By Wendy Andersen
IT’S the gestation period of a lion – or seven generations of hamster.
It’s enough time to lose twice your body weight on a Dukan diet.
And enough time for the average parent to go insane with their children at home, bored.
After weeks of desperately counting down to the last day of school, it usually takes about an hour before hearing the first of 10,000: “What can we do?”
It’s an enormous void to fill. And good luck with my favourite answer: “How about you read the books on the summer reading list?” That always goes down like a bucket of sick.
Thankfully, the long summers in Spain are well catered for.
With so many parents having to work through the holidays, a wealth of all-day or half-day activities are available in every town.
But you have to know where to look, and decide how much you want to spend.
One of the most popular options is the casal, or summer school, usually hosted by one of the local primary schools. Sign-up information will be available at your town hall.
These are relatively inexpensive, and offer hours that suit working parents. Attendance is non-compulsory, so once you’ve paid you can decide how many days your child attends.
The facilities and activities will vary depending on the host school.
So what’s good about them? They’re inexpensive. What’s bad? They’re too much like school, with a class-based approach to fun.
Another option is to check out the local sports centre. Most offer summer day-camps which are often very popular, so you need to sign up early to secure a place.
Activities are great for wearing kids out and expending some of that excess energy, with usually a variety of sports activities through the day.
Look out for sports centres with swimming pools so that your child can cool off in the summer heat.
What’s good about these camps? They’re fun, active, and great for fitness. What’s bad? They can be expensive, there’s limited availability and it might only be for mornings, depending on your local sports centre.
Another option is specialist camps.
This is a bit of a catch-all category and will depend on your location. Head to the town hall, casa de jouventud or library to find out what’s available.
Many museums and zoos will also offer week long activities for kids, with a real mix of fun and learning.
Most sports clubs will also offer summer camps, though they can be expensive
One of our favourites for outdoor activities is the Algaba centre in Ronda which offers one week courses, with activities such as nature walks, arts and crafts. It even includes an archeological
If you’re new to Spain and would like to give your kids a burst of Spanish tuition, the Don Quixote centres in Marbella, Granada, and Sevilla offer week long summer camps with fun-based intensive
Most specialist sports clubs – tennis, football, golf – will also offer summer camps, though they can be relatively expensive.
Lastly, you can always spend a day making your own countdown calendar – to September 10 for primary schools and September 17 for ESO – when peace will return to the house for at least six hours a