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12 Things To Do To Prepare Children For Camp

Updated on September 10, 2013
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.

Making friends and having fun at camp.

Your soon to be camper will love these must have camping gear.

As a child, I looked forward to being out of school for the Summer. I looked forward to playing with my friends even more, but my parents had other plans for my brother, sister and me - they sent us to camp during the Summer. When I look back on the experiences from Summer camp, those were some of the best times I had as a child. I got a chance to flex my muscles of "independence." I loved meeting new kids, learning new songs, taking classes in leather carving, horseback riding, hay rides, archery, swimming and more. I do remember my Mom labeling our clothes and toiletries as well as sitting us down and telling us what to do and what not to do at camp. She made us a list of "remembrances" is what I called the list - remember to do this, and remember to do that. I encourage parents to make such a list but to also give their children a trial period of performing certain activities at home that they will need to perform at camp without the assistance of Mom and Dad. Camps give children a small taste of what it's like to take care of themselves and to depend on strangers (counselors and other children) for guidance.

Summer camps are fun and exciting for children and to help them get prepared for a stay away from home parents can do the following:

  1. Allow children to have and/or to attend sleepovers, aka, pajama parties. This allows children to get used to "living" with other children outside of their family. "Living" with other children outside of their family lets them observe the quirks and habits of other children and possibly pick up positive habits of other children. Sleepovers help to hone children's social skills they'll use at camp.
  2. Teach children to make up their beds - yes, there are some parents that still make up their children's beds or some children that don't make up their beds at all. When I went away to camp all campers had to make their beds before they left their cabins. Also show children how to put on a set of clean sheets.
  3. Let children know that since camps are set more in wooded areas that bugs will be more of a nuisance than they are at home, so dont' be afraid to "smash and grab" - if you see a bug, smash it with a shoe and grab it with a wet tissue. Using a wet tissue helps the bug stick to the tissue and not slip out.
  4. Let children know that their cell phone just might not work so far out in the woods and cell phone towers might be out of range. From my experiences camps have land line phones available. Show children how to use a Calling Card. Let them practice calling a family member.
  5. Teach children how to make a collect phone call. Practice with them by having them call family, but do let the family know that the call is coming and that your child is making a practice run in collect calling.
  6. Make sure children have a list of emergency phone numbers besides that of Mom's and Dad's along with emergency home addresses of friends and family.
  7. Teach children how to swim. Swimming is the number one activity that most children take part in at camp, so prepare them wisely. It's nerve racking knowing that your child is around a pool or some other body of water and can't swim - YIKES!
  8. Get children CPR Certified. This is a wonderful credential for your youngster to have.
  9. Teach children how to do laundry. Allow them to wash their own clothes. Some camp sessions are several weeks long and because of that they provide laundry facilities. If there are laundry facilities camps have stores where laundry detergent may be purchased or children can place their laundry detergent purchases on a tab which can be paid for when parents come to retrieve their children.
  10. Purchase a video for children about poisonous plants and give them a quiz after the video. Children spend most of their waking hours outdoors at camp so showing them what poison ivy and poison oak look like is not a bad idea.
  11. Teach children that it is NOT OK to share certain toiletries and hair products. Your child's top bunk buddy my have pretty hair bows and hair clips, but she just might be using a hair cream or ointment to treat a condition. Using other campers' soaps, combs, brushes, deodorant, toothpaste, shower caps, or swim caps etc. can transfer lice, colds, etc.
  12. Make sure children have a physical exam before you ship them off to camp, especially if they are going to attend a Sports Camp. You want to make sure that they are fit enough to participate in any strenuous activity. It's also good for the camp staff to know recent medical information concerning your children.

Check out another Hub on Summer Camps for children -


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    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks eudociadavis glad you liked the tips. I so enjoyed camping as a child.

    • profile image

      eudociadavis 6 years ago

      lovely hub,great tips.

      thanks a lot sharing such a nice things for children camping.

    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Robin, I went to sleepover camp and day camp, but I enjoyed the sleepover camp most of all. Thanks

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Kristine, These are great tips! I only went to day camps as a kid, but I think overnight camps can help kids learn a lot of independence. Thanks for the great Hub!