Make a Fun Summer Camp Care Package for Your Tween

A care package can make summer camp even more fun

A care package can help your child enjoy his time away from home.
Be sure your summer camp care package includes a few fun items and a few necessary items. Photo: Melanie Kuipers, freeimages.com

Summer camp is a time for children to learn new skills, make a few new friends and learn a little independence. While a week away from Mom and Dad may sound great at first, it can also be a tough time for kids who come down with a case of homesickness.

One way to let your child know that you're thinking of him (or her) is to send a care package. A care package is a great way to touch base with your child, to let them know you're thinking of them, and that you're eager to hear all about their adventures when it's time to pick them up.

Some camps will allow you to purchase care packages directly from them, either when you register or when you check your child in at the beginning of his camp session. Then, the camp staff will assemble the package together for you, and deliver it to your child. If your child’s camp offers this service, it’s a good way to go. That way you know all the items in the care package will meet with the camp’s rules and regulations.

But if your child’s camp doesn’t offer ready-to-go care packages, you’ll have to assemble one yourself.

Below are a few items you might want to include in your child's summer camp care package. Before you send any care package, be sure you know the camp's rules about what campers are allowed to have in their cabins. Some camps may allow homemade goodies, others may forbid them as a way to prevent critters from finding their way into tents or cabins.

Summer Camp Care Package Ideas

For Girls:

If you’re planning on sending a care package to a girl, consider packing:

  • A small stuffed animal
  • A small book
  • A fresh pair of socks
  • A fresh hand towel
  • A magazine
  • Bubble Soap to share with cabin mates
  • A diary or journal
  • Chapstick
  • A letter from home (don’t include upsetting information in the letter, or point out all the exciting events your child has missed while away from home)
  • A small pen and notebook, so she can write down the email addresses and phone numbers of her new friends
  • A few dollars that she can spend in the camp canteen
  • A small deck of cards
  • A small treat (if the camp allows) that she can share with friends

For Boys:

If you’re planning on sending a care package to a girl, consider packing:

  • A book or a magazine
  • A deck of cards
  • A Frisbee or a foam ball for a game of catch
  • A small travel game
  • Any items that he’s likely to lose or use up quickly, such as T-shirts or toothpaste
  • A homemade treat (if the camp allows)
  • A letter (written by your family’s pet)
  • A list of things you’d like to do together when he gets home
  • A letter bringing him up to date on what’s happened while he’s been away
  • A few extra dollars to spend in the camp store or camp canteen
  • A spare pair of clean socks or underwear
  • Homemade goodies (if they’re allowed by the camp)
  • Chapstick

Other Items to Consider in Your Care Package

  • A small camera
  • A water bottle
  • A disposable flashlight
  • A bandana
  • A compass

What Not to Include

Many camps have strict rules about what a camper can have while at camp. Check the camp packing instruction sheet for items that are permitted and those that are not.

For the most part, camps do not want children to have: expensive technology devices such as iPads or cellphones; any weaponry, including knives; clothes, books or magazines that contain vulgar or inappropriate content; expensive clothing; or irreplaceable or sentimental items (things do have a way of getting lost at camp). 

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