Summer camp tips

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A little planning and preparation will make your child's camp experience just perfect
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Going to summer camp can be both exciting and scary. Being away from home can be stressful for many kids, especially the first time, but the camp experience allows children to make new friends, do new things and come home with newfound knowledge and confidence. Being prepared can lessen anxiety for both parents and children. Here are some great summer camp tips.

Choosing the camp

When choosing a summer camp, parents should speak to the camp director to ensure that the camp meets their family's requirements. Many summer camps adhere to specific activities such as art, water skiing, horseback riding or other sports and choosing a camp that adheres to your child's interests is important. Other considerations include the distance of the camp from home and whether a sleep away or day camp is best. Speak to the director about the staff, activities, any health concerns you may have for your child, dietary considerations, length of stay, if the camp is co-ed, monetary considerations and any other subjects you feel is important to select a summer camp. If possible, visiting the camp in person before deciding may help both parents and children feel more comfortable with their choice. Remember that most enrollment occurs between December and March so make sure not to wait too long as you may not be able to find an opening.

Get the sleeping gear

Once you have chosen your summer camp and enrollment is complete, preparing your child for his or her time away from home is next. Determine the sleeping arrangements for the camp you have chosen. Does you child need to bring a tent and a sleeping bag or are cabins and bedding provided? Pillows and extra blankets will usually be needed to ensure that your child is comfortable when away from home. A camp shopping trip may be in order and will help to encourage your child's excitement for his or her upcoming adventure.

Decide on clothes

Packing the suitcase comes next. In addition to everyday clothing such as shorts, tees underwear and extra socks, make sure to pack rain gear and rubber boots for the wet weather as well as warmer clothing for the cold. Spare shoes are important in case one pair gets wet. Packing one towel for bathing and one for swimming should be sufficient. A swimsuit or two are necessary, as is a hat for sun protection. Make sure to label all items with your child's name to ensure that they don't become confused with those of another camper.

And for the showers…

Toiletries such as a toothbrush, hairbrush and toothpaste will be required. Soap and shampoo may be provided by the camp but it may be prudent to pack extra just in case. The camp will probably send each camper a list of requirements; make sure to go over it carefully before packing. One of the best summer camp tips is to purchase an extra set of toiletries so that these can be packed ahead of time and won't be forgotten in the rush of departure day. Placing toiletries in a large, sealable plastic food storage bag is a great idea to keep these items separate and give your child a handy way to tote these items to the washroom. Don't forget to pack shower flip-flops. These should be worn to avoid the bacteria that are often present in public showers.

Other necessities

Bug spray is a good idea and sunscreen is a necessity, including lip balm or chapstick with an SPF. A flashlight is also a good idea for nighttime trips to the washroom. Don't forget any special items, such as a doll or favorite toy that will provide comfort to a child away from home.


Any medication needs to be labeled and taken to the camp nurse for safety and will be administered by the nurse as well.

What not to pack

Prepare your children to leave their cell phones, I-Pods, and computer games at home, as these forms of entertainment are normally not allowed at summer camp. One of the best summer camp tips is to provide your child with a disposable camera for them to take photos of their adventure and upon their return, encourage them do a scrapbook of their summer trip.

Summer camp tips will help you and your children prepare for a great adventure away from home. Be safe and have fun!

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