Packing Your Child For Camp

packing-your-child-for-campSummer is upon us which means that many of you and your kiddos are preparing for summer camps in and around Houston.  There comes a day when your kids go from excitement about summer day camps to pure joy at thought of an overnight camp. But as a mom, this takes a bit of emotional preparation. I had to come to terms with the fact that unless someone specifically told my son at least 4 times each day to brush his teeth — and literally watched him do so — he would return to me with fuzz 9″ thick on his little fangs. The thought of him showering and putting on the same dirty underwear for 7 days straight kept me up at night. But eventually, I realized that if unbrushed teeth and dirty underwear are all that’s keeping him from experiencing a week-long camp that he has looked forward to all year, then I just need to suck it up. Well, that, and brace myself for a potentially long and smelly ride home when I pick him up.

Then came the fun part… Packing.

For my son’s camp, they provided us with a detailed packing list – as I’m sure most all camps do. The problem is — the list is a mile long, but you can only bring 1 suitcase! I really had to sit down and think of a way to make this completely do-able barring packing all the contents in space bags.
I resorted back to my old faithful method that I usefor all of our annual Disney trips. It involves packing everything in plastic baggies, but it is so simple and a true lifesaver when you are dealing with a child away at camp.

packing-for-camp-3About a week beforehand, I started getting items together. The easiest thing for me to do is to keep a laundry basket out in our gameroom. As I came across items that I thought Avery might need, I took them directly to the basket. Equally, as I remembered things that I needed to buy that were beyond the list provided by the camp, I wrote it on a piece of paper and also threw it in the basket.

In our camp situation, Avery needed an outfit for the daytime activities and another for evening activities. I knew that he would swim every day as part of the agenda. I also learned that the kids showered before dinner. Armed with that info, I knew exactly how to pack…

Daytime Outfits :: Each of the daytime outfits went into a baggie – shorts, shirt, socks. Folded nicely, this amount of clothing will fit in a baggie until the clothes are about a size 12.

Evening Outfits :: Each of the evening outfits also went into a baggie – shorts, shirt, socks, and underwear {since the kids shower just prior to getting dressed with these clothes}.

Toiletries :: All shower supplies went into a baggie – shampoo, body wash, wash cloth, deodorant.  And all teeth-brushing supplies went into another baggie – toothbrush, toothpaste, floss.

Swim Gear :: All swim items went in a baggie. I opted to send two swimsuits and told Avery to hang one over his headboard to dry. I hate putting on a damp swimsuit, so that gave each time to dry out.

Extras :: Since Avery was going to a church camp, I put his Bible, a journal, and a pen in a baggie too.

Basically, you get the idea…all like items together.

The idea is to label every baggie with EXACTLY what it is and with your child’s name! And I found out when we did this for the second year, that it’s much easier if you put the items in the suitcase starting with the last day…then the child can take out each item in an “as needed” way. For instance, start with what they need on the last day going into the suitcase first and continue packing and building to the first day. Then, they can unzip and grab the correct baggie without having to dig!

When you are done you will have a suitcase that looks like this…


How does it come home? Well, I sent a lawn and leaf trashbag. I told Avery to put all dirty and wet items in the trashbag. On the last day put all the non-clothes items in the suitcase neatly and flat at the bottom. Then put the trashbag in and smash it down until he could zip the suitcase closed! So far it’s worked like a charm for 2 years…and it kept all the funky camp smell contained to the trashbag and not the lining of my suitcase too!

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Stephanie C
Stephanie loves life and living it to the fullest. She always has something new going on, and it is probably the most random thing you’ve ever imagined! A native of Beaver Dam, KY, Stephanie stays busy with her family. She is wife to her hilarious husband Don and is the mother of two tweens – drummer son Avery and dancer daughter Piper. As a family, they enjoy anything fun-in-the-sun and annual trips to Disney World. She lives the good life in the suburbs of Houston and works full-time in the travel industry. A complete social media fanatic, Stephanie is always up on the latest technology. She is a living “Six Degrees of Separation” and seems to have some sort of obscure tie to most anyone you might ask about! Stephanie has been blogging since 2004 at You can also find her @stephanieclick on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.



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