A summer camp offers school-age children the chance to learn new skills and sharpen their academic knowledge through participation in several fun activities. Traditionally, camps involve living in a new environment and participating in activities such as hiking and canoeing. Modern camps have, however, evolved and are now designed for specialized areas such as the arts, sciences, and technology. Some summer camps (also known as activity camps) could also be modeled around activities such as language learning, computer programming, and graphics design.
Are summer camps beneficial to children? Yes, they are. For example, if a school-aged child has exhibited a liking for the arts, enrolling in an art-centric summer camp will help foster the child’s love for the arts. The child could learn from participating in art activities such as painting, photography, acting, and literature reading.
Children who attend summer camps have the opportunity to make lasting friendships with their peers. They will also get the opportunity to socialize with like-minded peers and form new friendships that may last a lifetime. Signing up for an American camping association membership is a simple way to gain access to a variety of summer camps. This membership keeps you informed about summer camps and makes it simple to locate one that is appropriate for your child.
There has been nearly a 90% increase in the number of day camps just in the last two decades.
So many of us look back fondly on our own summer camp experiences or those of our children and never really think about just how many ways they can help to teach children the coping skills they’ll need later in life.
It’s important to distinguish between camps that offer them real challenges and the ones that only do the minimum to keep them busy because their parents paid a lot of money to send them there.
Attending a real summer camp should mean putting away the familiar time-wasters such as Ipods and video games and being willing to get dirty and have some outdoor fun. Activities like building a fire, going on a hike and mastering a high rope course are great ways of helping kids develop confidence in their own abilities. And summer camp may be the first time a child has had to strike out on his or her own to take risks without having Mom or Dad to fall back on. It’s a good time to find out what it’s like to rely upon others and be willing to ask them for help.
Camp counselors become almost surrogate parents, carefully guiding children through the process of learning new skills and knowing just how far to push them. They look for ways in which a child can excel and help to bolster his or her confidence in those areas. That’s their way of helping kids understand that they won’t be good at everything they try but all of us are good at something.
A child who is made to feel competent will fare much better in life than one who is completely reliant upon others, because that belief in oneself is crucial when facing new problems and unfamiliar situations.
No matter how children may view themselves as a result of their school experience, summer camp is a way to make a fresh start and even forge a new self-identity. Overcoming new challenges they would not have encountered in their normal daily existence teaches kids not to accept being defined by their peers.
And, of course, there are the health benefits. Only a third of children engage in daily physical activity. With the high rate of childhood obesity, it’s important to be aware that children’s rate of weight gain increases during the summer months because they spend an average of more than seven and a half hours a day in front of the TV or computer or playing video games instead of getting fresh air and exercise. Going to camp instead gives them both, along with plenty of the right kinds of food.
Unlike the rigidly structured environment of school, summer camps encourage children to risk trying new ways of doing things and to learn from the results, whether they’re good or bad. And they can work at their own pace. This is a great way of helping kids understand and appreciate their own abilities and to work in concert with others to reach a goal.
Of course, going off to camp can be a difficult transition for both child and parent, but experts in child psychology stress that separation from their families is a very important step in children’s cognitive and behavioral development.