Monday, 15 January 2018

The importance of outdoor play for children

Children are spending an increasing amount of time indoors due to all the technology that can be easily accessed inside their homes. The internet, television, mobile phones, gaming consoles and tablets have replaced traditional outdoor games, such as hopscotch, hide and go seek, tag and field sports. Outdoor play offers social, mental and physical benefits for children. Outdoor play is an essential part of summer camps, where technology isn’t allowed and children can overcome their “nature deficit disorder”.

Here are five reasons why you should send your kids to summer camp for them to indulge in outdoor play: 
1. Combat Obesity

Due to technology turning our kids into couch potatoes, lack of exercise is the main reason why kids are becoming obese. Children should be active for at least an hour a day, which means they should be running, climbing and jumping in the outdoors. Summer camp programs have kids active in the outdoors all day long whilst still having fun. This is a great way for them to stay fit without being pressurized to participate in physically challenging activities for the sole purpose of staying fit and losing weight.

2. Improve Mental Health

Spending time outdoors has been found to increase lifespan, reduce symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety, decrease smoking rates and reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Spending time outdoors is also beneficial for immunity development, due to our bodies being able to create important vitamin D after sunlight exposure. Summer camps are all about being outdoors and exposed to the sun, which will contribute to a great state of mental health for your children.
3. Connect with Nature

Being exposed to the outdoors will help our kids to value the importance of nature. Noticing the increase in climate change, extreme weather patterns, extinction of wildlife and run down the quality of plants, will encourage them to be mindful of their impact on our planet. Summer camps teach kids about caring for the planet and integrate these lessons into their program, which is a great way for our kids to connect with nature and save the planet.
4. Develop Skills

Through experiential and physical education, which is best practiced in the outdoors, children are able to learn various important life skills such as problem-solving, social skills, negotiation, and creativity. The interaction between children will teach them self-control and how to abide by rules. At summer camps, children have no choice but to explore, which helps them build courage and teaches them to assess risks independently.
5. Activate Creativity

Playing in the outdoors will force your children to activate their creativity because having no access to technology will force them to be innovative and make use of their imagination. Just like how it was generations ago, children will be able to integrate pieces of nature into their games by using their imagination. Think of when toys were too expensive and we made use of sticks as magic wands and stones were the substitutes to marbles. Giving your kids a break from their screens and sending them to summer camp will allow them to activate their creativity, which will greatly be of use in their future. 
Don’t let your child miss out on the wonderful advantages of being exposed to the outdoors. Sending them to summer camp to gain this experience in a safe and controlled environment will be a great investment in their lives.

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Water Safety at Camp

The reality is; not all kids are born water babies, swimming lessons don’t come cheap, not all of us can afford to maintain pools in our homes or a gym membership whereby you get access to a pool, and, most of us as parents are mortified about letting our children get in touch with water. 
We really do have every right to be concerned about water safety, since all children care about is the amount of fun they’re having. Their own safety is not even a thought that crosses their mind, which makes it our responsibility as parents to ensure that they’re safe. 
Most children come to Sugar Bay Resort, a holiday camp for kids and teens without the knowledge of what a beach is and leave having adapted expert skills in at least one type of water sport.
The camp, which is located on the dolphin coast of KwaZulu-Natal, has private access to the local lagoon and beach. The locations warm climate makes water temperatures great for swimming and various watersport all year round.

Water sports and activities play a big role in the camp’s program. Some watersports offered include; body-boarding, fishing, kayaking, stand-up-paddle-boarding (SUP), surfing, swimming and water polo.

The camp has been running successfully for the past sixteen years, and parents have no concerns regarding the water safety at camp because of the reliable water safety measures the camp has in place.

Here is how Sugar Bay Resort reinforces water safety at camp: 
1. The staff to child ratio is 1:1 when kids are participating in higher-risk activities such as surfing, as compared to 1:3 when they are doing lower risk activities, which is the highest in South Africa. This makes it easier for staff to assist children who are struggling in the water efficiently. 
2. No child is allowed to enter a body of water without one of the counselors. The counselors are exceptional swimmers and trained in First Aid and CPR should any child obtain an injury and or require treatment. 
3. A compulsory swim test is held on the first day of every camp to grade children on their individual swimming abilities. Weak swimmers are then given a special rash vest with black sleeves for easy identification and are not allowed deeper than their knees when they’re in the ocean.

4. A trained lifeguard is always on duty on a high chair with a clear view of all the children at the pool and at the beach, and a second, trained lifeguard is deployed deeper than the deepest child in the water to assist children in distress. 
5. Ocean safety lessons are held, where children are taught about rip currents, sandbanks, shore breaks, surf, and other potential risks.

These water safety measures have never failed and are the reason why parents can trust Sugar Bay to give their children the opportunity to have fun, learn new skills and gain experience in the safest and most reliable way in water.

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The Art of Chalk Drawing

A simple task that gets your creative juices flowing definitely has to be chalk drawing. Our campers love this activity at Sugar Bay. It’s such a quick and easy way to keep them occupied should any of our programs run a little off-schedule, and, in the process, allows us to discover some remarkable talents. 
Here’s some ideas on how to prepare for and run this class:

The Art of Chalk Drawing


You will need:

  • · Previously prepared artwork (Sourced from the internet and printed out)
  • · Clean floor surface that isn’t too rough or too smooth
  • · Chalk (in every colour)
  • · Tape Measure
  • Instructions:

    • Step 1: Selecting an image
      You will need to provide your campers with a wide variety of previously prepared artwork that is inspirational and easy to duplicate. You can divide the artwork into three categories of difficulty: beginners, intermediate and expert, to accommodate the different age groups.  
    • Step 2: Analyzing the image
      Once your campers have selected their favourite images, you will need to help them analyze the image in order to make it easier for them to duplicate. Break the image up into the following categories: line, colour, composition and form. This technique will help the artist to better understand the aspects of the image.
    • Step 3: Create a scale for the drawing
      After choosing an appropriate floor surface, it’s always good to prepare a grid according to a certain scale as a guideline for the drawing. After analyzing the drawing, use a tape measure to draw a grid of an appropriate size. This will prevent the drawing from turning out too large, or too small, but rather, drawn according to scale and looking balanced.
    • Step 4: Clean the drawing area
      Get a broom and sweep away any pebbles or dirt found on the floor in and around the drawing area.
    • Step 5: Think about what you want people to see
      Begin drawing. Encourage campers to focus on their drawings and to think about what they want people to see as they continue to draw. This psychology helps the artist to create a drawing that is almost close to what they are trying to duplicate.
    • Step 6: Analyze the drawing from all angles
      Get the artist to step back from their drawing to give them another perspective from how it looks up-close. Get them to walk around it and even climb on something higher if they have to.
    • Step 7: Add finishing touches
      Get your campers to add their finishing touches. Show them how to add line work and lightly blend them it into the drawing. Dark lines work the best. Add highlights, but don’t smear them in so that they can get the desired colour effects.
    • Step 8: Take a picture of the finished work of chalk art
      Chalk drawing is a temporary art form. Many street paintings and chalk drawings are washed away in a day or two. Taking a photograph of the artwork to keep it as a memory is a great way to preserve the temporary form of art and use it to inspire future campers. 
Follow our Camp Crafts Board on Pinterest & be inspired by our creative ideas!

Biscuit Decorating Techniques

At Sugar Bay, our campers love it when we get food involved in our Arts and Crafts classes. One of our popular Arts & Crafts activities with food has to be biscuit decorating. 
After getting our campers to bake their own biscuits, we get them to decorate them with royal icing. Their creativity really comes out to play when they indulge in this activity. 

Here are 3 very important techniques we taught our campers to use when icing biscuits:

    Technique 1 - Line Icing:  

    Tip: Ensure that your line icing is the same texture of toothpaste – slightly thick and gooey.

    Line icing is basically an outline around a shape. People would use this technique if they are going to fill the inside of the outline with flood icing. You need to make sure that you create an outline that does not have any gaps. If there are any gaps, the flood icing will flow through and your biscuit will not look very attractive.

    A piping bag with a narrow cut is the best item to create the line icing with. You will need to leave your line icing to dry for about 5 minutes before filling with the flood icing.

    Technique 2 - Flooding Icing:
    Tip: The flood icing is runnier than the line icing. Add a little water to your line icing mixture to get the consistency correct for flood icing. 

    Flooding icing is runnier than line icing and used to fill the inside of the outline you created by line icing. After preparing a runnier icing mixture, pour it into a clear plastic bottle with a narrow nozzle. You can begin by squeezing the icing very gently along the inside edges of the line icing until it fills the whole biscuit. You can also use a spoon to spread the flood icing inside the line icing if the design of the biscuit isn’t intricate. 

    Technique 3 – Drying the Icing:
    Thereafter, you need to dry your biscuits in the oven at about 5 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. The heat helps set the biscuits so they have that glossy and smooth effect on top.
    Once you’ve mastered these two techniques, you’re free to add whatever decorations and designs you wish to add on your biscuits. 

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