Updated by TMoM Team Member Katie Moosbrugger
I remember my first experience as a camp mom. Since I had never gone to summer camp as a kid, I spent weeks asking friends about what my daughter should pack, how she should pack, when to send care packages, what to send in a care package…among a million other questions. I shopped in secret to build her care package for weeks in advance and had everything ready to go. It was essential that I crossed every ‘t’ and dotted every ‘i’ so her first camp outing would be memorable and perfect.
The morning after I dropped off my daughter, I hightailed it to the post office to mail a package. They assured me it would arrive in two days. Every day I waited to get an email from my daughter telling me how much she loved my care package. Emails arrived daily, but no mention of the care package. Sure enough, as soon as I went to pick her up, she was sitting on her bunk bed opening her care package for the first time. I learned it arrived the morning of check out! Despite the post office glitch, her experience turned out to be memorable and perfect anyway.
So what did I learn? Consider dropping off your care package the same day you check-in your child! I also kept my list care package ideas for this year’s summer camp adventure, and I share them below. Maybe my list will make your preparations easier. Not every camp allows food in care package, so be sure to ask in advance.
I hope your child’s summer camp experience goes off without a glitch. And now to more than 60 care package ideas to help you do just that…
Love from Home
- Self addressed stamped envelopes
- Stationery/note cards
- Notes from family members
- Picture of family
- Picture of family pet
- A letter from your family pet
- Band aids
- Ear plugs for swimming
- Extra sunscreen
- Colored zinc
- Chap sticks
- Toiletry items
- Insect repellent
- Aloe Vera for sun burns
- Bug bite relief
- New Goggles
- New Sunglasses
- New Flip flops
- New bathing suit
- New water bottle
- Candy – the stuff you normally don’t buy
- Snacks (trail mix, pretzels, granola bars, etc)
- Homemade baked goods
For the Long Nights
- Flash light (don’t forget the batteries!)
- Book light
- Camp journal
- Sketch books
- Pens and pencils
- Battery operated fan (don’t forget the batteries)
- Warm, fuzzy socks
Make Them Stand Out
- Glow in the dark clothes (PJs, socks, shoelaces)
- Glow in the dark bracelets and necklaces
- Glow in the dark body paint
- Disposable camera
- Waterproof camera
- Fabric markers and plain white t-shirt or pillowcase to sign
- Autograph book
- Address book
- Stamped, addressed envelopes and stationary for them to write letters home
Cabin Mate Fun
- Small token to give to a cabin mate
- Deck of cards
- Mad Libs (you can find these at Toys & Co!)
- Glow Sticks
- Water guns
- Magic 8 Ball
- Crazy glasses
- Prank items (Five Below has a ton…)
- Temporary tattoos
- Stick on mustaches
- Fake teeth
- Camp Bunk Box of Questions
- Walkie talkies
- Small travel-size games (like Spot It, Uno, Would You Rather)
Just for Girls
- Nail polish
- Ponytail holders
- Hair chalk
- Friendship bracelet kits
- Patterned Duct Tape
A Couple of Other Ideas
~ Consider wrapping each item individually so it’s like a holiday occasion for your child to open the care package.
~ Don’t have time to coordinate a care package? Send a pre-made camp care package from Amazon , the Wrinkled Egg, or Camp Pacs. Brilliant idea!
~ If you have more ideas to add to this list, leave a comment below!
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More candy! I am 10 and my first time going to sleep away camp for a week was last summer I loved it but I told my mom that I did not want a care package that was a big mastake I was the only one in my cabin that didn’t get anything but all I wanted the whole week was candy and to write down what I did that day,
Omg, I can relate! Last year I went to sleepaway camp for the THIRD YEAR!!! and I had to suffer and watch everyone open their care package! This year I’m praying that I get one.
Great write!! Love a care package to any where and any one . . . but always love it to your camper!! These are great ides and I love the way you separated them into groups!!
thanks for sharing . . . and that picture of the campers is GREAT!!