For children, the stretch of summer months suggests freedom and play. They long for the time and space to celebrate the joys of youth. And they need summer.

According to a recent American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) report, “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.” Play helps them to “learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.”

So this summer, parents, let’s cultivate children’s natural gifts of wonder, curiosity, creativity, energy, and physicality.

Camps and enrichment activities provide a wonderful encouragement for children to pursue interests that fall beyond the scope of a traditional school year.

Participation in these programs helps to nurture your child’s physical development, mental engagement, and refreshment of his or her spirit. And, as children engage in these activities, they explore both the wonders of their world and the individual interests, talents, and passions that define them.

With a five-acre campus, Carden Hall’s expansive outdoor classroom offers an ideal space for summer enrichment. This includes many athletic opportunities, such as the popular Tae Kwon Do and Eagle Sports camps.

For creative minds, classes in the fine arts express student inspiration through drawing, painting, and papier mâché, while teaching essentials about the concepts of color, hue, shading, and saturation.

Young scientists and engineers explore the world through hands-on, STEM experiments and model-building, getting a little dirty along the way. Digital adventures await students with keyboarding and iPad programs that focus on accuracy skills and technical applications through interesting projects.

The AAP offers the following suggestions for a stress-free and refreshing summer:

– Give children ample time to be creative, to reflect, and to decompress.

– Encourage your children to engage in active play (running around or playing tag) in lieu of passive entertainment (video games or television).

– Spend unscheduled, unstructured time together with your kids.

Explore now and pursue options, so that your child’s summer vacation will be all that it can be!