Top 7 Reasons Children should attend Summer Camps
At the first hint of Spring, with flowers starting to bloom and butterflies visiting our yards - many of us find ourselves already yearning for those long Summer nights … and flip-flops and tan lines. There’s just something about Spring that’s almost a tease to goodness on the horizon.
And as the anticipation builds, we also begin making plans for what those sun-filled days will look like. Whether it's weekends at the lake, week-long vacations at the beach, or summer camps for the kiddos - there is by far an excitement like no other time of year as we round the final bend in a race to end the school year.
Many parents also find themselves asking the question “should I send my child to Summer Camp this year?” And as with all parenting decisions - there is no one right answer for all children as each are as unique as the petals on those Spring flowers blooming outside.
You may be wondering if Summer Camp is a fit for your child’s personality. Maybe they have never spent much time away from home - or they have special interests and you’re worried they might feel out of place. Although each family dynamic is different, we confidently believe that Summer Camp is beneficial for all children no matter what their interests or experience levels are because Summer Camp teaches so much more than one skill or activity. It helps children develop their overall sense of self, including self-confidence, emotional and social skills, and most importantly, memories that will last a lifetime.
To help you navigate the decision-making process, we will breakdown the key benefits to attending Summer Camp and why Summer Camp is vital in your child’s overall learning and development. But first, let’s look at what a typical Summer Camp Day looks like.
What is Summer Camp?
Some adults have fabulous memories of attending Summer Camps growing up where they made friends that lasted a lifetime. But if you’re like me, I barely remember the two camps my mom sent me to - basketball and volleyball - because I’m pretty sure that was all that was around in my small, suburban town. Neither sports which I had ever played, nor was I naturally inclined to have any talent whatsoever. Nevertheless, volleyball camp was a blast. I cried all through basketball camp because my friend didn’t show up who told me she was coming (cue: in a life before cell phones.) and I was a fourth grader.
Thankfully, Summer Camps have evolved tremendously over the years and include a wide variety of time, financial, and scheduling commitments. These days Summer Camps can be as short as two to three hours per day for four or five days one week of the summer. To as long as a month-long overnight camp and almost everything in between. Regardless of the schedule, talking with your child about what they imagine Summer Camp to be - maybe even showing them some YouTube or social media videos about potential Summer Camps in your area - can greatly help in determining which camps are best for them.
Why Children should attend Summer Camp
1. Promotes Independence
At virtually all Summer Camps (with the exception of Infant or Early Preschool Camps), children experience time away from parents, where they can explore their surroundings, navigate boundaries, and develop their individual voice. They learn to become more self-reliant and develop problem-solving skills. Without having their primary caregiver(s) there to tell them what to do or think, children begin to develop their own self-talk and learn to trust their inner voice, which breeds self-confidence and independence. And, both are critical skills to becoming a self-reliant adult.
2. Eliminates Screen Time and Gets Children Active
According to internetmatters.org, screen time can have effects on a child’s behavior, sleep schedule, and brain development among so many other real concerns. As children most adults today did not face the battle with electronics like our youth and children do today. Just think - our fanciest toy was a Tamagotchi or a Skip-It that counted how many times you went around without stopping. But the world our children are growing up in today has drastically changed - thus presenting an amazing opportunity for Summer Camp to help combat the idle time often left to play electronics, while promoting active lifestyles that will serve children for years to come.
3. Teaches Children to Respect Each Other’s Differences
Let’s face it - we’ve all had a boss or co-worker that we didn’t particularly like or have anything in common with. Maybe they came from a different background or upbringing, or maybe they just didn’t have the same cultural norms we are used to. Regardless, as adults we must face these challenges in our daily lives and continue on as productive members of society and the workforce. And the same could not be truer for our children. Learning to play, create, and co-exist alongside those who are different than us is perhaps one of the greatest skills humanity can master.
4. Makes Play a Priority
When was the last time you did something just because it was fun? No alcohol. No social media. Just fun. Psychcentral.com cites the vital importance of play in the lives of adults because it boosts your overall well-being, helps you cope with stress, and boosts your physical health. Imagine if we could keep that spirit alive in our children long past their 18th Birthday … how much stress, anxiety, and depression could we spare them because they have learned from experiences like Summer Camp to ‘focus on the fun’ in life.
5. Creates Positive Role Models
Most adults can remember a coach, counselor, or teacher who made an impact on our lives. And most of those memories are completely isolated from your parent or caregiver being ‘right there’ in the moment. Building a village around your child of other loving, caring adults not only helps share your shining qualities with them but also the strengths and mentorship of others. And those are memories that often last a lifetime!
6. Builds a Sense of Self and Purpose
A few months ago a trust friend of mine and I were talk about the joys and struggles of parenthood and she shared the following with me: “Your children come through you … they are not of you.”
Wow - super powerful!
As a loving, protective caregiver we can all-to-often find ourselves a bit on the helicopter parent pad. But once we start giving our unique, amazing, beautiful children, who we love oh-so-dearly - an opportunity to actually spread their wings a bit - the results are truly stunning. Activities at Summer Camp like crafts and singing, playing sports and dancing, give children a sense of community and create a desire within them to leave a better impact on the world around them.
7. Combats Summer “Learning Loss”
Three months off in the summer … is a lot. Three months of couch-sitting, internet-surfing, and electronics-diving can counteract the previous months of learning and development by creating what’s called a “learning loss” - sometimes also referred to as the “summer slide” or “summer setback.” Research shows that students can lose up to one month of learning over the course of the summer with that drastically increasing as students move into the high school years. However, keeping their brains and bodies active and busy with high-interest, play-based learning activities like Summer Camp can greatly combat this setback.
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of Summer Camp and why all children should attend Summer Camp - it’s undeniable that your child’s experiences can create memories to last a lifetime. And Summer Camps are everyone in your community - check out your local libraries and community centers, as well as children’s and youth organizations and childcare facilities. To get started - checkout Discovery Kids Camps and read more about what the day in the life of camper looks like on our campus.