Summer Camp Equals Summer Fun for Kids

Today’s post is a guest post from Ariella Rogge from Sanborn Camps on the fun benefits of sending your kiddos to camp.

I am OVER parental anxiety. Especially my own. The only time I am safe from my self-imposed demons is in late May before—or even AT—the end-of-school party when I can confidently say, “Yep, this summer L is going to camp.” After, on average, 1.2 positive murmurs someone says, “I could NEVER send my Precious Athernon to summer camp! I couldn’t bear to lose that much time with him.” Apparently Athernon has achieved the rare distinction of being The Only 11 Year Old Boy Who Is Constantly Engaging, Exciting, and Perfectly Pleasant. Most children, mine included, are Holy Terrors from Whom Mommy Needs a Break.

Camp is great for kids. The camp environment provides a safe place to engage in and learn from personal choices. By allowing campers to choose their activities and their own experiences, a child is a) empowered to make her own decision; b) open himself up to the experience—good or bad; c) be able to grow in the knowledge that “I made a good choice on my own…” or “Next time, I’m going to try something different.” This process is an essential life skill because it engenders responsibility and perseverance in a child.

Summer Camp

This increased personal responsibility helps campers both at camp and at home. Many parents tell camp professionals that the independence and confidence their children gain at camp allow them to “break out” of unhealthy peer groups, habits, and behavior patterns when they return home. Whining, apathy, and uncooperative attitudes in some children seem to vanish overnight after they live and play in an environment that “expects good” from them. The camp environment allows childre to see the benefit of healthy behaviors like patience, inclusion, empathy, joy, laughter, self-reflection, independent thinking, problem solving, and more.

The best part of learning these essential life skills at camp is that it is not a didactic experience—it is something the campers are DOING day in and day out. They learn to associate success and confidence with the physical movement of their bodies as they climb high mountain peaks. They enjoy the space and freedom of the outdoors while learning proper horsemanship techniques in the alpine valleys and Aspen groves. They walk, hike, run, and share as they go to meals, play games, explore the natural world, and connect with other people and the world around them. These experiences create a foundation of health and connection to nature that can quickly become a lifestyle.

But will I miss the constant “Mommy, will you play with me?” refrain of long summer days? Maybe…but they will get more out of playing at camp. Research suggests that free play–especially in nature—is essential to cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. Play is linked to growth in memory, self-regulation, oral language, and recognizing symbols. It is linked to higher levels of school adjustment and increased social development as well as to increased literacy skills.

Free play happens when children create their own agenda and play together undirected by adults. This kind of play is more likely to occur in the natural world because there are so many variables to stimulate creativity and discovery. Camp is an ideal setting for free play because, while many activities are organized and directed by counselors, there are multiple times each day when young people can explore together and create imaginative scenarios while the adults either watch over them or actively engage in the child-driven play.

I love that my son goes to camp. As soon as his brother is old enough, he will go too. On top of all of the personal growth and development I see in him, the time away from home reminds us both how much we love and appreciate each other. For those moments and that kind of growth, I will continue to ship him off to summer camp….plus I can finally clean out his closet while he is gone.

Do you allow your small people to head off to summer camp?  What do you love about it?

Free Valentine’s Day Printables and Worksheets from Pinterest

valentines day printables and worksheets

I am a huge fan of all things printable, just ask my kids, so every holiday I scour Pinterest for the cutest printables and most fun holiday worksheets to use with my family.  I’m sure you feel the same, so I rounded up some of my favorite Valentine’s Day printables and worksheets just for you!

Fab Cool Kids Valentine’s Day Printable Cards


Pop Pop Pop! Valentine’s Day is popping with these fun Valentines!


My love for you to infinity and beyond. Print this out for your home this Valentine’s Day!


Treat that special someone to Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed in style with these adorable print-outs.


Valentine’s Day Writing Worksheet


I’ll never forget how much I love you!


Valentine’s Day Addition Worksheet for Early Elementary School


How many hearts? Valentine’s Day worksheet


Valentine’s Day reading worksheet

Valentine’s Day is such a fun holiday filled with love and the opportunity to share our feelings with those closest to us.  We can do that through lovely printouts, fun Valentine’s Day gifts, and even through the homework we assign at home.  Enjoy!  And feel free to leave your favorite Valentine’s Day printable links here!

Easy Instagram Photo Collage

Okay, so you’ve spent the last three months taking hundreds and hundreds of holiday photos through Instagram, but now what do you do with all of them?  If you’re like me, you’ll probably just stash them away in a hard drive never to be touched or, sadly, looked at again.  You don’t have to let all those priceless memories go to waste though; make a collage for your wall to help you remember all of these memories for a lifetime.

Create an easy instagram photo collage

Create an Easy Instagram Collage Print for Your Home

instaport your instagram photos

Step 1:  Download all of your Instagram photos (you should do this anyway, because those are YOUR photos, not Instagram’s.) with an app like Instaport.

Use ipiccy to create your collage

Step 2: Open up your favorite photo editing software to create a collage. I use because it’s free and I love free.  Remember to keep your images in the collage as large as possible so the finished product is as clear as possible.  Shutterfly requires that the finished product be at least 2000×1600 for quality purposes, so keep that in mind while creating your masterpiece.

Step 3: Add your favorite images.

order your instagram collage

Step 4:  Order your collage through Shutterfly (or your other favorite photo printing site.). For a limited time you can receive 1 free card from with promo code CARD4U.

easy instagram photo collage

Step 5: Place in your favorite 11×14 (or larger) frame and hang.  Enjoy the beauty year round!

See? Super simple Instagram Collage!

*Disclosure: Affiliate codes used.*

Quick 5 Ingredient Recipe – Southwestern Chicken Skillet Meal

If you’re anything like me, dinnertime can be a stressful occasion for all involved and more often than not it quickly  devolves into a dash for the quickest meal to-go available before one of your many evening activities.  Enter this handy little meal that hits all the food groups and leaves your family satisfied in about the same amount of time it would take you to make it through the drive-through, oh and it’s super tasty.  With just five ingredients, this dinner can be made with items you probably already have in your pantry in just 10 minutes with minimal work.

10 minute dinners, 5 ingredient dinner, southwestern chicken

Quick Southwestern Chicken Skillet Meal


  • 1 can Organic all-white chicken packed in water
  • 1 can sliced potatoes (or frozen hash browns)
  • 1 can organic corn
  • 1/2 jar of spicy (or your choice) salsa
  • 1-2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • 1 tsp. red & black pepper mix (optional)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (optional)


1) Add the chicken and spices  first and let the flavors meld together for a couple of minutes on a medium high stove.

2) Add potatoes and allow to gook for about 3 minutes.

3) Add corn and salsa. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes and reduce heat to low.

4) Add cheese and serve with tortilla chips and extra salsa for a quick family meal.