Sending children off to summer camp has been a tradition for several decades now. For some parents, it is a way to get some peace and quiet for a while. For others, it’s a way to push their little ones out of the nest and into the world! Whatever your reason may be, there are more benefits to doing so than you think.
Today, let’s talk about how going to summer camp can be beneficial for your children and how you can get something positive out of it, too. We guarantee that in the end, you will be confident in your decision to do so because you know that you’re making the best choice for your whole family!
The 10 Benefits of Summer Camp for Kids
Going to camp is good for your kids both in the short term and in the long run. It shapes their perceptions and molds them into better people in the future. Let’s go over each of the specific ways summer camp can benefit your children a little more in-depth.
#1: Summer camp hones social skills and forges lifelong friendships
Familiarizing your children with other people and new environments is crucial to their development. One of the first experiences that many kids have with socialization is at summer camp!
So how can camp sharpen their social skills? It’s simple.
Most school-aged children stick with the same group of friends throughout their early lives. This leads to a narrowed perception of the world and of other people. These cliques stunt social growth; at camp, those groups fall away. Everyone is new, so children have a chance to create a fresh start for themselves. They talk to certain types of people that they may not have dared to in the strict hierarchy that schools foster.
For example, the “popular” kids at school may not associate with anyone deemed “weird” by their peers when inside the school building. At camp, no one has been labeled yet. Everyone has a new reputation, and it breaks down those social norms that children and adults alike seem to adhere to in their daily lives. This leads to new perspectives on life that they may not have considered in the past. It allows them to become more open and accepting of those from different walks of life.
#2: Camp aids children in developing new hobbies
Most summer camps host a wide variety of activities to keep kids entertained, most of which are not often available back home. Some of the most common are:
- Clubs (sign language, singing, camp newsletter, etc.)
- Sports (kickball, dodgeball, frisbee, etc.)
- Arts and crafts workshops
Since your children have so many opportunities to learn new skills and try out new activities, they often end up being interested in a hobby that they’ll pursue when they leave. Some of it may translate into their school lives. Summer camp may help someone decide that they want to take art classes or sign up for soccer!
Who knows? Camp activities could be the catalyst in determining what your kid may want to do when they grow up. The bottom line is that these activities spark imagination and interest which ultimately aids in your child’s development.
#3: Summer camp offers mental and physical stimulation
During summer break, there isn’t much for kids to do. Though you may plan activities with them, you can’t possibly keep up with the rigorous schedule that school provides. Unless you homeschool, your children are experiencing the “summer drain” where their brains and bodies are not being stimulated by any challenges or new material.
Camp offers a lot in the way of classes and recreation in order to not only keep kids occupied but to also keep them physically and mentally active. According to the CDC, about 13.7 million children in the U.S. are considered obese. The aforementioned activities encourage fitness and mental development while offering an array of choices to better suit your child’s specific learning style.
#4: Camp increases children’s self-confidence and independence
Your children usually rely on you to tell them to brush their teeth, do their homework, eat healthily, etc. When you wave goodbye to them, the kids are essentially on their own. There are camp counselors to watch over them and provide structure and safety, but only they know how to upkeep their normal routine.
Essentially, it becomes your child’s responsibility to be presentable and healthy; they make more decisions for themselves. Over time, this increases their confidence in their ability to be fine on their own. They may become more independent and when the kids come back home, you may be called on less frequently to make food or fix a broken toy. That’s a positive situation for both parties!
#5: Camp provides a reintroduction to nature
In this modern age, children spend far more time on their computers or consoles than they do exploring the great outdoors. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying all that technology has to offer, there’s a downside to not doing so in moderation. The less that kids know about nature, the more careless they become.
For instance, a child might be in danger because they do not know which plants are safe and which aren’t. They could get too close to animals or insects that they shouldn’t. Many summer camps offer courses on how to identify these things and hold hiking activities or nature walks.
Being grateful for the beautiful world that we all live in helps one be more mindful of the way that they treat the environment. In the end, a child who learns to respect nature creates a better future for us all.
#6: Summer camp exposes children to different cultures
Kids from all walks of life come to summer camp. It’s the ideal melting pot of cultures, classes, and experiences that are necessary for a child to become more open and accepting of other people. In one region, a child may be used to only seeing a majority of one race or ethnicity. When you place children from all over in one spot, those barriers fall away and give everyone the opportunity to learn about the diversity life has to offer.
#7: Camp makes kids grateful for what they have at home
Summer camp is tons of fun for all kids, but that does not stop them from eventually feeling homesick. At the end of the day, they miss the small comforts that they don’t get when they leave. Soft beds, home-cooked meals, and hugs when they feel scared are just a few of the things your kids will appreciate a little more when they walk back through your front door.
#8: Camp teaches children how to work together
Many summer camps offer team-building exercises and team competitions. Through this competition or activity, kids learn that they need to cooperate effectively in order to get the prize or to be congratulated on a job well done. It reinforces the importance of working through conflict peacefully and learning to listen to others.
For stubborn children, this can be a hard lesson to learn. After, though, they may come home with a whole new attitude! Working together builds character and ultimately leads children to become productive members of society.
#9: Summer camp gives kids a chance to be “unplugged”
Technology is everywhere. Small children have smartphones, schools largely use computers to learn, and video games dominate time at home. As mentioned before, tech can be a great tool for enjoyment and for education, but kids need to know how to get along without it. Summer camps often leave children with no time for phones; some camps do not allow phones on the premises at all. Without phones and other devices, children seek new forms of entertainment and find it by connecting with other people.
#10: Summer camp can turn a child’s life around
If your child has had trouble in the past with being shy or a “loner,” sending them to summer camp can completely change their tendencies to self-isolate. At some point, they will need to break out of their shells and rely on cooperation to have an enjoyable time. They may find that making friends is not as difficult as they feared.
A kid who is deemed “odd” because of their extroversion will likely find other people just like them. They no longer have to feel like the odd one out! Once a child feels like they belong to a community and are accepted for who they truly are, their outlook on life is guaranteed to become more positive.
Camp experiences can cause a child to make friends more easily when they come back home and school starts again. All they have to know is that it’s possible to find others who like them without having to change their entire personality.
You have heard of what summer camp can do to enrich the lives of your children, but there are several benefits that you can glean from sending them to these camps. Let’s talk about what you can get out of your kids’ vacation!
The 6 Benefits of Summer Camp for Adults
When you send your children off to summer camp, you may feel a little nervous and a bit sad. It’s normal; no one ever wants to see their kids “leaving the nest,” so to speak. However, there are positives to doing so for you just as much as there are for them.
#1: You get a chance to relax
You love your kids more than anything in this world, but it does not mean that you’ll never need a break. Taking care of them takes up precious times, and in turn, you may be behind on chores. You may have had to put a hobby on hold to run errands and attend soccer games. Whatever it is that you do, it is no easy task to raise children.
When they go to summer camp, you get the chance to catch up on everything you have been stressed about! Take a night to read your favorite book or treat yourself to a small vacation of your own. Don’t worry; the kids will be back soon enough. Savor the peace and quiet that parents so rarely get during the summer.
#2: You have time to reconnect with your partner
Nothing puts a damper on your romantic relationship more than constantly looking after children. Even when they get older, their constant presence can limit the intimate time that you spend with your partner.
Without the kids constantly in the house, you have time for date nights with your sweetheart. Whether you want to stay in or go out for dinner and a movie, you are free to do so! Studies show that parents tend to experience relationship satisfaction decline twice as fast as childless couples. To combat these negative feelings, be sure to spend time with each other and be as intimate as you want to. Sending your children to summer camp could quite literally save your relationship.
#3: It builds trust and confidence in your child’s abilities
Time away at summer camp is a true test of what your child is capable of. They have to continue their morning and nightly routines themselves. They have to learn to make their own decisions, and most importantly, they have to learn how to live without you always there to handle conflict or scary situations for them.
When the kids come back all in one piece and gushing about how much they learned at camp, you know that they are ready to become more independent. If they can stick it out until camp ends, you can begin to trust them more in everyday life! This is good for both of you, especially because you no longer have to supervise every little thing that might be risky.
#4: You may learn something from your child
Many parents don’t often think about the ways that their kids can teach them something about life. As an older person, you always expect to be wiser than someone who doesn’t have half of the life experience that you do. However, we should not be so quick to jump to judgment and assume that kids have nothing to offer adults.
At the very least, your child might come home knowing how to make a friendship bracelet; they can teach you a craft that you never learned before! You could learn fun facts about plants and animal life in your region.
More often than not, you learn something much more valuable – the importance of community. Your child’s experiences with campers who live completely different lives could inspire you to get out and meet more people that you may not have thought to hang out with before.
#5: You can strengthen your relationships with friends
When we grow up and start families of our own, visits between friends often become less frequent. You don’t love each other any less, but life just gets in the way. When was the last time you hung out with your good friends without it being a playdate for your kids? If you have not been able to just have a night with the people you like in a while, take time to see them when your children are away.
You could even suggest that your friends send their kids to camp, too! It gives your children comfort to see familiar faces and it lets all of the adults be childfree for a while. Social interaction is incredibly important for humans and animals of all ages; don’t neglect your own health and development just because you are a parent.
#6: You begin to appreciate what you have
At first, you breathe out a sigh of relief. “Finally, some peace and quiet!” That’s a natural reaction, and alone time is great for your mental and emotional wellbeing. However, the longer your kids are gone, the more you begin to appreciate the joy they bring to your life. The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” is popular for a reason.
At the same time, your children are missing you and the small comforts that home brings. The separation between you during summer camp will actually bring your family closer than ever when the kids return home! You all learn to be grateful for every moment that you spend being together.
Overall, sending your kids to summer camp can have unexpected benefits that improve the lives of everyone involved! You create a stronger familial bond and allow the children to develop life skills that will serve them all throughout their adult years.
Camp has enriched the lives of kids and parents everywhere for decades now! Maybe you went as a child and want to pass on what you gained from the experience; maybe you have never been and want to give your kids a chance that you never got yourself. Either way, sending them to summer camp can only bring positive experiences and lessons, some that they just can’t get anywhere else.