Even after the school doors close for summer, there are plenty of opportunities for children to learn new skills, embark on new adventures and have lots of fun. Summer camps can bring all this and much more.
If you’re a parent weighing up a summer camp for your child, our guide lists all the benefits you can expect and reasons why it can be helpful in your child’s development. Plus, we’ll answer common summer camp questions, like what you should pack and how long you can expect it to last.
There aren’t many better ways for your child to spend the warmer months than at a summer camp. As a parent, you can expect your child to hone many skills and enjoy plenty of benefits from attending summer camp. These include:
Summer camps focus on a wide variety of physical, interpersonal and character-related skills that your child will draw on long after summer camp is over.
For example, summer camps are heavily focused on team-related activities. Be it going on a hike through the woods, learning to pitch camp, or competing in team-orientated tasks, instructors always ensure there is a skill-building focus.
These team-based activities will look to build a collaborative mindset in each of the camp members. To foster good teamwork, kids need to develop strong communication skills, problem-solve, and make tough decisions. These are all vital characteristics needed in later life, and a summer camp can be one of the best ways to develop them.
For your child to complete their summer camp journey, they’re going to have to spend some time away from home. For kids that don’t attend boarding schools, this might be the first time they’ve ever spent a significant time away from you. It can be tough for everyone, but it’s an important part of developing their independence.
At summer camp, there will be plenty of focus on developing self-reliance; something a child will hold onto come adulthood. To foster a good level of independence, summer camp instructors teach responsibility and independent thinking. It can help your child discover who they are and speak for themselves, without mum or dad to fall back on.
Summer camp is full of children just like your son or daughter. A collection of kids with the same interests and a whole host of fun activities ahead of them is a fantastic way to make friends.
At summer camp, children will bond over their common goals. Working together to solve a problem and achieve something is a rewarding experience your child will share with lots of other kids. From there, friendships are born.
They’ll also learn to accept people of different backgrounds, breaking down any preconceptions about difference. Summer camps can see children from different walks of life come together. When they realise how much they have in common, lasting friendships develop.
Staying active is key to keeping children fit and healthy. Social media, technology, and gaming can bring challenges to this, but summer camps can inspire a love of the great outdoors in your child.
Summer camps take advantage of warm climates and beautiful surroundings, embracing the great outdoors and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Many summer camps are full of outdoor, physical activities and sporting endeavours. There will be no shortage of opportunity to head outside and use up all that energy.
As part of the promotion of positive, healthy lifestyles, healthy eating is also emphasised on camp. Put it all together and you’ve got a programme that focuses on good physical and mental health.
Learning new skills, achieving goals and being a part of something productive builds one vital characteristic – self-esteem.
Every personality skill mentioned here is placed at the forefront of summer camp instruction. Painting something from nature, winning at the camp’s mini Olympics, or saying your first full sentence in a new language; they’re all activities that breed confidence and deliver a boost in self-esteem.
Solid self-esteem is so vital to your child’s development. With more confidence to try new things, ask questions, learn from setbacks and express themselves, a child with self-esteem is one that will come out of summer camp knowing more about themselves.
As a parent, you’ve probably spent countless hours encouraging your child to take part in various sporting, creative, or artistic pursuits. Where summer camp can help is by truly unearthing a brand-new area where a child excels.
At summer camp, a child will get to try their hand at a whole host of activities. A fun environment where kids of any skill level can learn; the perfect environment where children can find their niche at summer camp.
Having an outlet and something to focus on is important for a child’s development. They can not only learn new skills but also develop greater confidence from excelling in their field.
Now you’ve seen the breadth of social and physical benefits that can be honed from time at summer camp, the only thing left to do is pack. Here are a few things to start your child’s packing list:
It might seem obvious, but without a pre-drawn up list, you’re bound to forget to pack some category of clothing. It’s worth considering the different environments your child might encounter during their time at summer camp when packing clothing. How much physical activity will be going on, and how strenuous will it be? Will trainers do or will hiking boots be needed? Are you expecting nothing but sunshine, or will there be some wet and windy days where a coat is required?
If you’re unsure, get in touch with the camp before you pack and they will be able to fill any gaps.
Grab your child their own toiletries bag and fill it with all the things they’ll need to wash themselves and remain clean every day. Make a list of all the things they use in a day; think shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and deodorant.
It might be the first time they’ve had to do all this independently. If so, run through the daily routine before they leave and see if the child can remember all the things they’ll need to do to get themselves ready each morning.
Most summer camps are full of expeditions. On these daily adventures, they’re going to need somewhere to keep their pens, notepads, headphones, and sunblock. For that, they’ll need a good strong, sturdy backpack with plenty of capacity.
It also gives them another way to gather independence. It will be their responsibility to pack whatever is required for the day ahead and take care of their belongings.
4. Bedding supplies
Another one to check ahead with the summer camp. Often you might need bedding supplies like extra bedsheets or even a sleeping bag. Basic supplies like pillows and duvets will usually be supplied, but it’s worth checking ahead in case anything else is needed.
5. Alarm clock
One of the ways in which parents are always there for kids is being the morning alarm clock. During summer camp, you won’t be around to help them wake up on time, so it’s probably best to invest in an actual alarm clock.
To make sure they know how it works and respond to their morning wake up call, practice using it in the days before they head off to summer camp.
6. Pocket money
Be sure not to send your child away to summer camp without any money in their pocket. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but just enough to buy any refreshments from vending machines or buy a little something to remember their experience by.
There are lots of options out there for parents looking for summer camps. Today, you’ll find that they’ve branched well beyond just sports or outdoor activity-based camps. Some parents who wish their children to excel in other areas might send them to a foreign language camp or a focused academic camp.
Summer camps also differ in term lengths. Selecting the right length for your child can depend on their circumstances and those of the whole family.
Generally, they fall into one of three categories. Short-term sessions may last just one or two weeks. These are great for kids who are attending their first camp and haven’t spent much time away from their family.
Mid-term sessions tend to last three-to-five weeks. These are a good option if you have other summer plans but still want your child to benefit from a camp experience.
You’ll also find full-summer camp sessions that last anywhere from six to eight weeks. These can span an entire summer school vacation period, allowing your child to enjoy the full camp experience and everything that comes with it.
Summer camps have been around for a long time. Parents and children have been benefitting from the communities that develop at summer camps. By the end of their experience, attendees come out with new skills, lasting friendships, and more rounded personalities.