For many families, summer means summer camp. Whether children attend day camps or sleeping camps, preparation can make a difference.
Most summer camps will produce a list of what you should bring and what you should not bring. You should cover the basics you will need and will contain elements specific to the camp type. A computer camp will have different requirements for a sports camp, for example. If you contact them or check their website, you may be able to get the menu in advance, which will allow you to do shopping and pre-packing as much as possible.
Here are some additional ideas for things to bring, tips, and how to prepare for both children and adults. Some items may not be allowed in each camp, so check their instructions.
Label all clothes. Your kids may object, but they would be happy if another child tried to claim his favorite shirt. Try sorting them in a separate place such as the fingers of the socks, so they are not visible.
Make sure you fill one change for warm clothes, just in case. Same for rain clothes.
Pack lots of underwear and socks. Send an extra pair of sports shoes.
Sunscreens and insect spraying are essential. Some camps do not allow aerosols, so look for a pump version.
Do not forget sunglasses.
Water bottles are usually a good thing to have for walking, boating, and this.
A small battery-operated battery. Camp rooms can get hot.
Send in the form of an additional pillow or cushion. Bedding camps can be incomplete and will appreciate owning their own.
Do not forget the flashlight and backup batteries. It will come in handy for late night trips to the bathroom (and for late night damage as well).
Be sure to wear anti-shower slippers. Camp bath is not known for cleanliness.
An extra roll of bath tissue. It gives them the embarrassment of having to track down a counselor if he should run out in the bathroom.
Small first aid kit. Nothing fancy, just the basics of small wounds and abrasions.
If you are sending along snacks, make sure they are peanut-free. Many children suffer from peanut allergy and snacks can be confiscated with peanuts.
Fill in some postcards or pre-written and sealed stationery so they can write the home page (do not hold your breath).
In many camps there are talent programs, so bring anything you might need to bring in, such as a musical instrument, magic equipment, etc. (within reason).
Finger glue. Children love incandescent sticks and are usually available cheaply at the dollar store, so they brought a lot to share.
Do not forget a camera. If you do not want to risk losing a digital camera, carry one or two disposable cameras. Maybe even an underwater camera is disposable for boat riding and such. When they return, the movie can be processed and placed on a CD-ROM immediately so they can share their photos on Facebook.
Children in the camp are likely to avoid basic personal grooming (especially boys). To encourage them, they did their best to send products containing a cool factor such as the Ax (R) body lotion. Let them choose a new toothbrush to increase their chances of use. Pack everything in a cool bag so they can carry it to the shower.
Young children may want to take a favorite pet. Older children may also want to do this, but they will not want to bring it out for fear of pleasure. There are many trendy luxury items available today that the older children in the camp like the Uglydolls (R) do not mind. It is popular with older boys in particular.
What is not packed
Many, if not most camps do not allow for cell phones, iPods and computer games.
Some camps do not allow any aerosols.
Peanuts and peanut butter are often not allowed because of allergies. Some camps do not allow camp participants to bring snacks to ensure they are properly handled.
Do not bring anything that you or your child do not want to lose.
Some other tips
Before you prepare your child to contact you every day, be sure to check out the camp. Many do not allow making phone calls. This may seem harsh and worrying, but they know what they are doing for years of camp experience. Phone calls can bring or exacerbate a domestic disease.
If your child is never away from home, you have to sleep in a house or a house for a few nights before getting used to it. You can also put a tent in the backyard and camping in a couple of nights.
Finally, some tips on how to deal with homesickness and crying. Stay busy, and you will not notice how much you miss him and wait for tears even after you leave the camp.