Many overnight camps take kids from the ages of 7 to 16, with stays ranging anywhere from a few days to a couple of months. Sending your child to sleepaway camp can be a great idea for a variety of reasons. We share just a few of those reasons your kids could benefit from time at camp this summer.
They learn to make friends
By teaming kids up into cabins and providing a variety of activities, the majority of camps make it easy for children to make new friends. Unlike school, where kids see the same children for a few hours every day and then return to familiar family faces, at camp they are constantly surrounded by other young people, and this can make forming friendships easier — and necessary— to cultivate.
They learn to sleep on their own
For some children, learning to sleep away from home and family can be challenging. But it is an important skill to have. At overnight camp, they are put into a new situation with new supports, and many children are able to adapt and break free from old fears.
They learn to entertain themselves
At home, kids may be tempted to constantly get your attention or that of family, friends or babysitters, or they may simply rely on television or video games for entertainment. But at camp they have to find new ways to pass the time. Books, cards, board games and make-believe all become regular practice. Kids are reminded of the fun they can have by being creative. In addition, many camps have scheduled “quiet time” and “free time,” so kids learn to entertain themselves in whichever ways that make them happy.
They learn to make a schedule without help
At most camps, the day-to-day schedule is relatively consistent, but campers are invited to pick which activities they wish to attend each day. And that means they get to experience picking and choosing how they want to spend their time, which can help make them better planners.
They learn new skills
The activities offered differ from camp to camp, but every camp offers a fairly wide range. Canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, swimming, paddle making, pottery, drama and arts and crafts are just some of the options your kids may come across. Exposing children to a wide variety of activities at a young age can open them up to future skills and passions.
They learn to live minimally
Although the majority of overnight camps offer campers solid meals and warm showers, they still provide kids an opportunity to learn about living in a more minimalistic way. Movie nights are rare and special, so most of the time kids have to put themselves to sleep with books or the chit-chat of other campers rather than television. They also learn that sleeping on a plain mattress in a sleeping bag is perfectly acceptable and using an outhouse is entirely possible. Though they will no doubt be quite happy to have a fridge full of snacks at their disposal again, the fact is, your child will have learned a lot about needs and how to get by with minimal means.