Preparing for Summer Camp: Five Outdoor Activities You Can Do With Your Children to Stoke Their Excitement
Summer camp can be a defining moment in the lives of children. For many, it’s their first real experience being on their own, as well as their first time being in nature for a prolonged period. The experiences they have at their first summer camp can shape how they perceive nature, physical activity, and being around others. To help prepare them to be on their own in the outdoors, here are a few activities you can do together.
Whether your children are attending camp in the Northeast or the Southwest, most summer camps will feature some sort of hiking activity. Hiking is the perfect introductory step into the great outdoors, and it will help give your children a good idea of what to expect during their first camp experience. Hiking blends physical activity along with close encounters with various plants, animals, and birds. As you hike with your children, you can give them several tips about how to safely handle different obstacles they may face along the trail, as well as how to spot different animals to really maximize their hiking experience.
2. Backyard Camping
Another cornerstone of summer camp is setting up your first real campsite. While nothing compares to the magic of pitching a tent with a group out in the wild, you can closely recreate the experience in your own backyard. Backyard camping allows your children to still feel comfortable while also getting a good idea what it will be like to sleep outside while in summer camp.
3. Bird Watching
One of the best parts of being outdoors is coming a little closer to the wildlife that surrounds us. Part of really engaging with birds and animals is taking time to stand still and simply watch them. Before your kids set off to camp, you can instill this appreciation from your own home by doing some bird watching. As Redfin explains, “There are all kinds of advantages to becoming a birder, both for your child and the pair of you. To start, it’s an opportunity to learn about your immediate environment: exactly what kinds of birds live there, the kinds of habitats they live in, why your area’s climate is ideal for them, and how different birds have adapted to human presence.”
Another lesson you can teach is appreciation for green and growing things. The best way to do this is by growing something from seed. When your children plant a seed in the ground, they’ll probably be a little skeptical that anything substantial could grow from it. But once they see the first signs of green poking out of the soil, they’ll have a greater appreciation for nature. Simply doing this small science experiment at home with a cup of dirt and a bean seed can spark your children’s curiosity and excitement for camp.
When your children go to camp for the first time on their own, it can be a little bit scary. Being out in the woods at night can be scary on its own. To prepare them for being outdoors in the evening, you can share this experience together while looking at the stars. Stargazing has been passed down for thousands of years. The stars are useful for navigating, and it can be lots of fun to point out different shapes and constellations, like Orion’s Belt or the Little Dipper.
The outdoors has so much to offer. Learning this lesson early on can have a positive impact on children. By spending time outdoors with your kids, you can instill wonder and stir their curiosity before they set off to summer camp.
Photo Credit: Pixabay