My son is about to finish his second week of summer camp. I signed him up for this particular camp because it was close to home, he would know a few of the kids going, the times of day suited really well, but most of all I knew he’d have fun. And boy has he had fun! Swimming, treasure hunts, tennis, board games, bouncy castles, cooking, and British Bulldog. There’s a rough schedule of daily activities, it’s good for kids to have a bit of routine during the long summer break, but the best thing is the enthusiastic leader, who responds brilliantly to what the kids actually want to do. And they all think he’s amazing. There are three rules for my son’s camp; don’t be embarrassed, friendship, and working together. There are many reasons why summer camps are so beneficial for kids.
At camp, kids will spend their day being physically active, providing a wonderful opportunity for them to just run, swim, jump, climb, and even bounce. Camp helps children build self-confidence and self-esteem by removing the kind of academic, athletic, and social competition that shapes their lives at school. With its non-competitive environment and fun opportunities to succeed, camp can be a real boost for kids. Free from the overly-structured, overly-scheduled routines of home and school, camp gives children free time to just play.
Camps can provide the right instruction, equipment, and facilities for kids to enhance their sports abilities, their artistic talents, and their adventure skills. This makes it easy for kids to discover and develop what they like to do. In addition, the kind of encouragement they receive at camp also makes it easier for them to try something new. They may not get it right, they may not be so great at it, but they’ll at least give it a try. When children only accept comfortable situations, they can find themselves limited in confidence, and flexibility. An unfamiliar situation at camp gives a child the opportunity to grow in ways they never would in their comfort zone, helping them to become more resilient.
Camp is the perfect place for kids to practice making decisions for themselves without parents and teachers guiding their every move. Children welcome this as a way to develop who they are and to grow more independent. Because camp is a close-knit community, where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other, this helps kids learn the importance of teamwork too. They quickly learn that the team benefits as a whole, when individual relationships are good. Contributing to the success of the camp group can be quite empowering to a child.
One thing that I have loved seeing is my son making so many new friends. Camp encourages kids to relax and make friends more easily. The downside of course is that camps can be very expensive and parents may question whether they are worth the outlay. I would say absolutely that camps are worth every penny. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sports camp, an art camp, or a camp with a little bit of everything; your child will come home with new experiences, having made new friends and learned new skills. That’s a lot of “new” stuff, which ultimately will help your child grow in confidence.
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.