The Importance of Summer Camps

More than just fun, but an experience.

Summer camps are more than just a fun way to spend time during your break. They’re an opportunity to learn, grow, and explore oneself. Approximately 11 million children attend summer camp in the United States every year. With a seemingly unlimited supply of themes to choose from, it’s impossible not to find something your child is interested in. From sports camps to art camps to technology summer camps, no child is left out.

One camp style that’s making waves in the U.S. is the STEAM camp. An education-style camp, STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. While tech camps have been around since 1977, they’re very different from modern STEAM camps. These programs focus on technology and science in new and exciting ways. From creating your own online game to building your own robot, campers can choose from a multitude of interesting activities.

Your child is sure to enjoy time spent at summer camp, but what are they getting out of the experience? Before spending all that money, it’s nice to know there’s more than s’mores and swimming involved. Throughout this article, we’ll explore the importance of summer camps and how your child can benefit from attending a STEAM camp this year.

Summer Camps Introduce New Experiences and Interests

A major incentive for any parent considering summer camp is the potential for skill-building and interest diversification. That is especially true of camps that deal in real life skills. A study published in the Journal of Technology Studies focused on the impact of STEAM summer camps for girls. The paper discussed a general disinterest in engineering, math, and other science programs in ninth- and tenth-grade girls. Researchers thought this might be due to misperceptions and a lack of understanding. Following a week-long STEAM camp experience, girls came out with a broader understanding of physics and a greater interest in careers that focus on the sciences.

The digital world is constantly growing, and having skills in computer technology is a huge asset in any industry. Summer camp opens the door to mastering skills that could be used in school and later at work.

Summer Camps Provide Personal Improvement and Socialization

Your child doesn’t need to attend a public-speaking summer camp to gain self-confidence. Any summer camp can instill this trait by exposing kids to situations where they must speak up, contribute, and work together.

According to the Journal of Family Issues, children who attend one week of summer camp show a drastic improvement in social relationships and self-esteem. The authors of the article gathered information from 2,300 parents to learn more about pre and post summer camp behaviors. Parents felt there were many new positive behaviors, which appeared immediately after camp and some that surfaced up to six months later, such as leadership skills.

Summer Camps Inspire Creativity

There’s an abundance of creativity to be had in summer camp. In 2017, a study showed that STEAM camps encouraging children to model with digital design and 3D printers promote creativity and problem-solving. They also improve spatial reasoning skills.

Creativity is an important trait in any discipline or industry, whether it’s veterinarians designing prosthetics for three-legged pets, dentists implementing new forms of teeth alignment, or video game designers writing scripts for their latest game. Developing these skills early will help your child succeed now and later in life.

Summer Camps Promote Independence

We don’t want our kids to grow up too fast, but when they do grow up, we want them to be successful. Summer camps promote independence in a safe and supportive environment. Children who come to summer camps might arrive feeling shy and unsure. After a week of teamwork, individual projects, and flourishing under the guidance of a counselor, children leave feeling good about themselves and what they can do.

These skills carry forward into schoolwork, life experiences, and eventually, the workforce. The Journal of Youth Development found that it’s not the theme of the camp that matters; instead, the camp provides a structured program, defined mission, skill-building, and chances for accountability and positive reinforcement.

The Relevance of Summer Camp in Young Lives

Summer camp is a fleeting annual experience with steadfast positive results. Campers dive head first into lasting friendships, discover new interests, learn what they can do, and feel good about themselves.

In an age where so many children are unsure of what they want to do when they grow up, summer camp offers a glimpse into a variety of potential skills and opportunities. Try a few different summer camps every year to find a favorite theme and skill set.

The impact of teaching young kids how to code || 610 WIOD Miami || 5/10/19

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How to Improve Your Child’s Independent Thinking Skills

What is Independent Thinking and Why Does It Matter?

Independent thinking is the desire to assess on your own whether information is true or reasonable. Independent thinkers use their own lens to filter information, rather than accepting it as is. Many people believe what they are taught without question, but independent thinkers use observations and experiences to determine if something makes sense.

Children must develop the desire and ability to think on their own. It’s the key to acquiring critical problem-solving skills. Independent thinkers are more discerning about things they see and hear. Over time, they learn to question assumptions and build the confidence to defend their own viewpoint. They also feel secure saying, “I don’t know.”

Children with independent thinking skills can lead a group to better ways of doing things. They strengthen teams by sharing new ideas and asking questions. In order to do this, especially in childhood, self-esteem is a critical factor. Children must have confidence in their thoughts and opinions in order to voice them in a group.

Independent thinking is critical in the digital world, where children are inundated with information. It’s also essential to becoming an entrepreneur, which requires making independent decisions, trusting in your own thoughts, and finding new ways to solve problems.

Helping Your Child Develop Independent Thinking Skills

Guiding your child toward independent thought is a process that takes time, effort, and patience. The following techniques can help:

Reading

Reading a wide variety of materials exposes kids to a range of viewpoints that they wouldn’t otherwise encounter. They are challenged to explore their own outlook and beliefs when they understand that other people experience life differently.

Interacting with New and Different People

Talking and playing with kids of different ages, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic circumstances can open a child’s mind to different worldviews and opinions. They are also likely to find lots of common ground. That can help kids be more open in their views and their approach to problems, and it allows them to grow as individuals.

Traveling

Experiencing life in different parts of the country and other parts of the world can open children’s minds to different cultures and experiences, allowing them to understand that there are many ways to think, act, and live.  

Pretending and Independent Play

Allowing a child to play alone supports imaginative play and leaves room for creativity and trying different approaches. Encourage your child to pretend to be different people, animals, or other creatures.

Asking Kids Questions

Challenging children with difficult questions will inspire them to stretch the boundaries of their thinking. Ask questions that require them to think creatively rather than rely on known facts. That encourages thinking on their own about difficult concepts and being inquisitive about why things happen.

Encouraging Kids to Ask Questions

Kids are curious about the world, and they want to know how things work. Encourage them to ask questions and always make time to answer them properly, no matter how large or small the question. Acknowledging their curiosity and giving a thoughtful answer inspires them to continue seeking knowledge.

Allowing Opposing Views

Allow your kids to disagree and let them explain their reasoning, as long as they remain respectful. Kids should be allowed to make up their own minds about topics that are important to them. Encourage healthy debate at the dinner table.

Giving Freedom to Make Mistakes

Kids learn through trial and error, but sometimes, they feel afraid to make a mistake or to fail. “Spoon-feeding” and protecting them from making mistakes are not helpful in developing independent thinking skills. Allow room for failure and encourage them to try again until they figure it out.

Promoting Problem-Solving

Allow children to solve problems independently. Whether it’s schoolwork, a challenging puzzle, or a disagreement with a friend. Let your child brainstorm, experiment, and find a solution independently.

Coding to Improve Independent Thinking Skills

Learning to code challenges children to try out many of these techniques. Kids learn to approach problems with an open mind and find creative solutions through experimentation and multiple attempts. They learn to handle uncertainty, admitting when they don’t know the answer but trying different solutions until one works. They assess information and determine for themselves how to proceed.

Troubleshooting, perseverance, and finding creative solutions all lead to stronger independent thinking skills. A person with these skills grows into someone who is better equipped for school, the digital world, and the modern workforce. If you’re ready to help your child open up his or her mind by learning to code, we’d love to hear from you!

Security cameras in stores that guess your age, gender and mood || 1530 KFBK Sacramento || 4/26/19

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Founder of iCode Abid Abedi on Newsradio 1530 KFBK broadcasting in Sacramento.

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