The winter holidays are on the way, and it’s time to start making some plans! How are you going to keep your kids busy, happy and prevent them from being glued to their screens or getting on each other’s (and your) nerves?
Parents, don’t panic, we have a solution! Sending your kids to an overnight camp not only beats the holiday boredom, but brings a host of other benefits too. Your children will have the chance to learn life lessons that go beyond what is taught in the classroom, learning leadership skills, building confidence and an appreciation for nature that will last them well into adulthood.
In this article, we unpack 7 benefits of sending kids to overnight camps.
Building social skills and making friends
“Camp provides children with a ‘blank slate’, allowing them to try on different behaviours and identities. And the relatively short duration of a camp session decreases the cost of making mistakes.”
While on an overnight camp with other children who they may not have met before, kids learn how to get along with others and have the chance to build meaningful, lasting friendships with one another. Since they’re away from their everyday environment and usual friend group, you may find that your kids will branch out and make friends with kids who are a little different to their regular crew.
When holiday camps present challenging situations, children develop their emotional intelligence (EQ) through being more empathetic and aware of others.
Developing confidence and resilience
This generation of kids can be referred to as the ‘bubble-wrap’ generation, kept ‘safe’ by parents from all the terrible things they hear about 24/7, easily accessible news. At holiday camp, children are encouraged to reach beyond their comfort zones, allowing them to take risks and face challenges. When tackling these challenges, there is a risk that children may fail; camp teaches them that it’s okay to recognise their limitations and see these as things that they can work on.
Ultimately, it is these experiences that help them develop their confidence, independence, self-esteem and resilience.
Learning the importance of physical activity
The ubiquity of electronic devices in the modern world means that many kids are spending more time in front of screens and less time engaged in physical activity. This sedentary behaviour comes with a number of health risks.
At many overnight camps, all electronic devices are banned and the daily routine includes a variety of fun physical activities and time spent outdoors. Enjoying this active time at holiday camp can make a lasting impression, with kids seeking out physical activity when they get back home and adopting it as part of their lifestyles.
Overcoming nature deficit disorder at wilderness camps
Over-scheduled and over-protected, many children of today are spending less and less time outdoors. This can lead to nature deficit disorder; a lack of connection to the natural world, which we all need for healthy development and mindsets. Research has proven that children need nature to develop their senses, thus fostering learning and creativity.
At many camps – especially wilderness camps – the majority of the time is spent exploring and enjoying the outdoors. Once kids have a taste of what’s ‘out there’, they are more likely to seek out time in nature when they get back home.
Developing leadership skills
A lot of camp activities rely on teams, which builds in-group bonding. In that process, children have the opportunity to hone their leadership skills which take practice to develop. The camp environment creates a non-judgemental platform for kids to explore their own leadership styles and test their particular approach to teaching or taking the lead.
They get to just have fun!
Many kids today don’t get enough unstructured playtime. Sure, many of them have extra-curricular activities like sport and music, but this isn’t the same as simply going out there just to ‘play’. When it comes to your child’s development, playtime is a powerful thing, and many valuable life lessons come out of the chance to be spontaneous and explore.
At holiday camps, children get the playtime they need while being encouraged to be creative and engage with others.
You’ll get a new and improved kid!
Going on a holiday camp or overnight camp can return your kids to you changed for the better. After having a fun time exploring nature, making friends and developing self-confidence, children come back from camp with a level of enthusiasm and a fresh, positive outlook.
After a wilderness camp, many kids come back not only appreciating nature, but appreciating the comforts of their ‘normal’ lives back home. Having faced up to new challenges, some kids may even come back with more respect for what you do for them as a parent.
It’s time to book at Tugela Trails
The June/July holidays are fast-approaching! Tugela Trails have just released the new dates for our Wilderness Skills Course, a two-night camp where kids learn bushcraft and survival skills – and have a lot of fun!
- 25 to 27 June 2019
- 1 to 3 July 2019
- 6 to 8 July 2019
There are limited spaces available, so book your kid’s spot today to avoid disappointment. http://www.tugelarivertrails.co.za/