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Packing Your Child for Sleep Away Camp

Packing Your Child for Camp NashvilleMomsBlog

If you had told me 6 months ago that I’d be packing my 7 year old daughter for a week-long sleep away camp, I would have been sure you were off your rocker. And yet, here I sit, with a full box of gallon Ziploc bags and fresh Sharpies wondering how the baby I feel like I just birthed is now counting the minutes until her first big solo adventure. (If you haven’t yet booked such an adventure for your kiddo for this Summer, be sure to check out our 2015 Ultimate Guide to Summer Camps!)

trunk, camp, packing, clothes

A fully packed trunk!

If I’m being honest, my packing style is usually waiting until the very last minute and throwing stuff haphazardly into a duffel with little thought to whether or not I have everything I need. This Camp Pack 2015 Adventure is proving to be the most methodical thing I’ve done in a while. I mean, the Pinterest-mom world would even likely be proud!

ziplocs, packing, labels

Ziplocs and Sharpies for organizing the days.

Thankfully—like most camps—the camp for which I’m packing provided a detailed list of what to bring and what not to bring. In thinking through my daughter’s morning routine during the school year, the necessity of making sure each day’s worth of clothes were easily accessible and as clearly labeled as possible was my first priority. In each daily labeled Ziploc bag, she has the outfit for the day (including underwear and socks). We’re thankful for a dear friend who works in the apparel industry that provided what has to be the cutest coordinated camp wear ever!

clothes

Knowing that each day will likely start with regular clothes before a transition to swimwear and then yet another transition back to regular clothes, we’ve had several talks about how—unlike at home—she won’t have the luxury of wearing four outfits over the course of the day. I packed another Ziploc labeled “extras” filled with additional underwear and socks (just in case).

I debated the luggage options for a while. After a very helpful visit with David at The Container Store, I decided on a camp trunk. It’s durable, rather light, and equipped with wheels so it can be easily pulled by a 7-year-old. My hope is that the trunk will serve her well and keep her as organized as possible throughout the week. On a side note, the camping supply section at The Container Store makes me giddy. They have all sorts of things in which to pack all sorts of things! I’m such a sucker for cute organizational helpers.

shower caddie, hairbrush, soap, shampoo, razor, toothbrush

Shower caddies are apparently one of the keys to camp.

Realizing that my kids are rather novices at taking care of their own clothes, we’ve had some trial runs and discussions about what to do with dirty, wet, and clean laundry. I think we’re both a little anxious about the requirement for “Mud Clothes.” Those will be going directly back into the Ziploc from which they came! Along with the plastic bags, she’ll be geared with a traditional mesh laundry bag for dirty items as well as Ziploc Space Bags for condensing down bulk.

l look at my little girl as she’s filled with excitement and anticipation and realize that this is yet another first of an ever-shortening list of firsts. Hopefully, she’ll come back with stories and new friends and possibly even the plan of returning to camp for a two week stay next year. While the packing process for me today feels so important and make-or-break in terms of the enjoyment of her days, it’s really not. If she wears dirty clothes or Monday’s outfit on Thursday, all will be well.

Quick Tips for Packing (as passed along to me by numerous, more experienced camp moms):

  • Follow the list the camp provides. They’re the experts!
  • Camp clothes get dirty. Don’t pack anything that you would be upset about if it’s ruined.
  • Send extra socks and underwear.
  • Camp is a great way to get an extra—and final—wear out of the previous year’s school sneakers.
  • Send a laundry bag, rain coat, water bottle, sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlight, shower supplies, and toiletries.
  • Send a shower caddy!
  • Label EVERYTHING. Expect everything to become lost at some point during the week.
  • Make sure the camp/camp counselors know if your child has a daily medication or allergies.
  • Pack stationary with stamps and addresses already on the envelopes.
  • Pack one stuffed animal or lovey for your child. (Not their favorite but one that will get them through the night.)
  • Leave the iPads, iPods, and all other electronics behind. This week is a time for getting back to the basics of being a kid!
  • Send pictures of special people and animals with your child. If they are taking a trunk, tape them to the inside of the top.

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3 Responses to Packing Your Child for Sleep Away Camp

  1. Ruth June 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Love your blog!!

  2. Donna June 10, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    Terrific tips! I will refer to it often. The ziploc bags are a great idea.

  3. Brandon June 26, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    Favorite camp food is defintely s’mores!

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