March 31 2020
I have some incredibly vivid memories of a 7 year old me, riding my “BigWheel” down the street to my friend’s house, ready to do something that few kids seem to do these days… PLAY!! For hours, my friends and I would play games and engage in complex pretend play schemes involving some pretty intense use of imagination. I’m wondering how many kids out there today really have the opportunity to engage in sustained unstructured play, 2-3 hours at a time?
This past winter we had over 40 inches of snowfall in the Boston area, yet in my neighborhood with school aged children in most every house- I did not see one snowman. So there I was shoveling my driveway outside, while all the children in our neighborhood were inside watching TV, playing video games, on the internet, or texting.
In the book “The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children”, author David Elkin outlines how childhood traditions are going the way of the dinosaur- Hop scotch, hide and seek, and games we played as kids are being forgotten. At Everwood Day Camp, activities include playground games like Ga-Ga (a form of dodgeball) and 4-Square…and kids (and grown-ups) LOVE them. Why? Honestly because so many kids have never, ever played them before!
Our modern society limits play for our children. According to our friend, Best Selling Author, consulting Psychologist, and ACA Board Member- Michael Thompson, PhD, reasons for this include:
The 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study on SCREEN TIME shows that children age 8-18 years old spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes devoted to screen time each day. This translates to an average of more than 53 hours per week!
In many ways, Summer Camp has become the antidote to modern society. Summer Camp is a step back in time- no cell phones or video games- where social networking involves actually speaking to people face to face, and being someone’s friend is much more than an online acquaintance. Campers come to places like Everwood Day Camp so that parents know they are safe, and so kids can flourish learning the real-life, 21st Century Skills that go beyond the academic standards, like: Creativity, Collaboration, Responsibility, Leadership, Critical Thinking, Communication, Adaptability, Flexibility, and what it means to be a Good Friend. Places like Everwood Day Camp create an extraordinary world that inspires children to believe that anything is possible, and that their potential is limitless.