Readiness for Kindergarten – Camping Helps Kids Learn To Wait

When kids go off to kindergarten, there are 3 key kindergarten readiness social skills that will make the experience much more fun–being able to share, take turns and wait. Now, while it’s easy to see that sharing and taking turns are important, it’s not as obvious for being able to wait. But waiting involves some pretty demanding impulse control and self-regulation. Practice can help develop the ability to wait, just like many other skills. And camping has opportunities to practice waiting.

To eat a hot-dog or marshmallow, kids have to wait while it cooks over the campfire.They may have to wait for the water to heat up before having a hot chocolate. They may even have to wait for a grown-up to get the fire going before doing any of that. Waiting for the others to wake up before breakfast, waiting for the dishes to be done before going to the playground, waiting for the rain to stop and sun to come out. Sigh, there’s lots of waiting.

Think how frustrated we feel as adults when we have to wait! We have strategies for helping us wait: making a list, checking phone messages, etc. Beside practice, kids need some strategies to help wait, too. Singing songs around the campfire while waiting for things to cook, having special books or toys to play with when it rains, playing a quiet I Spy game with colors or shapes are all strategies to help waiting.

Besides being an important readiness for kindergarten skill, did you know that kids who are able to wait at a young age have higher test scores at graduation? Research shows that they have developed a “Strategic Allocation of Attention” and they are better able to cope. Camping is great for fun and togetherness; it’s also great for all kinds of learning.  Can you hardly wait to go camping?

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