Kinder Camp at Hobart and William Smith Colleges enables boys and girls ages 3 to 5 to have fun and partake in exciting activities over the summer while developing such essential skills as increased attention span, listening skills and increased strength and coordination. Acquisition of these skills is hidden behind a ton of fun activities, smiles and laughter. Kinder Camp was created to be similar to Kids College, but on a smaller scale for a younger population. Branching out and letting kids be kids is also a huge part of what the Kinder Camp program is all about.
“Anything is a teachable moment. Kids are like sponges; they absorb everything we teach them,” says Pattie Harling, director of Kinder Camp. She notes children leave camp having realized, “Learning is fun. They also learn how to play nice, how to play well together, sharing, important lessons, social skills, and widening their attention span, but most importantly, they improve over time.”
At camp, learning skills such as history, science and common knowledge is built into what any 3 to 5 year-old would call fun. Learning about interesting, kid-friendly topics such as knights, cowboys, space, water and candy are all small stepping stones used for future learning. Fun activities are used to build confidence, group interaction and independence.
Among the experiences Kinder Campers had recently was learning about medieval times by building a castle and speaking with a “real” knight in shining armor. Kenneth Seeling of the Historical Society at Rushville played the part of the knight for the activity and taught the children how a knight would properly put on his armor. “The attitude toward learning is different in each student,” says Seeling. “At Kinder Camp kids are interested in learning history.”
Working with the kids on an everyday basis Harling is able to experience firsthand how the kids have grown over time. “They don’t realize that they’re learning, but instead playing. They walk away with knowledge from everything.”
This article was written by SEEDS participants Roger Nicholas and Darline Ceus as a part of their work study at the Office of Communications. In the photo above, Kinder campers enjoy a visit from a knight dressed in armor.