Encouraging outdoor play is our goal at North Shore Day School Summer Camp by helping children learn to seek out exercise, fresh air, and activity. When asked about what do our campers do while attending our day camp program our reply always involves the word “play”. Of course, our campers are busy at the instructional activities they attend during the day. Here they learn new skills that are specific to the activity, for example archery. But the foundation of what they “do” at camp always goes back to play.
We schedule many sessions of play for our groups during the camp day. There is time for active play, passive play, cooperative play and creative play. Counselors help guide the camp group and campers during these play times. By organizing activities that have variety and age-appropriateness, campers enjoy their day at camp.
When spending time with their camp group, our campers and counselors head outdoors and enjoy play. Playing outdoors is great for anyone. Children are naturally drawn to active play outdoors: it allows them to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence. Children have a great need for physical exercise and activity and a chance to use their muscles to run, swing, jump, and swim. They like to use their whole body when they play outdoors, and find such physical activities interesting and challenging.
Spending time outside playing with new friends and counselors improves campers social and emotional skills as well. Learning to cooperate with others and work as a team are tremendous skills developed through play at camp.
So, you can see we place high value on play. Play is our foundational activity. It allows us a vehicle to develop physical, social and emotional skills in all of our campers. Play is what we do every day at camp.