Wednesday, June 24, 2015

summer camp checklists

this is a sponsored post for cvs minute clinic. the thoughts and opinions are all my own.

summer is in full swing. i'm juggling the summer activities of my five little troopers and we are enjoying a change of pace and some quality time together. there is a limit, however, to how much togetherness we can tolerate before the fighting begins. that's just life and our own little bit of normalcy. there are seven of us in one house for the summer and it makes things pretty chaotic. having a schedule and some planned activities for different kiddos helps tremendously to keep everyone moving and to make together time a bit less intense. i don't know about you, but i have scheduled camps, vacation bible schools and other activities to keep everyone occupied as the weeks move on.


this year my two oldest did two different sports camps. while they weren't sleep away camps (wouldn't that be amazing?), they were still camps that required some preparation and some planning. if you are sending your kiddos to camps this year, here are some tips to make the process run a little bit more smoothly.

1) plan ahead. 



many camps require camp physicals. even if they don't, summer physicals are a great way to make sure your camper is ready for all the demands summer camps have to offer. make sure your kiddos are up to date on immunizations and get the camp physicals done as quickly as possible. we love heading over to the cvs minute clinic to get all our quick medical trips in. the nurse practitioners review immunization records, do a thorough check-up, and will complete any necessary paperwork. we don't need an appointment and we can get everything handled in one day...physicals included. my insurance pays for the visit and i'm good to go. i'll take anything quick and painless when i'm carting five kids around!

2) pack by outfit. 


this is my go-to packing plan for all our trips and especially for anything where the kids sleep away. i help the kids pack their bags by outfit per day. this helps us not to overpack and it helps the kids to be organized as they travel. with my kids away on overnight trips, i also put each day's outfit in a ziplock bag. i do this for multiple reasons. first, there is nothing worse than the smell of dirty camp clothes. if the kids take the clean clothes out of a ziplock bag and put the dirty cloths back in the ziplock bag, the smell is contained. no one wants to put on clean clothes that smell like end-of-the-day camp wear. ziplock bags solve this completely. this also helps kids to remember to actually change their clothes and their underwear each day. i can't tell you how many friends i have who tell me they sent a bunch of clothes with their kids only to have them return home in the same outfit they left in...socks and underwear included. just...gross. one ziplock for one day's clothing works wonders. it's worth the extra effort.

3) send something familiar. 


pack the favorite blanket or stuffed animal. pack the special things the kids love to sleep with or the items they go to for comfort when they are upset. camp can be hard for kiddos so having loved items in hand can make the experience that much easier on them.

4) send more snacks than you think necessary. 



my daughter went to gymnastics camp this year. she did hard core, exhausting physical exercise and conditioning for six hours a day. imaging going to a boot camp or cross fit for six solid hours several days in a row. she was exhausted and absolutely starving. i packed her with tons of snacks to help her get through the day. if you are at the cvs minute clinic, stop in by their snack foods. we found a ton of great options for her and my son to keep them going through the day.


5) stay in touch. 


find a way for the kiddos to stay in touch with you during camp. if the camp has the capabilities, make sure your kids know how to email you when away from home. if there are phones, make sure your kids know how to reach you if they need an "i love you" for the day. if those aren't possibilities, send some self addressed, stamped envelopes with the kids and stationary for them to write you the old fashioned way. they will also love getting cards in the mail from you at camp. send a photo and a little memento from home to help ward of homesickness. a photo and a little note from home can be just what is needed when the kids are away and missing home.

6) remember first aid. 



don't forget all the other camp essentials. send plenty of sunscreen, uv protectant lip balm, uv protectant sunglasses, bug repellant, calamine lotion or benedryl spray, and bandages. i love these sports bandages for my kiddos that i found at cvs because they are sweat resistant for my little athletes. whatever you might prefer, sending a little first aid kit helps kids feel secure knowing they are prepared for anything that might come their way.

7) have them chronicle their trip. 


send a notebook or a disposable camera. ask your kids to write down what they did each day so they can share it with you when they return home. encourage them to remember details in writing so they can relive their experience in the future. they'll look back on those memories happily in years to come.

8) have a plan if things go wrong. 


let's just say your kids didn't remember "leaves of three, let them be" or they didn't put on sunscreen as well as they imagined. let's say they got stung by some insect and the wound looks less than wonderful. when summer mishaps happen, it's great to know there is a place you can go for quick treatment of minor injuries and problems. we head to minute clinic when these unfortunate occurrences happen as well. the nurse practitioners can treat poison oak and poison ivy, they can treat bug bites when needed and can even help relieve painful sunburns. i love the ease and of these appointments. you will love them too.

9) have fun! 



enjoy the moments when your kids are off enjoying time away. take a deep breath and know that, in the midst of all the running around and the chaos, you and your kids are building memories that will last a lifetime. summer is magical for kids. it can be magical for us parents too...especially when the kids are off at camp.