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7 Benefits of Educational Summer Camps

The school break is here! And its significance is different for each child. For some children, it means a time to do nothing but relax and recharge; for some, it means an overseas trip with their family; and for others, it means more enrichment classes. However the children’s time is occupied during the school break, while it is important to allow them to take a rest and recharge, there is the belief that they should be meaningfully engaged. And this is where educational summer camps can play a part.

What are educational summer camps?

In Malaysia, the terminology of educational summer camps is similar to what is commonly known as “summer camps” in the United States and most European countries, where summer vacations are typically from June to September for the former and December to January for the latter (but this varies amongst the European countries). In Malaysia, there are four breaks in a school year – two short ones (1 week each) in March and September and two longer ones in June (1 month) and December (1.5 months).

Educational summer camps provide engaging activities for children to learn various skills ranging from appreciating nature to building confidence to developing leadership skills and many more. They can be a one-day event or a stayover camp where students learn these skills in informal and/or outdoor settings.

What are the benefits of educational summer camps?

1) Building friendships and social skills

Educational summer camps provide a less inhibitive environment for children to take social risks and to learn how to build friendships. According to Stephen Fine, research chair for the Ontario Camps Association, summer camps offer a crash course for children on meeting new people, helping them build social skills, explore their independence and improve their self-esteem. Through experiencing teamwork, co-operation and negotiation, the children’s confidence level will increase as will their ability to be in social situations. Children will also learn to make decisions without their parents’ help and can lean on their peers for support, if they need additional help.

The relationships built during the camps could lead to even more as the children are essentially networking. In time to come, they would have names to call on when it comes to doing a side project, finding an internship or even starting new businesses with the friends they met at camp.

2) Developing resiliency and confidence

The varied activities at camps encourage children to get out of their comfort zones. Activities are aplenty - wilderness camping, canoeing, drama and musical performances, team sports, coding, presentation skills and many more. Some of these activities might be new and unfamiliar with the children. Through participation, their confidence will increase when they learn new skills. In addition, the activities usually require knowledge of both hard skills and soft skills - hard skills such as staying afloat when the canoe capsizes, starting a fire in the wilderness or dribbling a football; and soft skills such as perseverance, creativity, responsibility and courage. These would increase the resilience and confidence level of the children who will be able to deal with challenges they face as they grow up. The more relaxed environment will also allow children to be more at ease to try new things as they do not have to worry about failure or making mistakes.

3) Becoming and staying physical

Most camps have physical activities and allow children to get on their feet and out of the couches to stay physical. Children can learn to adopt a healthy lifestyle through activities that they might take up after they have left camp. Most times, physical activities are well-disguised in the form of fun; children might not even be aware that they are taking part in physical activities.

4) Overcoming nature deficit disorder

With the proliferation of social media, many children just cannot peel their eyes off the computer, tablet or mobile phone. The end result? Most of them are oblivious to their surroundings and environment, and they rarely go outdoors to learn more of the natural world. A summer camp will give them the opportunity to connect with nature, where they can develop their senses for creativity and learning.

5) Allowing for a deep dive into new skills

While schools offer different activities during term time for students to learn new skills, a summer camp allows for a deeper dive into these skills. Imagine spending three days or more learning all about coding, teamwork, canoeing, speechmaking/presentation skills, theatre, photography or many others. This longer timeframe allows for more focus and provides children with an in-depth understanding of the skills required for the activity.

6) Encouraging creativity and be free of judgement

At summer camps, there is no failure, but the chance to try new things, which is a success in itself. Children are free to express their creativity through the activities. Who says one cannot express creativity through say, designing mobile games, taking photographs or even preparing a speech? Children are able to try out new things and do them in different ways since they do not have to worry about failure. And because they are free of such restrictions, their creativity can flourish without the worry of being judged. They will also learn not to judge others. In addition, without the fear of failure, children will be able to get out of their comfort zones to take risks with their new skills, and learn more in the process.

7) Carving time for unstructured and active play

Without the structured routines of school and home, children will have the much needed free time to just play at camp. Play not only offers children the tools to entertain themselves, it builds their imagination and encourages them to be creative and learn to engage others.  Children can also learn to set their own boundaries and develop in an environment that is not focused on a competitive end.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up your children for an educational summer camp now!

Author Bio:

Robert Wilson was born and raised in Malaysia. He is working as a blogger for ChampionTutor- The online platform to find Best Private Tutors in Malaysia. He’s hardworking, competent and trustworthy. His role within the company is to manage a team of Tutors. In his spare time, he loves to read, write and watch movies.

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