Exercise and the Importance of Physical Activity for Kids

Team games for campersAcademics are a crucial part of kids’ development; because of the impact on our kids’ futures and its vital element it plays in their success, we tend to overlook certain things that may seem trivial but are perhaps more deserving of our attention. Recess for example, a period of unstructured physical activity for kids, is often glossed over or even done away with in favor of more time spent in the classroom.

While it is favorable to have more time spent on academics, it is not necessarily useful in the long run to take the time away from a period of physical activity that is proven to be beneficial to kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses the importance of recess and other physical activity for kids: “Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom..safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits.”

The Academy points out that exercise actually aids learning and academic success. Daily periods of outdoor play and exercise enables kids to improve their concentration in the classroom and be more productive. Exercise and getting the body moving also greatly improves mood and is a proven stress reducer. While physical activity is evidently important in a child’s development, the other benefits often overlooked are significant enough for us to think twice before we deprive kids of opportunities for more time spent outdoors too.

kayaking at campDr. Barrett Fromme, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago, states: “The business world repeatedly lauds the corporate culture of companies like Google who offer opportunities for play and community collaboration, and suggests that such culture is the reason for the success and happiness of its employees. Yet, we do not encourage the same culture in our children who are at a far more critical developmental period.”

Playing outdoor games and team games has obvious social benefits. Being with friends and around friends, working things out, creating and playing collective games all help foster a sense of team spirit, create friendships and an overall feeling of well beingPeriods of physical activity and opportunity for play are clearly beneficial to kids’ cognitive, social, and emotional development—so why cut off time spent outdoors and playing with their peers?

swimming at campOutside of school, camp provides precisely the kind of opportunities for kids to collaborate with their peers and participate in the type of physical activity and play that aid healthy growth and development. Summer days spent swimming, riding, rowing and playing a whole range of field games is what most parents dream of for their children. While kids may understandably not get enough unstructured play time at school, at camp they are sure to find the tools and opportunities needed to reap the benefits of physical activity while collaborating in a community of their peers.

Read more about the benefits of physical activity for kids or see more of the types of physical activities children get to experience at summer camp.