6 Ways To Bring Summer Camp Home
For those who have a kid go to summer camp, you know of the remarkable growth campers go through each summer. By removing themselves from technology and the social pressures of the real world, kids are given an opportunity to make deep connections with their peers, practice face-to-face communication, push themselves to achieve goals, and develop an appreciation for the natural world. Every summer we see the miraculous transformation campers make when they dive into the community, programming, and summer fun that camp offers. Campers become more responsible by taking initiative in daily chores or in assisting the counselors. They also become respectable and inclusive, by appreciating the diversity everyone brings to the group and ensuring that every kid feels welcomed and included in the cabin, and more driven, by pushing themselves to succeed.
Parents revel in the mature and responsible kid that returns home and can be amazed at the positive changes and initiative that is shown. Some parents may be stunned to say: “My kids want to set the table for dinner”, “Suzie wants to try out for a new sport”, or “Sam made friends with a new kid in school”. What is the reason for all this? Plain and simple: summer camp.
There is one issue that most summer camps have – it is only during the summer. How can parents continue to foster their camper’s new skills and growth? We must find a way to stretch out the value of summer camp year-round, so here are 6 ways to bring summer camp home. These activities are also great for families who have yet to find their summer camp. Use these tasks to bring the value home and have fun with the whole family.
Write a letter to a (camp) friend.
Many camps are technology-free and rely on letter writing to communicate with friends and parents outside of camp. Writing a letter is a thoughtful way to connect with a long-distance friend, or a friend just down the street. Nowadays, receiving a letter is like receiving a special keepsake. Take a moment to help your camper pick out the perfect friend and write to ask them how their year is going. Make sure to provide a return address so your camper can receive a reply.
Build your own campsite indoors.
There is nothing like the fresh air and natural wilderness to make you feel alive. That can be hard during the winter months. So, find the perfect camping spot in your home and build your own campsite right there. There are so many ways to build your own tent. You can use chairs, ropes, blankets, sheets, you name it. Once you have made your campsite, have a family camp out, sing songs and tell stories “under the stars”.
Unplug for a day.
Camp is about building connections without the help of your phone or social media. The all-natural world at summer camp opens kids’ eyes and ears to the wonder of nature. Nowadays, people are getting so used to talking through a screen that they become dependent. It is possible to go a day without your phone, so do it! Make a pact with your family to unplug for a day. Suddenly, you will find you have loads of free time.
Try something new.
Trying new things is a summer camp staple. Campers feel safe and supported enough to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and grow in the process. Normally, campers can choose from loads of activities they would never be able to do at home, so this at-home activity requires some brainstorming. Think of something your family has never done before. Maybe you go to an art gallery, take indoor skydiving lessons, learn how to do a cartwheel, put on a sock-puppet show. The opportunities are endless.
Go geocaching in your neighborhood.
There is a ton to explore at camp. Whether campers walk the paths to find hidden treasures or they sign up to learn about survival skills and foraging, you never know what camp magic may be lurking. While you wait for summer camp, take your family on a scavenger hunt in your own neighborhood. Go to www.geocaching.com to find your first clue.
Make a pizza pie, family-style.
Community is essential to a successful summer at camp. What better place to do that than at the dinner table. Meals at camp are served family-style and provide the best opportunity to catch up with everyone. Take time to do this with your family at home, and why not take the opportunity to make a hands-on meal. Making a pizza requires skill and creativity. How thick will the crust be? How many types of cheese? Will the pepperonis be arranged in a smiley face pattern or a rocket ship? Have fun creating an edible masterpiece and do not forget to ask, “Who is setting the table?”
After all these fun activities, I am sure we can all agree that it is not entirely the same as attending summer camp. The invaluable camp environment of positive reinforcement offers a platform for kids to explore the comforts beyond their safe space and achieve personal success, in the great outdoors. That is why every year campers return to their home away from home or hunt for the perfect one to start the adventure.
Parents and camp administrators still work to bring the same lesson learning, values, and fun in the winter months. Your home may not have a high ropes course or an archery set, but it does have the loving support of a family community, and the inner-gumption of a kid striving to be their best in their own way. With a little creativity, you can definitely find ways to bring the spirit of summer camp home, just to tide you over until next summer.
We hope to see you this coming summer. If you have not enrolled yet, please click here to get started.