Free & Unstructured Play - Day Camp Pod #7

Why Free Play at Day Camp Makes Sense

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One of the challenges of a typical day at day camp is trying to pack every single moment with magic and fun. The consequence of that is that they whole day can become very regimented and schedule driven.

Now, please put your hands down. Yes schedules are good. Yes you need to know generally what happens when. We aren’t going to ask you to get rid of your schedules in favour of free and unstructured play.

However, take a second to consider this. When we turn over the responsibility of the fun-creation to the campers, we get to truly engage their creativity and help them work out the part of their brain that they desperately need for the future. If we regiment every single moment, we don’t allow for a the moments of magic that you, as an old (okay, more experienced…) camp professional could have NEVER thought of!

To help us give some concrete ideas, to a jello-like topic, Andy, Ehren, Michael Brandwein (again!) are joined by Dr. Kelly Jones, co-founder of Outpost Summer Camps. Outpost Summer Camp is focused on relationship building around unstructured play and they make free play work well with 150+ kids. WOW.

Tune in to this episode to find out about:

  • Why do Free Play? Why do kids need it?

  • What are some of the unfounded fears that people think about when it comes to free play?

  • What kind behaviours do you want your staff to show to get the most out of unstructured play?

  • What are some different ways that camps implement free and unstructured play?

  • How can you begin to implement free and unstructured play THIS SUMMER?

How are you going to bring in some free play to your program this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

 

DCP - DAY CAMP PROGRAM IDEA OF THE WEEK - LEVEL UP YOUR DAY CAMP!

  • Michael: G3 - Great Greeting Group - Create a council of 2 or 3 staff who create a creative greeting every day.

  • Andy: Three Team Colour War

  • Ehren: Safari - Kids get to be both the animals AND the tour guides

  • Sam: Think Outside the Tie-Dye Box

  • Kelly: Group Sneaking - Surprises & Hilarity Ensues

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