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Summer Camps: Creating a camp care package

A deck of cards, small board games and other items kids can share with fellow campers are good choices for a camp care package.

A deck of cards, small board games and other items kids can share with fellow campers are good choices for a camp care package.

Kids who spend a week or more at sleep-away camp will welcome a care package from home, especially if it contains items they can share with bunkmates and other camp friends.

Before assembling a package, it’s a good idea to check with the camp regarding any care package rules. For example, for health and safety reasons, many camps prohibit kids from having food in their cabins.

It’s also important to allow enough time for the package to reach the camper before the camp session ends, so in some cases, it might be necessary to ship the package prior to the start of camp.

Convenient, pre-assembled camp care packages are readily available online, but it can be fun to build one from scratch.

Here are some suggestions for what to include:

• Disposable camera – Smartphones are banned from many camps, but kids still can capture those memorable camp moments the old-fashioned way.

• Autographs, please – A plain white pillowcase, water bottle, Frisbee or other item friends can sign will make a nice keepsake. Be sure to include markers.

• Campfire stories and songs – Jot down a spooky story or the lyrics to a silly song for sharing around the campfire. Or, send a copy of “Camp Granada: Sing-Along Camp Songs,” by Frané Lessac, or “Spooky Campfire Stories: Outdoor Myths and Tales for All Ages,” by Amy Hoitsma.

• Activities for down time – There are plenty of possibilities: friendship bracelet kits, a deck of playing cards, small board games, sidewalk chalk, “Mad Libs” tablets (look for the camp-themed version), magic tricks, books of brainteasers, face paints, stickers, etc. Consider including items kids can share with their bunkmates.

• Personal care items – Extra sunscreen, after-sun lotion and insect repellent make thoughtful gifts.

• Blank book – A journal might inspire a camper to keep a written record of camp experiences.

• Stationery – Fun papers, postcards and postage stamps will encourage campers to keep in touch.

• Reading materials – Be sure to throw in a good book or some age-appropriate magazines.

Remember, camp schedules are packed with activity, so there is no need to go overboard with the contents of a care package. A short note and a small item or two are all it takes to brighten your camper’s day!

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