Thursday, May 23, 2013

Diabetes Summer Camp - How To Pack Clothes For Children


In my last camp post, I gave you a list of what to pack for diabetes summer camp, or really, what to pack for children going away to any kind of adventure camp. 

In this post, I am going to detail one of my favorites ways of how to pack clothes for children while they are away from mom and dad.

Seems sort of simple right?

Like all you need to do is just neatly fold clothes, place gently in suitcase and zip tight?

Well, unless you have detail-oriented kids with a sense of calm and common sense in the early morning hours, most likely after they open the suitcase for the very first time, the clothes will end up looking like this:


Which means that your child will probably stick with approximately one shirt and one pair of shorts for the entire week.  Don't even dwell on the underwear because I can guarantee that will not be changed!  And to think that much of the camp staff is on a volunteer basis! Ew!

A few years ago, a veteran camp mom on an on-line website told me to start packing my child's camp things in Hefty or Ziploc storage baggies.  The veteran camp mom said the 2.5 gallon size was the perfect size to hold exactly one day's worth of clothes. 

And she was right!  Brilliant! 

After a rigorous test (two years' worth of camp mayhem), my daughters and I have arrived at the conclusion that this works perfectly!

My oldest particularly loved this idea because no one had to see her ahem! 'unmentionables' as she traipsed out of her cabin each morning to shower.  She simply woke up, found the right bag and headed off.  Her friends without the bags often misplaced a sock or worse, found themselves in the shower stall without a clean shirt or pair of shorts.  Oh no! The dreaded 'what do I do now when mom is not in the next room'????

Below, is the Naturally Sweet Sister's version of the Ziploc bag packing method.  This has been modified to include a little extra sweetness.  Not only do we pack clothes, we also pack LOVE. 

I can't help myself.  I miss those girls while they are gone!

For your viewing pleasure, I snapped a few pictures of what I do to prep the bags.

First,  I either use a Sharpie marker to label each bag or I type/print a list of the child's name and corresponding day of the week. 
I like the print method for ease of use as I am doing everything x2 and it gets a little tedious.  Not to mention, that I have a bad case of sloppy handwriting when doing things in multiples.  It makes it hard to read for beginning readers.  Or so I have been told by youngest daughter.
If you print a label, the sticky can often be peeled back off which makes the bag reusable.  I like to save them for things like collecting shells on the beach or even as garbage bags.  The zip top makes it great to keep ants away from picnic areas.  You just have to remind your child to bring them back home after camp.

Once you have labeled your bags, here is where the sweet part comes in;  create a once-a-day love note for your child. 
This will actually help to inspire a daily clothing change each morning.  Your child will be eager to see what special letter or joke or funny comment that mom or dad has left for them.
For this step, I use a large-size heart shaped punch.  No, I didn't buy it for this project but I do use this a lot.  It's a great investment.

Punching out one heart for each bag that I assemble, takes only about 30 seconds.  You could fold a piece of paper in half and use scissors to cut a heart shape as well. 

My notes are simple and encouraging.  Just a few words from mom to start off the day.

Place the heart into the Ziploc bag and then add your day's worth of clothes - like one pair undies, one pair socks, one bra, one t-shirt, one pair of shorts.  Your child can take this little Ziploc bag bundle, along with a hanging toiletries bag right into the bathroom each morning.  Dirty clothes can be placed back inside to make sure that all items are returned to the cabin or your child's laundry bag to take home.
I think we managed to save a lot of sock lives this way!
Have fun! 
More camp preparedness coming soon......


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