BY LAUREN SEPHTON
Summer camp bundles the epic sense of adventure and a longing to explore nature’s trails that often leaves your little campers with a growling appetite. Your camper will probably be exploring every inch of fun whether it’s rain or shine. A tiny note or keepsake to comfort them through the home-away nights is a nice touch to any care package. Either way, these camp care packages contain a few simple ideas to help your camper navigate through their next big adventure.
For the Promising Artists
Your creative camper may soar to camp heaven with a care package of a few art supplies to fill their creative cravings during downtime, outside of any arts and crafts classes. For instance, try sending a combination of a canvas drawstring backpack with Crayola fabric markers or fabric stickers. Drop in an encouraging note with a little instruction to remind them to have their camp friends autograph it before they leave. Similarly, you could add a friendship bracelet kit, nail art kit, or plain drawing paper with small paints and paintbrushes.
For the Bookworm
Although summer camp is bursting with fun-filled activities, quiet times tend to make their way into daily routines. This is a perfect excuse for your book-lover to dive between the pages of a favorite tale or new one, such as Nancy Drew and/or The Hardy Boys. Featherweight LED clip-on lights or flashlights and popcorn or pretzels may keep the adventure exciting. With infrequent reading times, a bookmark will help to jump back into the book’s adventure. Do-It-Yourself bookmarks could show how much you miss your camper by including blank bookmarks with colored pencils.
For the Adventurer
From climbing rock walls to long days of swimming, and into the night with “capture the flag,” there are a few essentials that your camper may run out of during their adventure-filled week. Consider bug repellent spray, after-sun soother, wet-skin kids’ sunscreen, and lip balm for those burnt lips on sunny afternoons. Similarly, toss in a deck of cards for late-night camp games in the cabin. Disposable cameras may capture giggly moments, but try to find a single-use sports camera to prevent an upset if the camera accidentally collides with water.
Outside of adventure, food can play a role in curing a little homesickness and give a needed boost for extra energy. Pack a favorite homemade trail mix, cookies, or other homemade baked goodies. Try energy snacks like granola bars, pretzels, and other non-refrigerated foods. Maybe throw in that candy that only comes at rare times, and never before a dental visit, to allow their sugar-high to wear off at camp. Sugar-free campfire marshmallow alternatives are also nice. Creative preparations for dairy-free and nut-free alternatives might be cherished by friends who have a more restricted menu. Try avoiding peanuts in case other campers have severe allergies.
Love from Home
Finally, send a few pictures of the family and/or pet. Brighten smiles with a note from you, or even the pet signed with a paw, and include a little reminder of your love. Love and encouraging words of excitement for their adventurous camp experience may go a long way.
Tips on What NOT to Pack for Summer Camp
- Nice Clothing– Leave the nice clothing at home. At a dance at the end of camp you can perfectly well sport a simple sundress or casual collared shirt.
- Valuables– Theft may not be an issue, but it’s better not to take any chances. Keep fancy jewelry or valuable electronics at home.
- Toys– Summer camp is full of outdoor activities with minimal downtime. Keep the abundance of toys to be enjoyed at home.
- Glass Water Bottles– Try to prevent packing anything that could shatter, such as ceramic mugs or glass jars.
- Perfumes– Sometimes, perfume can attract more bugs than you’ll want.
- Electronics– To truly experience summer camp, try to leave behind, or teach limitations on, laptops, gaming systems, and so on.
The key to packing is thinking about what you use daily. Keep in mind that what you pack must be re-packed by the camper before he or she returns home (with a little extra dirty laundry.)