Creative Care Packages

While your camper is busy camping and you are spending your days missing them or doing the “Happy Dance,” show them that they are not too far away with these creative care package ideas. Choose one and call it done or do one a week for those who camp for weeks on end. These ideas are just a means to get you started. Use your own creativity and make them your own. Cater them to their recipient.

Balloons in a Box
The helium in Mylar balloons last for days, sometimes weeks. Pack a big box full of helium-filled Mylars and a card or fresh batch of your best homemade cookies or both! It will be a nice surprise when the balloons gently lift the scent of cookies out of the box as smiley faces and “Miss you” balloons head to the ceiling. Make sure to put a note on the outside of the box to “Open Indoors, Only!” Depending on the length of their stay, the balloons may follow them home, too.

Home in a Box
Think of everything that makes your hometown YOURS! Really think. What would a tourist look for or find unique and interesting? Grab a newspaper, some local restaurant menus (with permission); take some quick snapshots from around town: the high school, your front yard, the dog, your camper’s bedroom, etc. Go to the local bakery and buy some old favorites. Put all of these things neatly in a box and wait for the phone call. If your child gets homesick easily, use your best judgment or that phone call could be them asking to come home.

Snack Bar in a Box
When I think of camp, I remember relay races, the hot sun and lots of hikes and swimming. Think about how tuckered out your young one is and throw together some healthy snacks to keep her in tip-top shape. Think healthy! There are a huge variety of child-friendly protein bars and healthy snack bars on the market. Collect a few of her favorite flavors. Apples and oranges last quite a while and although they make for a heavy package to ship, they ship well. A good place to look for non-perishable snacks is at your local sporting goods store in the, believe it or not, camping section! (Note: some camps do not allow food packages for campers. Be sure to follow the rules or your package will be discarded.)

Top 10 in a Box
A little humor goes a long way at the end of a long trip away from home. Turn on “David Letterman” and watch his Top 10 to get some ideas. Think about your camper’s top 10 favorite things. Collect the items that can be shipped and take photos of those things that can’t be. Some ideas of things to collect: favorite CD, magazine, book, stuffed animal, etc. Things to photograph: favorite place to go, photo of the mall, the skate park, a best friend, etc. Place each item in a box and wrap with solid color wrapping paper. Number each item with bold marker and include instructions to open #10 first, then #9 and so on. Think long and hard about what to make #1. Maybe a picture of Mom and Dad!

The Hobby Box
Whether your camper is a budding artist, a musician or a trivia buff, I am sure you could find numerous items to send off that would have him skipping through the next few days of camp. Maybe he enjoys photography — pack up a few of the latest photo magazines and some disposable cameras. Maybe he needs a talent for the camp variety show — send him a magic kit and let him wow fellow campers with his slight of hand. Whatever his interests, let him see that you notice and he is on your mind. It will mean the world to him.

No matter what you are sending or whether it has a theme or not, you are telling them how much you love and miss them and how you can’t wait for them to get home (well, kinda!). Have fun and get packing!