Camps that improve physical literacy

Develop the enjoyment of an active lifestyle and healthy living

Physical literacy is:
• Interest and pleasure in movement and healthy living
• Athleticism

Camp offers a wealth of experiences, with kids “encountering many different sports and skills that focus on the experience,” as Natalie Toman of ParticipACTION tells it. Below the list, read more about the value of physical literacy from Toman, and learn how camp fosters and deepens this appreciation. Read more

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List of camps and programs that foster physical literacy in kids and teens

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Radiant Girls   

Burlington; Online; Tillsonburg

  • Education: Leadership
  • Virtual Program, Day camp, Overnight camp, Program, Family camp

Girls Wellness & Leadership programs, with prof. coaches, chef's and trainers. Featuring Yoga/Pilates, Outdoor Adventures, Confidence & EI Activities, Meaningful Art, Leadership Games, Relationship Building, and More! Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 18
  • Girls
  • from $100/week
Virtual Program, Day camp, Overnight camp, Program, Family camp openCamp Girls1007-180Burlington, Ontario, Virtual Program, , Tillsonburg, Education: LeadershipRadiant GirlsGirls Wellness & Leadership programs, with prof. coaches, chef's and trainers. Featuring Yoga/Pilates, Outdoor Adventures, Confidence & EI Activities, Meaningful Art, Leadership Games, Relationship Building, and More! Burlington, Ontario, Virtual Program, , Tillsonburg, Virtual Program, Day camp, Overnight camp, Program, Family camp Girls

Camp Wenonah   

Bracebridge

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight camp

Trusted by families from around the world, Wenonah is a popular overnight summer camp in Muskoka Ontario for children aged 5 - 17 years old. Experienced and caring staff team, including full-time medical staff. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $1,155/week
Overnight camp openCamp Coed11555-171Bracebridge, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Camp WenonahTrusted by families from around the world, Wenonah is a popular overnight summer camp in Muskoka Ontario for children aged 5 - 17 years old. Experienced and caring staff team, including full-time medical staff. Bracebridge, Ontario Overnight camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day camp, Overnight camp

Overnight and day camps, with activities including horsemanship, swimming, high ropes, climbing wall, archery, campfires, tomahawks, and much more. Leadership and horse specialty camps also offered. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $240/week
Day camp, Overnight camp openCamp Coed, Girls, Boys2405-162Brantford, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch Grand RiverOvernight and day camps, with activities including horsemanship, swimming, high ropes, climbing wall, archery, campfires, tomahawks, and much more. Leadership and horse specialty camps also offered. Brantford, Ontario Day camp, Overnight camp Coed, Girls, Boys

Camp Can-Aqua   

Haliburton Highlands; Oakville; Ottawa

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight camp, Family camp

A traditional camp with diverse programming & exceptional instruction, we believe in teaching kids compromise, patients & empathy. Fun is a given. Through thoughtful & individualized programming, our campers thrive here. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $2,100/2 weeks
Overnight camp, Family camp openCamp Coed21005-173Haliburton Highlands, Ontario, Oakville, Ontario, Ottawa, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Camp Can-AquaA traditional camp with diverse programming & exceptional instruction, we believe in teaching kids compromise, patients & empathy. Fun is a given. Through thoughtful & individualized programming, our campers thrive here. Haliburton Highlands, Ontario, Oakville, Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario Overnight camp, Family camp Coed

Glen Bernard Camp   

Huntsville

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight camp, Family camp

A traditional overnight summer camp for girls offering wilderness adventure, horseback riding, sailing, swimming and lifesaving, arts and many other activities! Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Girls
  • from $1,325/week
Overnight camp, Family camp openCamp Girls13254-164Huntsville, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Glen Bernard CampA traditional overnight summer camp for girls offering wilderness adventure, horseback riding, sailing, swimming and lifesaving, arts and many other activities! Huntsville, Ontario Overnight camp, Family camp Girls
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day camp, Overnight camp

This Christian camp has horseback riding, archery, swimming, hockey, cooperative games and more, and boasts 3rd generation campers. Kids have been raving about the wonderful family-style meals for 50 years. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $660/week
Day camp, Overnight camp openCamp Coed6605-175Milton, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Rocky Ridge RanchThis Christian camp has horseback riding, archery, swimming, hockey, cooperative games and more, and boasts 3rd generation campers. Kids have been raving about the wonderful family-style meals for 50 years. Milton, Ontario Day camp, Overnight camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Virtual Program, Day camp, Overnight camp

Transformative experiences learning in and through the outdoors—academic, athletic, for credit or enrichment. Spend every day outdoors on the water, in the forest, or at our farm—learn, have fun and stretch yourself. Read more...

  • Ages 13 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $450/session
Virtual Program, Day camp, Overnight camp openCamp Coed45013-176Virtual Program, , Lakefield, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Lakefield College School Summer ProgramsTransformative experiences learning in and through the outdoors—academic, athletic, for credit or enrichment. Spend every day outdoors on the water, in the forest, or at our farm—learn, have fun and stretch yourself. Virtual Program, , Lakefield, Ontario Virtual Program, Day camp, Overnight camp Coed

Muskoka Woods   

Rosseau

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight camp

Muskoka Woods is a Christian youth development organization that offers a fun, safe and welcoming environment for all youth. Our staff share a common desire to help young people realize their full potential. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $1,149/week
Overnight camp openCamp Coed11496-167Rosseau, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Muskoka WoodsMuskoka Woods is a Christian youth development organization that offers a fun, safe and welcoming environment for all youth. Our staff share a common desire to help young people realize their full potential. Rosseau, Ontario Overnight camp Coed

Phoenix Volleyball   

Ontario (5)

  • Sport: Volleyball
  • Day camp, Program

A coed day camp running summer beach volleyball camps,weekly indoor clinics, after school programs, private training, and March break camps. Read more...

  • Ages 8 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $250/week
Day camp, Program openCamp Coed2508-178Rosedale, Toronto, The Beach, Toronto, North Toronto, TorontoSport: VolleyballPhoenix VolleyballA coed day camp running summer beach volleyball camps,weekly indoor clinics, after school programs, private training, and March break camps. Rosedale, Toronto, The Beach, Toronto, North Toronto, Toronto Day camp, Program Coed

Prestige School Summer Programme   

Willowdale, Toronto; Richmond Hill

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day camp

A day camp with weekly themes that incorporate adventurous outings, artistic creations, scientific experiments, and much more. Read more...

  • Ages 3 to 12
  • Coed
  • from $350/week
Day camp openCamp Coed3503-129Willowdale, Toronto, Ontario, Richmond Hill, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Prestige School Summer ProgrammeA day camp with weekly themes that incorporate adventurous outings, artistic creations, scientific experiments, and much more. Willowdale, Toronto, Ontario, Richmond Hill, Ontario Day camp Coed

True North Sports Camps   

Forest Hill, Toronto; Islington Village, Toronto; Moore Park, Toronto; Lawrence Park, Toronto

  • Sport (multi)
  • Day camp, Program

True North Sports Camps offers baseball, flag football, basketball, soccer & multi-sport summer day camps and year-round clinics for boys and girls ages 4-14 in Toronto and Etobicoke. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 14
  • Coed
  • from $237/week
Day camp, Program openCamp Coed2374-1410Forest Hill, Toronto, Ontario, Islington Village, Toronto, Ontario, Moore Park, Toronto, Ontario, Lawrence Park, Toronto, OntarioSport (multi)True North Sports CampsTrue North Sports Camps offers baseball, flag football, basketball, soccer & multi-sport summer day camps and year-round clinics for boys and girls ages 4-14 in Toronto and Etobicoke. Forest Hill, Toronto, Ontario, Islington Village, Toronto, Ontario, Moore Park, Toronto, Ontario, Lawrence Park, Toronto, Ontario Day camp, Program Coed

Power Soccer School of Excellence   

East York, Toronto; Danforth Village, Toronto; Leaside, Toronto; Online

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Virtual Program, Day camp, Program

The largest soccer summer camp program in Canada offers a well organized program that mixes instruction, training and fun. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $175/week
Virtual Program, Day camp, Program openCamp Coed1754-1511East York, Toronto, Ontario, Danforth Village, Toronto, Ontario, Leaside, Toronto, Ontario, Virtual Program, Sport: SoccerPower Soccer School of ExcellenceThe largest soccer summer camp program in Canada offers a well organized program that mixes instruction, training and fun. East York, Toronto, Ontario, Danforth Village, Toronto, Ontario, Leaside, Toronto, Ontario, Virtual Program, Virtual Program, Day camp, Program Coed

Active Scholars   

Ajax; Guelph; North Toronto, Toronto

  • Education: STEM
  • Day camp, Program

A unique summer experience, Where Sports Meets Education and campers get to engage in both STEM Learning & Basketball or Soccer Development. Each week we offer a unique experience for continued growth and engagement. Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 13
  • Coed
  • from $235/week
Day camp, Program openCamp Coed2357-1312Ajax, Ontario, Guelph, Ontario, North Toronto, Toronto, OntarioEducation: STEMActive ScholarsA unique summer experience, Where Sports Meets Education and campers get to engage in both STEM Learning & Basketball or Soccer Development. Each week we offer a unique experience for continued growth and engagement. Ajax, Ontario, Guelph, Ontario, North Toronto, Toronto, Ontario Day camp, Program Coed
  • Sport: Martial Arts
  • Virtual Program, Day camp, Program, Family camp

amadojo.net/brampton Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $150/week
Virtual Program, Day camp, Program, Family camp openCamp Coed1504-1613Brampton, OntarioSport: Martial ArtsThe Academy of Martial Artsamadojo.net/brampton Brampton, Ontario Virtual Program, Day camp, Program, Family camp Coed

Camp Wahanowin   

Orillia

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight camp

Are you a parent looking for a meaningful, values based and FUN overnight camp experience for you child? Come experience the magic of Wahanowin on beautiful Lake Couchiching, just 90 minutes north of Toronto, Canada. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $1,300/week
Overnight camp openCamp Coed13006-1614Orillia, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Camp WahanowinAre you a parent looking for a meaningful, values based and FUN overnight camp experience for you child? Come experience the magic of Wahanowin on beautiful Lake Couchiching, just 90 minutes north of Toronto, Canada. Orillia, Ontario Overnight camp Coed
  • Sport: Cycling
  • Day camp, Program, Family camp

Courses for ages 4 and up from the never-ever to advanced bicycling and summer day camps for kids. Professional, fun instructors ensure your bicycling skills improve so that you can safely ride your bike for any purpose. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 99
  • Coed
  • from $80/program
Day camp, Program, Family camp openCamp Coed804-9915Calgary, AlbertaSport: CyclingSafer Cycling CalgaryCourses for ages 4 and up from the never-ever to advanced bicycling and summer day camps for kids. Professional, fun instructors ensure your bicycling skills improve so that you can safely ride your bike for any purpose. Calgary, Alberta Day camp, Program, Family camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day camp

The SMCS Summer Experience provides youth with exciting academic, athletic, and artistic outlets, as well as opportunities to learn and grow within a fun and interactive environment. Please visit: www.smcscamps.com Read more...

  • Ages 8 to 14
  • Coed, Boys
  • from $250/week
Day camp openCamp Coed, Boys2508-1416Forest Hill, Toronto, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) St. Michael's College School Summer CampsThe SMCS Summer Experience provides youth with exciting academic, athletic, and artistic outlets, as well as opportunities to learn and grow within a fun and interactive environment. Please visit: www.smcscamps.com Forest Hill, Toronto, Ontario Day camp Coed, Boys

Whitchurch Riding Academy   

Newmarket; Bridle Path, Toronto; Markham; East Gwillimbury

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Day camp, Program

Teaching English riding (beginner to advanced) for 40 years, we promote a positive, hands-on horsemanship experience. Email us for information regarding daily busing, camper ages, and tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more...

  • Ages 9 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $539/week
Day camp, Program openCamp Coed5399-1517Newmarket, Ontario, Bridle Path, Toronto, Ontario, Markham, Ontario, East Gwillimbury, OntarioSport: Horseback Riding/EquestrianWhitchurch Riding AcademyTeaching English riding (beginner to advanced) for 40 years, we promote a positive, hands-on horsemanship experience. Email us for information regarding daily busing, camper ages, and tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Newmarket, Ontario, Bridle Path, Toronto, Ontario, Markham, Ontario, East Gwillimbury, Ontario Day camp, Program Coed

Play Island Explorers   

Richmond Hill

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day camp

Join us for PA days, March Break, Summer Camp, & Winer Break for an exciting camp experience for children ages 4-12 years. From indoor playground, outdoor sports, crafts, science, baking, music, splash park, & much more. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 12
  • Coed
  • from $50/day
Day camp openCamp Coed504-1218Richmond Hill, OntarioTraditional (multi activity) Play Island ExplorersJoin us for PA days, March Break, Summer Camp, & Winer Break for an exciting camp experience for children ages 4-12 years. From indoor playground, outdoor sports, crafts, science, baking, music, splash park, & much more. Richmond Hill, Ontario Day camp Coed
  • Sport: Hockey
  • Overnight camp

A Northern Ontario summer camp, specializing in hockey programs, offering daily on-ice instruction as well as outdoor sports including Water Skiing, Archery, Mountain Biking and more. Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $1,100/week
Overnight camp openCamp Coed11007-1619Huntsville, OntarioSport: HockeyHockey Opportunity CampA Northern Ontario summer camp, specializing in hockey programs, offering daily on-ice instruction as well as outdoor sports including Water Skiing, Archery, Mountain Biking and more. Huntsville, Ontario Overnight camp Coed

Randolph Kids Performing Arts   

South Annex, Toronto; Online

  • Arts : Theatre Arts
  • Virtual Program, Day camp, Program

Dance, music, theatre, leadership and performance in the heart of Toronto. Beginner and experienced performers welcome. Come join our family, try something new, create, grow, and have fun! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $15/session
Virtual Program, Day camp, Program openCamp Coed156-1720South Annex, Toronto, Ontario, Virtual Program, Arts : Theatre ArtsRandolph Kids Performing ArtsDance, music, theatre, leadership and performance in the heart of Toronto. Beginner and experienced performers welcome. Come join our family, try something new, create, grow, and have fun! South Annex, Toronto, Ontario, Virtual Program, Virtual Program, Day camp, Program Coed

Block 8 Academy   

Port Moody

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day camp, Program

Active, Creative, Mix of Indoor and Outdoor all in one camp! Encourage your children to socialize in person, or have them enjoy learning a new skill online with top notch voice instructors, debate, creative writing... Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 12
  • Coed
  • from $45/day
Day camp, Program openCamp Coed455-1221Port Moody, British ColumbiaTraditional (multi activity) Block 8 AcademyActive, Creative, Mix of Indoor and Outdoor all in one camp! Encourage your children to socialize in person, or have them enjoy learning a new skill online with top notch voice instructors, debate, creative writing... Port Moody, British Columbia Day camp, Program Coed

Toronto Kidz   

Baby Point, Toronto; High Park, Toronto; Online

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Virtual Program, Day camp, Program

Each week focuses on a theme such as Dinosaurs, Animals, etc. for our younger campers and Science, Fitness, Arts, etc. for our 8-12 year olds. Field trips to Toronto's main attractions are the highlight of the week. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 12
  • Coed
  • from $206/week
Virtual Program, Day camp, Program openCamp Coed2065-1222Baby Point, Toronto, Ontario, High Park, Toronto, Ontario, Virtual Program, Traditional (multi activity) Toronto KidzEach week focuses on a theme such as Dinosaurs, Animals, etc. for our younger campers and Science, Fitness, Arts, etc. for our 8-12 year olds. Field trips to Toronto's main attractions are the highlight of the week. Baby Point, Toronto, Ontario, High Park, Toronto, Ontario, Virtual Program, Virtual Program, Day camp, Program Coed

Physical literacy defined

“Physical literacy,” says Natalie Toman, is “the confidence to engage in physical activity … If kids are getting out there and are enjoying [an activity],” skill comparisons to others don’t matter as much as the fact that “they’re enjoying the sport itself.” In her role as Health Promotion Lead at ParticipACTION, Toman emphasizes that kids’ joy in sport “really lends itself to [current and future] physical literacy. If [later in life], they can remember having fun when they were kids and being physically active, they’re more likely to repeat that experience.”

To her, physical literacy consists of “feeling really confident, wanting to engage and hopefully [adopt activity] for the rest of your life.” This involves knowledge of the benefits of exercise, a sense of motivation and a willingness to engage in activities they enjoy. 

Why is physicality beneficial?

“There’s a connection between physical literacy in childhood and adulthood,” she says. “Adults who are physically literate tend to be more active.” It’s important to develop physical literacy as early as possible, to create a foundation that children can carry forward into adulthood. “As we get older, it’s really important that physical activity be a part of our lives.” It helps with both injury prevention and disease prevention, she says. 

Physical activity also: 

  • reduces the risk of medical conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
  • results in a healthier heart and lungs 
  • improves sleep schedules 
  • increases flexibility
  • helps control weight 

In addition, there’s also a mental health boost from physical activity. It can boost your mood, enhance self-esteem, and reduce stress, depression and anxiety. In addition, children who participate in a team sport like soccer learn how to be physically active with other people, enhance social skills, and learn the value of teamwork. 

How to assess physical literacy

“For a person watching,” Toman explains, “physical literacy can be seen by the enjoyment of a child, through their confidence and ability.” She believes that a good way to measure physical literacy is to see how a child responds to a physical activity. “When you see a group of children together, a physically literate child would be the one who would jump right into a sport or physical endeavour.” ‘

In contrast, a child does not reflect this behaviour may not be as physically literate. This, too, though, can be seen as an opportunity to enhance their ability. “When you see a child who doesn’t jump right to it, perhaps we should look a little bit at the environment, the opportunity, and see how we can help that child develop the confidence and interest [level] to want to be involved with physical activity.” 

An important part of physical literacy is kids’ interaction with friends and appreciation for outdoors.

How is physical literacy developed?

“Opportunity is a big part of physical literacy,” says Toman. “It would be really hard for one to develop physical literacy if there wasn’t an opportunity to do so.” Camp, she says “is a strong influencer in physical literacy in children.” There are other environments, too, that develop and nurture the growth of physical literacy, but camp is as good as any, in motivating children to be physically active through things like outdoor play-time and group activities, as well as gym time.  

Encourage your child to take part in camps and activities they enjoy. This will motivate them to remain physically active outside of camp and school . For example, if they go to basketball camp, they’ll practice basketball at home as well. A camp with physical activity will encourage kids to reduce screen-time and direct more energy to physical activity. An important part of physical literacy is kids’ increased activity, interaction with friends and appreciation for outdoors. 

Prior to ParticipACTION, Toman worked in several day camps, leading outdoor activities there. Here, she learned the importance of role modeling for children.“If [adults] are going to express good physical literacy, [they need to prioritize] role modelling.” If your child sees you participate in healthy eating and physical activity, they’re more likely to do the same. Leaders at camps with high physical activity are also critical, either as reinforcement, or in the absence of other models.

Other physically active things you can do together include walks, bike rides, swimming or skating. You can also encourage your child to help around the house, with preparing a healthy recipe, gardening or raking leaves. 

Through all this, though, she stresses the importance of enjoyment in physicality, over any focus on competition or skill perfection. “We want to [ensure] children are encountering many different sports and skills,” she emphasizes, “and that [they focus on the] experience.” Fun, enjoyment, and learning are key to developing physical literacy, whereas any focus on competition and winning can sometimes thwart or frustrate the development of this important character trait. 

Want your child to enhance their physical literacy?

ParticipACTION provides opportunities to both children and adults so they can develop physical literacy by focusing on skill accruement. The organization focuses on developing children’s confidence while performing physical actvities. 

Of course, camps like those below offer an emphasis on physical activity and the development of a physical literacy that’s personal for each child. These provide a foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment in exercise and fitness, because they make it fun, social, and engaging.



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February 17, 2021
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