Sending your child to sleepaway camp during the summer months gives you a break from the daily complaints of "I'm bored." At sleepaway camp, your child becomes someone else's issue for several days or even several weeks, if you're lucky. However, no parent wants their child to go without something he needs while he is at camp, so it is important to make sure you pack everything he will need.
Always make sure you provide your child with enough clothing to last her the entire time she will be gone. In many cases the camp will not provide laundry services, so your child will need enough clean clothes to make it through without having to wear that dirty shirt from last week's mud fight again. Pack a variety of clothing types, including pajamas, shorts, t-shirts, long pants and a sweatshirt or jacket for cool nights. You should also pack enough socks and underwear just in case your child remembers to change them daily, and it's a good idea to throw in an extra outfit or two. Don't forget a bathing suit for fun in the lake or pool. Finally, remember to pack a plastic bag so your child can keep the dirty clothes separate from the clean.
Camps do not provide toiletries to their campers like a hotel would. As a result you should send your child's favorite soap and shampoo, as well as a wash cloth and bath towel. A toothbrush, toothpaste and hairbrush are necessities that your child needs for his time away at camp. While not really a member of the toiletry family, you should also send along sunscreen and bug spray for your child, as well as strict instructions to use them daily to avoid unnecessary sunburns and bug bites. If your child requires any medication, send it along with written instructions for when it should be taken to help the counselors.
In addition to pajamas for your child, many sleepaway camps require you to send along bedding. Your child will need her pillow with a pillowcase, and it's best to use a pillowcase that is old in case it gets ruined while out in the wilderness. If the camp uses tents, send your child with a sleeping bag that is rated for colder temperatures in case the temperature drops at nights. If the camp uses cabins instead, be sure to ask when you register if your child needs a sleeping bag or a set of sheets and a blanket.
Kids love to write home to their parents when they are away at camp for a long period of time. Send paper, a pen, envelopes and stamps with your child. To make it easier for her to write home, you can address the envelopes for her and stick stamps directly on the envelopes to keep her from losing them. If the camp offers a pay phone or laundry facilities, pack quarters for your child. Some camps also offer souvenirs for the campers to buy. If that is the case, send along some money. Make sure you only send as much as you are okay with your child spending, because a lot of kids will spend what they have. If your child has a camera, send that along as well so she can capture all of her memories.
Some camps offer sports activities for campers to participate in while at camp. In some cases, the camp may provide the sporting equipment, while others require campers to bring their own. Check with the camp before packing up all of your child's sporting equipment. If he needs to take his own along, pack his baseball glove, tennis racket, rollerblades and any necessary protective equipment. The camp will at least typically provide the appropriate balls for each sport.
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