We know: summer has just about ended, so a list for school supplies makes a lot more sense than essentials for camp. If your kids went this summer, they probably received a checklist of things to bring, and it probably wasn’t consulted until just before they left. Packing for camp usually entails a costly last minute trip to the store, so it’s never too early to prepare for a Texas summer camp. Every camp experience varies, but we’ve assembled a basic list you should have on hand, or at least keep in mind, long before your kids head off to camp again.
- Sun protection. Texas is hot. If you live in the state, you know it; if you’re just sending your kids to a Texas summer camp, you’ve at least heard about it. It’s not the desolate, stifling landscape shown in a lot of old Westerns, but in the summer months, there’s not a lot of escape from the sun. Hats and sunscreen are absolute essentials. A bad sunburn on the first day can ruin any camp experience.
- Grungy clothing. Even if you’ve raised a Little Lord Fauntleroy, he’s going to get messy at a Texas summer camp. It’s just a fact of the experience. Without a washer and dryer on hand, nearby parents to prevent a stain, or the usual clean activities of school and watching television, shirts and pants rarely come back from camp pristine. Hiking, swimming, and the traditional activities of camp can soil a lot of clothes; so never send your kids off with a suitcase full of nice things. Throughout the year, hold onto the t-shirts, tennis shoes, and jeans with a tear or stain you’d usually toss. School can be a judgmental place, but at camp, everyone expects to be a little dirty. Arriving with clothes already grungy isn’t a bad thing.
- Bedding. Every camp does this a little differently, but not a lot will supply their campers with linens. Sheets and a thin blanket (you don’t need to bundle up for a Texas summer camp) can be nice reminders of home, but a simple sleeping bag works just about as well—and the fewer things kids have to take to camp, the fewer chances they’ll have to lose them. Don’t forget a pillow either; just cover it with an old pillowcase, since hair grease seems to accumulate more at camp.
- Toiletries. You’re not there to make sure they brush their teeth every night, but you can at least ensure they have the supplies to remain hygienic. Just keep it to the basics. Towels, soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and a toothbrush are about as much as you can hope they’ll remember to use. If they normally wear contacts, switching to glasses for the week will probably be a lot easier, since small, delicate things rarely do well at a Texas summer camp.
- Something fun. Most kids these days are addicted to the television, so a Texas summer camp can be a great time to remind them of the world outside of electronics. Read reviews throughout the year of new young adult books, and pack one as a surprise among their clothes. Sending them a harmonica, journal, or disposable camera will also encourage them to learn other skills, which can make camp all the more memorable when they return.