How to Play Dizzy Lizzy

Outdoor Kids Game Dizzy LizzyHere’s how to play Dizzy Lizzy, a great outdoor game for kids to try. It’s actually a relay, a game where two or more teams race each other while completing some challenging task or overcoming some kind of obstacle.

In this case, members of each team line up and one by one run a ways out to a baseball bat on the ground. There they have to put their forehead on the bat, and keeping the other end on the ground, spin around the bat a few times (usually 3, 4 or 5 times). Needless to say, this makes you quite dizzy, and then comes the most difficult part— running back to your team so the next person can go. It’s always pretty funny to see a dizzy person try to run in a straight line, and pretty fun to try it yourself!

Next time you need a fun outdoor game for kids, give it a try!

Summer Games for Kids

Summer Kids GamesWhat is that thing?! Well, the kids at camp have named it “The Toy,” but it’s basically an aqua ropes-course, a climbing structure made of wood and rope suspended over the water on one side of the Rockbrook lake. The most popular game kids play on it is really challenging— you try to reach the farthest of 5 rings (like the girl in the photo) as you go out hand-to-hand over the water.

This is just one of the options at camp and is something you don’t have to do if you don’t want to. If swimming is more your thing, that’s fine.  Even if you don’t want to get in the water, that’s fine too.

Of course, if you don’t make it to the 5th ring, there’s a fun splash at the bottom! But if you do make it to the last ring, and only a few kids have, we announce your name in the dining hall and reward you with a special treat/prize.

Do you know what the prize is? Let us know in the comments!

Childrens Camp Games

Summer Sports CampBasketball! Dodgeball! Kickball! Four Square! Volleyball! And more versions of tag than you can count! There always seems to be some kind of gym sports camp game going on— counselors and campers running around and having fun in the Rockbrook gym. One of the best things to do is to make up a game. Take something you already know, like dodgeball for example, and then change it up somehow, like by having 3 or 4 teams instead of 2, or playing with a really huge ball, or having a “come back to life” ball. Gosh, the options are almost endless!

Girls Summer Adventure Activities

Girls Outdoor Adventure Rock ClimbingHere’s a middler (who’s finished either the 5th or 6th grade of school) climbing up the route called “Whim” on Castle Rock. It’s just one of the rock climbing routes we have on the camp property. There are definitely some challenging spots, with a cool “foot-switch” move about half way up, so we’ve given it a rating of 5.6. Look at the fancy “mantle” move she is doing by pushing down with her palm. Overall, this climb is about 70 feet high, but it feels much higher because it’s got an amazing view of the French Broad River valley from the top.

Just a glimpse into the great outdoor adventure we have at camp.

Nature Camp for Girls

Outdoor Play in NatureRichard Louv, who we’ve mentioned before, has published a new and interesting article discussing the benefits of outdoor play, the problems caused when it’s neglected, and what we might do to encourage it. The article is in the March-April 2007 issue of Orion magazine, and is entitled “Leave No Child Inside” (link to the full article). Louv has no trouble documenting an overall decline in the amount of time American kids spend outside, and likewise the numerous problems associated with this “virtual house arrest” (“threats to their independent judgment and value of place, to their ability to feel awe and wonder, to their sense of stewardship for the Earth—and, most immediately, threats to their psychological and physical health”).

Despite the forces behind this “nature-deficit disorder” (“disappearing access to natural areas, competition from television, smart phones and computers, dangerous traffic, more homework, and other pressures”), Louv also finds a “growing movement to reconnect children and nature.” What’s crucial here is the positive childhood experience of nature most of us adults share and recall fondly. No matter what our current profession, level of income, or political views, we love those experiences… turning over rocks in the stream, hiking through tall ferns, catching a glimpse of a hawk overhead… and we want our children to have them too.

Louv’s point is that with this kind of broad agreement on an issue, we should be able to do something about it. There’s power to this movement because “no one among us wants to be a member of the last generation to pass on to its children the joy of playing outside in nature.”

Girls Sleep Away Camps

Girls Camps Sleep Away ProgramWe’re back from the American Camp Association national conference in Austin, Texas where we enjoyed hearing Dr. David Elkind talk about the power of play (free and unstructured play) in children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. He was invited to address the conference of sleep away camps because he understands traditional summer camps as excellent contexts where this kind of play is encouraged. Dr. Elkind explains in his new book entitled, The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier and Healthier Children.

Here’s a quote that jumped out at me. He writes,

Not only does summer camp provide children relief from the pressures to achieve, it reacquaints children with the natural world, with the importance of friendship, cooperation, and the fragility of the environment in which we live.

The book, of course, goes into lots more detail and provides specific advice about how to encourage this kind of beneficial play, but here are a couple of the main points.

  • Cut TV time to allow for playtime.
  • Get children together so they can initiate play.
  • Avoid providing too many toys too often.
  • Keep free time on the schedule.
  • Spend time outside.

There is much to say about each of these, but it’s neat to see how summer camp, and particularly a sleep away camp like Rockbrook, can really encourage them.  Camp is just one of those places where kids can be kids.

Kids Camp in North Carolina

Kids Camp Sea Kayaking NC

Here are a few of our “seniors” up on Cascade Lake. It’s just a few minutes from our North Carolina kids camps near the Dupont State Forest, and is a wonderful place to bring the sea kayaks. We put in on one end of the lake, geared up with PFDs and long double-bladed paddles, and paddle to the other end to see Hooker Falls, an awesome waterfall. You can paddle the boats right up to where the water comes crashing down form this 15 foot tall set of falls. For some, sea kayaking has become their favorite outdoor adventure activity at camp!