TOP 10 REASONS WHY CAMP IS GREAT FOR CHILDREN

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If you’ve been to camp, you’re not surprised when you hear about the benefits of summer camp. Experiencing life at camp yourself as a child, you know the profound positive effects that still matter to you as an adult, and you also know that you want the same thing for your own kids.

But if you didn’t go to camp as a child, you may not realize just how good the experience is for children. You may not know why so many parents are committed to sending their kids to camp. So while we have talked about most of these before, here is a list of the most important reasons to send your kids to camp.

 

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IS YOUR CHILD READY FOR CAMP?

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It’s a common question, even from parents who went to camp themselves. Children have such individual needs and develop at so very different rates, there’s no age or school grade to point to. One child might be perfectly ready for camp after kindergarten, and another may want to wait a couple more years before starting. Being away from the comforts, familiarity and consistency of home is a big step for a child, so how is a parent to know if the time is right?

Here are 5 ways to know if your child is ready for a day camp experience.

 

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The impact of the loss of free, undirected play in childhoo (and what camps can do about it)

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As wonderful as the cherished traditions and programmatic aspects of a camp may be, what we teach campers may not be the most important part of their summer experience. The most crucial and unexpected moments of a summer may be when children are left alone to engage in free, undirected play. For many campers, the experience of playing outside “alone” or with a group of friends may be a truly new and joyful one. The loss of time for free, undirected play in everyday life is one of the saddest facts of modern childhood.
  
As a school consultant, I have watched the growing phenomenon of the over-scheduled child, particularly in affluent suburbs, and in independent and international schools. As a camp consultant, I have observed how many campers’ parents monitor them extremely closely; one might say microscopically. Indeed, Ron Taffel, a psychologist in New York, reports that much of modern parenting involves meticulous time management of a child’s packed schedule. This is a source of sadness for me, and for many people who care about children. Every thoughtful educator and parent has worried that there is something missing in the lives of today’s children.

 By Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

 

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