Packing Tips for Sleepaway Camp

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I'm on year four of packing my kids for sleepaway camp and every year I learn something new that helps with making the process go a little more smoothly - for both the parents AND the kids. So, I thought I would share some of those tips with you and save you some of the trial and errors we've gone through.

1. Labels - lots of labels

It takes a LOT of labels to label everything for summer camp. I often under estimate how many we'll need or forget to order them until the last minute.

I love Mabel's Labels because they ship really quickly and they have a camp specific kit that makes it easier for me to know what I need. I go through a lot of their little labels on clothes (and stopped bothering to label their socks) and put multiple big labels on the really valuable things (like life jackets!).

I also just order our last name since a lot of the stuff passes from kid to kid and when I'm lucky, some of the things are already labeled when I go through it the next year!

While I am sometimes tempted to not label everything, the camp my kids go to do the entire cabin's laundry in one go, once a week, so having names on things is an easy way for everyone to get their own stuff back.

2. Send the old stuff

These kids are going to get DIRTY and stinky and wreck a lot of the clothing that gets sent to camp. Send the old crappy clothing and don't worry about trying to get them all kinds of new stuff.

Along this same note... be prepared that some things won't make it home - the brand new water shoes and lifejacket that disappeared are ultimately a small price to pay for the amazing experience of camp! :)

3. Plastic bins and plastic drawer systems

I've been using the bins for three years and only just discovered the drawer systems so haven't implemented it yet, but will definitely be doing this next year.

Plastic bins are a great way to store all the non-clothing stuff and get it to and from camp easily. I've found that some of the cabins have shelving and storage and some don't, so having an easy way to separate the clothing from the other things the kids will need is a handy and easy way to pack.

I recently discovered something other parents do and plan to try it next year: buy plastic drawer systems and essentially deliver your children to camp with a dresser and their clothing already organized! 

4. Make sure your kids know what's theirs

The first year my child tried to use shampoo as insect repellant for a week (WHAT?!) because he never took the time to read the bottle carefully and last year one of my kids thought he didn't have a toiletries bag because he didn't recognize the one on his shelf with all of his stuff (that was also full of his stuff) so BORROWED toiletries all week. 

Make sure your kids know what they have with them, even if you're only finalizing all the packing late the night before you leave, or all your time and effort may go to waste if they don't even realize all the amazing stuff you packed them is theirs!

5. Get your kids involved in the packing

My kids each get a copy of the packing list and they are responsible for getting me everything they're bringing in one spot, creating a shopping list for what they're missing and labelling the items. Packing kids up for camp is a big job and I get them as involved as possible. See note above for what happens when they aren't involved in every single step! ;)

I keep learning more every year but hopefully these tips will help make packing your kids up for sleepaway camp a bit easier!

Summer Camp at Starr Gymnastics!

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When you send your kids to camp, you want to know that they are safe, with good friends (or ready to make some new ones), and having fun all week long. You want the price to be reasonable and you want to feel that your children will come out of a five day journey with stories to tell and a desire to go back again. When they want more, you know you've made the right choice. Well, if you send them to Starr Gymnastics Summer Camp, you might be shocked when they tell you that this is the ONLY camp they ever want to do!

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Your child's week starts with gymnastics. After all, that's what Starr does best! Every child will learn something! It might be that they learn to flip for the first time, or they finally get that cartwheel that they've been practicing at recess for the last month. Every athlete is made to feel special and will learn new skills. Even kids that take regular lessons will find they are doing tons of "outside the box" moves and twists. The purpose of the camp is to explore the less conventional side of gymnastics and really get excited about the creativity of the sport.

Follow Monday with some group games, trips to the park, crafts, weekly themes ranging from Disney Day to Space Day (yes, that's where they do gymnastics with glow sticks and black lights!) and you're left with the highlight of the week - Friday's BIG SHOW TIME. If your child is falling asleep in the car on the way home every day isn't enough satisfaction, you are invited on Friday afternoon to see a live performance of all they've learned, packaged neatly with music and cheers - in true big top style! The Coaches even put on a show, reminding the parents that your children are surrounded by true role models who love what they do!

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And that's another point that sticks with families that register for Camps at Starr. The staff are the most dynamic, caring and friendly people you will ever meet. They seem to genuinely have a passion for excellence, and they help every child achieve their best by inspiring them, not ordering them around. They are always approachable and happy to accommodate your needs whenever possible. Their flexibility (no pun intended) is matched only by their safety-conscious approach to the finer details of camp. You think you are dropping your kids off to learn gymnastics, but once you see how seriously Starr manages allergies, outings, lunch-checks, and attendance, you realize that you are getting so much more.

So it might not just be your kids that want Starr, and ONLY Starr! 

For more information - please visit www.starrgymnastics.com or call their central office at 613-721-4868

Editorial note: this post was sponsored by Starr Gymnastics.

Welcome to our new sponsor: Ottawa's leaders in science summer camps

We love working with Ottawa museums and three are grouped together to tell us about their exciting summer camps! Canada Agriculture MuseumCanada Agriculture Museum

Bringing the country to kids in the city A unique day camp adventure awaits you! Discover the fascinating world of farm animals with this fresh-air experience that will awaken your senses through nature studies, crafts, games and more.

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Kids, clouds, and cosmos Canada Aviation MuseumDevelop a passion for aviation, a love of history, and a sense of pride in this great country. Each camp features awesome games, historical tales of aviation adventures, fantastic crafts, amazing scientific experiments, and of course, a breathtaking flight over the Nation’s Capital!
Canada Science and Technology Museum Sciensational adventures

Kids who love adventure, discovery and hands-on experiments won’t want to be anywhere else this summer. The popular Canada Science and Technology Museum summer camps offer something for curious campers of all ages and interests.

Have you started signing your kids up for summer camp yet? Have they ever attended one of these?

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