Summer Camping Must-Haves for Kids

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Getting your kids packed for overnight camp is a pretty big process. Make sure you give yourself a few days to get everything together and to label everything they're bringing with them. When you send your child to camp you obviously must include the necessities like clothing, pillows, sleeping bags, blankets and lifejackets. However, parents often forget to include some other camp essentials that camps don’t always remind you to pack. Here is Kathy Buckworth’s insider list of the must haves to pack with your little campers this summer.

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Kathy’s Must Have List for Summer Campers
  1. A mail kit: paper, self-addressed stamped envelopes, pens
  2. Deck of cards or small game
  3. Books to trade
  4. Picture from home
  5. Laundry bags
  6. Labels
  7. Costumes for dress up
  8. Journal or diary
  9. Box of tissue/feminine hygiene products (even if they aren't there yet... it could happen!)
  10. Disposable camera
Kathy's Overnight Camp FAQ

Q: How do you know if your child is not ready for overnight camp?

A: A child who is unable to complete a sleepover at another house is probably not ready to be apart from their parents for a month at a time.  Many camps offer a "mini-camp" for younger kids, which usually lasta for a few days to a week, to get them used to the idea of camp.

Q: What can parents expect in terms of communication while their child is away?

A: Most traditional camps only allow letters to be mailed to and from home. At some camps emails may be printed and given to the child, but the campers will not be given internet access. Phone calls are discouraged as is texting. This can take some getting used to for both children and parents.

Q: What were the biggest changes you saw in your children from overnight camp?

A: They gained a great deal of independence in terms of taking care of their things. They developed awesome life-long relationships (my husband still has friends he went to camp with years ago). Finally, they were able to advance and develop interests in things like swimming, sailing, and horseback riding.

Q: Is it nice as a parent to have a month to two-month long break from your kids?

A: I'm not going to lie — yes it is.  I tend to pack in a lot of work commitments when they're away in July so we can enjoy family time in August. This is also a good time for parents to have time away and be grownups together.

Q: If it’s your first time, for how long should you send your child to overnight camp?

A: Most camps offer a mini-camp, or a one to two week option prior to a month long commitment. I found my kids didn't like us coming to the visiting day mid-way through the camp, as it made them feel homesick. Homesickness is a big thing, but all camps are prepared to deal with this. The worst thing you can say to your child is you'll come pick them up if they want to come home. They can last the time, and will most likely love it by the end. If they really didn't, don't send them back.

Kathy's Must-Haves for Summer Campers

 

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