No matter the time of year, we are never too far from the incoming summer months, during which I – and many others here at iD Tech – will witness camps in action, and have the pleasure of hearing/reading feedback from tens of thousands of parents and campers. (Not to mention the fact that STEM summer camps for kids and teens are actually running right now!)
And while it’s always amazing to see just how many students are having a great time with their camp experiences, it’s the benefits and the outcomes; the stories of positive impact that really stand out.
What qualifies me to write about why camp is good for kids? ( and yes, that does include the best summer math camps)
While that is a lot of young minds absorbing the benefits of their STEM experiences, that’s even more parents witnessing growth and development in their children. Thus, there is plenty of summer camp feedback to draw from and report on, from one season alone.
So, I put this together because it’s important that parents understand everything camp has to offer. Many ask, “what is summer camp like?” and while the answers out there are good, there is another layer to consider.
I’ve heard from friends and family that the decision to send kids to a summer program really comes down to whether or not they can fit camp into their busy schedules, or, if there is a week or two during the summer where they’ll need daycare. Similarly, the thought that camp can actually be a learning or growth experience doesn’t factor into the equation as much as it should.
That said, I get it. If you have kids, you might think sending them to camp with other kids to play, have fun, learn, interact, etc. isn’t much different from a school experience, right? Thus, any benefits from camp could probably be attained from school, so why bother?
Well, truth be told, there are many benefits exclusive to the summer camp experience.
Why is summer camp important?
Summer camp is important because it offers a structured opportunity for children to grow. Kids go from home to school to extracurriculars, with each environment contributing to their development. Summer camp, then, is another unique venue for growth, allowing kids to become independent and self-confident, while socializing and making new friends, and even learning new skills.
Summer camp benefits
1. Camp helps kids build a unique interest
There aren’t many schools that offer game design classes, archery, or entrepreneurship. But, there are a number of camps that specialize in these activities (up to 14,000 camps in the US actually, as estimated by the American Camp Association).
So if your child has an interest in anything outside of the core school subjects or sports, where do they go to learn or gain experience? There might be a few after-school options like a robotics club, etc., but even then, you’re adding one more thing onto the plate of a student who already has homework and other commitments to juggle.
2. Camp reinvents and eliminates categories
“Students often attend school year after year with the same peers, which can lead to labeling and being ‘stuck’ with a particular perception. A child may become known as studious, quiet, etc., when, really, he can be boisterous in another setting. Children who go to day or sleepaway cmps meet a whole other group of people in a different environment. Often times, a child will break out of his supposed categorization if given the chance.”
3. Camp allows for a deep dive into new skills
Think about giving your child a week or more to be immersed in coding, or specific skill-building in a sport like Lacrosse. These opportunities exist at camp, and it’s tough to find such focused activity elsewhere. (Not to mention that if it is something like coding you choose this summer, there are a number of benefits of technology for children, on top of the camp benefits!)