Our physical mailboxes have become somewhat archaic, but at summer camp mail time can be an event unto itself. Assembling a camp writing kit opens up a chance to talk about what your child is feeling about going to overnight camp and as a bonus creates a stepping stone to a successful transition.
Together search for the following:
- A writing box or writing folder— a shoe box works well, or a colorful folder with pockets. Either can be decorated, which often becomes a project unto itself.
- Writing paper — if you are channeling Martha Stewart you can make your own, but you may well have plenty of odds and ends of notecards and writing paper already on hand. Gather them together and let your child select the ones she wants to take. Help her pre-fold the paper to fit the envelopes.
- Stamps — take a trip to the post office and let him pick out the stamp design. Or go online where you can still buy the Disney Pixar collection. If she will be writing family and friends outside of the country, remember to buy international stamps. Now mailing a standard international letter or a postcard from the United States costs $1.15 regardless of destination country.
- Addresses — who does she want to write from camp? Who does he know that will write back? You may want to select an aunt or uncle or teacher who is likely to return his correspondence, especially if he will be away for 2 weeks or longer.
- Pencils with erasers and a sharpener — if your child is used to writing in pen then include pens, but often students use pencils exclusively for writing at school. Including colored pencils gives her the option of decorating her letters as well— sometimes pictures are more expressive than words. And I haven’t seen a cabin yet with a built-in pencil sharpener. So if you think he’ll write more than two letters, it’s a good idea to include one.
I find pre-addressed envelopes invaluable for 7, 8 and 9 year old campers, and pre-printed labels valuable for just about everyone at camp— including the camp director! If you’re working on your child’s penmanship then she can write out the envelope addresses for herself, but otherwise, print out the addresses on labels or directly on the envelopes.
In any case, have the addresses written out before heading to camp. When a child has worked carefully on writing a lengthy missive of her morning and then the rest bell rings, she is unlikely to take the time to address the envelope before jumping into her bathing suit and running down to the lake. So if you are looking forward to receiving her letters in your mailbox rather than when you open her trunk in August, you will benefit by pre-addressing the envelopes.