How parents can help kids at camp

May 26, 2006

There are many things parents can do to help children get ready for sleep-away camp. Here's a list of pointers offered by Tri-State area camp directors:

Do ...

Help your child get excited about camp. Remind them of all the activities available and the new things they will get to learn.

Encourage your child to stick with camp even if they feel homesick. Telling children they can come home if they don't like it increases the chances that they won't stick with it, camp directors say.

Make sure kids have packed extra socks and underwear, a warm sweatshirt and warm sleeping bag or blankets. Doubling the number of socks and underwear needed is recommended.


Practice camping skills like rolling up a sleeping bag, keeping a tent tidy and using communal showers.

Help kids put together their own first-aid kit. Include adhesive bandages, sunscreen, insect repellent and lip balm with sun protection.

Don't ...

Let kids take electronic games or devices to camp. Many camps have policies against such devices, and the games will only be confiscated.

Pack for children. Camp is about encouraging kids to take responsibility for themselves and their belongings. Try helping young children pack a day's outfit, including socks and underpants in a large resealable bag. That way they can pull out the plastic bag and have everything they need.

Allow children to bring expensive clothes or items to camp.

Let kids pack items such as shaving cream, water balloons or other items that can be used as pranks. Rhodes Grove Camp in Pennsylvania prohibits shaving cream because it can be an eye irritant for some people.

Forget to pack sneakers and plenty of socks. Kids will need closed-toe shoes to participate in many activities and games.

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