School is finished for the year.
And let me just say that we barely made it across the finish line. Year-end is tough with state testing, finals and projects. With my newly minted 7th and 9th grader, I am already hearing guffaws from the many parents that walked ahead of me. "You think that year was hard? Wait until high school!" My hats off to teachers around the world. You are amazing. Especially because you are willing to come back and do this year after year!!!!!
With one week in between school end and diabetes camp, I am now scrambling to put together two campers packing list. Part of which includes the annual care package.
You may remember my post from two years ago HERE. I thought I would update it with a bit more of a 'Teen' look.
First, start with a basic box. You can use shoe boxes or recycle old UPS boxes. I purchased two simple photo boxes from Michael's craft store. Each cost just $3.99. During a sale, the boxes are often as inexpensive as three for $5.00. You can also find coupons for regularly priced items which discount around 40% off online.
I try to choose colors that are more neutral now. While my girls love pink, they both have recently changed out the look and feel of their bedrooms. When camp is over, the boxes will stay in their rooms and be used to hold school papers, keepsakes and more. Having a nice neutral color is a great way to blend decor.
At the same time that I purchased the boxes, I also picked up a few inexpensive packs of stickers to decorate each box with. One rule of thumb for all items that go to camp is to make sure their is a label with the campers name. Letter stickers work nicely for this.
As I mentioned above, the boxes will stay in their room. For this reason, I purposely am not going to decorate the label area. When they come home, the girls will make labels to identify the contents. Most likely, the boxes will hold other items after that.
Next, the fun part... gather up your goodies. This year, I chose items that appeal to older girls ages 10-15. You can easily adapt this to suit your child (boys too!) with whatever items they find to be fun.
Some ideas include:
- Outdoor toys like balls, Frisbees, discs.
- Travel games, journals and comic books.
- Sunblock, lip balm and hats.
- Beach towels, string backpacks.
- Tattoos, fingernail stickers, stuffed animals.
- Or anything else that you choose!
Our camp does prohibit all food items - including gum, anything that looks like or is a weapon, nothing needing the use of matches, and no electronic devices. This is not the time to give your child a cell phone to call home. One of the best "perks" of camp is that your child is able to unplug and enjoy friendships in the wild outdoors. Nothing is better than that.
While this is fine to send, I generally avoid items that contain scent that may attract mosquitoes. Therefore, no perfume, body spray or lotions. Deodorant and soap for the shower is a MUST! The rest of the cabin will thank you!!!
I try to select a few group oriented activities. Should my child have a quiet moment back in the cabin, often, having a small toy to play with a buddy is a great way to ward off home-sickness. The Cahootie catcher is a perfect example. You can also send scrap paper and instructions with how to make these as a group activity too. Directions are on Pinterest.
Window markers are also fun and easy to clean up when the week is over. Everyone in the cabin can take turns personalizing their cabin space. This is stain-free fun too. No damage to the cabin or the kids.
Useful items work well too. My youngest had her eyes on the beautiful rhinestone goggles for weeks. Without her knowing, I was able to pick up a pair for herself and for her sister's surprise box. I know this will get used well beyond camp time and while it was a bit of splurge, it is also going to be well loved.
Other silly and fun items for the group to enjoy include things like glow bracelets, glow necklaces, flower leis, bandannas, face paint or something like this hot pink temporary hair spray. This can be used by all of the girls and will wash out in the lake at swimming time or in the showers before bed. More fun for all.
I also include postcards which are pre-addressed and stamped for mailing to home. To make it even more fun, I added a silly crayola pen. In the picture below that, we had some leftover party favors that included mini note-pads, perfect for playing tic-tac-toe or writing notes between bunk beds and also, two more pens to share with cabin mates.
Nothing fancy here, but a deck of cards is the ultimate camp toy. The kids will play all sorts of games such as go fish, spoons, war, etc.. Everyone can join in on the fun too.
At night, it is also nice to have a quiet toy. This works for my youngest daughter especially. She will smoosh and toss this little guy in her bed until she is ready for sleep. It also works to have something to hold onto for site changes on her insulin pump. Although at camp, she tends to be more brave and confident in her care. It is camp magic!
I do also tuck in a love note from home and a few other goodies like nail polish and magazines. A good book is also a favorite.
Here is the completed box. Next, I will wrap this up in plain brown paper and address to my daughter's name and cabin. A special tip is that if you are going to the camp, you can drop this off at the office and avoid any postal fees. Just be sure to add the day that you want it delivered. I tend to ask for Tuesday as it seems like a great time in the middle of the camp experience (Sunday is drop off day for us) and I want the girls to be able to have time to use the items that I packed.
Here is the finished product. Just six more days until camp. Now, to get busy on packing!
Happy diabetes camp week!