Outdoor Camps for Kids

Kids spend plenty of time every day in front of computers, TVs, cell phones and video games. But according to a poll from The Nature Conservancy, only about 10% say they are spending time outdoors on a daily basis! There are so many benefits to kids when they spend time outdoors:

  • Outdoor play increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies.
  • Spending time outside raises levels of Vitamin D, helping protect children from future bone problems, heart disease, diabetes and other health issues.
  • Being outdoors improves distance vision and lowers the chance of nearsightedness.
  • Exposure to environment-based education increases student performance on tests of critical thinking skills.
  • Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing natural spaces.
  • Play protects children’s emotional development whereas loss of free time and a hurried lifestyle can contribute to anxiety and depression.
  • Nature makes you nicer, enhancing social interactions, value for community and close relationships.
(Source: http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature/Why-Get-Kids-Outside/Healt...)

This summer, why not consider an outdoor camp for kids? We have compiled a list of just a few  of the many outdoor camps for kids to learn, play and have fun!

Harbourfront Centre – Outdoors Bound

Location: Harbourfront Centre (bussed to offsite location) Area: Toronto             Ages: 9-11              Cost: $275 Transportation: Drop off at Harbourfront Centre For those kids who want to spend more time outdoors in the future, this program takes a look at the basics in canoe camping and introduces campers to such skills as campsite set up, tandem and voyageur canoeing, outdoor games, and leadership activities. The Outdoors Bound camp fosters fun and learning in the outdoors  for those living in Downtown Toronto.

Whitchurch Riding Academy Camp

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Location: Mount Albert Ontario, 10 minutes north east of Newmarket. Area Served: Toronto & York Region          Ages: 7-15          Cost: $319 and up Transportation: Bussing and drop off from York Region and Toronto This outdoor camp for kids offers horseback riding lessons for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders and includes horsemanship, swimming, arts and crafts. Campers get hands-on experiences of life on the horse farm. Campers learn about safety around horses, how to lead and groom a horse and even how to muck a stall! They won’t come home clean, but they will come home tired and happy. The camp is the longest running horseback riding camp in the GTA with the same owners the entire time, not a common thing with this industry.

Kettleby Valley Camp

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Location: Kettleby, 10 minutes west of Aurora Area Served: GTA                 Ages: 4 ½ to 14                 Cost: $375-$470 Transportation: Bussing or drop off Kettleby Valley Day Camp is an outdoor camp for kids where their abilities and talents are highlighted and they learn to be more self-reliant and supportive of fellow campers and staff.  Each day is filled with a variety of outdoor activities including; archery, ropes courses, rock climbing, canoeing, swimming, crafts and nature exploration.  The camp offers a day camp, overnight camps and 5 day canoe trips to Algonquin Park. www.kettlebyvalley.com

Camp Naorca

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Location: Forest Valley Outdoor Education Centre, Toronto Area Served: Toronto                Ages: 4 ½ to 14 years              Cost: N/A Transportation:  Bussing is available Campers can expect fun-filled weeks enjoying this outdoor camp for kid's environmentally friendly programming, while participating in some much-loved camp traditions. Camp Naorca allows campers to gain awareness and appreciation for nature and the environment through: hiking, arts and crafts, nature/ecology projects, drama, cooperative games, archery, campfires and outdoor cooking. Swimming and water-play activities are held at a nearby community centre pool and all campers are encouraged to participate.

Summer Adventure Camp

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Location: East Gwillimbury, east of Newmarket Area Served: York Region                Ages: 5-12 years            Cost: $550 (2 weeks) Transportation: Bussing is available The Summer Adventure Camp is held at a 48 acre outdoor environment where every day offers new opportunities for children to have fun, to explore, to engage in hands on learning, and to understand the importance of becoming respectful and responsible stewards of our natural environment. In addition to traditional day camp activities, the children will enjoy water activities including canoeing, kayaking and fishing, eco adventures and farm club.

Royal Botanical Gardens Summer Camp

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Location: Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington Area Served: Burlington area         Ages: 3-13               Cost: $90-$300  Transportation: Drop-off The RBG Discovery Camps are about fun, education and respect set in one of the most biologically diverse natural areas in Canada. The camp provides hands-on, environmental-based programs that feature hikes, games, crafts, activities and daily explorations of nature sanctuaries covering 1000 hectares of wetlands, fields and forests. Their goal is to introduce campers to a lifetime of respect and appreciation for the natural world.

Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club Wet Feet Camp

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Location: Toronto Waterfront Area Served: Downtown Toronto           Ages: 7-8 years           Cost: $250-$275 Transportation: Drop-off The Wet Feet program is designed for children with no sailing experience. The one week camp introduces campers to sailing in a fun and safe environment in a sheltered, protected harbour. The program begins with two children per boat and work towards sailing a boat themselves. The course includes an introduction to sailing and boat handling skills.  The program builds friendships, confidence and self-esteem.