If you attended summer camp as a child, you likely have fond memories of friendships, campfires, and color war. If you didn’t, you can still appreciate how great of an opportunity camp is for children. Many parents are unsure of which activities their children should participate in over the summer, especially because they don’t want them sitting around the house. If you’re on the fence about whether or not camp is beneficial for your child, here are some great reasons why we think you should consider sending them:
Summer camp increases physical activity. We can’t turn a corner without hearing about how childhood obesity is on the rise. With today’s classroom structure of increasing desk work coupled with more screen time at home, kids don’t always receive the opportunity to be as physically active as they should be. Summer camp is a great way to keep your kids moving!
Your kids will try new things. When my daughter attended her first year of overnight camp, she came home gushing about cheerleading. She had been a dancer thus far but found a newfound passion for cheer. Five years later, it’s still going strong. Your kids will have the opportunity to participate in activities they might otherwise not have access to at home.
Summer camp promotes emotional intelligence and growth. Your kids inevitably get comfortable surrounded by the same friends in the classroom and on the soccer field. Attending camp introduces them to a whole new pool of kids. Because of this, they have to navigate the waters of introducing themselves and fostering friendships, both of which promote the development of emotional intelligence.
Your kids will get a break from technology. Depending on the camp, many have strict no cell phone policies to ensure that kids are keeping active and clear headed. Some camps will be built on technology, like robotics and engineering, which is fostering a much different skillset than Facebook and mindless iPhone games. We can all agree that any break from screen time is beneficial!
Summer camp promotes independence. Attending camp teaches children the valuable lesson of being away from their parents and making decisions for themselves. Kids have the freedom to navigate their choices in a safe, supportive environment. This helps for lifelong skill building that will carry them through adulthood.
Your kids will get a healthy dose of Vitamin D. We are lucky to have so many beautiful, sunny days here in Austin. The summers can get hot, but outdoor activities like swim, water play, and sports under shaded trees give kids the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.
Summer camp builds lifelong friendships. I’m still friends with girls that I met at camp many, many years ago. Any former camper will tell you that there’s something special about your camp friends. Looking forward to seeing each other and reconnecting at various points in the year, if possible, is such a treat for your kids.
Your kids will learn to overcome challenges. There is something amazing about being in a safe environment, but without the usual structure and supervision of teachers and parents. Challenges can arise when there is a mixture of new kids, hot summer days, and competitive activities. Summer camp will help your child learn skills for overcoming such challenges, thereby making them into more competent adults.
Summer camp will teach your kids the value of hard work. My daughter’s camp has an hour block after breakfast known as "Cabin Clean Up.” This is when all the girls must return to their cabin areas and make their beds, sweep the floors, and scrub the toilets. They teach the girls to take pride in their bunks and the camp, as a whole. If you give your kids chores at home, why carry over that responsibility to their time at camp?
Your kids will build character. Camp is often about navigating friendships and building an appreciation of new experiences. Camps hold high moral codes to make their facilities a safe zone, helping children build on strong core values. When my daughter returns home from camp each summer, she is more kind and responsible than she was when she left.
Thankfully for us here in Austin, there are many great camps in the area to choose from depending on your child’s interests and what you’re looking for as a parent. Nurture My Child’s free search feature allows you to search camps in your area that work for your budget, schedule, and more.