Prev Next

Five Ways To Keep In Touch While Your Kid’s At Camp

By Melissa Summers

Do you have kids who go away to camp? Tell me what it’s like…to have kids who go away in the summer. And don’t need your constant attention or need you to keep them busy or want you to take them to the pool or feed them 3 or 4 times a day(!).

I have children I don’t think will ever make the leap to sleep away camp. I could be wrong, but I’ve come to accept that summer will be my time to remember why I had two kids even though it’s so much easier now than it was when they were under 3.

For now sleep away camp will remain a glorious dream.

When I went to camp, I loved hearing from home because I was constantly inexplicably homesick. Even though I was having fun at camp and even though I would be having no fun at home. A lot of kids need a little love from home to feel comfortable out of their normal routine. Also some lovely models of children simply like getting cool things from home to share with friends at camp.

Here are five ways to keep in touch with your camper while they’re having fun and occasionally feeling homesick.

Send Mail Ahead, Make Replying Easy

A friend’s mother would always send her daughter off to camp with mail waiting at camp for her to open on arrival. She also sent her off with stationary, addressed envelopes, and to encourage more writing than “Camp Is Fun” she included prompts to open her up, like “Tell us the funniest thing that’s happened at camp so far.”

Indulge Their Desire To Be “Cool”

keep in touch with kids at campDo the kids at camp love trading cards? Candy? Find out what the kids at camp like trading or consider especially valuable and send it along with them. This is one of those times it’s okay to indulge your kid in a little peer pressure.


Start a Craft Trend

keep in touch with kids at campDo you remember making friendship bracelets from embroidery floss? I spent many hours making specially ordered bracelets for my best pals at camp. What about beaded friendship pins to stick on your shoelaces? Help your kid be a trend setter at camp and send along everything they need (and enough extra to share) to make these fun little crafts. Here’s a great tutorial and supply list for friendship bracelets and another for the friendship pins.

Send “Fun” Mail

keep in touch with kids at campDon’t just send letters off to camp. Try sending along pictures of pets, siblings and friends from home, maybe in a cute picture frame. Hung up in their cabins and they let their new pals know who they are at home. Mad Libs are a great cabin activity kids can do together and I know if I sent a teen celebrity magazine to any cabin my daughter was a part of, she would never even consider missing her family again.

Camping With Technology

keep in touch with kids at camp

If your kid has access to a computer or even a cellphone (though don’t get me started on why eight-year-olds think cellphones are must haves) try sending emails and pictures over the net. This is undeniably the quickest way to keep in touch and have back and forth conversations about what’s going on at camp. Other clever ways to use technology to keep in touch: sign your kid up for a private Twitter account and send and get updates throughout their big adventures. If your kid has a camera, have them email digital files they’ve got of friends at camp and send back prints for them to share with friends.

If you’ve got a kid at camp, what creative ways do you keep in touch?

Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


  • Jenny

    July 16, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I don’t have kids that are going to camp yet, but I had a mom who got homesick in college, dropped out, and ended up in nursing school close to home. She was determined that we would spend time away from home when we were young. So I went to a week or 2 week camp from age 9 to about 15. And I loved it. On a side note, there are 5 of us kids and we figured out that they have had kids at camp for about 45 weeks and have spent around 20,000 dollars sending us to camp over the years!
    Anyway, here are some things that I remember my mom doing. The first few years, she would send a letter and have it waiting for me. My Grandma would always write me too. And sometimes our pets would ‘write’ us notes.
    One thing to remember is that sometimes too many letters from home make an already homesick kid even more homesick. Something you have to gauge with your kid.

  • Lisa

    July 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I remember going away to camp as a kid and like you I was having a blast but was extremely homesick even though I really didn’t necessarily want to be home either.
    My mom would pre-mail letters so I’d get it on the first or 2nd day. She’d also a special treat into my bag as a surprise…new stuff animal or something of the sort so I had something there with me.

  • feefifoto

    July 22, 2008 at 12:30 am

    If the child is having a birthday while at camp you can send a party in a box, with hats and plates and stuff.
    While both my kids were at different camps this summer I sent them the same letter, with comments and responses to their previous letters home, so they could get an idea of what the other was up to.
    Plus, did you know you can put a stamp on almost anything, even an unwrapped raw potato, and the USPS has to deliver it? I wrote about it on my blog:

  • Jaimie

    July 22, 2008 at 10:04 am

    As a veteran camper (11 years at camp), a few tips:
    1. Our camp did not allow campers to keep candy in their cabins (because of animals). If parents sent a package with candy in it the candy would be temporarily confiscated until the last night of camp, when you could have a sugar free-for-all. This could be fun, as well, but it’s something to keep in mind that if you are sending up packages of candy they may not be immediately enjoyed.
    2. Instead, sending little toys can be fun (bubbles, Frisbees) or costumey things (masks, beads). There are always tons of dress-up opportunities at camp.
    3. Don’t underestimate how much kids appreciate mail from home. I was never really a homesick child but I LOVED getting mail!

  • Supermom

    July 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    I have been sending my kids to camp for a few years now…and they love it! Before they left for camp this year, I bought each of them a TracFone prepaid phone. I don’t remember what it’s called, but I know it was a Motorola. Service is as little as $7 a month for the minimal contact needed to be in touch. What I bought them is something called the double minutes feature gives them 120 minutes for under $20 for 3 months. The phone has a radio, a camera, has sudoku, tetris, and even soccer games built in. They love the phone and it’s super cheap.