Summer is almost here, and it looks like most of us will be staying close to home during the school holidays. Luckily, Singapore offers plenty of options for keeping your kids entertained, stimulated and enriched. Whether their interests are in science, drama, cooking, coding, sports or other fields, the summer break is a great time for them to learn something new. You might even be planning ahead and thinking of autumn camps - if so, we’re sure you’ll ‘fall’ for one of them! Whatever the season, here are just some of the reasons we think your kids will love camp:
Making new friends
Some of the best childhood memories are based around those special friendships that are hard to repeat in later life. Camps can be a fantastic opportunity for kids to meet new people from outside their usual circles. They can be ‘melting pots’ where kids can meet children from other schools, other areas of Singapore, and with different skill sets and interests. One of the best ways to encourage new friendships is to ask your kids if they’ve made any new friends at camp – if the answer is ‘yes’ why not arrange some playdates with these new friends? As the friendships grow, the experience at camp gets further enhanced and kids can’t wait to get to camp each day.
Holiday camps offer kids opportunities to grow in confidence away from the security of home and school. As children realise that they can be more independent and make new friends and thrive in a new environment, their confidence and self-esteem can increase dramatically. One way to encourage this newfound independence is to let kids take a more active role in decisions and activities around the home. For example, you could let them choose the dinner menu and, even better, get them involved in the preparation of the food. As they see the benefits of independence, you will hopefully see them become braver at trying new things.
One thing that’s always worth remembering is that holiday camps shouldn’t be a chore. Kids need a break from school each holiday period, and it’s important that camps are enjoyable experiences in which the learning is fun. Good camps will offer a balance of enrichment, games, challenges, hands-on activities and recreational activities, with regular breaks for snacks and meals. If your child isn’t having fun at camp you should let the camp facilitator know!
Studies in neuroplasticity (the science of how the brain undergoes physical changes and forms new networks in response to learning and experience) has shown that, as we learn and make connections between learning, new connections are formed within our neural networks. Our brains are constantly changing. But the same studies have shown that if we do the same activities most of the time, these pathways in our brain become prioritised and we spend more time ‘thinking’ about these activities. As a consequence, if kids spend significant amounts of time on screens each day, their brain will focus more on this activity and they will want to do it more. It is therefore important that camps offer screen-free
environments where the brain gets ‘reprogrammed’ into giving other activities more value. Once kids realize the benefits of a technology detox they are more likely to choose screen-free activities when they’re relaxing outside of school.
Being the expert
Everyone will remember a childhood moment when they realised that, for perhaps the first time, they were the family expert on a subject. Attending camp might give your child an insight into something that makes them the family guru, a realisation that can be great for their confidence and self-esteem. So, why not ask your child about their day at camp and let them be in charge of the dinnertime conversation. What better experience than learning from your kids?!
Albert Einstein famously said, ‘The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size’. And it’s true that curiosity breeds more curiosity, whether it be for exploring new countries, new ideas, or new foods. Consequently, any activities that stimulate a child’s curiosity can only be a positive thing. Camps should be environments in which children are constantly exposed to new ideas and experiences. They should help to foster a curiosity and hunger for ‘the new’ that will stay throughout life.
If you like the sound of camps but are unsure which one would be the best fit for your child, check out the types of camp that are available in Singapore.