Parents of teens may have noticed a point when their kids stop bouncing off of the walls upon returning home and prefer instead to watch television or drink a cup o’ joe and read The Economist. A 2014 study published by the American Medical Association found that kids’ movement drops dramatically once they hit puberty. While this is all part of the growing up process, this trend is exacerbated by the great conveniences and distractions of the 21st century and institutional education – both of which encourage plenty of sitting. If absolutely nothing else – setting aside all the memories, the skill and values building, the friendships – summer camp gets kids moving to combat their slide into sedentary lifestyles.
Kids are slowing down and need encouragement to get outside
The New York Times article highlighting this study illustrates the drastic change happening in our children: “At 9 and 11, almost every child in the study was moving at least an hour a day. But by 15, only 31 percent met [the government’s recommendation of one hour of moderate daily activity during the week].”
Even on weekends, only 17 percent of the 1,000 children in this study were reaching the recommended movement guidelines. These numbers clearly show that extra steps are needed to curb kids’ natural tendency towards slowing down. If kids can’t escape the stationary demands of their year-round routines, summer camp programs may make all the difference.
Summer camp mobilizes kids
By offering a space in which teens can play and create freely, they connect with their prepubescent mindset and naturally tend towards more physical activity. They spend a great part of summer camp playing badminton, working out at football practice, on stage building a theater set or rehearsing lines, or flipping across a gym floor for an acrobatics class. Even by getting their blood flowing as they migrate across a large campus from lecture to dorms to mess hall, kids are taking advantage of unique opportunities for movement that they cannot access in the structure of a normal school day.
At the most basic level, summer camp exchanges the biggest culprits of sedentary behavior for active ones: it replaces the television, video games, texting, etc. with hide-and-seek in the woods, card games in the lodge, late-night chats with new friends. Help your kids to foster healthy habits early in life. Get them moving – get them walking to school – get them enrolled in a summer camp!
To find the best summer camp for your child this year check out the summer camp listings on Camppage.com.