Five Ways Kids Benefit from Farm Summer Camp
At Schoolyard Farms, summer is go-time! By the time your kids pack up their last day of school this June, our greenhouse, raised beds and fields will be packed full of seeds, starts, and first fruits to share. The lengthening, warming days of Spring lead to the busy harvest mornings and timeless afternoons of Summer–and life on the Farm feels right when we have our campers in on all the fun.
Let’s look forward to another season of growth together! Here are 5 ways kids benefit from summer camp, from our “farmily” to yours.
1. Summer Camp connects kids to nature. A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation national survey found that children and teens clock an average of seven hours (and thirty-eight minutes) of screen time each day. In the bracing air and bright sunlight campers at Schoolyard Farms spend six hours a day engaged in farm ecology exploration and outdoor play. Research on the benefits of nature connection is clear: including kids in farm practices like walking the fields, testing the soil, planting seeds and pulling weeds exposes the mind, body, and spirit to balance, grounding and growth.
2. Summer camp inspires kid creativity. Farming, gardening, cooking, and crafting in connection with nature brings out your child’s imagination in a hands-on way. At Schoolyard Farms, we provide campers with the raw materials to create: blank pages transform into camper-made nature journals, carrots harvested in the field transform into our famous carrot-citrus-cinnamon salad. We begin each morning with a story, and conclude each afternoon with reflection on the adventures we make of each day.
3. Summer camp celebrates kids in community. Schoolyard Farms connects campers headed into 1st-6th grades this Fall with a diverse group of Middle School Intern Educators, High School Intern Educators, Adult Volunteer Educators, and even local Chefs enthusiastic to share their training, backgrounds, interests, and talents with kids in a dynamic, community-based way. All participants grow leadership skills when we put kids first, and the Farm provides lots of inspiration for the community to share in Wonder, together. We’ve witnessed lasting friendships made and renewed the Farm, and we encourage new friends and old to reunite in Headquarters (or “HQ”) this summer!
4. Summer camp promotes healthy eating and active lifestyles. Did you know kids who participate in growing, preparing, and sharing healthy food are more willing eat it? At Schoolyard Farms, campers trace fruits and veggies in their fresh farm snacks from field to plate, learning to identify plant parts, expand their palate, and role model healthy eating choices for healthier communities along the way. We promote healthy movement and activity habits at camp by taking time to stretch, and making time to play energetic “everybody wins” summer camp games like “Eagle Eye,” “Snake in the Grass,” and “Lemonade” each day.
5. Summer camp builds confidence, and kids take new skills home. A you ready to sign up for camp yet? Moms, Dads, Aunties, Uncles, and Grandparents alike often remark that they want to send themselves to camp at Schoolyard Farms! At our end-of-week celebrations they have also mentioned the sense of self and sense of place they’ve seen their kids take home from camp, as well as healthy food cravings, a newfound respect/fascination for bees, curiosity around cooking and gardening at home, a new set of (non-screen) games and crafts to teach their friends, and a capacity for wonder and inquiry that leads to amazing conversation. At Schoolyard Farms, we believe kids are capable and natural scientists, artists, philosophers and poets–and the work they produce is awesome. The next best thing to going to camp is sending a young person you love, and, very much like we get to do on the farm, to enjoy the satisfaction of cultivating their growth.
We look forward to seeing you on the Farm this summer. Learn more about Summer Camp at Schoolyard Farms and register here!