Before the snow even melts you see ads for summer camp. There are open houses, events and fairs all about camps. You wonder why there is such a push to keep the kids active during the summer. It’s their break right? Why can’t they just play around the house? There are many reasons kids should attend summer camp and I am here to share them with you.
Now I am not saying kids need to be in camp all summer but even just a week or 2 has amazing developmental benefits for kids of all ages. I have put together a list of benefits that may help you make a decision about signing your child up for camp or even what type of camp to research. Keep in mind that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality camp experience so see what’s out there. You may be surprised what you find!
10 Benefits of Attending Summer Camp
Summer camp is the perfect time for kids to enhance social skills. They learn to make new friends and play cooperatively. Kids also learn to expand their social language by striking up conversations with new friends and learning to take turns. Camp games and activities also teach kids about teamwork and healthy competition.
For some kids, summer camp is their first opportunity for independence. Since some camps like those at the Little Gym and Kidville begin at age 3, kids may experience summer camp before attending preschool. It teaches them to separate from their parents and be more independent. For older kids, camp helps them learn life skills such as cooking, camping and swimming which enhances independence and personal responsibility. Want to really enhance independence? Enroll your child in sleep away camp!
Exposure to New Ideas
Summer camp offers opportunities for kids to be exposed to new ideas and adventures. Camps like those offered through scouting allow kids to gain new knowledge and skills in areas they never heard of before. Science based camps let kids experiment and learn through hands-on discovery while farm camps teach kids about agriculture and caring for animals.
Stimulates the Brain
Kids are out of school for 2 months! They need to keep their brains active and stimulated in order to decrease the regression that can occur during the summer. The more kids learn and keep their brains working over the summer the less time it takes for them to recoup their academic skills in September. Although summer camps are fun (and I definitely would not tell your child it’s “just like school”), it does help your kids continue to think, reason and problem solve. This helps continue cognitive growth which is important for continued academic success!
Keeps Kids Active
I just mentioned that kids need to keep their brains active but they need to keep their bodies active too! Camps help kids run, play and move which keeps them healthy and strong. Summer camps such as soccer, cheerleading and tennis also enhance gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, motor planning and balance.
Builds Upon Current Interests
The summer is a great time to focus on your child’s specific interests. If they love cooking, have them try a cooking camp like the one at Chef It Up. They want to be a vet? Sign them up for zoo camp. Have a future scientist? Enroll them in a Mad Scientist camp or day camp at the Liberty Science Center or the Academy of Natural Sciences. Let your kids explore their interests this summer at camp!
Can Lead to a First Job
For many, summer camp can lead to their first job and even future careers. Kids start as campers then move to counselors in training then to paid counselors. YMCAs have great CIT programs that really help kids build important life and job skills. In addition, swim camp can lead to a job as a swim coach or lifeguard while sports camp may lead to a career in coaching. The future career possibilities are endless!
As kids make new friends, try new things and gain greater knowledge in areas that interest them, they are also gaining self-confidence. At camp, kids feel success which leads to increased belief in their abilities as well as a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Increased confidence will also lead to a higher self-esteem.
Become More Resilient
With the ongoing support of camp counselors and friends, kids learn to get back up when they fall, to keep going when things get hard and to keep trying until they succeed. Kids learn that if they persevere and work hard they can accomplish tasks they never thought possible. Whether its finishing their first ropes course, swimming without a floatation device or learning to ride a horse, kids will learn how to push themselves and become more resilient. This is an important life skill necessary for future success!
Create Unforgettable Memories
I still look fondly back on my time at gymnastics camp. I have wonderful memories with friends and coaches that I will hold dear to my heart forever. Summer camp not only helps kids build lifelong friends, it also creates lifelong memories. The first time they did a back handspring, the first time they rode a horse or the first time they swam the length of the pool without stopping. These are all camp memories that kids will remember and talk about for the rest of their lives. They are moments they will look back at fondly and with love.
I hope this list has helped you make the decision to sign your children up for summer camp. No matter what kind of camp you choose, just remember, they will be learning, growing and creating memories all while having fun! Isn’t that what summer is all about?
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