Camp can be a wonderful but strange experience, especially for first-timers. If your friend or child is away at summer camp for the first time, they'll likely be having a blast, but it can be disorienting to get used to living away from home and family. These gifts, however, are great to receive, whether your camper is away for the first time or a counselor-in-training.
Send a care package. The care package is a classic fun gift to send to someone away at camp. Care packages usually include some combination of candy that won't melt, a blank journal and pens, sheets of stickers, wardrobe staples like socks or underwear, sunblock and small trinkets that are uniquely suited to the camper's personality or likes and tastes. These could include a small stuffed animal, a cloth headband, a mix CD or a sketchbook. Including a handwritten note with your care package will seal the deal, and your camper will feel extra-special to know that you're thinking of him.
Card and Board Games
Send your camper small or travel-sized card and board games that she can share with fellow campers. Some ideas are pocket or magnetic editions of checkers, chess or backgammon, a deck of playing cards, a book of MadLibs or Parcheesi. Look for games that will fit in a shoebox-sized package and that are specifically designed for travel or children, to minimize the risk of losing any playing pieces.
Crafts and Activities
Send someone at camp an activity or supplies for their preferred craft for their downtime at summer camp. This can be as simple as vibrantly colored embroidery thread for weaving friendship bracelets, several large beads and a leather cord to thread them on, coloring books for all ages or a box of watercolors and some heavy paper along with a brush.
Comply with the Camp's Rules
Make sure you aren't sending items to your camper that are prohibited by the camp. For example, camps located in particularly remote locations frequently forbid sending candy or chocolate, as these sugary foodstuffs can attract wildlife. It's rarely a good idea to send money, not least because your camper probably won't be able to put it to use while at camp. Also make sure to avoid knives or sharp objects, including Swiss Army knives, useful though they may be. Consult the camp's website or ask the director if you're unsure, and when in doubt, it's better not to send the questionable item just to be safe.
Goody Clairenstein has been a writer since 2004. She has sat on the editorial board of several non-academic journals and writes about creative writing, editing and languages. She has worked in professional publishing and news reporting in print and broadcast journalism. Her poems have appeared in "Small Craft Warnings." Clairenstein earned her Bachelor of Arts in European languages from Skidmore College.