School holidays are fast approaching and while there are plenty of fun things to do with kids in this great city, three months is a long time for even the most energetic and resourceful parent. Welcome to the world of Casals d’Estiu.
I’ll start with the basics, then further down you’ll find some useful links.
What are Casals d’Estiu?
Casals are summer day camps that are held during the school holidays.
They are intended for school age-kids, so 3 years and up, and might be based on art, sport, languages, music or some other combination of activities. They often include trips out from where the casal is based, say, to a swimming pool or a park.
When do they take place?
They run through the school holidays from the last week of June, through all of July, and the first week of September. There are casals in the Easter and Christmas holidays too.
It’s much more difficult to find a casal in August, although there are a few. It’s generally assumed that no-one works in August!
Casals are organised in torns which are short periods, usually a week, so you can select the weeks that suit you, according to your other plans. In many cases, kids can attend just for the morning: around 9.00-13.00, or for the whole day, until 17.00.
How can I find out about Casals near me?
Start with your local primary school. Almost all run some kind of casal programme in July and the first week of September. Kids don’t necessarily have to be pupils at the school to attend (but they will need to speak Catalan).
Although most casals will take place in Catalan, there are some in English and other languages, such as Tea and Coffee in Gracia and the outstanding Kids Hack Club in Poble Nou. Many international schools will also run summer programmes.
Many organisations which offer after-school activities during the year will do also casals in the summer, such as music and language schools.
Larger gyms and sports centres often have casals that include swimming lessons, such as Club Natació Barcelona.
Barcelona Zoo also does Casals, including some in August.
The Ajuntament de Barcelona (town hall/council) has comprehensive search facility for casals and other summer activities.
Timeout Barcelona also has a few suggestions.
How do I sign up?
For some of the most popular casals on the Ajuntament de Barcelona website, you will need to get organised very early (mid-March) as they run a lottery for the most sought-after activities, most of which are over-subscribed.
Most other casals take registrations from early April – don´t delay as places fill up fast.
To sign up you will need to contact the centre directly follow their inscripción process. They will almost certainly need your child´s Cat Salut card (Tarjeta Sanitaria – Catalan Health System) along with other documentation.
How much do they cost?
There is quite a wide variation depending on the provider, and whether you do whole days or just mornings.
For a week (Monday to Friday) you could expect to pay anywhere from €75-135 for just mornings (approximately 4 hours, no lunch) or €135-200+ for a full day, sometimes with lunch included.
Tell me about your experience:
Have you found a wonderful casal? Or maybe you’ve had an awful experience? Either way, let me know here or comment below so I can expand and improve the information I provide.