Grandma’s best care package to camp

Our oldest grandson is going to sleep away camp for the first time.  This means a mission to create the best care package to send to camp.

First, though, is finding interesting cards, postcards, and letters so the camper gets something in the mail each day.  I love the internet.  You can buy cards, personalize them, and have them sent directly to the camper specifying the exact date you want the cards mailed.  The best website I found was www.greetingcarduniverse.com.  They had so many card choices especially for campers.  I was able to send a great personalized Fourth of July card.  I read to do silly and funny.  This website had silly and funny cards too and so did www.gottagreatgift.com.  Www.hallmark.com had some cute cards that can be personalized on line and also sends directly specifying the exact date you want the cards mailed.  Please remember to check www.retailmenot and the websites themselves for specials.

Next, I sent postcards to fill in the dates in between.  Postcards do exactly what is recommended, to send simply “I love you,” sometimes.  Be careful of the “I miss you” as that can make the camper homesick, I read.  Also, careful with sending photos as that can make the camper homesick.  For another mailing, I made fourteen copies of “On Top of Spaghetti,” copied off the internet and sent those.  It is the favorite camp song.  Websites recommended sending jokes and riddles, so I chose what I considered the best on the web, putting into google search, “riddles for nine year olds,” and cutting and pasting from what came up.  I ended up with two pages worth that I personally liked and sent those off in an envelope for one day’s mail.  Other things to mail are mazes, brainteasers, or color pages of their favorite characters you can find and print off the internet and send in an envelope.  You can also buy ready made books of the mazes, brainteasers and coloring books.

The hardest thing about being a grandparent sending a care package to camp is limiting what you buy.  The websites said not to overwhelm the camper with a huge package.

If you are too busy to create your own care package or just want to take the recommendations of “experts,” there are websites that will send ready made care packages for you.  Www.eswak.com or Sealed with a Kiss, is one of the largest companies and highly recommended.  www.fussbudget.com and www.camppacs.com are two other websites to check out.  They all have different size packages at different prices.

There are so many simple and easy gifts to send in a camp package.  The easiest is to send a deck of cards and run instructions off on the internet for card games.  I found an already made set with instructions for 35 card games, including versions of solitaire and games to play with others, at Learning Express, called “The Book of Cards for Kids” by Workman Publishing.  Learning Express has a website, but the store assistants in the store are most helpful.  They recommended “Spot It” by Blue Orange, a card game that they said is the best.  Always check the website and www.retailmenot for specials.  All summer 2012, Learning Express is giving 20% off on Mondays.  I also bought “Joke Box” by Schylling at Learning Express. Websites recommended joke items, and this $14.98 box included eight favorites.  Another option is magic tricks, as there are $5 individual boxes; a book was recommended: Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic, if you go that route. Also recommended on the web was Camp Daze Mad Libs, which Learning Express had.

I found many interesting things at Barnes and Noble, Michael’s, Toys R Us and even Walgreen’s.  One favorite on every website was to send a disposable camera for the camper to take pictures.  Temporary tattoos, inflatable beach ball, all kinds of cheap beach games, frisbee, water gun, water balloons, funny flashlights and batteries, small craft items; child, fashion and sports magazines and an address book (for them to write campers’ information) are easily found in the corner drug store.

Color war brings new ideas for cards and packages.  Once the camper knows his color, www.gottagreatgift.com has color war cards to send.  Once the camper knows his or her college team, you can get a cap, sweatshirt, socks or t shirt from the team to send in the package.  This was my daughter’s idea, and she let me send it instead of her!  I read that campers can always use extra socks or an extra sweatshirt.

My favorite website is www.gottagreatgift.com.  It has so many of the items recommended on different blogs, etc.  It has fikisports, which you can get there or on fikisports.com.  I never heard of this before, but apparently campers love these games.  It also has the other recommended items: camp pillowcase with markers for campers to autograph, or “graffiti T shirts with markers, a game called “Do Over,” a game called “Top Trump Bugs,” a mini block ipod dock speaker, “rubber band jump rope.”  The owner actually picks up the telephone if you call the number on the website and will make special recommendations for your specific camper.

It is recommended that you buy some items that the camper can do alone, if he or she wants.  Every blog recommended Klutz items.  Friendship bracelets was the most recommended for girls.  Pick your favorite.  They are easily found everywhere.  Barnes and Noble and Learning Express had the best selection.

I took advantage of the fact I live in Florida to send Florida postcards, a Florida sweatshirt, Florida shorts with a shark on them, nothing over $10 from a store called Wings.

Finally, the rest of the recommended items I found on blogs and in articles: “Kendama,” “Hyperhead Dud,” “Moody Face,” Scholastic Book of World Records, “Astrojax Game,” and “Slam Dunk Basketball hoop.” One website recommended a water resistant glow in the dark plastic watch, with timer and alarm.  I think it is cheaper to buy the neon glow bracelets or necklaces at Toys R Us.

It is easy to find inexpensive camp package items.  The hardest part is deciding what to get to limit the package to about 12″ by 12″!

Finally, care package complete.  Everything labeled and name tags in. So here it is:

 

  • Colorforms 10th Anniversary Edition — requested by camper (Amazon.com)
  • Box of Jokes (Learning Express)
  • Dell Word Search (Walgreens)
  • Light up pen (lights up blue)(free)
  • Alligator pen (Wings)
  • Shark’s tooth on black chain (Wings)
  • Address book (Walgreens)
  • Star Wars Mad Libs (His mother got the camp one!) (Learning Express)
  • 35 mm disposable camera with flash (Walgreens)
  • The Book of Cards for Kids (Learning Express)
  • extra deck of cards–sharks (Wings)
  • Frisbee (CVS)
  • Spot It! (Learning Express)
  • Travel Battleship game (CVS)
  • Glow Necklaces and Bracelets (CVS)
  • Think Fun Amaze–16 Mazes (Barnes and Noble)
  • Signable Pillow Case–sports (www.gottagreatgift.com)
  • Laser Fingers (www.gottagreatgift.com)
  • Klutz Draw DC Universe (Learning Express)
  • DC Nation Super Spectacular Comics–3 in one (Barnes and Noble)
  • Marvel Super Heroes Magazine (Barnes and Noble)
  • Miami Heat Basketball Team Championship cap (Amazon.com)
  • Miami Heat Championship Newspaper pullout (Miami Herald)


Okay.  I admit I went overboard.  What did you expect!

Mission accomplished with love and

Joy,
Mema

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