If you fondly remember summer camp, and that experience included relay races, doing the motions to “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” learning interesting facts, and making new friends, then you were busy building brain power—although you probably thought you were just having fun.
Here are summer camp activities that can help strengthen the brain.
According to Penn State Extension, movement can activate and help to strengthen the structure of a child’s brain. So, running races, jumping rope, dancing the Hokey Pokey, playfully chasing the friends you’d made, and other physical activities can go beyond building muscle, also increasing the power of the brain.
Movements like those made during “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and dancing to the Hokey Pokey can be especially valuable. When children reach to the sky and then to towards their toes; move from side to side; and then stretch in front of themselves and then behind, this requires coordination. Plus, these motions strengthen the tissues that connect the child’s left side and right side of the brain. This helps to create and build what the brain needs for the youngster to learn about language, and about reading and math.
Michigan State University notes how curiosity is at the foundation of learning, preparing a child’s brain to learn. When someone feels curious, their actual brain chemistry changes—with “wondering” serving as a powerful tool. If, for example, a camp counselor says, “I wonder why the clouds look the way they do today” or “I wonder what kind of bird this is,” this models curiosity. When a child becomes curious about a subject, tests show that they can remember information about it more easily.
So, these open-ended questions asked at a summer camp can be a powerful tool for building brain power. When a camp allows children to explore what interests them and gives them encouragement and materials needed to satisfy their curiosity, this is a wonderful brain-building set of open-ended activities.
Summer camp can be an ideal setting to introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics in ways that seem fun.
Summer camps serve as wonderful places to make friends. The atmosphere is more relaxed than school and your child can meet different people. As children learn social behaviors and the importance of being kind and how to compromise, IntegratedChildrens.org notes, this helps them to develop emotional intelligence. This ability to understand and manage your emotions can help someone to succeed in school, Harvard University research shows, and make it easier for them to find work that’s meaningful.
Through friendships, child discover that people can think and feel in different ways, which can help to develop the important quality of empathy that makes individual lives and the world in general a better place. So, any summer camp activity, whether structured or free play, that allows children to interact in ways that build friendships also contributes to brain power.
Horizon Education Centers: Summer Camp
Find more information about our 2022 summer camp that focuses on active brains, healthy bodies, and happy faces! You can register early for cost savings.