How Sending Your Kids To Summer Camp Can Boost Their Creativity
Summer is the best time of the year for most kids. Not only are the days warm and sunny (well, some of the time, anyway!), but there’s also no school! This means 6 weeks of fun, fun, and even more fun.
As many of us already know, there are some great summer holiday kids activities that appeal to pretty much any interest you can imagine: yoga, robotics, sports, performing arts, engineering… you name it, there’s a camp for it! But did you know that these sorts of summer camps do more than simply keep the kids occupied? In fact, research shows that attending holiday clubs can make children more creative!
Really? Absolutely! Let’s take a look at how…
● Unstructured Learning
There are some that say that schools are stifling children’s natural creativity. That’s certainly a very controversial topic and one we won’t delve into right now. However, regardless of which side of the debate you support, it can’t be denied that a school environment is very linear. It has to be in order for curriculums to be followed and learning targets to be met. The beauty of summer camps is that these targets simply don’t exist, which means that while activities aren’t ‘unstructured’ in the traditional sense of the word, there is much more flexibility and much more room for children to explore different ideas.
Depending on your child’s school, you may find that friendship groups are made up of kids from similar backgrounds, and who have similar interests. Holiday camps can sometimes be more diverse, offering new perspectives and with new ways of looking at the world, boosting creativity. One day, your child may be running through dirt tracks with a new sports-loving friend (just remember the British weather isn’t always great, this JD Sports discount code that we found on PlusVoucherCode may be handy if you need to buy new trainers!), the next they could be learning to draw. Mixing with different people is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
● Thinking Outside the Box
In terms of learning, each challenge will usually have a starting point — A — and an end point — B. In a school environment, teachers will have a set path that children need to take to get from A to B, and may not be open to accepting alternative routes. Again, this is all to do with curriculums and learning targets. In summer camps, it doesn’t matter how a child gets from A to B. In fact, they may even be encouraged to think outside the box and take a more unique or even a more unimaginable route. Summer camps provide freedom from the norm, encouraging children to get creative and find new ways of doing things.
● Motivational Environments
There really is no hard and fast rule on where a summer camp can be held. It could be in a school hall or a church hall, it could be in a leisure center or on a sports field, it could even be in a dedicated outdoor space created especially for the summer season. Wherever a summer camp is held, the environment will often be designed to nurture creative thinking. The space may be larger than a classroom, providing kids with more space to express their creative side, or it may be more warm, welcoming, and open than a
classroom, making kids feel more relaxed and more comfortable so that they are able to think
While mums and dads may wish to stick around with their very young children, most older children will attend summer camp on their own, being picked up at the end of the day, or at the end of the week depending on whether it’s a day camp, overnight camp, or residential camp. Now, this isn’t a time to feel guilty… far from it! Being around new people, enjoying new activities, and facing new challenges without the backup of mum, dad, or a teacher motivates kids to solve problems on their own, in their own ways. It provides an opportunity for kids to create their own problem-solving techniques, discovering talents.
Special Interest Camps
The above aspects are very broad and can be applied to practically any type of summer camp or holiday club that your child may attend. However, we can’t afford to overlook those camps that are especially designed to foster and nurture creative thinking. Arts and crafts clubs are some of the most common types of summer camp according to Northumbria University, but there’s also camps that look into different ways to express creativity. Performing arts clubs, for example, allow kids to show off their creative side using drama, song, poetry, and dance, while some engineering clubs use robotics and even things as basic as building blocks to give kids complete freedom over their building and architecture.
Much more research on summer camps and holiday activities has been undertaken by our cousins across the pond in the United States and Canada, where generations and generations of kids have been enjoying this sort of summer fun for years (in comparison, we’re jumping on the summer camp bandwagon pretty late here in the UK). So, what does this research have to say about holiday clubs? There is a fantastic study that was published by the University of Waterloo in Canada which shows that the benefits of summer camp (and we’re talking about day camps here, not residential camps) become greater and greater the more years a child attends. This shows that what kids learn at summer camp doesn’t just float away once school starts back up; it sticks around and can be developed year after year.
So, if you’ve got some fantastically creative kids at home that are looking for a platform to express and show off their skills, or if you’ve got little ones that would benefit from spending time in a creative, open, and flexible environment this summer, take a look at what summer camps and holiday clubs are available in your local area. The great news is that there are now more summer camps in the UK than ever before, with research by Northumbria University citing a ‘sharp rise’ in holiday activities for kids in recent years.