A Mom's Survival Guide to Camp (It’s for Dad's Too!)


Before they go to camp. . .

• Print out a variety of address labels on your computer with their camp address (to give out to friends at school) and with their home address and addresses of close relatives/friends to use when sending letters from camp.

• As a surprise, pack a small wrapped gift in your child's trunk for them to open when they arrive at camp.

• For girls (especially younger campers), send stickers and a sticker album - they love to trade.

• Be sure to send a variety of stationery (both personalized and non-personalized). They love to trade these too!

• If your child goes to a uniformed camp, buy clothes one size larger than they usually wear. You will get extra use out of them this way.

• Be positive before they go to camp. Your child will detect any negative feelings that you have.

• Send at least one autograph item (pillow or pillowcase) so the kids in the bunk can sign it.

• Wear sunglasses to the camp bus — never let your child see you cry.

• Bring a lot of candy for the camp bus (yes, even if it leaves at 7 a.m.) Eating candy is a part of the bus experience — it is more important than the bus lunch!!

• For girls, don't forget to send nail polish in bright colors It’s a bunk activity. Extra helpful hint: Nail polish remover is best in pad form or the small jars with sponges. Bottles of remover can spill and ruin whatever they touch.

• It is better to send several regular size bottles of toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, etc) than one oversize bottle. The large bottles are heavy to carry and, if lost, they have nothing else.

• For camps with color war, be sure to find out the colors of the teams in advance so you can act quickly to send the appropriate items when you find out which team your child is on. Color war is serious stuff at camp.

• Follow the packing guidelines of your camp, but always take your child into consideration. For example, if he or she wears three outfits a day at home, you may want to send extra clothing to camp.

• Pack WITH your child. Be sure that he or she knows where all of their items are located. A child may feel lost at camp if they can't find their soap, stamps, socks, etc.

• Buy a shower caddy that doesn't have a solid plastic bottom. The water needs to drain out of the bottom, or it will be gross!

• Send liquid soap — not a plastic soap dish. A soap dish doesn't drain the water (see tip above).

• Water bottles with a wide mouth are better than the narrow top kind because they can put ice into a wide mouthed one. It’s better for a long, hot hike.

• Send anything that glows in the dark. It's always fun at lights out time!

• Buy a silver permanent marker NOW! The stores always sell out of them right before camp trunks leave. You need silver to mark anything black.

• You may want to send an inexpensive water resistant watch to camp. It helps the children to manage their schedule.

While they are away . . .

• Phone calls are best scheduled early in the day, so that the camper has a full day of activities afterward. Night phone calls can sometimes lead to tears at bedtime.

• Remember that a lack of letters from your camper is not always a bad thing. If they don't write, they are probably having a lot of fun! You should, however, try to write at least every other day. Getting mail at camp is a big event.

• Don't send all of their disposable cameras at once — they will use all of the film available. A better idea would be to send one or two cameras at the beginning and, on visiting day, bring the balance. You can take the cameras they have used, develop the pictures, and send them to camp after visiting day.

When they come home . . .

• Unpack the camp trunk outside. You won't believe how much dirt can follow them home. Shake out each item as you take it out and see!

• Pack away any labeled socks and underwear that you think will fit next year. It will save you the trouble of having to label new ones.

Source: Funcampstuff.com. Visit www.funcampstuff.com before children leave for camp and while they are away for the latest and newest trends.

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