Care Packages for Summer Camp

Updated on May 15, 2016
C.C. asks from San Francisco, CA
13 answers

Hi Mamas!
I'm back again with another summer camp question. Next week, my daughter (who is almost 8) will be going off to summer camp for 2 weeks. She is VERY excited about this! I've read through the parents' manual, and they say that they recommend that campers get a care package every week, as it helps them feel connected to home, but not more than once a week as that may make them homesick.

Okay, so my question is... what kinds of things would you pack in a care package? The camp recommends something they can share with their roommates (some girls come from out of the country and won't receive any packages), and they discourage sending too much food. I'm a little stumped; when I was a kid, my mom always sent cookies! Any ideas??

Also, does anyone have any suggestions for preparing her for the inevitable homesickness? She has been away from us for about a week before, camping with her cousins, but they are family. I know homesickness is normal, I just don't know how to prepare her for it.

Thanks as always, fabulous mamas!

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answers from Killeen on

Rice Krispie treats(They don't crush) lollipops and temporary tattoos and mad libs. Candy is always the favorite care package item. Also something from home (like a pillowcase or a stuffed animal). Games are fun and joke or riddle books.

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answers from Des Moines on

I was a amp counselor for several years and our camp had a strict NO FOOD in care packages policy. Parents would send stuff like silly string, puzzles, and small games, Party Favor types of toys for everyone in her cabin, madlibs, books, stuff to make friendship bracelets with, pictures of family doing funny things with cute captions, love letters. Just go to the dollar store and load up on whatever catches your eye. It not so much about the stuff, but that you took the time to send it.

you could try one of those greeting cards that you can record your own voice message.

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answers from New York on

To answer your food question... many camps do not allow any food. It depends in the type of facilities, but if they are in tents or cabins food can attract all types of critters (not just the ones with 6 legs). At my daughter's camp there have been bear sitings, and racoons have been known to visit.

Depending on her likes, a care package can include, magazines, nail polish (all the girls in my daughter's cabin painted each other's nails), an autograph book, a book, a journal with a fancy pen, a t-shirt along with some fabric pens so her new friends can sign it, a one-time use/disposable camera, a small stuffed animal, a puzzle.

No suggestions for the homesickness. It helps to have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal with her.

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answers from San Francisco on

Mad Libs and a pencil, it will get all the girls laughing together. Shel Silverstein (I might have the name a little wrong) wrote some funny poetry books she might enjoy reading with the other girls. One of those mini-photo albums with photos she can look at and share with others. Since the other kids come from a far, a candy that might be unique to the area you live in. My daughter's camp counselors from Australlia brought Minties candies from home (these are small candies), and now all the kids are Minties fans. Also, you could keep a log of what is going on at home and funny things that have happened and mail it to her. Have any guests in your home write on the log. I don't have more, but look forward to seeing everyone's ideas.

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answers from San Francisco on

make sure to pack a cute note in their for her and my mom always gave me pre-paid post cards and I would send them off daily. I actually still have the postcards my mom wrote me and I have a 9 year old myself now! When you write to her make sure to tell her what you had for dinner, or something funny the dog did etc. It makes her feel grounded! Nail Polish is the best or Hair scrunchies. Also, Fruit roll ups, or Yogo's are a big hit. Make sure you help her meet someone to sit with on the bus. Strike up a convo with a nice mom with a girl. It really helps!!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I never understood the "no food or snacks" in care packages when most camps have canteens or places to purchase snacks and pops. I guess they just want to corner the market on that kind of thing. LOL I would send her favorite snacks and treats, those little 'sleeves' that you add to water of pink lemonade, flavored teas, I think kool-aid has some, whatever she likes to drink. Stamped and addressed post cards or envelopes..she can write you a quick note and drop it in outgoing mail, address book so she can get the contact info for her new camp friends in case they want to stay in contact, address books for her to pass out to her new friends as well. Pictures of the family and pets. If you have a certain fragrance you wear all the time, a new stuffed toy sprayed with your fragrance so it smells like mom! I like the disposable camera idea!

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answers from Sacramento on

I think you got a lot of good answers for this, but one thing I thought of is could you explain the 'care package' concept to your daughter and then take her to a store and have her point out some items she might like?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

8-year olds love things like stickers, Mad Libs (something your daughter can do with her cabin mates), books and photos (if you don't think she'll cry over them--maybe only send ones that you think will make her laugh--like a family pet or sibling doing something silly). I don't think that you can really prepare a kid about home sickness except to talk with her ahead of time--assure her that you'll be there for any emergency, but that she'll see you right away when camp is over. the best thing is to have her focus on all the fun and new things she'll get to experience--things she might not get to do if she stayed home--hopefully focusing on such will keep her mind off the homefront. My daughter also went to overnight camp for the 1st time when she was almost 8 and don't think she got really homesick as she was SO busy doing fun stuff at camp! You might want to check with the camp to see what their phone policy is and if they allow calls (sometimes they do once/week) you can tell your daughter that she can call you if she feels necessary. Most camps have a psychologist and/or special counselor trained to deal with homesickness issues as it's a very common thing for camps to deal with--if you have researched the camp well, you shouldn't worry too much! Good luck either way!

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answers from Chicago on

My son goes to camp in ohio for 2 weeks every summer. I make a quick trip to the dollar store for most of these things. here are some of the things I have sent in the summer care package.

flashlight batteries (his are usually dead after a couple days lol)
some candy but not a lot
a washrag
little battery operated fan and extra batteries
baseball cap
individual koolaid packets the kind you put in a water bottle
stamped addressed envelopes so he can write home and to grandparents
soap in funny shapes
new toothbrush with note that says don't forget to brush

not sure what camp your child is going to but they let us leave a care package at the office after we drop him off so it is already there ready to be delivered. ask if you can do that it makes it so much easier. we also leave about 4 or 5 letters there to be delivered on the dates we write on them. Its a lot easier than trying to remember to stick them in the mail later. one year i got side tracked and didn't sent any extra notes in the mail other than the care package and he was devastated. so definitly send some stuff.
good luck and enjy your weeks while she is gone. she will have fun

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answers from Austin on

Socks, a new tshirt with a fun design, a crazy hat, a disposable boxed camera, pretzels, those 100 calorie snack packs by Nabisco.

Very exciting!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi Catherine, I am the mother of 5 and have never been brave enough to send any of my children away as young as yours so you are very brave. I do know that I have sent my 12 year old girls and 11 yo boys , books , stickers, hair items to dress up with, fancy socks, and journal books and stamps so they can write home. My kids always hated the water where they were so I sent crystal light, and even once those prepackaged rice krispy treats.



answers from Jacksonville on

Keep in mind many camps do not allow packages of food. Camp stationery and camp journals are great gifts. Another favorite is a autograph pillow so they can get all the BFF's to sign.Books are also good for those quiet times. Check out for other ideas .



answers from San Francisco on

I had trouble last year with trying to put together a care package for my camper, especially with the no food rule. But once I got my head into it, I had so much fun. Here's what she got: sketch pad with pencil and eraser (she came home with beautiful sketches of her cabin), lip balm, a cute t-shirt (she wore it immediately), a long sleeve shirt for around the campfire, books (I had trouble picking but had the bookstore help me), magazines (teen, of course and they were a big hit with all her cabin mates), hair-ties, and a nice note from me. Other people send nail polish and make-up, but my kid isn't into that. Good luck!

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