A new study suggests children who go camping frequently, either with their parents or other supervisors, are not only happier and healthier, but also do better in school. Camping provides a direct connection with math and science, as kiddies come face-to-face with the outdoors rather than staring at it in a textbook.

Father and son enjoying a camp fire in the Unita Mountains in Utah.

The study was conducted by the Institute of Education at Plymouth University and the Camping and Caravanning Club in the UK, and focused on the relationship between education and camping. Children and their parents were asked questions that evaluated the social, educational, and psychological benefits of camping. Study leaders found that four out of five parents touted the benefits of camping in regards to their children’s studies.

Benefits of Camping

Lead researcher Sue Waite, Associate Professor at the Plymouth Institute of Education, and her team discovered that 98 percent of parents believed camping gave their little ones a greater appreciation of and connection to nature. Some 95 percent of parents said kids were happier when camping, and 93 percent noted that it helped with skills required later in life.

Some parents remarked on the “escape from technology” that camping provided, while others said the recreational activity boosted confidence and created a sense of independence. Camping was also believed to help children enjoy the classroom, as they could share their experiences with others and get excited about field trips.

Dr. Waite said parents thought camping had a helpful impact on classroom subjects such as science, history, and geography as well, and that related activities such as rock pooling and nature walks made it much easier to understand ecosystems and identify lifeforms. Children also walked away from camping adventures with a deeper respect and love for the environment.

So what about the children who took part in the survey? They said that camping helped them make new friends and learn assorted outdoor/survival skills. Kids emphasized the fun they had playing outside, and how camping was applicable to classroom skills such as working together and problem solving.

thor-camping-in-unitas-400Camping provides a fantastic experience for the whole family, and gets kids off of their laptops, away from the TV, and out in the fresh air. Surveyed parents remarked that it helps with brain development, and that camping teaches kids to interact with each other and the world around them. It also provides a great form of exercise, and helps reduce stress and tension. And the aforementioned fresh air? The benefits are incredible. Spending time around trees means taking in more oxygen, which helps release serotonin and subsequently improves mood. Research also indicates that spending time outdoors contributes to lower blood pressure, better digestion, and improved immune system function.

Kids who grow up camping seem to enjoy a number of benefits. Even if regular camping isn’t a possibility, there are still weekend day trip options, such as hiking nearby trails or signing up for nature walks with local conservatories. Explore the great wide open with your children and help them in the classroom and in life—they’ll be very grateful you did!