10 Things to Remember When Packing for Summer Camp
Once all the basics fit neatly in your child's luggage, review our list to make sure nothing gets left out.
Camera1 of 11
If allowed, bringing along a disposable camera will make for a memorable post-camp project: a scrapbook. Surely your youngster is familiar with the instant gratification of an iPhone snap, but a disposable camera keeps the fun going after the session ends. Accompany your child to get the photos developed and ask them to tell you about each one. Then, work on a scrapbook together. You can find plenty of camp-themed stickers at craft stores.
Envelopes and Stamps2 of 11
Writing letters home provides a calming outlet from the hectic camp lifestyle, especially for kids that are shy. Send your child with a pack of letter-writing supplies, including stamps and envelopes. Go over how to address envelopes together, and look up the return address for the camp mail office. Tell them to be on the lookout for a letter in the mail from you, too!
Medications3 of 11
Spending 24 hours a day with other children for a week or longer is the perfect way to catch illnesses, so make sure your child's vaccinations and health are up-to-date before sending them to camp. Research allergies in the camp area and send along approved medications as needed. Be sure to label all bottles and ensure that the medications end up with the appropriate supervisor upon arrival. And of course, don't send your child to camp if he or she is contagious.
Address Book4 of 11
Pack an address book or notebook so your child can take down his or her bunkmates' addresses and phone numbers. Especially if cell phone use is discouraged at the camp, this is an excellent way to ensure your child can keep up with camp friends year-round and maybe even leave camp with a pen pal.
Flashlight5 of 11
For everything from finding a glass of water in the dark to nighttime mischief (obviously not encouraged!), a flashlight can help keep your child from taking a tumble. Pack some extra batteries and show your child how to change out dead batteries, too.
A Simple Game6 of 11
The perfect icebreaker is as easy as a deck of cards. Encourage your child to pack a simple game he or she enjoys, whether it's a hacky sack or a card game. Your child can break out the game when there's downtime in the cabin or over a long lunch. Just make sure not to pack anything with lots of easy-to-lose pieces, such as Monopoly.
Labeled Everything7 of 11
Shoes, jackets, towels, games... if you can name it, you can label it. Don't send your child away without taking a Sharpie to everything in their bag. Send along an extra Sharpie, too, to label any items your child may want to bring home from camp.
A Sneaky Gift8 of 11
Sneak your child's favorite snack and a note into their bag when they aren't looking. When they open their luggage at camp, they'll see your surprise and camp will start off on the right foot. Alternatively, see if the camp counselor can leave the surprise gift on your child's bed before he or she enters the cabin.
All-Weather Protection9 of 11
You never know when a summer thunderstorm will pop up. Be sure to pack a sturdy raincoat, waterproof shoes and an umbrella. On the flip side, sun protection—including sunscreen and sunglasses—is a must.
Extra Everything10 of 11
It's summer camp! Your child is likely to get muddy, wet or grass-stained at least once while away. Be sure to pack extra shirts, shorts, socks and undergarments. An extra pair of sneakers is a lifesaver after an accidental step in the creek.