Every year the school year approaches an end, prompting parents and caregivers across the country to wonder what they will do to ensure their children not only have a fun summer, but maintain (or GROW!) the learning advancements they made during the year. We all know how challenging it can be to plan out meaningful activities to last the entire break, particularly with the demands of work schedules and other obligations. And we further understand how detrimental giving into the ease of television, games and other devices can be. So where do we find balance? As important as it is for children to have family connections, and these can be strengthened during the summer months, children also need community. For parents everywhere, seeking professional assistance during the summer months by way of established summer camps can be just the thing families need to ensure meaningful summer experiences and further physical, mental and socio-emotional development.
How do summer camps help evolve children’s minds? Camps provide structure and routine the summer months may often lack. They establish a sense of community for campers who attend, filling the void left by the close of the school year and absence of classmates. They give children opportunities to engage in learning activities, independent of required tests and curriculums, but rather out of interest, will, and their own effort. Campers are able to get outdoors and increase their motor skills, maintain healthy activity levels, and engage their mental faculties in problem-solving. Summer camps increase independence, helping to encourage younger campers to build confidence in transitioning to new tasks as they grow, and older campers to increase self-esteem, knowing they can literally survive on their own should they need to. Some summer camp programs even provide academic learning opportunities to continue building credits outside of the traditional classroom experience.
Children thrive with predictable routines, knowing clearly where the boundaries lie and what they can expect to do each day. School is built-in routine with the need to get up by a certain time, arrive to school, and follow the schedule usually laid out by the teacher for the day, weeks, and months. After school activities and extracurricular provide further organization and structure to the afternoons and weekends, with schedules for games, practices, and competitions. Weekends typically have some rhythm even if they do not strictly follow a clock as the weekdays do. Church or religious activities, family gatherings and events, extracurricular, neighborhood gatherings, and/or vacation plans are typically reserved for weekends during the school year. As well as some time built in just for rest and relaxation – Saturday morning cartoons anyone? These busy, yet predictable, routines give children the safety and security needed to grow, knowing comfortably what will happen next. With the onset of summer, there is initially some celebration in the lack of routine, but that quickly can give way to boredom and behavioral problems as that sense of security, those walls built by the routine, disappear and chaos emerges.
Learning and development do not take place in isolation, purely self-directed. We know that a great deal of learning is driven by one’s self, however “other people play major roles as guides in fostering the development of learning in children”. Creating supportive community and guided learning is another example of how summer camps help evolve children’s minds. Children get to experiences situations in which they may have never found themselves before and see how others may approach solving new problems. Children are keen to observe others and are aware that there are multiple ways to learn something, as well as that their peers may have varying skill levels different from theirs. Summer camp
provides opportunities for children to work independently sure, realizing their capabilities and accepting responsibility for new challenges, but also cooperatively to solve group problems, complete tasks together as a team, and build relationships with peers. While families may mean well, often we find ourselves too busy over the summer with work and other obligations to provide these meaningful group experiences. There is no substitute for genuine play and outdoor adventure with others, the gaming system cannot replicate it, but we can lean on the expertise of camp directors to provide a phenomenal environment, enriched by peer interaction and intentional in use of play.
We are increasingly reliant on technology in the modern world. We talk to and otherwise interact with computer systems day in and day out, and our children are watching, growing up with this recognition of technology as integral to our daily lives. There are numerous memes and references which seek to make light of technology’s presence interwoven in our life, many of which you have probably come across and laughed to yourself while also being keenly aware of the growing presence. One such commentary was from a parent noting they had told their children to go play outside, and one child in turn directed the family’s device to play music by Outside. It’s a fact that “children tend to gain weight during the summer”. Sedentary lifestyles filled with easy activities, such as devices, don’t encourage active play. Summer camp immerses children in the outdoors, promoting a healthy lifestyle filled with fresh air and athletic activities. Children find themselves running with peers out of sheer excitement, completing active challenges such as nature hikes, kayaking, swimming, camp Olympics, team sports, and more. By meal times, children are ready to fill up and camps oblige with nutritious options. Summer camps help evolve children’s minds by keeping them active, constantly processing their environments, and fueled right. Active play that engages all the senses – lying in the grass and feeling the breeze while smelling flowering trees – promotes brain development.
We’ve reviewed how summer camps help evolve children’s minds. Positive community, healthy activities engaged in the outside world, learning new problem solving skills and developing confidence along with increased self-esteem. All of these are positive attributes of quality summer camp programs and will help ensure your child has an amazing summer experience, full of enriching activities that will help develop his or her young mind.
We encourage you to reach out to Talisman Camps today to discuss our fantastic summer programs and help you find the right fit for your son or daughter. Summer slots fill fast!