by Dawn Franzen, M.Ed.
You’ve packed the “big stuff.” But it always seems to be the little things that your child needs most while he or she is away at camp. Here is a quick checklist of camping odds and ends that really come in handy!
• Bandana: This has many possible uses, from tying back hair to a makeshift washcloth in a pinch. Pack several.
• Sport Sandals: These are nice to change into after a day of hiking in boots. They also protect feet in the shower.
• Lip Balm: Buy a good one that has UV protection.
• Sewing Kit: If you pre-thread and knot two or three needles and poke them into a piece of heavy paper, your camper may just use them. Pack a tiny pair of folding scissors, too.
• Band-Aids: It’s nice not to have to run to the first aid station for a simple scratch.
• Three Hair Combs or Brushes: Combs at camp are like socks in a dryer. If you pack extra, one may even come home.
• Plastic-Coated Clips: These are good for hanging wet clothes, and they won’t rust or break easily.
• Plastic Trash Bags/Zip-Lock Bags: Pack a few of each—your camper will definitely use them. But caution your camper against sealing wet clothes in them, or you’ll have a science experiment when your child gets home!
• Wet Wipes: You can buy travel-size packages that easily fit into fanny packs.
• Purel Hand Sanitizer: This is perfect for a camper because it comes in small bottle, is anti-bacterial, doesn’t require water to use, and doesn’t leave an oily residue.
• Thermal Blanket: You can find a very lightweight, waterproof and wind-proof kind of thermal blanket at camping supply stores.
• Rain Hat: An all-purpose waterproof hat will come in handy during those rainy days.
• Rain Poncho: This folds neatly and compactly and can be taken on hikes easily.
• Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner: It is much easier to shake out and launder this lightweight liner than the entire sleeping bag.
• Multi-Pocket Vest: It looks “cool” right now and can hold a lot of stuff. Check camping, fishing and military supply stores.
• Liquid-Filled, Pin-On Compass: It is small but won’t get easily lost. And it always stays upright, even when pinned on.
• Disposable Camera: Very “camper-friendly.”
• Pre-Stamped, Pre-Addressed Post-cards: These will make it easy for your child to remember to write home (maybe!).
• P-Touch: After you have assembled all of this stuff, you are going to have to label it with your child’s name. The P-Touch is a nifty little machine that makes the task almost fun. It quickly and easily creates custom labels. Because the labels are laminated, they are waterproof. And you can change font sizes to make labels for even the smallest objects. Check office supply stores for several different models. The machine is a bit pricey, but you will use it to label everything in your house as well!
A parent and frequent contributor to St. Louis Parent Magazine, Dawn Franzen, M.Ed., has taught with the Summer Academies and Learning Labs of the Gifted Resource Council in St. Louis.
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