Summer camp season is fast approaching, which means it’s time for parents to weed through the advertisements and claims to look for camps that truly are the right fit for their kids. Here at Oxbow, we’re pretty fond of farm camp, and with pretty good reason. Here are ten reasons you might consider signing your kids up to play outside and learn where their food comes from.
1. It’s good, ORGANIC fun (but not necessarily clean).
It is not an uncommon site to see Oxbow summer campers using mud and blackberry juice as paint media.
2. Kids will become more comfortable and appreciative of the outdoors.
Even in the span of a single week, we see great changes in many of our summer campers’ comfort in the outdoors. We spend 100% of camp time outside, challenging kids to engage with the outdoors in new ways. Whether by watching worms turn food scraps into compost or by listening to woodpeckers search out an afternoon snack, kids learn to appreciate the role that all the pieces play in nature’s great, buzzing machinery.
3. Being on the farm just might change their minds about vegetables.
Studies show that when children are directly involved with food production (planting, watering, tending to the crops, and harvesting), they are more likely to try and enjoy their vegetables. When our campers learn where their food comes from, they are able to make the connections back to meals enjoyed at home or at school. Although it might not seem like it, purple carrots exist outside of Oxbow’s Kids’ Farm, and it is fun to discover them in different places, especially on a plate!
4. Our campers become fast friends
No two days at Oxbow’s summer camp are alike—there are always opportunities for campers to learn something new and share their strengths with their peers. From creating a 5-star fairy house to playing capture the flag, Oxbow campers have made lasting friendships here on the farm as they share in the one thing they are guaranteed to have in common—playing!
5. The farm is a screen-free zone.
Once upon a time, playing outside was every kid’s M.O. Lately, kids are spending more and more time in front of screens, and it’s wreaking havoc on their attention spans, social skills, and physical health. The farm affords children sensory stimulation, opportunities for creativity and risk-taking, a physically active environment and, most importantly, a delightful taste of what the great outdoors has to offer.
6. A small group setting encourages learning and sharing and kids learn to work together.
Oxbow summer campers spend the entire week in a small group with multiple instructors. This structure allows our staff and volunteers to build relationships with individual campers and for our campers to become familiar with each other. Instructors read the group’s dynamic each day to decide which activities will help the group learn and thrive together.
7. Kids can use their imaginations.
Oxbow camp instructors facilitate inquiry- and play-based learning. This means we help kids exercise their natural curiosity through games, stories, and other fun activities. You might hear a loud roar as a groups embarks on an adventure, imagining what our land was like when dinosaurs roamed. Campers make up stories to describe the animal that left the tracks and scat spotted along the trail—where was that coyote going? Was it looking for something? Did it find it? Campers even get journals to use throughout the day to draw maps, make a picture of what their future farm will look like, write a letter to a worm, etc.
8. Oxbow is a real farm.
Oxbow is not a theme park experience. We are a real farm growing food to feed thousands of people. Summer campers meet real farmers, see tractors in action, and see where their food comes from. It’s an authentic experience they will remember forever.
9. There’s no place like Oxbow.
With the Cascades as a stunning backdrop, Oxbow’s property is one-of-a-kind. Adjacent to the Snoqualmie River, our 230 acres of forest, wetland, and agricultural fields are home to a diverse population of mammals, birds, insects and native plants (many of which we grow in our Native Plant Nursery). Our 1-acre Kids’ Farm and Living Playground were developed for and inspired by kids. Kids love it here; it’s just a fact.
10. An added bonus: We’ll discount your CSA!
When you register your camper, you get a discount on Oxbow’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program! 2017 CSA sign ups start in February. For more information, keep an eye on our farm page or call 425-788-1134.
We are offering five weeks of camp this summer for kids ages 4-12. To learn more and sign up, click here.