7 Ideas for Great Camp Care Packages

Summer camp care package ideas are no longer centered around sugar and artificial flavors. Many camps have banned candy, baked good, chips and other junk food items from care packages. In fact, they have folks digging through the mail because parents sometimes try to sneak something sweet to their sons and daughters despite the new rules. Don't be that parent! A week or two without junk can be a good thing for your kid, and you can show how much you care with a different kind of care package. Check out these seven ideas for cool boxes of wholesome fun to send your camper this summer!

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If you went to sleepaway camp, you probably remember the delicious anticipation at mail time when you’d find out if you or one of your bunkmates managed to snag a care package. Guess what? Times have changed. Many camps have banned junk food from the care package. Boxes full of squirt cheese, M&Ms and chips are nothing more than nostalgia. You can send it, but more likely than not, your kid won’t get it. Still, that doesn’t mean the fun of the care package is gone. Learn how to send something sweet to your camper … without the empty calories.

Blast Away Boredom

Sure, camp has tons of activities planned for your kid, but there’s still plenty of downtime. Keep boredom at bay with a package full of puzzles, Mad Libs, brainteasers, mazes or other pencil-pushing entertainments.

Supply Tools of Entertainment

Got a kid who likes to be the center of attention? Fill your box with a deck of cards (and some handwritten directions on how to play classics like War, Crazy Eights, Pig, Slapjack and other favorites from your own childhood). Toss in a cool book like Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic and a few packaged magic tricks to get your kid started.

Feed the Bookworm

At home, it may be near impossible to pry your child from the TV, but camp offers a great excuse to get hooked on books. Try out the newest Artemis Fowl book, or for Harry Potter fans, check out The Mysterious Benedict Society. Female readers might prefer Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children or The Diviners. For lighter reading, send a couple magazines from our roundup of favorites.

Primp and Pamper

With all the dirt and bug repellent that comes with sleepaway camp, it’s possible your kid could use a little box of glamour. Pack up some cool flip-flops, a new shower caddy and some potions and lotions that smell nice for a mid-summer pick-me-up. Or get the whole bunk involved with a “spa in a box.” Send enough nail polish, cotton balls, polish remover and files for a pedicure party. Your kid’s friends will have the coolest toes in town.

Send a Surprise

Sometimes the best part of opening a package is the incredible randomness of what’s inside. Stuff your box with an assortment of useful, fun and downright kooky trinkets: temporary tattoos, activity books that use invisible ink, a Magic 8 Ball, a Frisbee, some stationery for sending letters home, and a lapdesk to make writing from her bunk easier.

Appease the Artist

For a preteen Picasso, summer camp’s art activities may leave something to be desired. Send colored paper and a paper airplane book, origami, or a knitting kit.

Make Memories

Throw in something that will help commemorate the camp experience, like a bright-colored pillowcase and a permanent marker for your child’s bunkmates to autograph. Pack up some plastic string with a tutorial for making friendship bracelets. And don’t forget to tuck in an address book, so your child can keep the contact info for all her new friends once summer comes to a close.

Think outside the box of sugary treats, and send a different type of box to your beloved camper. A little extra thought puts the “care” in care package.

Looking for more book recommendations? Check out our list of the best books for sleepaway camp.

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