or Ghostbusters. All activities use some aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math throughout the day. Kids often don’t notice they are learning because it’s so much fun.

“For younger kids, we did a Polynesian-quest theme with Moana, and for older kids we have a camp where they will be making their own videos,” said Karen Weathers, owner of Challenge Island in Raleigh, NC. “Using Challenge Island’s model, we’ve created camps based on Minecraft, Fortnite, and superheroes.

An Evening Just For Kids

While adult-oriented social events occur a few times monthly, that doesn’t necessarily require parents to find a babysitter. The club also coordinates Kids Night Out programs with more popular adult events to make it easy for all members of the family to enjoy the club.

Wakefield’s Kids Night Out usually happens twice a month to coincide with special dining events or summer cookouts. From 5:30-9:30 p.m., the kids participate in crafts and games and enjoy a kid-centric meal. Activities center on a theme like science or art, and always incorporate a learning aspect into lively fun.

“I think parents really appreciate our programs and activities,” said Natalie Clemens, director of activities at Wakefield. “We’ve grown our program a lot recently and many of my ideas come from members telling me what they want and think their kids would enjoy. We work with a wonderful group of people, which makes the kids really want to come back.”