When it comes to care package rules, though, some things have changed. Many camps now closely monitor the size and contents of a package, while other camps have gone package-free. If you want to send your child a care package this summer, here are a few tips on how to build and send one that your camper will love.
Know the Camp's Rules About Care Packages1 of 8
In recent years, many camps have put strict guidelines around care packages. The most common rules are the following:
1. No food (especially true for common allergens or camps near wildlife)
2. No messy toys, like confetti or silly string
3. No electronics
4. No care packages, period
5. Size limits: Often a flat 9in x 12in envelope (sometimes called a "flat-pack")
You'll find specifics in the camp handbook or on the website.
Consider Your Child's Personality2 of 8
You know your child best. Does she need an icebreaker? Think about sending a game she can play with her bunkmates. Maybe he needs a little downtime? Send a book, a card game or origami—projects he can do when he needs a quiet moment. You know if your child is sentimental and would love a photo from home or prefers to be the life of the party with an easily shared item. Plan your package accordingly.
Send Something for the Entire Cabin3 of 8
Over the last several years, camps have reported that care packages have sometimes become a competition among the campers. Consider sending a package for the entire cabin or something that helps the kids work together. That way, the care package enhances the camp and cabin experience.
Consider Practical Items4 of 8
In some cases, things like extra hair ties, sunglasses, a clean T-shirt or a toothbrush (that hasn't been dropped on the bathroom floor!) might be welcome. Depending on the focus of the camp, there might be specific items that fit the camp theme, whether it's a water bottle for a camper that takes daily hikes or a book about set design and screenwriting for a child at a performing arts camp.
Check Out the Camp Store5 of 8
Some camps will make a care package from items at the camp store. Others allow parents to add money to a camp account so your child can pick something out. This allows parents to send camp-themed items, as well as camp-approved snacks. It's like sending a care package and a souvenir all in one. It can also be a good choice for those who are in a shorter camp, as it removes the shipping and delivery time. And for some camps, this is the only way to process care packages.
Try a Pre-Made Care Package6 of 8
There are companies all over the country (and all over the internet) that specialize in delivering pre-made care packages. You can choose by interest, gender and size. Many camps contract with specific companies, which means you can easily determine if the package you choose is allowed at your child's camp. They generally provide an assortment of flat-packs as well. Plan to order either before your child goes to camp or directly after drop-off.
Consider Delivery Time and Method7 of 8
Most packages will take 2 to 3 days to be delivered. If you plan to send a package, ship it early enough so your child can enjoy the contents before camp ends. Some camps allow you to leave a care package at the camp when you drop off your child, which they will then "deliver" a few days into the camp week. If you decide to send baked good or anything fragile, make sure the contents will survive the trip, including handling by the counselors and campers. Think about sending items that are non-breakable and packaging baked goods so they won't crumble or get stale along the way.