Summer is in full swing, and that means camp season is, too. You probably think back fondly on those carefree times when you spend hours on end outside playing with your closest friends. Though the times have changed, summer camps remain the same — full of fun, laughter, a few bruises on the knees and, best of all, endless sunshine.
If you’re considering sending your children to summer camp but are wondering if it’s a good fit, know that it’s beneficial for all kids. About 15% of parents send their kids to camp every year. It helps your child develop skills beyond what family or schools can teach them. The benefits of summer camps for kids far outweigh any hesitation you may have about sending them there for the summer.
1. Allows Them To Play Without Screens
Kids spend quite a bit of time on screens each day — about seven and a half hours. This media time affects their ability to sleep and may hinder their school performance.
When kids are at camp, they can have time without screens since most places limit or eradicate screen time. They can play and learn the meaning of genuine interaction.
2. Builds Resiliency
While your child is away at camp, they’ll have many opportunities to try new activities or conquer their fears. Resiliency is the skill that enables them to get up and keep moving even after a setback.
Your kids will face challenges. They may not be able to climb to the top of the rock wall the first day of camp, but after a few tries and a built-up resiliency, they’ll eventually get there.
3. Gets Them In Nature
Summer camp is all about being in nature. The outdoors stimulates their senses and brings out their curiosity. When kids step outside, they can learn about the world around them, which further drives them to care about the environment.
Additionally, the outdoors is an open playground. Your child will be able to run, jump, yell and explore all they want. Nature is great for their physical health in that way.
4. Develops Life Skills
Your kids begin learning life skills from a young age. School and home life can teach these to them, and summer camp adds further development. During camp, your kids will participate in many group activities, honing their communication, leadership and social skills.
Additionally, most camps set a rigid routine for the kids, like ensuring they’re making their beds if it’s an overnight camp, brushing their teeth, following instructions and solving problems. These skills are essential for their childhood and beyond.
5. Gives Them Opportunities To Explore Various Activities
Another benefit of camp is that your child can explore a variety of subjects and activities. Some summer camps cater toward a particular age group or interest. Many of them encompass various activities, giving your child the chance to develop a new hobby or interest.
A summer camp may offer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities, sports games, music and dance time, and swimming all in one day. This expands your child’s activity interest.
6. Provides Built-In Friends
Some kids will become friends with a new person on the first day of camp, and that friendship will grow significantly throughout the summer. Your child will be so excited to go back to camp every year to see their best friends.
Summer camp includes kids from various schools and locations, so your child will likely become friends with someone miles away. Although they may have a long-distance friendship, it will be one of the best because they’ve bonded through camp experiences together. Often, these friendships last a lifetime.
7. Offers A Lifetime Of Memories
Summer camp offers a lifetime of memories for your kids. If you went camping as a child, you know this is true. They will continue to talk about camp throughout their childhood and well into adulthood.
Camp may be where your child learns to swim or discovers their love for adventure. It very well may be the place where they make the best of friends or even meet their future life partner.
Send Them To Camp
The benefits of summer camp are endless. Your child will love the freedom they have as they spend their time doing what kids know best — playing and having the times of their lives.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.