Holiday Camps have been subject to many popular movies, TV shows, and other cultural outlets. Depictions of this might not always be the best, and many parents which did not experience them when young are unsure of the benefits of summer camp. Furthermore, others might be concerned their kids might be bored or might be homesick too soon for young ones. Nevertheless, many summer camp activities are specially created for youth to learn important life skills, connect effectively with children they may not normally connect with, and develop values that can accompany them all of their lives. That’s why we present you with this article about the benefits of holiday camps for kids and teens. We will focus on the reasons to do so, and why they are great places to spend their holidays, plus, the perks of these camps.
What is holiday camp like for kids and teens?
Let’s begin with a simple yet important statement: there are many kinds of holiday camps. For starters, they are usually classified for different ages, having specific activities for each stage of youth. They usually start around 5 or 6, until the age of 18. Moreover, there are multiple types of programs, based on the kids’ motivations: space, music, nature, etc. It is really important to foster your child’s interest.
A holiday camp is basically a period of time for them to experience different activities related to their interest. It’s not necessarily like school, as you shouldn’t expect them be attending to tight classes schedule, which, in contrast, still involves organized timetables for kids to do the activities. Furthermore, as they are usually thematic, it gathers many kids with the same interests, or, in other words, with peers. Generally speaking, there aren’t big differences in terms of summer camp for kids or for teenagers. Those aimed at older kids offer activities more suited to their age, whereas younger ones are more focused on play.
Why is it important to encourage kids and teens to go to a holiday camp?
Research suggests that summer camps have a very positive effect on children’s learning experience. In a paper by Dan Richmond, Jim Sibthorp, and Cait Wilson, from the University of Utah, these researchers have found a wide array of skills and qualities in kids who went to summer camp. Both individual and social abilities were impacted by attending this type of activity.
Among the many aptitudes developed, we can highlight the following:
- Nature affinity: Appreciation for the natural world and nature.
- Independence: Ability to function independently without reliance on family.
- Relationship skills: Ability to form relationships with others.
- Self-identity: Understanding of who I am and how I want to live my life.
- Career orientation: Understanding of what to do for a career or in college.
15 Benefits of Holiday Camps for Kids and Teens
As mentioned, besides the importance of summer camp in your children’s education, we will share with you 15 benefits of Holiday Camp for Kids and Teens. We will cover some of the more general ones, that can be found in most camps, regardless of their theme or focus.
- An arena for personal development
- A sense of community
- A healthy relationship with nature
- Diversity within friendship
- Time far from home is time for their own
- Exploration and Recreation
- Screen-free Time
- Challenging Expectations
- Foster curiosity
- Safe environments
- Following the lead
- Time to focus on a hobby
- Avoiding the temptation of a lazy summer
- Longlasting experiences
1. An arena for personal development
As mentioned before, kids and teens have a lot to learn from summer camp. No matter what the approach is, the main goal is always to teach them how to do activities and to reflect on the experience. Each activity is carefully crafted for your children to take something from them. Even when they get spare time to enjoy themselves with their peers, they are building relevant skills.
Not only the organization of camps themselves are a sandbox for learning but also kids carry a lot of their personal views to transform them into valuable lessons. Of course, teens and kids learn a lot at home and at school, but the contained freedom of camps helps them learn without necessarily feeling taught. For instance, spending the nights in tents is an opportunity to talk to their buddies, keep each other company at night, and enjoy the experience.
2. A sense of community
This one is almost a given, but every summer receive hundred (or even thousands) of kids and teens each summer. Reuniting for a purpose once a year is very meaningful for them. Plus, these camps have multiple activities that involve all of the members participating, such as campfires, shows, performances, or games. Every time they gather around a fire, they know they are part of something big.
A name, an identity, or a place to long for, are some of the many important aspects of a community. Plus, summer camps usually promote healthy relationships between younger and older children. For kids, it’s someone cool to look up to, for teens, it’s a responsibility to learn from.
3. A healthy relationship with nature
Needless to say, most summer camps involve a lot of outdoor fun. Sleeping in cottages or tents, going on hikes, roasting food on an open fire, there are many activities that help your children learn to handle themselves in natural environments. Furthermore, they are taught to appreciate their surroundings as well as have the necessary cautions.
Just imagen your kids and teens spending all day in a nice green place, with adult supervision of plenty of learning opportunities. This will help him/her to enjoy future nature holidays with your family.
4. Diversity within friendship
Another one we mention often because of its vital importance. Diversity is not a token, it’s a way to combine, contrast, and learn from different backgrounds and experiences. Your kid needs to know that not everyone lives the same life as his, and also they need to know that is ok. Mixing with children from different origins is a very organic way of learning this.
In contrast, despite the differences, children do not see many things that adults carry as prejudice. To find things in common with other boys/girls that they wouldn’t necessarily meet at their local school or town is beneficial for a child to learn how to appreciate differences.
5. Time far from home is time for their own
As mentioned above, holiday camps boost kids’ independency. These places offer contained freedom, where they get to attend different ventures and choose between a wide scope of projects. Decision-making is crucial, yet it is adapted for them to choose based on their true nature and curiosity.
Moreover, there is plenty of spare time for teens and children to practice sports and many other kinds of outdoor fun. This is particularly beneficial for younger ones, as they have a voice in what they do on a day. This will ease the transition to their adulthood.
6. Exploration and Recreation
Speaking of contained freedom, camps have enormous green spaces with important exploration and recreation opportunities. Many of them make a point of going on regular hikes and spending time surrounded by trees. Coming and going around is part of the charm.
Exploring must be fun, and holiday camps are well aware of it. The fun activities they suggest involve learning about nature, playing on the grass and in the water, and enjoying a hot summer day. Your family will learn to adore camps in a very natural way.
7. Screen-free Time
A modern complaint, we know many teens and kids spend too much time watching their ipads, video games, and TVs. Holiday camps make sure your kids are fully entertained throughout the day without offering them screen time. A good balance between screen time and nature can help your kids have a healthy relationship with technology.
Plus, summer camps are not necessarily long, so your kid will be back at home in no time. You might be surprised to find them looking for more outdoor fun instead of jumping back to the first screen at hand once back.
8. Challenging Expectations
Spending nights away from home might sound like a big deal for your young ones or even a challenge for bored teens. The different outdoor recreations also require them to learn new skills, and face dares. Completing them successfully boosts their confidence and changes their expectations.
For other focused holiday camps (i.e., band camp), the challenge of a concert or a final project to present is key to their motivation. Kids and teens will learn that they are capable of putting their minds to something and accomplishing it.
9. Foster curiosity
We mentioned exploration as a big part of the experience. In terms of curiosity, holiday camps are excellent opportunities for your kids to ask questions about their surroundings. Furthermore, the activities like making fires or preparing food in the wild have space for them to try things not because they are asked to but out of sheer curiosity, a crucial motivator.
Going back one step, themed experiences such as space camps are enticing ways for them to pursue an interest they already manifest curiosity about. Think of it as a creative way of fostering your teen’s future career, or even helping them if it is the right path for them.
10. Safe environments
Kids and teens move quite freely in these types of camps. Needless to say, this doesn’t mean that they are free of adult supervision. In order to operate smoothly, their staff are properly trained, and there are enough adults to handle any number of kids, ensuring proper attention to each and every one of them.
We know that children may want to go to summer camps, but in the end, it’s their parents’ choice whether to let them go or not. On that subject, adults can rest assured that everything that happens in summer camp is safely monitored but capable professionals. You will confirm this once your kids are back, usually talkative about the great time they had and the admirable staff that took care of them.
11. Following the lead
Speaking of competent authorities, the leaders in summer camps coordinate the attendees’ schedules. Kids are intended to follow them respectfully, not as an act of mere vertical authority, but as an experienced and easy-going teacher who is there to ensure they have a good time.
In a time when children (and particularly, teenagers) are rebellious or struggle to find someone to look up to, summer camp coordinators base their authority in respect and mastery of specific crafts and skills. Your sons and daughters can find positive leadership in this kind of authority figure.
12. Time to focus on a hobby
This one goes specifically for themed camps. Your kids’ interest, like arts, music, or space engineering, is the center of summer camp. Back at home, if your kid plays an instrument or likes theater, they only find time for it in classes and spare practice time. At a camp, their whole week/month/season is devoted to their hobby.
It’s not just a matter of investing time in what they enjoy doing. A hobby may or may not be the career they intend to pursue in the future. Your kid can seriously evaluate if they like to do what they do as a distressing activity or if this is the start of a life-long path.
13. Avoiding the temptation of a lazy summer
Your family must be tired after a long school year. They are eager to get some rest and enjoy some time off studying. Of course, this doesn’t mean they have to do nothing all summer. The problem is not the lack of activities, but the absence of schedules that regulate their days and improve their health and quality of life. Summer camps offer said organization, teaching them that doing something enjoyable is also a way of resting your mind.
In the end, the main objective is to help your teenagers and kids have a healthy bond with leisure time.
14. Longlasting experiences
Try asking some adults around you about summer camp. If they actually participated in one, chances are their eyes spark with amazing moments, lifelong friends, and fun anecdotes. Holiday camps are usually well-regarded later on in adult life.
Surely, you cannot decide what your kids will remember once they grow. Yet, there are tested and proven experiences that help your kids be part of something fun and memorable. Summer camps are great opportunities to try and create these memories.
Now that summer camp is over, your children might already miss their camp friends. Well, guess what? These holiday camps are usually held annually, with the promise of coming back. Your kids will have something to look for throughout the new school year, and an incentive for them to go for good grades, as well.
Lastly, if the camp is based on activity, the learning process is also continuous. If they are acquiring a skill, they will be able to perfect it in each new summer camp.
Should kids and teens go to holiday camps?
We have listed only so many benefits of holiday camps for your kids. However, we are all well aware that it’s their parents’ decision to let them go. If you are a father/mother to a kid eager to go and you are not sure yet, let us help you think this through.
Frequently, anxiety drives either the parents’ or kids’ concerns. If it’s the former, they can’t stand the idea of their young ones feeling homesick or uncomfortable. If it is the latter, it’s them who are in denial and refuse to go away for some time. It can be both!
Summer camp should be a learning opportunity for your kid. It is important for them to complete it, even if it is with highs and lows (part of the experience), and to reflect on it. See it as an opportunity to motivate your children. Talk about their interests and expectations, and match them with the program’s goals. In the end, try to make it a mutual decision, rather than yours only. You can further read some tips on how to handle anxiety making the decision to let your kid go to summer camp.
Closing thoughts on the benefits of Holiday Camps for Kids and Teens
Multiple and relevant, the benefits of summer camps for children and teenagers are worth considering. The main idea is to give your child the chance to experience different situations that they might not get to do elsewhere and learn important lessons that go far beyond the camp’s theme. The Mindful Camp offers excellent holiday programs for your child to gain these experiences. Aimed both at kids and teens (aged 5-12), these camps offer a wide range of activities, experienced camp teachers, and facilities surrounded by greenery! For every holiday season, we offer various camp themes for our campers to immerse themselves in the ideal holiday camp for their school break!