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Organizing for Summer Camp

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PHOTO: WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

I did it: I finally got my kids signed up for all their different summer camps (robot making, animation, skateboard design … I’m jealous!). They are going to day camp so the organizing is pretty simple — labeling their gear will be my main project. If your kids are going to sleepaway camp, there is a bit more preparation needed. We have some tips to make it easier.

I love these (yes) Martha Stewart Home Office No-Iron Clothing Labels. They stick right on without ironing or stitching and are safe to go through the wash. I’ll use these on the labels of my kids’ special stuffed animals, inside the tongues of their shoes, in backpacks, lunch bags, and on blankets and bedding too! Use a Sharpie Rub-A-Dub permanent laundry marker to mark the labels.

Once the clothes are labeled, it’s time to pack. Use our printable packing list to make sure you pack everything your camper will need. Make sure to also refer to the list from your camp so you’re not missing anything and so that you don’t send anything the camp does not permit.

If your kids are younger, or there won’t be laundry services at camp, it’s a good idea to pre-pack outfits. You can simply roll and rubber-band the clothes together, or put the outfits in resealable bags. Label the bags with the days of the week, and put in an extra outfit or two.

Besides all the necessities, include a few items for fun in the bunk: snacks (check for camp restrictions), cards and travel-friendly games, a journal to record fun memories, books, and a flashlight, headlamp or book light for nighttime reading. Provide pre-addressed stamped envelopes (don’t forget to include Grandma!) to make it easy for them to write home. A special stuffed animal and some family photos help when they’re missing home.

Once they’re away, make sure to let them know you’re thinking of them with lots of letters and a care package from home. Martha interviewed a camp expert in this video, and she mentioned that she used to send her daughter a letter the week before camp started so that it was there on her first day. Such a sweet idea! You can also bring letters to drop off. See our Camp Care Packages feature with gift ideas tailored to different personalities: the bookworm, the artist, and the gamer.

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