How do Summer Camps Help Your Child Stay Active?

Childhood obesity is a major problem in our current society. With snacks and treats so easily accessible and schedules so busy, children are not often given the best foods to eat or get a great deal of exercise. It is important as parents to help our children stay healthy and active. With summer day camp, you provide an outlet for your child to exercise while still having fun. Summer camp activities will keep your child moving, which helps them stay in shape and live long and healthy lifestyles.

Staying Active

Summer day camp is all about staying active. Your child needs to move in order to burn calories and stay fit. With a full schedule of activities, your child will be able to keep their body moving, working their muscles, all the while having fun. To your child, they will be enjoying themselves and not focusing on the actual exercise part of the activity. This is a great way to keep your child active. At camp, a number of activities are offered, such as sports and swimming. By taking part in these activities, your child may find a new hobby which will keep them busy throughout the year. With regular exercise, your child will live a healthier lifestyle, feeling better physically as well as gaining self-confidence.

Pack Healthy Meals

During day camp, lunch time will take place and if the camp provides the food, then a nutritious meal will be offered. However, if you are packing your child’s lunch, be sure to offer healthy options. Fruit, veggies and lean meats are good choices. Since your child will be exercising and burning calories, you want to feed them items that will continue on the health trend. Putting sugary treats in their lunch will only slow them down. Fresh fruits and veggies gives them the energy they need to keep playing sports and having fun.

Encourage Your Child to Try New Things

When going to camp, your child may encounter a new sport that seems too hard or too exhausting to play. Encourage your child to try the sport anyway. Explain that while it may seem hard at first, they should keep trying. They might end up having a great time and find a new sport to enjoy at home and throughout the year. Always encourage your child to try new things. Explain that without trying, they will miss out on a great number of things throughout their lifetime. It is better to try and find out that you don’t like something, than to never have tried at all.

Overall, you will find that summer camp helps your child stay active in a fun way. At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer a number of programs to keep your child on the move and having fun. Contact our office today to find out what options are offered for your child based on age group, as well as activity or program type. We guarantee you will find something for your child to enjoy!

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Summer Camp Activities that Help Build Your Child’s Confidence

During summer camp, children will take part in a variety of activities ranging from sports to arts & crafts. Kids will learn leadership skills, patience and how to get along well with others. Children will also be able to use the summer camp activities to build self-confidence, even if they do not realize they are doing so. Take a look at the activities below and see how your child can build confidence with such activities offered during summer day camp.

Sports

Many sports games are played during summer camp. From basketball to baseball and swimming, any sporting activity can help your child build confidence. As your child learns how to play a sport, they will find confidence in themselves through the skills they learn. From dribbling the basketball to learning how to float on their back in the swimming pool, such skills help to build your child’s self-confidence.

Arts & Crafts

Children who enjoy being creative will be able to open their mind to new possibilities when taking part in arts & crafts classes at summer camp. Children will be able to express themselves in a new way which can help them feel more confident in showcasing their feelings and ideas in art form.

Cooking Classes

Some summer camps offer cooking classes which can be beneficial in building self-confidence. Cooking classes allows your child to learn how to read recipes and create new cuisine. After your child finishes a recipe and tastes their work, they will feel more confident in cooking which helps to build an overall confidence.

Leadership Classes

For older children, leadership classes may be available via summer camp programs. Your child will be able to build self-confidence by taking part counsellor-in-training programs.  As your child works alongside others to learn safety measures and working with children your child will begin to build confidence in knowing they can react as needed.

During summer camp, your child will also be socializing with others. Often times, children gain confidence by learning from others. While your child will be able to be more confident by taking part in activities, they will also learn to feel confident by dealing with other children. Making friends and meeting new people can be cause for anxiety. As your child begins to meet others, they will build confidence with their people skills which is helpful as they grow older and become an adult.

Choose one of the many programs offered at Zodiac Day Camp to help your child build confidence in themselves. Through activities and making friends, your child will learn that they can do anything they put their mind to. Find out more about the many programs we offer by contacting our office today. We are excited to offer a variety of programs to assist you this summer!

Summer Camp activities for Children ages 12 to 15

Teens ages 12 to 15 are at a delicate point in their lives. It is not uncommon for teens in this age group to feel peer pressure from friends or want to do what their friends are doing and not necessarily hanging out with younger children. For parents, it is our job to provide an outlet for entertainment as well as learning for teens so they do not wander down the wrong path or become disengaged.. An ideal option is to enroll your teen in a program that offers summer camp activities and leadership experience. Teens will be able to make new friends and have a focus on something more interesting to them and that provides new opportunities. Below are a few examples of summer camp activities for older children to stay busy and have fun.

Leadership Programs

Leadership programs are ideal for this age group as they allow the child to learn training in specific areas and begin to build skills that will be helpful in adulthood. At Zodiac, we offer Advanced Leadership Programing for teens ages 12.5 to 15.5. These programs are offered in each of our 7 one-week sessions but are best as a 7-week experience. These programs focus on training and workshop sessions where teens are trained in areas such as child development, quality programming, effective discipline and more. Teens will learn from the Leadership Coordinator and senior camp personnel with an opportunity provided to be an apprentice or participate in specialty areas or camper groups. These programs are a great way for teens to have the ability for future employment within the Zodiac summer programs.

L.E.A.D.

The L.E.A.D. Program is for campers ages 12.5 to 14.5. Teens will spend half of their day taking part in group building activities and specialties as well as daily seminars. The other half-day is spent in a placement assisting with campers where the teens can learn from existing camp counselors.

C.I.T. Program

This program is offered to teens ages 13.5 to 15.5 when the L.E.A.D. program is completed. Teens are placed in a cabin or specialty area for a full day with specific training and seminars provided with C.I.T. peers to help the teens be prepared to become staff members during the next summer schedule.

These opportunities are perfect for teens who wish to be involved in counseling positions during summer camp programs or work with kids in the future. Teens will be given the proper skills to become camp counselors and enjoy their role in leadership.

Additional Programs

Teens can also take part in other programs that are geared toward leadership skills. Aquatic leadership classes are available so that young teens can learn first aid, CPR, lifesaving and eventually become certified as a lifeguard. Babysitting courses as well as home alone courses are offered at Zodiac year-round to provide your teenager with the appropriate skills to care for others as well as themselves.

Overall, Zodiac offers several programs for teaching leadership skills to youth and teens. Talk to your teen to see what they might be interested in and enroll in classes today. Many of the Zodiac Day Camp leadership programs lead into employment opportunities, building upon skills needed for adulthood. Check out the programs today to provide your teen with a learning experience as well as a fun opportunity this summer.

How Summer Camp makes Children Resilient

Resiliency is a quality trait to have an adult as it can be beneficial in the workplace as well as with relationships. Being resilient means having the ability to overcome a difficult situation. As a child, young people have the ability to learn resiliency and become productive adults. One way to do this is by attending summer camp. By attending summer camp, your child will be able to learn how to handle difficult situations should they arise with other campers as well as by taking part in summer camp activities.

During summer camp, children will take part in various activities as well as meet new people. It is these activities and new relationships that will help to create resiliency within your child. By trying new things, your child will learn how to never give up and how good it feels to accomplish a goal. When meeting new people, your child may come across individuals who are difficult to get along with but help to mold their personality as well as teach them how to deal with those who are hard to handle.

Camp Activities

Let’s start with camp activities. Depending on the type of summer camp your child is attending, the activities offered will vary. Take for example a camp that offers swimming. Whether your child is a beginner or intermediate swimmer, they will be learning something new. A new skill in swimming may be difficult to learn. As your child practices and gets better at the activity, they will be practicing being resilient. The counselors of the camp will encourage your child to continue learning the skill until they achieve their goal. This builds character and self-confidence that your child will carry with them as an adult.

Dealing with Others

At camp, children will meet new people, kids their own age. For some, making friends is easy while for others the process is more challenging. Your child will face difficult situations as they get to know other campers, possibly experiencing bullies or mean children. Teach your child to be nice all the time and learn how to deal with such individuals. As your child encounters difficult children, they will learn how to be resilient in relationships which is a handy trait to have.

Summer camp teaches children a number of valuable lessons in life, from getting along well with others to never giving up and reaching their true potential. When your child is old enough to attend summer camp, consider enrolling them in a day camp or an overnight option. Give your child the ability to strike out away from home and learn valuable lessons that only camp can provide.

At Zodiac Day Camp, we provide a safe and stimulating environment for children via summer camp and day camp programs. We want to help your child to be more self-confident, make new friends and gain a sense of resiliency. Contact our office today to learn more about our many camp options, for children of all ages. We look forward to providing an outlet of fun and learning for your child.

Basic Swimming Rescue Skills For Your Child

Pensacola Sailors learn rescue swimming skills

A Rescue Swimmer School candidate performs a body sweep to check for entanglements or injury in the pool at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

One of the most important life skills to learn is swimming. Drowning is ranked the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. This tragic ending can be prevented with the proper water safety instruction and skills, and it should be taught at a young age.

There are bodies of water all over the world such as  lakes, seas, rivers, oceans, dams and pools. Drowning comprises of about 10% of unintentional injuries per day in the United States, many of which lead to death. About 73% of people who drowned in 2012 alone were children aged 14 and under.  The good thing is that many of these accidental drowning can be prevented by following safety regulations, and also by being equipped with the necessary rescue skills. With this in mind, you would agree with me if I argued that it is vital for your child to learn some of the basic swimming rescue skills. Due to this fact, Toronto swimming lessons are tailored to equip kids with safety swimming skills.

By making sure that your child learns the basics of swimming reduces his or her chances of drowning. In many swimming programs, the first lesson involves teaching the kids some of the basics of swimming. This includes certain styles to prevent drowning such as treading water, doggie paddle, and crawl stroke. This will improve your child’s confidence when in the water which is very important. But, it should be noted that even the best swimmers can drown, therefore being overconfident is not an option.

Kids especially those who swim in beaches should be taught how to spot and evade strong currents. If possible they should avoid swimming completely when there are huge swells in the sea. The ‘rip currents’ are very fast and pose a lot of danger to the swimmers, especially to those who are beginners. There are certain signs that can tell you that you will be in for very strong currents in the next few minutes. The water around changes its color, the waves change patterns from time to time, and there occurs steady movement of debris in the sea. Once you spot these changes in the beach, you should consider getting out of the sea immediately. Fortunately, in some Toronto swimming lessons the kids are taught how to handle themselves when they go to their swimming programs.

If by bad luck you find yourself in strong currents, the first thing is to stay calm. Many people drown because they panic. Once you are calm, then think quickly of what to do next. If there are people around call for help. In the unfortunate event you find yourself alone, don’t fight with the currents. Make a 90 degree turn and move parallel to sea shore. Rip currents are majorly active in narrow channels therefore by swimming in a parallel direction, it gives you a better chance of landing where the waters are a bit calmer.

If you realize you are losing control of yourself when swimming the best thing is to let yourself float on water instead of fighting to stay on cause. In Toronto swimming lessons, treading water is an important technique taught to kids as a safety mechanism to prevent drowning. Fighting to stay above the water only depletes your energy thus decreasing your chances of survival. Simply turn upright and try sweeping water with your arms in order to stabilize yourself, then easily do the kicking motion with your legs to stay afloat, and then you can call for help.

Finally, kids should avoid the use of drugs at all cost. The use of drugs only impairs your judgment. You might think you are on the shallow end when actually you are on the deep end of the pool. Also, drug abuse gives an individual false confidence which can lead to accidental drowning.

Zodiac summer camp is one of the best summer camps in the area. It offers first class swimming programs along other amazing programs such as adventure sports, fashion design, robotics and jewelry art for kids. For more info visit their website www.zodiackids.ca

Why is First Aid Training Important

first aid training

We are living in a world where no one is completely safe. We cannot deny the fact that at some point in our lives we have been involved in situations that have called for our immediate actions. Accidents, food poisoning, electrocution, terror activities, choking, heart attacks just to name a few of them, are some possibilities that may happen at any time and therefore call for our preparedness. Having the knowledge of the course of action to take at these times can save a dying man or prevent a worse condition that was deemed to happen, such as paralysis. It’s therefore important to teach kids at a tender age these skills for their own benefits and also to help others. Kids are most prone to emergencies as their immune system is less developed as compared to adults.

Reasons for first aid training

  • Every second counts– It would take less than six minutes for someone bleeding seriously to lose consciousness and die. Also some deep cuts, if not treated or cleaned earlier, may lead to infection. Therefore the earlier the pre- treatment is administered, the better. After all, the basis of first aid is prevention of the worst.
  • Makes people feel more secure– There is the aspect of believing you are safe when you know that someone is looking after you. Maybe that’s why we are more comfortable in our homes as compared to when we are outside. The same case applies to first aid skills. You will feel safer knowing that in case of any accident, there is someone around you who can come to your aid.
  • As a job requirement– There are certain jobs where first aid training is a strict requirement. These jobs may include kids summer camps where kids go for holiday vacations. There are a lot of childrens activities that go on in these camps, and truth be told, you can’t prevent kids from jumping all over the place; after all ‘that’s why they are on vacation’. The kids might hurt themselves and may require urgent attention from a qualified personnel.
  • Disaster– When a natural calamity such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes strike, it’s not possible to access medical attention quickly. Therefore, it’s up to those who are better off to help those badly hit by administering urgent attention like bandaging their wounds to stop bleeding or natural resuscitation to help them keep on breathing as they await medical assistance.
  • Helps to reduce pain– Not every injury requires a person to visit a health center. Some cuts which are not deep can be treated at home or temporarily before official treatment.

After having seen the importance of first aid training, it is also vital to ensure that all buildings or premises including our homes are well equipped with the first aid kits. The essentials of a first aid kit include adhesive bandages, gauze rolls, sterile gauze pads, elastic bandages for wrapping wrist, knee and elbow, sterile cotton balls, and of course latex and non-latex gloves.

In every workplace it’s key to have one or more trained first- aider; depending on the size of the premises. For instance, in day camps for kids you expect a large influx of kids and therefore one first- aider may not be enough. You may require to hire more than one depending on the size of population.

Finally, it’s of utmost importance for each and every one to embrace first aid training as an asset to use in the future as we don’t know what tomorrow holds for us.  

5 Tips to Show Children Swimming is Fun

swimming kids

Kids will enjoy swimming more if you build their confidence and help them overcome any fear of water that they may have. It isn’t always easy to teach a child that water is fun especially when it is their first experience but the best place to start is finding a suitable swimming program that will incorporate as many fun activities as possible. As you read on, you will find insights on fun activities to incorporate into your swimming program to allow little ones to enjoy their time in the water.

Here are 5 simple tips to help introduce your child to Swimming.

  1. Safety measures
  • Teach children about safety measures in their early stages of swimming. This will build their confidence and security.
  • Make sure that your child understands that they should always ask permission before going to swim if young always accompanied by an adult.
  • Be sure they wear lifejackets or safety devices in the water at all times.
  • Teach them to paddle both feet while holding onto the walls of the pool. This will help them if they find themselves deep in the water to prevent drowning.
  1. Easy games

Simple games will make swimming more fun for kids. Use water  toys to play different games with them such as:

  • Chase and play

Encourages kids to move about in the water. The game involves a child moving in the water and tagging another who then moves about to tag another in the proximity.

 

  • Talk to the fish

Involves blowing water bubbles and listening to pretend fish responses. This helps the children to control their breathing which is an essential step to swimming independently. Encourage your child to blow bubbles while his/her face is submerged in the water. When you do so yourself, you’ll need to come out of the water smiling as you don’t want to scare the kid.

  • A ride

While holding your child by their armpits and walking backwards in the water shout “motorboat go fast…go fast…slow…” This will develop their kicking strength in the water.

  1. Test the water
  • An effective and easy way to teach your child security in the water is by swimming with them. Actually you should be the first one to get into the water so that they can follow. When you are with them, you induce a sense of belonging and security and allowing them to swim freely and have fun.
  1. Splashing
  • Splashing is enjoyable for beginners especially little ones who just can’t help but spray everyone around them with water.  This is actually part of the learning experience by teaching them how to kick and move in the water.
  • You can also help by showing them how to float with his/her stomach on the pool water and head on your shoulder. In this position they can begin kicking and splashing giving them better balance in the water. In Toronto, swimming lessons for kids integrate these balancing and kicking aspects with safety measures.
  1. Taking a jump
  • First of all this should be done in the shallow end of the pool. It’s so important for your child to feel safe and trust that the teacher or parent will catch them. When they jump into the water and begin to kick it allows the process of staying above water and strengthening those swimming muscles.

Zodiac swim school in Toronto is one of the largest private swim schools in Canada.  It offers top-notch swimming lessons that will help develop aquatic skills and self- confidence to your children.   

 

Different Swimming Strokes And Their Benefits

swimming strokes

Swimming is a technique which allows anyone to stay afloat on water or to glide through using the limbs. The density of human body is relatively the same as water density, that is, 0.98. Hence, the body can support its own weight in water during swimming.

While you can manage to move around by simply thrashing your hands and feet in water for a while, you will soon realize that it not only takes a lot of effort to move a small distance and it makes you tired. Worse, it even makes your muscles ache badly once you are out of the water.

In order to be able to swim properly, you ought to learn different swimming strokes and their benefits. Toronto swimming lessons provides full range of swimming classes. It is never too late to take up swimming lessons, but it is always advisable to start at an early age. You will find many classes that help learn and even have fun. Red Cross Swim Kids is one such program that provides swimming lessons to kids of 5 years or more.

Breaststroke

Breaststroke is a basic swimming stroke technique. This will probably be the first technique taught if you register for Toronto Swimming Lessons or Red Cross Swim Kids classes, that is, if you are a beginner. In this technique, the swimmer is face down in water on his or her chest. This looks a lot similar to a frog swimming which requires the arms and legs to move inwards and then outwards. This is considered to be the easiest of all strokes as the head stays above water most part of the time and can be very comfortable in slow speed. However, if you need to gain speed, then this stroke requires a lot of endurance.

Freestyle

Freestyle too is face down and flat on your stomach, however the feet need to be straight and flutter to keep your body afloat. The arms on the other hand are used alternatively where you keep them straight in front of you above the water and rotate it till your hips and back. This technique is the fastest and the most efficient of all strokes. You can cover long distances using this stroke. However, since the head is submerged in water and is required to rotate sideways to be able to breath, this technique requires some practice to master it. Toronto Swimming lessons provide a stroke improvement program that is just for specialized aquatic programmers.

Butterfly

This stroke is considered to be the most difficult of all strokes and requires good strength and stamina. Even in this stroke you are required to rotate your arms, but they need to move in sync together. In this stroke, your arms do majority of work and pull your body forward while your legs move in a wave like motion. If you are looking for an intense workout, this swimming technique can prove to be the best exercise. It helps in speeding up your metabolism, and burns fat at a faster rate than any other strokes.

Backstroke

As the name suggests, this stroke, unlike any other, requires you to lie face up in water and swim on your back. The arms are rotated similar to freestyle in alternate motion and the legs too move alternatively in a motion called flutter kick. You can opt for this stroke when you want to relax after an intense regime. This stroke certainly strengthens your back and proves to be useful for those you face backache issues.

No matter which swimming technique you select, keep in mind that it always proves to be beneficial to include it in your fitness regime – be it for relaxation or intense workout.

It is never too late! Are you afraid to get into water or dealing with body pains that forbids you to exercise? Or even if you want to send your children to learn and have fun at the same time. Zodiac Kids can provide a number of training techniques for all ages when it comes to swimming programs.

The Camp Experience: Lessons in Growing Up

Children's Camps

Children can learn valuable lessons in day camps and with the right day camp, your child’s camp experience will surely be fun and worthwhile.

The kinds of activities your kids will engage in depends on the camp they are enrolled in. For example, a science camp would focus on activities that are exploratory such as dissecting animals, completing science projects, and going on outings at science museums or fairs. A swimming school on the other hand will help children learn how to swim and instill in them discipline that they can use in their everyday life. Some day camps in Toronto offer swimming programs for kids. The valuable swimming lessons and skills that they will learn in swim schools will prepare and mold them to be better and responsible adults later.

Day camps always offer some kind of outdoor activity. Whether is sports such as baseball, football, dodgeball, cooperative games and fun water games. This is one of the best things about attending day camps. Kids can burn their energy, learn, and have fun, all at the same time.

Teamwork is a lesson that is also taught at most day camps for kids. The camp staff usually divides the campers into groups and ask them to work on a difficult project. Through this, children are able to understand what it means to work together in a respectful manner and how to achieve a common goal.

Sometimes, during day camp activities, children get inspired to pursue certain occupations after guest speakers talk with them about their careers. For instance, if a neurosurgeon visits a career-based day camp and discusses the most fascinating aspects of his career, some kids might entertain the idea of getting into the medical profession.

For kids, going to day camps also helps them make new friends and it allows them to enjoy new experiences outside the classroom and home. Day camps are also great for home schooled children because it gives them the chance to possibly meet other kids in the same situation.

At day camps, children also showcase their skills during events such as show and tell and talent shows. It gives them the chance to act silly and share their talents to others. Such day camp activities also help boost confidence in children.

Visits to venues around town are a part of summer camps. Your child might visit places such as sporting events, zoo, park, religious services, hospitals or free activities for kids at community centers. This lets kids learn about the cities they live in.

For boys in particular who are known for their infectious energy levels,  camp is an excellent option to avoid them running all over your house all summer long. It creates a different outlet for them by enrolling them in a sports-themed  camp. Your boys can spend hours running, jumping and throwing balls in a day camp.

Day camps are wonderful places where your children can socialize and expand their horizons. These camps provide lessons that will stay with your children for years to come and this enriches their intellectual development.

Before choosing a camp, research the reputation, activities and staff. Also talk to those who have attended the camp you’re interested in. First hand information from those who have already been to a specific summer camp will be very helpful for you. Also check online if  the summer camp has a website.

Zodiac Day Camps offer a wide array of activities and specialized courses, all geared towards a child’s physical, mental, and social development. For more information, click here.

 

Some Leading Causes for Child Obesity

obesity

“Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.”   That’s according to the CDC.  The question is, why has child obesity become such an issue and why does it continue to increase? The main causes of obesity are quite similar in both adults and children.  Most of these causes are related to behavior and genetics.  Behavior includes dietary patterns, physical activity and use of medication, among other things.

Obesity is often linked to lack of exercise.  Specialists recommend that children have at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, as seen on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  For a number of reasons children haven’t been getting enough exercise.  One of these reasons is safety.  Many communities don’t have access to safe places for kids to play at, like parks, day camps, and swimming programs, for example.

With today’s access to internet, video games, smartphones and tablets, kids are not stimulated to go outside and play as they were years ago.  According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, only one in three children are physically active on a daily basis.  Research also shows that children spend seven and half hours a day in front of a screen.

Having a good diet is also very important, as everyone probably knows by now.  A good diet should emphasize whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat and fat-free dairy products.  Also, one should drink around half a gallon of water every day.  So here is the problem:  in the U.S., even in schools, it’s very easy to have access to unhealthy food, such as french fries.  Some even have vending machines that sell soda, chips and cookies among others.

Another issue concerning diet is to find healthy food which is affordable.  In some cases, people just don’t have access to these foods due to their location or some people don’t have access due to financial reasons which reduces access to appropriate food products.  

The availability of high-energy-dense foods and sugar sweetened drinks is alarming and makes staying healthy even more difficult.  Consumption of high energy dense foods, or simply junk food, plays a big role in obesity and is often consumed with sugar sweetened drinks, like soda, which just makes things worse.

Not only is physical access to junk food a problem, but financial access may be an even bigger problem.  You can get a burger, fries and soda with unlimited refills for under $10 but if you wanted to choose the healthier option of a salad you are looking at the same cost if not a bit more.

Things get even worse when you join these issues – lack of physical activity and dietary problems, and they usually go hand in hand.  Eating healthy is very important and so is physical activity like swimming and outdoor play.  It is necessary to stimulate children to do some type of physical activity every day in order to improve statistics and consequently, society as a whole.  Better policies at schools, establishing more summer day camps and swimming schools, reduction of targeted advertisement of fast food and more stimuli to physical activities are some of things that can help better today’s problem with child obesity.

Zodiac swim schools offers a variety of swimming programs for kids. Their swimming programs are geared towards nurturing a child’s mind and body. For more information, click here.