Call of the Great Outdoors Beckon Schoolchildren

April 14, 2022

Source: Summer Camp

“Kids cannot get enough of summer camps after a covid hiatus and schools say it is a good way to improve social skills and fitness levels”

After a hiatus of two years, summer camps are back in schools, and students cannot get enough of the outdoors.

Hiking, kayaking, zip-lining, swimming, and sports such as football and badminton are only some of the activities that schools have gotten back to as the fear of Covid-19 wanes. The majority of the schools are organizing these non-academic activities to boost children’s creativity and at the same time, keep them entertained.

CMR National Public School, an adventure camp called ‘Trail to Trek’ is helping the children reconnect with nature post-pandemic. “The last two years have filled the minds of the students with a lot of digital time and have infused anxiety, depression, and obesity. We decided to create an opportunity for them to connect with nature and exercise outdoors,” says Swati Soni, head of school, CMR National Public School.

According to her, they spent quality time educating students about the importance of the environment and some basic survival tricks, which will help in improving strength, agility, reduced stress, cardio fitness, peer bonding, and overall health. “We have always understood that children learn through experience, so we allowed them to explore their trail to trek at their own pace.”

Schools say, while most children are back on campus, many are lagging in social development. However, the activities planned under summer camps will help them in spending their vacation productively and experience fun learning with lots of stimulating activities.

“Our summer sports camp in football, badminton, swimming, and hockey has already started along with an online summer chess camp by renowned professionals. Children will also get to interact with their peers and take part in activities that will boost their mental and physical health,” said Aloysius D’mello, Principal, Greenwood High International School.

While these activities during summer vacations were common before the pandemic, schools say the response this year has been overwhelming. Both student and parent communities have come forward and physical interactions are finally happening on campuses.

“The number of participants is rising every day. We can see children running around and exercising which is important looking at the kind of experience they have gone through in the last two years. We started the camp on April 4 and we have received an overwhelming response. Parents are driven toward getting children in this setting,” said Anita Bijesh, principal, Delhi Public School, Bangalore South.

Ensuring fruitful vacation sessions this year, schools say the summer camps have brought students out of their covid bubble. “After almost a two-year break, students had the opportunity to step outdoors, connect and explore nature. We also had the chance to understand their fitness levels and their emotional progress when exposed to rustic hiking and adventure activities. Their excitement knew no bounds,” said Ayesha Sirajuddin, head of south campuses, Ekya Schools. The parents have had concerns about children’s behavioral and health issues due to the pandemic outbreak. Health experts say these activities will play a crucial role in reinstating physical and mental health.

“Outdoor activities allow children to enjoy fresh air and sunlight and bring them closer to nature. They engage in social interactions which develop empathy, collaboration, and cultural competence,” said Dr. Harish Kumar, consultant, pediatrics & pediatric intensive care, Aster CMI Hospital.

According to him, such activities also build strength, fight fatigue and improve sleep. Moreover, since children will be exposed to sunlight, their bone and mental health will improve too.