Even experienced campers can feel apprehensive about setting off for another season.
So beyond the standard swimsuits and shorts, we thought it would be fun to pack a few unexpected surprises. Thoughtful items to help them get settled, get to know their new friends, and remind them that you’re never too far away.
A spare pillowcase (in white or a light solid color) and fabric markers
She and her campmates can get creative — adding their signatures and doodling all summer long. When she returns home, she’ll have a meaningful keepsake.
Tip: Other ideas for personalizing include a small wooden picture frame (minus the glass) and markers if there’s space, or quilt squares if you’re crafty.
Notes from home, photos, or other treats
From parents, siblings, and friends. Invite anyone you know your child will miss to write a little note or send along a favorite photo.
Tip: Try to sneak them into inconspicuous places so they’ll stand a small chance of not being opened right away.
A new skill
Teach her how to make friendship bracelets ahead of time and send along some string for making them at camp. And be sure to make one for each of you to wear while she’s gone. It’s a sweet and simple way to help you both feel connected while you’re apart.
Ice breakers to help her get to know cabin-mates
Include some easy conversation starters to help with initial awkwardness or rainy day doldrums. Check out your local bookstore for boxes of questions, joke books, yoga cards, or one of the many fun National Geographic books for kids.
A journal for recording camp memories
Pack it with colored pencils and a flashlight, for writing and sketching until lights out.
Pre-addressed post cards to give to new BFFs at the end of the summer (and some blank ones too)
Because knowing it’ll be super-simple to stay in touch may make saying goodbye just a little bit easier.
What are your favorite ways to make your camper feel at home, away from home?
For camp-ready tees, shorts, water shoes, and UPF 50+ swimwear, check out our kids’ collection.