Sleepaway Summer Camp Survival Tips
Camp season is swiftly approaching, and for our parents who will send their kiddos to overnight camps for the first time (or the tenth), we’ve put together an ultimate survival guide to help prepare and calm any nerves! We know it can be overwhelming to send your kids to summer camp, but we’re here to make this new adventure a bit easier.
1. Pack Light:
It is easy for kids to want to bring everything and the kitchen sink but help them pack light by packing only necessary items. Less is more, especially at summer camp! With our packing list, we’ll ensure you don’t forget the necessities but also avoid overpacking and overwhelming your child. Your child will most likely be sharing a room or cabin with other campers, so having too many items can cause a mess and could lead to important items that are not labeled being lost.
Here is a list of packing essentials we recommend for sleepaway summer camp:
- Casual t-shirts and shorts
- Athletic clothing
- Rainjacket or poncho
- Water shoes
- Shower shoes
Pack 1-2 extra t-shirts and shorts, just in case! Make sure to include plastic bags to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes too.
To help your kiddos keep track of their clothing items, we recommend our Clothing Labels. For shirts and shorts, use our Stick On Clothing Labels. For items that are more frequently washed like underwear, socks, and masks, we recommend our Iron On Labels. Our Sleepaway Camp Labels pack includes both Stick On Clothing Labels and Iron On Labels so you’ll be getting more bang for your buck!
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Bug Spray
- Anti-Itch Cream
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Aloe Vera Lotion
- Hairbrush or comb
- Nail clippers or file
- Sanitary Items
Along with anticipated items like shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste, make sure to also include protective toiletries such as sunscreen and bug spray. In case mosquito bites are bad, we recommend packing anti-itch cream like hydrocortisone. Most sleepaway camps have community bathrooms, so make sure to label your kiddo’s toiletries and toiletry bags with our Name Labels you can find in our Sleepaway Camp Labels Pack. Our labels are perfect for toiletries since they are waterproof and won’t wash away in the shower or sink
- Emergency Supplies
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Prescription Medicine
- Epipen or Emergency Allergy Medicine
- Emergency Cash
Just in case of emergencies, it doesn’t hurt to make sure your kiddo is stocked with a few essential supplies. Bandaids and a travel first aid kit can live in their backpack and if your kiddo has allergies or a medical condition, pack and label their medication and give it to the camp nurse. We create personalized medical labels that we recommend putting on lunch bags, backpacks, and medicine bags to protect your kids and keep others aware of their condition. Emergency cash is always important to have and we recommend putting the cash in an enclosed bag with a Name Label.
- Outdoor Gear
- Camping Utensils
- Outdoor Gear
- Sleeping Gear
- Sleeping Bag or Blankets
- Pillow with Pillow Case
- Alarm Clock
- Optional: Reading Light or Flashlight
Depending on the type of sleepaway camp your child attends, they may need outdoor gear such as tents, sleeping bags, camp utensils, and hiking boots. However, if your child is attending a sleepaway camp with cabins and beds provided, you’ll be safe to bring a pillow, sheets, and a blanket or sleeping bag. If the cabin is not air conditioned, we recommend a fan and if phones are not permitted, an alarm clock would be helpful.
2. Prepare for Homesickness:
It’s natural for kids to miss home and feel homesick. Discuss strategies ahead of time that your child can use when they’re feeling down or missing family. It is also a great idea to pack a small something from home in their suitcase such as their favorite stuffed animal or even a picture!
However, overnight camps are a great way for your kids to make new friends and gain independence. Most camps have camp counselors and camp directors who are seasoned with caring for kids who are anxious or might have beginning emotional distress over being far away from home.
During the duration of their camp, you can also chose to send them letters or a care package. Many campers love receiving notes or care packages that remind them of home and include a few of their favorite goodies from home. Care packages are just a great way to make your little one smile and feel loved even while they’re miles away. A few ideas to include in a care package could be:
- Favorite Snacks
- Lip Balm or Chapstick
- A book or comic book
- A mini flashlight
- A keychain or small accessory
- Sticker & Co Custom Photo Collages or Wall Decals!
3. Hydrate & Eat Healthy:
Eating healthy meals and staying hydrated is key, especially during the hot summer months. Make sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day, eats nutritious meals and snacks (camp should provide these) and gets enough rest at night!
To help encourage drinking water, let your child pick out a fun water bottle they love carrying around. You could also purchase a water bottle that marks how much water they should be drinking by different times of the day.
If your child isn’t a fan of plain water – send them a few water enhancers to make drinking water more fun. Brands like Liquid IV and Gatorade include electrolytes in their mix which are great for anyone exercising and spending a lot of time outdoors.
If your kiddos have food allergies, you can pack additional healthy snacks since they may have a limited supply of snacks they are able to consume at the campgrounds.
4. Label Everything:
We’ve previously mentioned the importance of labeling your child’s items for summer camp, but we had to include another reminder. Summer camps are a hot-bed of lost items. The last thing you’ll want your kids to endure is missing luggage or lost items.
A fast and easy way to prep against lost items are through Name Bubbles labels. Our peel-and-stick labels are award-winning for a reason and a must-have for surviving summer camp.
You can choose between our two Camp Value Packs – our Custom Sleepaway Camp Pack or Custom Camp Labels Pack. Both our packs are customizable and include Name Labels, Contact Labels, Shoe Labels, and Clothing Labels, but our Sleepaway Camp Labels Pack also includes Iron-On Labels.
You’ve Got This!
We know sending kids off to summer camp for the first time or the fiftieth time never gets easier, but we hope these tips help prepare you and calm any anxiety or nerves you may have.
Following these simple tips will ensure that your children have an enjoyable sleepaway summer overnight camp experience that they will remember for a lifetime! Good luck and happy camping!
For more camp tips and parenting advice, check out our blog here.