The Benefits of Winter Camps and After-School Programs

A deeper dive into the benefits of these important outlets — and what you can do to make them even more enjoyable.
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Winter can be tough on kids. Shorter days and colder weather mean more time spent indoors sitting around. And that leads to boredom.

But winter camps and after-school programs combat the cold weather blues by keeping kids engaged, healthy and active. These activities also help kids build their confidence and connect with their community. Moreover, winter camps and after-school programs are an essential resource for working parents and guardians without access to childcare during winter breaks.  

For program directors, here’s a deeper dive into the benefits of these important outlets—and what you can do to make them even more enjoyable.

After-School Programs Provide a Safe Space for Learning and Support

For many kids, the time after school is an opportunity to relax and have fun. And for those enrolled in after-school programs, this time spent between home and school is a safe space to socialize and extend learning away from classroom pressures.  

To enhance this built-in benefit of an after-school program, consider setting up a quiet space where kids feel comfortable doing homework, reading or seeking the help they need.  

When organizing your after-school program, consider scheduling time for children to transition from their day at school to afternoon activities. Remember, there are different types of transitional activities kids prefer when unwinding. A good way to remember these different types is:  

  • LAPS: kids who need physical activity to unwind  
  • SNACKS: those who have something to eat and drink  
  • RAPS: children that socialize with friends and staff  
  • NAPS: kids who need quiet time or to simply relax  

Allowing for a free 30 minutes of transition time allows students to unwind in their own way. Then they’ll be in a better mindset to finish homework or participate in any other scheduled activities your program might have.  

Winter Camps Help Strengthen Bonds Outside of Summer

Winter camps are a great way to keep kids engaged and an opportunity for camp and program directors to stay in touch with summer camp participants and their families. Consider hosting a winter camp around a shared activity, such as skiing or snowboarding, to strengthen campers’ bonds outside the traditional summer season and to keep them active.  

Indoor winter camps, especially shorter programs hosted during winter school breaks, are equally engaging as outdoor programs with the right theme. Get your campers cooking by hosting a baking-themed camp modeled after “The Great British Bake Off.” This program uses STEM-based concepts with an easy camp-in-a-box program like I’m a Chef Too! Kids enjoy a shared experience of baking together while incorporating science-based lessons along the way.  

They’re Both a Place for Kids to Make Friends

Social skills don’t come naturally for everyone, but they are essential for building lasting relationships. Unlike school, camps provide the time and space to help facilitate friendships.  

Consider kicking off each week with a game like About Me Jenga. This simple icebreaker is a great way to inspire creativity and build confidence. Each Jenga block has a number with a corresponding conversation starter that kids answer as they pull from the tower. Go around to each participant until the tower falls, allowing time in between turns to discuss mutual interests.  

ACTIVE Network Is Here to Help

At ACTIVE, we help winter camps and after-school programs across the country stay top of mind among parents and their communities to grow year after year with seamless, easy-to-use program management software. Once we learn more about your programs, we can connect you with a software specialist to find the perfect technology for your organization’s offerings. Whether you need after-school program registration software to reduce processing time or a more focused solution to generate revenue, our experts are here for you.

Get started today to take your camp to the next level—this year and beyond!

March 9, 2022
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