Attending a Muskoka summer camp is one of the most memorable and amazing experiences your child will ever have. Children from all parts of the world come to Muskoka to have this unique Muskoka right of passage of outdoor fun. With summer just around the corner it’s time to get your kids ready for camp. We have compiled a list of prep work before you send your child off and to make it a stress free and positive experience.
Packing for camp
Every camp offers a camping gear checklist. Use it - it tells you everything your child needs for camp.
- Find out if the camp has any special dress codes like costumes, dressy clothes, no flip flops or need to have midriff and lower back covered etc
- Get them to help with packing for camp and let them include a special item like a “stuffy”, special blanket or anything that helps comfort them.
- Leave electronics and valuables at home like cell phones, portable players and devices, expensive jewelry and cameras.
- Pack a favourite book, diary or drawing supplies.
- Include a laundry bag and explain how to handle their clothes to keep clean and dirty clothes separate.
- A little bathroom caddie or small plastic storage containers can help organize their belongings. I have seen some children bring along a small collapsible table (size of a book) to keep by their bed - but that only works for the lower bunk.
- Create them a checklist of all their items so when they pack up to go home they won’t forget anything.
- Don’t forget to label all your children’s belongings. A campers must is Mabel’s Labels they have a Limited Edition Camp Label Packs.
Prepare your child for camp
- If you can’t visit the camp prior to the session - show your child pictures of the camp.
- Get your children to speak with other kids who have had a positive experience at camp.
- Tell your children where they will be sleeping (cabin, bunk bed or tent etc), where the washroom facilities are (outhouse, common bathroom etc) and where they will be eating their meals.
- Explain to them the different activities and events that happen during their stay.
- Discuss with your child about the drop off and pick up for camp.
- Let them know what types of communication you can have with them during their session. Some camps don’t allow phone calls (only for emergencies) but you can email one another or send letters.
- If you child is a bed wetter, - give them advice on how to deal with it like wrapping a towel around their waste and going to speak with their camp counsellor. Remind them that they can wake up the camp counsellor if they are sleeping.
- If your daughter is at an age they could get their period it’s a good idea to discuss getting your period, how to deal with it and pack her an emergency kit (pads, sanitary wipes, extra underwear). Let her know that she can talk to her camp counsellor or the camp nurse when she gets it and they can assist her.
Before sending your child to camp
- Go to the doctor and make sure you have all their prescription medications and immunizations are up to date. No need to bring over the counter medication since most camps have that in stock but do double check with the camp if your child requires certain medication.
- Have all your camp forms filled out.
- Check your child's head for lice prior to arrival and treat it - last thing you need is your kid being sent home because they have lice.
- Find out if your children’s camp on how they handle funds to purchase souvenirs, supplies and other items. Some allow you to bring spending money and others have a campers bank account.
- Hide a note in their bags to say hi and include a special message.
- Pack them a special package that have writing supplies (letter paper, envelopes, stamps, stickers and pens)
- Print them their own business cards with an email, phone number and address on it to give to their camp friends so they can keep in touch after camp is over.
Once you send your children off to camp - don’t forget to spoil yourself and enjoy the time you have while they are away. Don’t be surprised when you pick up your child from camp on how much more self confident they are and that they seem a bit taller and older. If they are crying when you pick them up - it may not be that they miss you but that they want to stay longer at camp.
What are your best tips on sending your child to camp?