My daughter is headed to sleepaway camp for the first time later this summer, and I have already started researching a list of sleepaway camp essentials. She is absolutely thrilled about this new adventure, so much so that her bags are practically packed and by the door, a good seven weeks ahead of schedule. I love her enthusiasm, especially since I was a big fan of summer camp myself back in the day (of course, now that I'm the mom in the situation, I may very well cry when the bus door closes). In the meantime, though, I've got shopping and researching to complete.
The benefits of sending your child off to camp have been widely reported, among them gaining independence and making new friends, as well as learning how to work with others and make choices without a parent there to weigh in on the decision. While I don't think going to sleepaway camp is necessarily for every child (my younger daughter, for example, will not be interested, I don't think), it can be an incredible experience for those that choose to embrace their burgeoning independence. And is there a better place to learn archery? I don't think so.
As far as packing goes, research-wise, the term "less is more" seems to apply, and it's very possible your child will not make it home with every item they originally packed. So, don't send sentimental items they may potentially lose, and remember, clothes will get dirty (i.e., don't send anything you aren't okay coming home with stains). And to all the first time sleep away campers out there, have so much fun!
2. Self-addressed stamps & envelopes
Is there anything better than receiving a letter from your child at camp? (That is, if they remember to write.) Sending your child with stationery that's already addressed and stamped makes the likelihood of receiving a letter just a little bit greater. Let's just hope the note won't say, "I'm homesick and I want to come home."
3. Quick-dry towels
Following the "less is more" philosophy, I love the idea of sending lightweight towels to camp in place of the bulky, beach variety. A towel will be well-used along the way, whether from swimming, slip-n-slides, canoeing or taking showers, so you want a product that's quick to dry for the next time it's needed, and won't take up a lot of room in your child's bags.
4. Reusable bag for wet swimsuits
5. Shower caddy
6. Waterproof shoes
Keen is known for their outdoor shoes, and we can see why. This waterproof Moxie sandal dries easily and is perfect for every day wear. I like the fact that it's closed-toe for ultimate play time while protecting toes, yet still breathable and airy for summer activities (and smelly feet).
8. Personalized labels
9. Bug wipes
Time in the great outdoors will likely mean your child will encounter a bug, mosquito or frequent combination of the two. These disposable bug wipes are easy to use and wipe on, and if they are found all over your child's bags, hopefully this will increase the likelihood of your child actually using them!
10. Disposable camera
Your child can capture their sleepaway camp memories with a disposable camera from Kodak (yes, they're still around)! They'll love when their roll of film gets developed and they can share all the fun they had with you. They may also ask, "What is this thing?" (which will in fact make you feel old as dirt).