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Developmental Milestones and the Camp Experience: Ages 4-7

— American Camp Association
Updated on Jul 6, 2010

Developmental Milestones

  • Acquire greater ability to reason, plan, and remember
  • Begin to better appreciate social conventions
  • Experience a growing awareness of the feelings of others
  • Identify with and model behavior of significant adults
  • Regulate their own emotions with increasing success
  • Begin to think about how others perceive them
  • Become better at activities requiring strength and power (for Boys)
  • Become better at activities requiring fine motor skills, such as drawing or writing (for Girls)
  • Improve in the areas of agility, balance, and coordination

What's on Their Minds

  • Anticipate fun activities shared with parents
  • Wish to please parents and older siblings
  • Think about rewards for good behavior and consequences of misbehavior
  • Worry about separation from family
  • Begin to understand gender roles and social stereotypes of males and females

Building Parent-Child Relationships

  • Provide intellectually stimulating environment for child
  • Give reasons for directions
  • Encourage verbal give-and-take
  • Be consistent in expectations and consequences for misbehavior
  • Offer frequent emotional support and reassurance
  • Read together, cook together, play together
  • Be a positive role model in language, behavior, and emotion-regulation
  • Limit TV viewing to one hour or less per day

Maximize the Camp Experience

  • Share some aspects of the camp selection process (e.g., what kind of camp, how long to stay, whether to go with a friend or not)
  • Consider one-day camps or mini-camps for best exposure to new situations
  • Provide structured, summer fun while sharing experiences with family through day camp
  • Consider overnight camps as appropriate for children who have had varied and positive experiences of being away from home, who are toilet trained, and who have good self-care skills
  • Select a camp that specializes in activities for pre-school and primary grades
  • Select a camp that provides a good mix of athletic, artistic, and intellectual pursuits
Read More
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Child/Adolescent Development
Parent — Child Relationships
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