Every year, millions of people go camping. In 2011, about 42.5 million Americans went on a camping trip; in 2012, about 39.7 million went camping; and in 2013 about 40.1 million took a camping trip, according to the “2014 American Camper Report.”
Those who took their kids with them, though, did them a favor. A new study has found that children who go camping at least once a year go on to do better in school, as well as live healthier, happier lives.
Researchers from the Institute of Education at Plymouth University and the Camping and Caravanning Club collaborated together to discover the perceived relationship between education and camping. They asked both children and parents from around the United Kingdom a series of questions looking at the educational, psychological, and social benefits that camping offers to kids.
“Interestingly, the parents surveyed believed camping supported the key curriculum subjects of Geography, History and Science,” said Sue Waite, Associate Professor at the Plymouth Institute of Education. “And actually, that stacks up because the most common camping activities were natural – such as rock pooling and nature walks – where children were getting to understand ecosystems and identify lifeforms, respecting nature and the environment.”
The study found that more than four out of five parents believed camping had a positive effect on their kids’ education, and more than two out of three parents (68%) felt that camping helped their kids even enjoy learning in the classroom.
Another 98% of parents believed camping helped their kids gain an appreciation of nature. About 15% of parents also said that the escape from technology provided by camping was beneficial to their kids.
Virtually all parents (95%) said their kids were happier when they were camping. About 93% of parents also felt that camping gave their kids skills that they could use later in life. One in five parents (20%) said that camping gives their children more freedom, independence, and confidence.
In other words, it’s a good idea to take the kids camping before summer is over.