I miss my friends! We should be having backyard BBQs and hanging out at the beach, but coronavirus has put a temporary halt to those things. My kids miss their friends too! Mom can only provide so much distraction and entertainment.
Recently, it seems that we’ve all rediscovered the importance of social connections – and the reality that those can happen online as well as off.
Whether you have young kids, tweens, or teens, they’ll find a place to hang out with friends in Connected Camps’ online programs. More than hanging out, they’ll also be learning. Our model connects kids with peers and super relatable near-peer counselors: students from top university programs who share their passion for games, design, building, and coding — and provide real mentorship too.
Counselors Guide Learning in a Social Setting
There’s a lot of research that shows how much kids learn in a social setting like ours. Research is showing pretty consistently that playing games has social benefits worth paying attention to. This doesn’t mean that gaming is always beneficial. It does mean that the right kind of gaming helps kids become socially well rounded. This blog from Learner.org describes how students learn more when teachers and students work together on a task. It says that “good learning occurs most often in intellectually challenging activities that teach complex thinking.”
Your kids are building some incredible creations when they’re playing Minecraft! Our counselors are always challenging them to try new projects or tools, and they help kids learn how to work in teams. They help them when they’re stuck and encourage them to push the limits and challenge themselves.
Evan attends the University of California, Irvine. He describes how the social aspects are what he enjoys about games and what led him to become a counselor: “For me, the most memorable parts of video games are less about the game itself and more the people you meet and interact with while playing. As an aspiring game designer and scholar, I see counselor work as a way to explore and develop unique ways of play to foster communities and create meaningful social and academic experiences.”
Kids in our programs are always under the guidance of our top-notch staff. And whether they’re learning how to code, exploring the arts in Minecraft, or playing mini-games in our free Minecraft servers, they’ll be in a small group setting, which allows kids to share and learn from each other, leading to new friendships and lots of fun.
A recent article in The Atlantic said, “Relationships with peers are how kids learn about cooperation, trust, and loyalty, as well as how to not just receive support from their parents, but also give it to others.” Unfortunately, the article also points out that the coronavirus pandemic and resulting measures to limit its spread has caused millions of children across the United States to miss out on friendship.
That’s why it brings us joy to see kids from all different places and backgrounds in our programs: playing, creating, and making friends.
Counselor Bianca describes how that happens in the all-girls coding camps she leads: “The girls learn problem-solving skills and also how to independently figure out how to code. In addition to this, the girls learn how to help one another if they need it. They also support each other if they are struggling. This program really helps these girls build a community where they can grow together.”
Parent Karen Alpert is popular on the web for her straight-shooting style and sense of humor that shine through while she shares stories about parenting in “Baby Sideburns” posts. Her kids took some of our camps*, and in her video about the experience, Karen summed up the value of her kids’ experience this way: “[Their] teacher loves Minecraft and wants to teach them cool stuff… and they’re in a Zoom classroom so they get to be social with other kids. This is a way for them to be on a screen but still be social, and creative, and learning how to problem-solve. Your kids will get something awesome to do that’s creative, educational, and fun!”
Connected Camps provides a safe, fun place for your kids. Whether they like the arts, social sciences, or technology, we know you’ll find a program that suits their interests, taught by a counselor that will make learning fun, with lots of social connections to other kids so they can play and explore together.
Note: this blog is part of a series explaining the educational backbone of our programs. Click to read these posts: Why Peer Mentorship Matters to Young People, Counselors and Coaches Build Connections through Shared Interest, and Online Camps Foster Curiosity and Creativity.
*Disclosure: The family received free access to programs, which she used as the basis for this review.