Summer Camp - One Item to Remember to Send?

Updated on June 14, 2011
L.K. asks from Rockwall, TX
17 answers

I'm sending my 9 year old daughter off to sleepaway camp for the first time. She's going with a friend and is very excited. She's had tons of sleepovers, so I'm not terribly worried about homesickness....well not her's anyway :-) Aside from the usual list of things to take, what is the one overlooked item you wish you would have sent? Is there anything else extra special you have done for your child? I'm preparing note cards with photos of us, her dog, etc. to mail in advance as they have mail delivery every day to the kids, and I'll tuck in little I Love You notes for her to find. Just wondering about your pearls of wisdom.....

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answers from San Francisco on

An extra large, heavy duty garbage bag for her to carry everything home in (her duffle bag, sleeping bag, towel, etc) everything she brings will come home stinky and dirty :) But oh what fun she'll have!
Oh and a disposable camera!

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from New York on

A white t-shirt & sharpie pen have all of her friends sign the last day of camp - she'll have it forever. My house transforms into Camp Chaos every summer & that is the last activity we do together so we all remember the fun summer we had!

You may want to put it in a large manila envelope w/don't open til last day of camp though that way it's not done til then or even bring it when u go to visit. I'd just check w/the camp. Have fun!

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answers from Washington DC on

My son needed extra bug spray and sun screen for his first week away.

Extra money to buy from the camp store.

A good camera to take lots of pictures!!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Extra towel...

I have a tote for my daughter to take to the bath house -- it holds her shampoo, soap, toothbrush, deodorant, etc. She just picks it up and goes - everything is together and nothing is forgotten. Works like a charm!!

Send her nastiest socks and undies. If they are gross when you get them back, just chuck them in the trash. Trust me on this. I buy new underwear and socks while the kids are away so that when I toss all of their socks, they have new ones waiting in the drawer.

Garbage bags for the dirty stinky wet nasty laundry... You have no idea.
My daughter will be gone for 3 weeks and then I have less than 24 hours to turn her around and get her back to volunteer with a special needs camp. I don't bring her trunk anywhere but to the laundry room. I do her laundry as I unpack and repack the trunk...

Send rain gear -- poncho, umbrella... Teva sandals are usually allowed for footwear because they have a back. I recommend them.


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answers from Beaumont on

Maybe a mini-photo album of family/pets to share with others? Her favorite snacks? I have the same situation coming in a few weeks so I'm anxious to hear the answers you get! :)

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answers from New York on

I thought this was a great idea and worked well. Pack a days worth of clothes in a zip lock bag, include shirt, shorts, undergarments. That way each morning she just takes out a baggie. Also keeps the clean cloths clean and dry, and no worrying about trying to match at the end of the stay. Of course, be sure to send extras, just in case.

A few things that may not be on the list....
her favorite stuffed animal or special blanket
flashlight with extra batteries
a book or other activity for personal quiet time
an extra toothbrush (pickone up at the dollar store)
something to autograph, a t-shirt or an autograph stuffed animal with a marker
a bag for dirty cloths
NO snacks (if outdoors they attract critters)
shower shoes

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answers from Chicago on

not sure of your camps policies. my son goes to camp for 2 weeks each year to Camp Christopher in bath ohio. They have a policy in place where on the drop off day you can also drop off cards / letters / care packages the same day but have them labeled for when you want them "delivered" so my son always gets a note from home every other day. nothing big. but funny cards that say missing you hope your having fun etc. also I leave a small care package that has stuff like a pack of gum and extra flashlight, maybe a new tshirt some envelopes preaddressed to home, grandma & grandpa etc. don't go overboard on the sweets as camps tend to get ants lol. good luck

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answers from Lewiston on

What a great question. My suggestion would be to take a favorite stuffed animal/ toy/ item. Hope she has a fantastic time.

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answers from Dover on

Little snacks. Sunblock. Swimsuit. Paper and pencil for her to write with.

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answers from Chicago on

Extra sunblock, bug spray and a garbage bag or two for dirty clothes and other junk.

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answers from Sacramento on

Photo of you & her dog for sure.
Does she sleep w/a special blankie or stuffed animal?
Be sure to send that/those w/her!!!1
I love the notes idea.

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answers from Dallas on

Hi L.,
I send sugar free gum in a small plastic container. It is just a nice thing to have to share.
Little off the question, but.....
I pack my daughter's clothes in large Hefty storage bags. I put socks, bra, shirt, shorts, ect, anything she would need to get dressed. The bags keep the clothes clean, organized, and dry in case they fall on the bathroom floor. The bags have a spot on them that is perfect for a little note, that way I can say good morning everyday. Hope that helps!

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answers from Dallas on

YEAH!! as a long-time camper and a new (last year) camp mom kudos to you for sending your daughter to camp. Treasured memories and friends I still have to this day!!
As a mom, I love the special item for friends to sign. Maybe a wooden picture frame as they all get a camp photo.
One thing as a camper I always wished I had was more $$ in my store account. I wanted t-shirts and bags and bandanas, etc. and usually could only get one thing ;( to this day I am still a little peeved about it and made sure my son had plenty in his store account:)
Be sure to pack and extra pair of "dirty" tennis shoes. They are great for doubling as waders/ mud shoes or if it rains.
Depending on the camp, a stash of embroidery thread to make friendship bracelets is also a great "camp must" item.
AND extra batteries for the flashlight and a book - I know it sounds weird, but we always had "quiet hour" after lunch and you can only write so many letters - LOL! But make sure it is acceptable. I went to a Christian based camp that did screen reading materials to make sure you were only dwelling on what was pure and lovely (hence - no Cosmo).
Have fun mamma!

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answers from Dallas on

I used to tuck little love notes or words of wisdom in my husbands suit pockets so when he traveled to a meeting he would find it...but he wouldn't find it too early. It put a smile on his face to find the notes when he least expected.

I would suggest a flashlight and batteries.
Love the set of matching clothes in a ziploc bag idea.
Paper and pen to write down phone or address info for her new friends.
bug spray
re-sealable wep wipes (walmart brand is good) for quick clean ups
scotch tape
safety pins

When my daughter went to camp, I went to Goodwill and bought some cheap shirts. She could have fun and not worry about getting dirty. I could them throw them away if necessary when she got home.

Don't send anything valuable in money or in memory.

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answers from Dallas on

Hydrocortisone cream! My son got covered with bug bites last week and came home with the empty tube. I'm glad we remembered to pack it.

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answers from Dallas on

You are in Rockwall.. where is she going?

My daughter went to Kickapoo outside of San Antonio and Sky Ranch in Van TX.

Both times, I made sure she had mail at mail call and I sent care packages with goodies in them.... deck of cards, lotion, just little things that let her know we were thinking of her.

My daughter was ok with the sleepover part but she hated the lakes (just like her mom) We don't swim where we can't see the bottom....therefore, we only swim in pools. Kickapoo did not have a pool so that part was a bummer.

Have fun!

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