Let’s be honest – filling every minute of your programs for a whole season can be a daunting task. It’s especially challenging when you’re trying to coordinate multiple schedules at once, or if you have varying durations of time you need to be filled. Nobody wants a room full of bored, restless kids so we asked our experts over at ACTIVEKids what you can do to fill up the free time in your camp or class. Here are their top kids’ activities for 2018:
Invented by a physical education instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts, basketball has been engaging our youth since 1891 and is now a multibillion-dollar industry and an American pastime. Even though originally developed to promote physical activity during the winter month, basketball can be used as a year-round tool for promoting competitiveness, participation and physical activity. We love the idea of developing these skills in our youth, however, not everyone can have a heated game of dunks during their camp program.
This is where the classic game of H-O-R-S-E comes in, we all know it and love it, and there is nothing wrong with a classic, but kids can only play H-O-R-S-E so many times before it loses its appeal. If you’re running a sports camp or just looking for ways to further enhance your educational programs, these games could be a great way to work on the fundamentals. For programs like day camps or afterschool, these games can provide the more than 30 minutes of physical activity a day to help keep campers healthy and happy.
Fun Facts about Basketball:
- The first basketball hoops were peach baskets
- Early basketball games used regulation soccer balls
- You don’t have to be tall to play, Muggsy Bogues was 5’3”
Team building should be a large part of any camp or class program, regardless of the focus. Whether you are running a sports camp, STEM/STEAM program, or focus on the performing arts, there is an endless need to develop our youth. There is a continued need to innovate programs with lasting team building activities. Our crew at ACTIVEkids.com have some great ideas to do just that. These activities are great for when you’ve had it up-to-here with the play yard squabbles. Conflict resolution and collaboration skills are going to be valuable their entire lives, so get kids engaged with their peers with these age-appropriate team-building activities. Plus, your staff and volunteers could even learn a thing or two from these!
Tips for Camp and Class Program Team Building:
- Work in small groups, try a maximum of five kiddos per team
- Working in non-competitive elements into team building activites
- Be aware of your shy kids
Looking for ways to engage shy campers? Read our post “How to Help Shy Kids Feel More Comfortable at Camp”
Warning these aren’t just for sports camps! It is well known that physical activity promotes learning and as little as 20-minutes of physical activity can boost attention-based tasks as well as knowledge-based tasks such as reading, spelling and arithmetic. So why not incorporate a short exercise regimen into your program design, our team at ACTIVEkids.com recommend including time for stretches and light cardio, which could be beneficial for kids in any program. These routines are great for increasing blood flow to both muscles and the brain, use these warm-ups to get kids ready to take on any challenge or even as a cool-down to help campers recover from high-energy (physical or mental) activities.
Tips for adding exercise to your program:
- Keep it short: as little as 20-minutes before a task-oriented program can be beneficial
- Keep it consistent: make this part of your daily routine, your kiddos will appreciate it more
- Keep it fun: let you campers enjoy themselves, this will keep both your experiences memorable
BONUS: Looking for more ways to help campers get exercise? Here are 7 Games to Make Running Fun for Kids.
We hate to think of mother nature getting in the way of our program plans, but if there is one thing camp directors know it is that the weather cannot be controlled. In fact, we did a little research and found a Minitab analysis of the accuracy of weather forecasts. The analysis showed a 6.2-degree standard deviation in the 10-day forecast. What does that mean for our program directors and operations staff? The 10-day forecasted temperature can experience a 17°F variation!
So now that we are coming out of the dog days of summer, it is not too early to start thinking about adding new indoor activities to your year-round program, but let’s face it, it’s not just the wintertime that you have to worry about being stuck indoors. Here at ACTIVE’s offices in Dallas, Texas, the temperature is approaching 100°F. If your planned activity for the day gets rained out or the heat drives your program indoors and you only four walls to work with, try any of these activities to prevent cabin fever from setting in. Kids will forget about what’s keeping them inside in no time!
If you’re still at a loss for programming ideas this fall, check out our checklist on offering a next generation program. It has all the insights you need on what appeals to kids today so you can build the most attractive programs possible.