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How Summer Camp Keeps Kids Learning

Children watching a science experiment

Did you know that most students lose two months of math skills every summer, and low-income children typically lose another two to three months of reading skills? That’s according to the National Summer Learning Association, which has studied summer’s impact on education.

Summer can be a time when learning lags because kids aren’t in the classroom regularly.

Here’s how camp can help children and teens retain the knowledge and skills they need for school over the summer break:

Hands-on learning

Campers are learning and experimenting when they are doing activities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), arts and crafts, cooking, archery, and more. They are practicing following directions, and using problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Risk taking

Camp challenges kids to try new things and discover their talents and interests, which could even carry over to the new school year. Perhaps there’s a club or sport that they were considering. Camp can give them that extra push to go for it.

Building confidence

Campers can feel proud of themselves when they learn a new skill or are recognized by peers or counselors. Camp can help kids become more comfortable socializing with other kids and adults. Whether it’s day or overnight, camp can also give them the confidence to be on their own for an extended time, just like school does. When they’re more confident, kids will be motivated to use their abilities to reach their goals.


Campers work together to solve problems and overcome challenges, whether they’re on the sports field, hiking through the woods, or putting on a show. They’re learning good sportsmanship, cooperation, and how to be kind to others.

Time away from screens

The more time kids spend in front of screens, the less time they have to be active, exercise their minds, and practice what they learned in school. Too much screen time can have a negative effect on a child’s school performance and their ability to interact with other people. Camp gets kids away from the TV, phone or tablet and engages them in activities that boost knowledge and social interaction.

Healthy eating, too

Not only does summer pose a risk to kids’ academic skills but it can also be dangerous for many kids who rely on the schools to provide healthy breakfasts and lunches. Organizations like the YMCA give families access to nutritious meals and snacks through day and overnight camps.

South Mountain YMCA
13 Jefferson Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040


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