7 Childhood Development Benefits of Summer Camp
Summer camp provides children with memories, experiences, and skills that will last a lifetime. Not to mention the fact that the unique environment is ideal for fostering positive social interactions and building enduring friendships.
If you’re considering whether or not you should send your child to summer camp this season, here are seven childhood development benefits of summer camp:
1. Build social skills
Whether it’s a few nights or a few weeks, spending time away at summer camp provides children with the unique opportunity to cultivate independent social relationships away from their typical environments of home and school. The community that develops at camp is all about encouraging children to learn to manage conflict and build friendships on their own.
Of course, it all takes place under the watchful eye of adult mentors, but camp is a truly wonderful place to allow children to develop strong character and leadership, while learning to interact with their peers in an empathetic and thoughtful way.
2. Develop healthy behaviours
Summer camp is about spending time in nature, getting lots of physical activity, eating healthy food and appreciating how good it feels to take care of oneself. Also, thanks to the fact that summer camps offer a wide range of sports and activities, every child is able to find something that they enjoy doing and that they can build their confidence developing skills in.
Many camps now also offer cooking and gardening activities that allow children to see what goes in to growing and preparing nutritious food. It allows them to see how healthy eating can be fun and to take pride in the healthy meals they put in their bodies.
3. Keep minds active
As teachers and educators of all sorts will tell you, the return from summer break can often come accompanied by what has been called ‘the summer slide.’
When children are left without a structured learning environment for several months, they not only forget things they learned in school the year before, but they also feel less at ease following instructions and participating in the classroom.
Summer camp does much to mitigate this decline and helps children stay engaged in learning and acquiring new skills. Some camps are even geared towards offering educational opportunities in areas like science and technology or writing and the arts.
Regardless of the type of camp your child attends, you can rest assured that the added dose of stimulus, accompanied by the need to stick to a set schedule will help the readjust when it comes time to return to school.
4. Enhance self-confidence
Another huge benefit of summer camp is that is provides your child with a wonderful opportunity to build self-confidence and learn new things about themselves. This is a result of many factors that contribute to the camp experience, including not only learning new things and meeting new people.
Summer camp can also aid a child’s OCD and help them overcome fears like being away from home or taking on more responsibility. Overwhelmingly so, children who attend summer camp end up walking away with a stronger sense of self-reliance and pride in themselves.
5. Learn to work as a team
Due to the more flexible structure of summer camps, children have a much greater opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork and cooperation. Working together with their peers and camp leaders, children will soon come to understand the value of teamwork in order to achieve the best possible outcome for themselves and those around them.
Whether it is preparing a meal, playing a game, or building a campfire, child will have the opportunity to appreciate for themselves the magic that takes hold when people work together. This also helps them understand the value of community and gives them a deeper sense of acceptance and belonging.
6. Appreciate nature
Depending on where you live and what kind of activities your child is engaged in, chances are they don’t get to spend too much time outside on a regular basis. Not to mention the fact that we now have to the battle the addiction to screens and technology. Summer camp is a wonderful opportunity to put the rest of the world on hold and allow children to discover the simple wonder of exploring and engaging with the natural world.
It also gives children who may have felt uncomfortable outside in the past the chance to develop their own relationship with the great outdoors and to appreciate its value on their own terms.
7. Make new friends
All the wonderful things that happen at summer camp are only enhanced by the fact that they get to do them with a group of other curious children who are sharing the same first-time experiences.
It is no surprise that many lifelong friendships are established at summer camp and that children often end up wanting to return year after year to see the special friends they’ve made in years passed.