Whether your visiting day was cancelled – or is bravely sullying forth – one thing has remained… visiting day packages! From wizened Camp Moms putting together camp baskets a decade after their first tearful summer, to newbs scouring Denny’s or Lester’s for ideas – these are the gifts most frequently bought and requested for visiting day, year after year! Most of us have a few days left to put this together, so head to your local camp store (or our dutiful amazon prime) and get it popping! We hyperlinked here to prime to simplify your life wherever we could, but if time is an issue – forget online, and take this list with you to your local camp shops quick as a stick.
Each child has their own specificities and requests, but there’s an over arching theme when it comes to visiting day gifts. Some kids prefer the glam and glittering a.k.a. supreme hats and sushi, but other kids just want the simple thing like some jacks, stickers, card games, and a bag of drugstore candy. Most likely your child will tell you what they want in the emails and letters that come fast and furiously before visiting day. But on the off chance your child says they need nothing, you’re going to have to come up with some good ideas. The last thing you want to do is be the only parent without a creative package going up on visiting day. Most kids really just wanna skip the little bits and pieces, and get straight to the candy.
These are the most requested items, according to our friends and camp experts. Don’t ask us why – desire has no reason. There are some things that are cool in camp, but not anywhere else! In general, Crocs stop being desirable when your child is three, but at camp they’re coveted all over again. Don’t be surprised when your child asks for jibbetz, jibbetz, and more jibbetz. It’s a camp thing.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:
Camp Mom guilty pleasure IG account Scary Camp Mom, an account that succinctly (and hilariously) picks apart the runaway train of emotions (and endless text threads) that is sending your child to sleepaway, says;
“Some Visiting Day items I’m loving: basketball jerseys, tackle boxes filled with candy, tattoo markers, madlibs, beads, beaded bracelets, mini dry erase board to play games like hangman, tic-tac-toe, and Wordle, this novelty bear fan that looks like a KAWS bear. And of course, replenish items like instax film and stationary.”
GirlieGirlArmy.com founder (and camp Mom of 3) Chloé Jo Davis says;
“Some of my visiting day package wins have been a huge box of Plus-Plus (they actually use it at camp!), Tech Decks, Rubik’s Cubes (the more special edition – the better,) Fake Tattoos, Sticker Beans, Jibbetz, Card Games (Top Trumps, Uno, Etc,) Pillows (particularly the customized ones with pix of your pets on them!), Portable Waterproof Speakers, Walky-Talkies, Clothes (my older son wants brands like Supreme and Nike),Custom Camp Hats, Sunglasses, Cool Sneakers, Insta Max Film And Polaroids, Candy Scented Notebooks Pens, Crazy Socks, Glittery Make up and Face Paint for Olympics, Rocket Copters, Diabolo, Rainbow Loom Sets, A pooping and farting Pen (can you tell I’m a boy Mom!), Comic Books, Sports Trading Cards – specifically Prizm cards (they are stupid expensive but they trade them all summer,) Custom sticker books and trading card albums, Custom Camp-Specific Hooded Blankets, Fun Hair Scrunchies for the girls, custom Oreos, Tamagotchi (throwback!!), Mini Handheld Video Games (banned in some camps, so ask!), unique Stamps, and lot’s of Candy (my sweets-expert friend Ginger told me this candy called Slime Lickers is currently the most coveted!) and – of course – tween fave – Taki’s.”
“Candy, candy, candy!”
Ginger Williams Sherak (longtime camp Mom of 2) shares her wins;
“Fun slippers, New water bottle, Lip gloss/chap stick, If you went to the camp… then something that was yours when you were there (eg: vintage bucket hat), Beaded bracelet with bunk name, and “All About Vibe” pillow of fave animal (see above,) The fan fave candy/snacks are Crystal Light, Blue slime lickers, Blue air heads, Dots pretzels, Funyuns (new on the list this year), Ramen, and Instant Mac n Cheese. My daughter loved that I sent zip locks last year! The counselors loved it too! Lol!”
Judaic Director at Camp Modin, Cantor from Temple Sholom of Chicago, and Mom of 2 campers, Sheera Ben-David’s perspective is;
“I don’t like to focus on what snacks and candy I can sneak into camp for my child. I think this might be the first in person camp visiting day for a lot of campers and their parents. So, to me, the best emphasis are on things that involve family play and the outdoors, but can be left behind in some way with our kids. So for example, a great picnic blanket, a frisbee, two tennis rackets, trivia and card games, anything you can do together as a family. Bring a Polaroid camera (buy one if you need to) and take family pics all day. Then you can leave the camera behind for your child. If you can leave behind sports equipment, games or something you all made together, it means more to kids than stashing sugar under their bunk beds. Try to create a special moment together during the day and a little memento from it.”
Lisi Metzger, a social media strategist and the founder of L Studio Media, a social media marketing agency based in New York – and camp mom of two keeps it simple;
“My kids love building legos so much, a large box of classic Lego pieces to build with their friends in the bunk can be really fun!”
Jody Geller is the owner of camp fave online store In.B.Tween and camp Momma based in Florida picks. We love to DM Jody on IG and pick her brains for camp gift ideas!;
“Anything colorwar! As moms we only have so much we can handle in the mental load category as we are packing the trunks to be ready early to mid June- our brains simply cant think about color war while we are making sure all of our kids underwear has a stamp on it! These 2 classic Color War Reversible Sequin Spirit Tank options are great for the girls, because they are reversible and can work with either color – you never know what team you will be on – so the 2 in 1 is an easy/ not bulky item to bring on Visiting day! The Drippy Heart Jersey is great – and also reversible – for boys or girls. Water bottles should be swapped out on visiting day- take those crusty mostly moldy stanky water bottles you sent them up with a replace with fresh clean new bottles they can use for the remainder of the summer. Have their names BOLDLY printed, so no mistake cooties are exchanged. I love these. The more you can accumulate that they won’t grow out of – the better. Custom Camp Hats are just that- and are always a good small lightweight for the shlep up to camp!”
An anonymous Mom tells us;
“ALERT THE YENTA PRESSES! Instamax cameras aren’t the most coveted anymore, all the boys are asking for this waterproof digital cam! It’s the most wanted item right now!”
Connecticut camp Mom Ali Greenfield chose some out of the box picks for her daughter’s Mataponi package;
“Love these light up and fly wishes for camp fire nights! Also glow-in-the-dark moon and stars for the bunk ceiling or wall. I’m also obsessed with this tank for the girls that says “Summer Sisters” on it. It’s not only soft as butter, it’s the epitome of camp vibes. These 80’s acid-washed dunks are the stuff tween dreams are made of, if you’re in a rush amazon has other versions of them too.”
Anon camp Mom in Long Island tell us these custom camp stickers are the LI go-to gift! Can we pretend to be 9 again just to have these?
What are YOUR faves for visiting day? Feel free to tell us! We will continue to add to this list – so check back and reload regularly! More experts are weighing in later today, but so many of you need to order asap so we are going live!!! Discounts and coupon codes for many of the above brands here.
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Photo by Zhaoli JIN on Unsplash