As a parent, have you ever felt you were driving around in circles, literally driving your kids from home to school, to sports or dance practice, to other lessons or weekly events? Would you say that your kids are scheduled and busy most of the time? Do they spend most of their time inside, and when they do have free time, how do they spend it? Watching TV, on the Internet, text messaging?
All of this is valuable, of course, with each activity exposing children to new ideas, information and challenges, but there’s a growing awareness that if overemphasized it can create problems as well. It’s becoming clear that children need time with nature too. They need the opportunity to explore the outdoors, to play outside without the time constraints of school, to feel the elements and reconnect with the wonders of the natural world.
The Children and Nature Network is an non-profit organization dedicated to researching this issue and providing resources for encouraging children’s health through outdoor activity and experience. It’s a great place to learn about the importance for children of direct experience of nature.
Summer camps, thankfully, are still ways for children to recover from the “nature deficit” they endure throughout the school year. Nature and camp just go together. Particularly at an overnight camp like Rockbrook, nature is a constant companion— the earthy smell, the feel of the weather, the surprising creatures, the plant life that’s everywhere you look. Sure camp offers crafts, adventure, sports and lots of silly fun, but every minute is also a chance to be with nature. It’s the greatest feeling, and is also, incredibly good for you.