2020 was a very interesting year. The spread of COVID pushed most people around the world into their homes and out of offices and schools.
While some students excelled in this new virtual environment, many others found themselves unable to cope and getting further and further being their peers. In a December 2020 study by McKinsey, it was estimated that across the US, children lost the equivalent of three months of mathematics and one and a half months of reading. Students who normally had no issues in school began to struggle and rates of depression and anxiety skyrocketed which severely impacts motivation and concentration levels.
Many parents have expressed concern about this learning loss and the psychological impact that COVID 19 has had on their children. However, there is a light at the end of this long tunnel and everyone from parents to teachers to academics are exploring ways to get kids more engaged and help them integrate back into social settings. As more and more things are able to open back up in the US and the percentage of vaccinated adults continues to rise, summer camp could be the perfect solution to curb the learning loss associated with school closings and virtual learning and get kids eager to learn again.
While any form of summer camp is a great opportunity for kids to further develop social skills, make friends and develop lifelong memories, subject-specific camps can help kids meet other like-minded students who they can learn from and bond with (something that isn't always easy at that age!), and build self confidence. After spending months and months at home, this could be just the things kids need to open their minds to the learning process. Summer camps for children and teens can include classes and workshops on anything from art to design and even coding. There really is something for everyone!
Hands-On Learning is Learning
Hands-on learning has long been a core subject in most educational settings for decades and there is a good reason for that. Hands-on learning, especially when combined with the arts and sciences, helps increase motor skills, improves cognitive skills, and encourages self-expression. It has also been used as a form of therapy for people suffering from mental or physical health issues, and overcoming trauma.
Based on the events of the past year, art summer camps are a great way to stimulate creativity in kids and promote social exchange amongst their peers. Hands-on learning using different materials can also help children engage more with their environment and their teachers.
Children can also participate in fashion summer camps and design summer camps that allow them to channel their art skills into useful items that will later serve as a reminder of what they were able to accomplish on their own. This sense of empowerment is especially helpful for children who have shown signs of depression or anxiety and can help them regain self-confidence.
Screen-Free Ways to Learn to Code
As the past year has proven, being able to "go digital" and have the skills to do so can be the most important asset for people to have as we move further and further into the 21st century. Many parents found themselves asking their kids for help in adapting to their new virtual life and this has helped spark new areas of interest in some kids.
Robotics and coding classes are great for kids who have shown interest in STEM subjects and help them decide if this is something that they want to pursue further. Coding and robotics help develop skills including logic, attention to detail, and creativity as kids learn how to bring their dream robots to life starting from the initial design all the way to coding, and sequencing.
Coding summer camps have increased in popularity over the past decade and apps like Hopscotch have made the world of coding more accessible to children. Now, more than ever, this could be incredibly beneficial to decrease the learning loss of Covid and increase engagement amongst kids while simultaneously giving kids back a sense of control and empowerment as they bring their own creation to life from start to finish. Since there isn’t a large amount of material needed to complete the project, this skill is something that they can continue when they are back at home and are in need of intellectual stimulation. Best of all, the coding summer camp is screen free which gets children out from behind a computer or iPad and back into the real world.
Gain Confidence in Technical Theater
2020 and 2021 have sadly brought the closure of most of America's performing arts spaces. Technical theater classes can help kids get prepared for when theater performances are again a regular event by teaching hands-on skills like prop making, costume design and set design. These non-verbal aspects of theater production are often just as important as the actors that are in them and help move the story along. They can help kids learn about spatial awareness, promote teamwork, and how individual teams can work together to create something truly magical. Technical theater can also help aspiring actors to understand the behind-the-scenes details of stage production and appreciate the skill and ingenuity that goes into the material side of theater.
Technical theater summer camps give kids the chance to contribute to something “bigger” than themselves as they work with other students and their instructors to create the props, sets and costumes needed for theater performances. This helps them see the consequences of their actions and how interconnected the world is. It can also help them understand how they can express themselves through non-verbal communication and symbolism.
COVID 19 has brought many unforeseen challenges and has affected both adults and children in ways that we don’t truly yet understand. Helping kids get back on track with learning and with social skills is one way to combat potential future issues and mitigate the negative long-term impacts of lockdowns, school closures, and social distancing measures.
Join The Handwork Studio for a fun, learning experience!
The Handwork Studio, a fun, summer enrichment camp where kids learn by making. Since 2001, we've been the leading educators in teaching kids hands-on skills that you won't find in your school curriculum. Whether your child is interested in building, sewing, coding or design, we provide engaging activities for kids to embrace their imagination and think like innovators. Click below to find a summer camp location near you.