When I was a child, from a very early age, I remember being encouraged to go play outside with friends and neighbors and to make sure we got home before the street lamps went on. We spent countless hours playing hide and seek, tag, or going back and forth to the park across the street.
Our children do not have this same luxury.
Parents of our generation are keeping a much closer eye on their children. It is unheard of to send kids to the park without supervision. Or, to allow them to take public transportation home from school under the age of 12, at the very earliest. Our children do not have the same freedoms to come and go as we did as children.
In combination with the increase in crime, the changes in the law as to what constitutes ‘neglect’, and perhaps a little paranoia on behalf of parents, our children are not able to experience the benefit of free play, the outdoors and being with nature, for most of the school year. Our children spend a lot of their free time indoors, supervised by caregivers and many hours on what we in our house refer to as ‘screens’.
Breaks in the routine such as Christmas, Passover, March Break and the summer holidays, are excellent opportunities for parents to maximize the amount of socialization of their kids while allowing them to experience the great outdoors. As a huge advocate of the ‘Camp Experience’, whether sleep over or day camp, the benefits are quite similar. Without being cooped up in classrooms, children can derive many advantages from a camp environment.
Some of the primary benefits of camp include:
Clearly, attending camp is more than just ‘something to do’ to pass the time while on break from school. Attending camp as a camper and staff member for almost my entire childhood right through to my mid twenties, shaped the person that I am today. My closest friends are those that I met while at camp, with whom I shared many experiences and created many memories. If I had it my way, I would still be attending camp. The benefits are countless. The memories even more so. Right now I have to settle living vicariously through my children and their experiences.
Photo: © Kml | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
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