There is no gift better than the gift of CAMP! Organized activities, opportunities to learn new skills and developing close-knit friendships are all gifts that will last a lifetime. Once the decision is made to give camp (truly the best gift of all) – parents may find themselves looking for fun and inexpensive gift ideas for their camper!
I’ve received excellent “camp related” gifts over the years and I mail my campers something special every winter to get them excited for the upcoming camp season. This year, I’ve narrowed down my long Santa scroll to the Top 10 Gift Ideas that any veteran or newbie camper will love to open this Holiday Season! Click on the pictures for a link to the product.
- Personalized Deck of Cards: Cards are a great all-inclusive game for any age camper. Make their deck extra special by getting them personalized! Consider an all-family photo, a sweet photo of your camper with his or her pet, or a cherished scenery photo of a favorite place or backyard to appear on the deck. They will have the coolest cards to share during cabin rounds of “Slap Jack” and “Crazy Eights.”
- Colored Zinc: Are you worried about your camper not wearing sunscreen? Make sunscreen fun by gifting colored zinc. Campers won’t forget to decorate their faces with all different colors and designs before heading to the lake for a swim. You can be creative by choosing their camp colors so they also remember to wear it for special events or camp pride days.
- Mini Poncho: Yes, it’s true; rainy days at camp are still better than sunny days anywhere else. But why pack a large, heavy rain jacket that takes up tons of space and is only worn maybe a few times? These mini ponchos that fold up are so practical (and stylish) in bright patterns and colors. Once they dry up, your camper can just wrap them back up and stick the poncho away in his or her trunk, taking up minimal space.
- Toiletry Pouches:Sharing a small bathroom space with twelve other campers and counselors isn’t easy – and keeping your own toiletries and personal items organized is important. For girls, check out these sweet pouches in different sizes that will look neat on a shared bathroom shelf and for boys check out thismasculine toiletry backpack in camouflage that he can hang off a bathroom shelf.
- Headlamp Flashlight: At the end of a fun, silly, adventurous and LONG day at camp – there is nothing better than getting under your covers and having a little bit of “flashlight time” before falling asleep. This headlamp flashlight is truly the best. Campers can strap it onto their heads to have their hands free for reading, games or that last minute trip to the bathroom before bed!
- Showaflops: Flip-flops are an absolute must at camp for showering! Showaflops are comfortable, practical and fun. They are quick drying flip-flops with slip resistant holes making them the coolest sandal to wear to the showers or to the lake.
- Airbrush Sports Balls: Footballs, frisbees, soccer balls, hackie sacks – all things your campers will find all over camp. But your camper will love having his or her favorite item airbrushed with his or her name (or camp name!) on it!
- Stationary: Stationary is the perfect gift for all those parents out there who are convinced their child will actually find time to write them letters this summer. 🙂 Check out this adorable stationary that you can monogram or personalize for those few (I mean… MANY!!!) letters home to parents, friends and grandparents.
- Banana Grams: This is an educational and fun game for boys and girls, best described to me once by a camper as “Modern Scrabble!” Campers can even come up with themes for different rounds. For example, “only camp words!” “only names of camp activities!” or “only counselor names!”
- Temporary Tattoos: I can’t promise your camper won’t hack into these before he or she departs for camp… but temporary tattoos and hand tattoos are always popular at camp. Campers are constantly dressing up for different themed events and campfires; and these are easy to pack and inexpensive idea to send them with.
And don’t forget to check with your camp to see if they have an online store, where you can often buy camp T-shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas and more fun logo-wear to show your camp pride.
Director, Camp Chinqueka
About the Author
Amanda Ward is the Director of Camp Chinqueka, having spent many summers as a camper there in the 1990’s and started as a staff member in the 2005. She has fond memories of the activities she tried, the lessons she learned and the friends she met along the way. Amanda graduated from Kent School in Kent, Connecticut and and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She has a background in Theater and Education and has taught Fifth Grade and Kindergarten in both Connecticut and Manhattan (NYC) private schools. Amanda’s love for working with children, training counselors and teaching camp traditions continues to grow every year. She develops close relationships with campers and camp families and prides herself on knowing every one of her campers by name!