Happy New Year! At SportsTyme in Central Florida, we’re optimistic about 2017 and excited to share lots of tips and facts with you here on our blog.

With this New Year, we’re kicking off a 3-part series about the benefits of camp for 3 different age groups: Elementary, middle, and high schoolers. Our hope is that this series will help you to identify whether camp is best for the kids in your life and learn more about how they might uniquely benefit from camp experiences.

Elementary school kids, ages 5-10, have developmental needs that older and younger kids don’t have. Starting at around age 4 or 5, kids begin to show leadership skills, traits that may flourish or diminish depending on how adults react. Elementary school-aged kids are highly motivated by adult acceptance and thrive on praise and feedback.

5-10 year-olds are also starting to become more mindful of others and can develop feelings of empathy, becoming protective of younger kids and willing to give of themselves to help others. Again, these empathetic behaviors may grow or diminish depending on how they’re received within their home and social lives.

As kids progress through elementary school, you’ll likely notice that they become more assertive and are interested in winning and excelling. During this time, lessons about fairness, perseverance, and hard work are well received.

So, how can attending camp help elementary school-aged kids build leadership, empathy, perseverance, and hard work skills? Camps that focus on sports activities, like SportsTyme, allow kids to practice new physical skills for sports they may not have tried before or want to advance. These activities teach that perseverance and hard work pay off in measurable ways, a lesson that can be easily extrapolated to schoolwork and later in life in the workplace. Leadership and empathy come alive in team sports, where children have the opportunity to work with their peers to lead, support, and empathize with others over the good of the team.