Summer is here and this means summer camp for thousands of kids! Knowing what to bring to an overnight camp is a task in itself, especially if your child is a first-time camper. Here are some great tips to help make packing a breeze!
1. Make sure to read the packing list carefully, and use this to pack. Most camps will provide this list in their registration packages. Reading the list straight through before starting is the best way to ensure nothing is forgotten. We have always printed one copy for both of my children and made it a game by checking the items off when they were packed in the bags.
2. Plan ahead, and pack well in advance. The last thing that should be packed is your child’s toiletries bag. This will save a ton of stress knowing everything is ready to go!
3. Only send items which have already been washed and worn. Clothes shrink, new shoes pinch; this is a well known fact. If your child will need new items, be sure to get these with enough time to wash them. A garment is no good if it’s too small for them to wear when it comes back from laundry service! Your child will be active all day long, and uncomfortable new shoes may dampen the experience.
4. Don’t over pack. Some camps mandate the type of bag their campers can bring. These can vary from trunks, backpacks, suitcases, or even hiking bags, depending on the camp. You already have a lot to pack, adding unnecessary extras will make this process harder. The general rule of thumb is to pack 2 extra days worth of clothes!
5. On that note, don’t send expensive or invaluable items. It may be tempting to send iPods or e-readers, but how often will your child be using them, barring the trip to and from camp? Also, most camps do not allow these. Think decks of cards or crosswords, and send a good old fashioned book for those quiet times!
6. Label everything that you’re bringing to camp! Most camps have made this a requirement. If you think your packing list is long, remember that every child going to the camp has the same one! It’s very easy for things to get lost, especially if there is no name on it. This can also fuel your child’s excitement for camp by seeing their name on all of their camp gear.
7. Lay everything out when packing! Seeing everything all at once will make it easier to spot something that may be missing. This will also mean you’re not scrambling to locate something that has already been packed away!
8. When it is time to pack the actual bag, use travel-hacks! Maximize space by rolling clothes. You can fit a lot more when you minimize the amount of space your shirts or pants take up! Use plastic shower caps to keep shoes together and keep them from spreading dirt over the other items in the bag. A lot of camp gear is made to take up the least amount of space as possible, take this into consideration when purchasing these items.
9. Most importantly, involve your child in the process right from the beginning! Take them shopping for the little things and let them help pack their bag! This way, they’ll also recognize what belongings their bringing, which can help keeping them out the lost and found. This is an exciting time in your child’s life, so soak it in as much as possible!
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