Gearing up for sleepover camp is part of the adventure, and there is more to it than tossing a few pairs of shorts, T-shirts and sunscreen in a duffel bag. Here are some packing tips to help things go smoothly at camp:
• Follow the camp packing list. Every camp provides a list of what to bring, so be sure and use it. You don’t want your child to be caught without the appropriate gear for a special camp tradition or any of the activities or special events.
• Label everything, and expect your child to lose it any way. Use a laundry pen or personalized labels to identify what belongs to your camper.
• Avoid packing expensive clothing; even if your child manages to keep track of it at camp, it is likely to get dirty or torn. Also refrain from packing other pricey items, such as good cameras, binoculars, etc.
• Pack items in plastic zip bags to keep things organized and simplify unpacking upon arrival at camp: socks in one bag, swimsuits in another, T-shirts in another, etc.
• Pay special attention to camp recommendations for special footwear, and to avoid blisters, have the child break shoes in before the start of camp. Consider throwing in a flip-flops or water shoes for wearing in the shower.
• Involve the child in the packing process. Older kids may want to pack themselves, but it’s important that younger children have some ownership in packing decisions, too.
• Pack extra socks. Some will get wet and some will get lost. Pack extra underwear, too.
• Pack shampoo, soap and other toiletries in a bucket or waterproof bag that can be carried to the bathhouse or shower area. Label the container and everything in it.
• Know the camp’s procedure for getting any medication to the camp nurse. Medicines should be in their original container and clearly labeled.
• If the child has a stuffed animal, photo or other special item from home he or she would like to bring along for comfort, be sure and include it.
• Leave the electronics at home. Most camps don’t allow them, and even if they do, camp will be more fun without them. Besides, they may get lost or stolen.
• Pack a reusable water bottle or canteen.
• Include postcards and stamps so kids can keep in touch. Pre-address them for younger campers.
• Don’t forget extra batteries for flashlights and fans.
• If possible, ask parents of kids who have sent their children to the same camp for any special tips.
For more packing suggestions, visit the American Camp Association’s parent resource site: campparents.org.