What to Send Your Camper from Home

Young campers may beg for “care packages from home.” What should they hold?

By Gay Gasser


Camp care packages are all the rage these days. And camp directors and other sleep-away summer camp pros couldn’t be more enthusiastic — as long as the package holds the right stuff.

What to Send?

Games, cards, innocent prank supplies, pens, pads, small balls, and stickers are great ideas for care packages. Don’t forget mini rubber bands and embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets (even the boys like these bracelets).

Games top the list, and while your camper may enjoy a book of Mad Libs or crossword puzzles, those in the know urge parents to think of the entire bunk when assembling the care package. Send inexpensive card or board games suited for four or more players. Counselors appreciate the diversions for those quiet times and rainy afternoons when the usual camp pastimes lose some luster.

Sure, the camp may have a lot of board games on hand, but there’s a good chance they are missing pieces and so a fresh, new game is just the thing for your kid's bunk. Don’t expect your camper to bring the game home. Instead, suggest he or she donate it to the camp for future summers.

What Not to Send?

Many parents head for the kitchen when they start planning a camp care package. Little Mike or Sadie is probably craving Mom’s Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter-Coconut cookies, right?


Your youngster may love your baking but most camps do not accept gifts of food. It’s the camp’s responsibility to provide healthful and rounded meals for your children, to be aware of food allergies and medical conditions, and to come up with treats at appropriate times and in appropriate quantity

This explains why care packages packed with cookies, chips, candy, and other not-so-good-for-you foods usually end up in the dumpster. And a camper ends up in tears.

Other no-no’s are pretty obvious: nothing that resembles a weapon (including water pistols), large toys (what kid really needs toys at camp?) and fireworks. The last should elicit a big “DUH!” from most parents, but surprisingly, camp directors find they need to include these on their list of banned items. And this applies to sparklers, too.

A Final Word

If you can pack your items in a flat envelope or box, chances are the package will survive camp scrutiny. It’s tough to put bags of chips, large toys, and other bulky items in a flat package. Common sense wins out!

Send your offspring notes, emails (if allowed), letters and sensible care packages. With luck you won’t hear much in the way of a “thank you” because the kids are simply having too much fun!


Gay Gasser is the founder of Mirth in a Box, an online source for whimsical and humorous gifts and care packages for camp. Go to mirthinabox.