As parents, we all want our kids to have fun during the summer months. That’s what summer vacation is for! We can all remember what it felt like to be on vacation, hanging out with pals in the neighborhood or swimming in the public pool ‘til our fingers were wrinkled as raisins. Who wouldn’t want that kind of joy for their kids?
The thing is, though, that we also want our children to keep growing, learning, and developing new skills. By signing your kids up for summer camp, especially a specialized one like an art camp, you’re ensuring that they’re doing just that, even as they get messy and have a blast with friends. This is true about concrete developmental markers, like gross or fine motor skills, but also about “soft skills”—those important intangible capabilities. Let’s dive into a few soft skills your child will gain at art camp and why they matter.
Learning to Work With a Team
Teamwork can be a joy, but it can also be a major challenge for most of us. One problem is that working with a team requires that we put our own, personal desires aside to make space for the ideas others have. Another is that it means seeing our peers as our collaborators and not our competitors. In order to really do well on a group project, we also need to trust one another and be reliable ourselves. All of these are skills that need to be practiced and that will be practiced at art camp. Painting a mural together requires group planning and cooperation, as do the many other creative group projects that your child will take part in during art camp. This provides plenty of opportunities to get better at cooperation.
Thinking Outside the Box
Creative activities naturally demand that we think differently about the situation at hand, and it’s easy to see why this is a great skill to develop. Let’s face it, life is messy and full of unexpected twists and turns. In order to navigate them with ease, we have to be able to look at a puzzle and think about new ways to solve it. At art camp, this may mean trying out materials (say, papier mache or clay) in innovative ways. Later, in daily life, your child will be better prepared to manage a complicated situation—whether that’s an upcoming exam or an interpersonal challenge.
Communicating Ideas Clearly
One of the more frustrating experiences a person can have is trying to explain what they mean and not being understood. Maybe you have an idea for how a project should go or you are feeling annoyed—or even excited! Whatever you're trying to communicate, chances are you’ll be pretty fed up if you can’t get your message across. Art camp is the perfect way to practice communication skills. Not only will campers be discussing abstract ideas with one another all day long, they’ll be cooperating on large and small scale projects that necessitate conversation and collaborative planning. Without realizing they’re doing it, your kids will be mastering the art of clear communication as they work on their various projects.
Adapting to an Evolving Situation
Life means constant change, but that doesn’t mean that a shifting reality is easy to handle. Most of us don’t like change, which is why this is one more soft skill to practice early and often. Don’t wait until your kids are teens or young adults to help them learn to roll with life. Instead, give them a chance to learn that change can be an opportunity for growth and may bring with it beautiful things. Art projects have a tendency to change as you work on them—that’s just the nature of the visual arts. Perhaps you thought you were painting a meadow, and suddenly you have the idea of gluing on flower petals and feathers. Instead of being finicky, your kid has the chance to take a deep breath and go with their intuition. Adaptability is a skill that’s gained as we practice it, and art camp is just the place to gain it.