5 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for Summer Camp


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Summertime is here and that means time for camping! As a parent, sending your child off to summer camp can be a scary thing for both parent and child…unless you’re prepared. Here are 6 ways to prepare your kids for summer camp.

1 – Prepare your camper at MinuteClinic! At MinuteClinic, your child can get camp physicals (also known as pre-participation physicals). Camp physicals are a great way to make sure a great camper can safely participate in activities. Some camps require a physical, but even if it’s not required, it’s a great way to stay on top of your camper’s health.

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At MinuteClinic, their nurse practitioners and physician assistants are ready to:

  • Review health history and immunizations
  • Perform a thorough physical exam
  • Complete and stamp required paperwork

2 – Send them off with confidence! Going to camp is an exciting adventure for children and parents, but can also be a stressful time. Here are some tips to help prepare:

  • Stay in Touch
  • Ask if the camp offers ways to connect with your camper, such as email or by phone.
  • Ask about wireless access if your child has a mobile device.
  • Give them an easy way to reach you. Try self-addressed, stamped postcards that are ready to go whenever they want to write home.

3 – Talk to your child. Let your children know that it’s okay to be worried, a little nervous, or to miss home at first. Be encouraging and remind them that this will be an adventure and home will be there when they return.

  • Pack something familiar. If they’re ever feeling homesick, a trinket from home can be comforting – whether it’s a photo, blanket, stuffed animal or their favorite toy.
  • Have them log their trip. Encourage your children to preserve camp memories. Disposable cameras and journals are great mediums for them to share their experiences with friends and family, and to relive their adventure.

4 – Pack for Summer Camp. Here are some things you’ll want to pack:

  • The usual sneakers, towel, swimsuit and toiletries.
  • Sun protection: broad spectrum sunscreen (this protects against UVB and UVA rays), lip balm with SPF, and 100% UV protection sunglasses.
  • A small first aid kit: bandages, antiseptic, poison ivy cream and insect and bite relief cream.
  • A flashlight and spare set of batteries.
  • Medications with dosage instructions. Remember to inform camp staff of your child’s specific medical needs.
  • If your child has allergies, make sure to inform staff and provide the appropriate over-the-counter or prescription medications.

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5 – Prepare for summer ailments. Especially at camp, the summer is full of outdoor activities, and that’s why we love it! Outdoor recreational activities support a healthy lifestyle, so get out there and play – but in case any mishaps come along, MinuteClinic is here when you need us. Here are some helpful tips for common summer ailments:

Poison Ivy & Oak

You know what they say – leaves of three, let it be. At MinuteClinic, our nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right over-the-counter treatments and write prescriptions when medically appropriate to treat poison ivy and oak.

Spotting Poison Ivy:

  • Poison ivy has three pointed leaves that can grow as a bush or a vine. These leaves change color with the seasons:
  • Reddish in the spring
  • Green in the summer
  • Yellow, orange or red in the fall

Spotting Poison Oak:

Poison oak has three leaves shaped in lobes resembling those of an oak tree. Poison oak grows in low shrubs as long vines.

Preventative Measures:

  • Cover up with closed shoes, socks, long pants, long sleeves, and gloves.
  • Wash any clothes that come in contact with poisonous plants as soon as possible.
  • If you are exposed, wash your skin with soap and water, or rubbing alcohol immediately. Though the timeframe varies, a rash usually begins to develop after 10 minutes.
  • Scrub under your nails. Poison ivy and oak oil can be spread to other areas of the body if oil is beneath the nail.
  • If there is a chance your pet has been exposed, give them a thorough bath. Wear rubber gloves while bathing your pets.
  • Routinely wash sports equipment, gardening tools, and other outdoor items with soap and water. Oil from poison ivy and other poisonous plants can remain potent for as long as 5 years.

Bug Bites and Stings

Bee stings and bug bites – ouch! Our practitioners can help when you have a painful bite. Reactions can range from mild to severe and multiple stings can be serious, especially in children. MinuteClinic can provide a proper assessment, clean the site of the sting to prevent infection and recommend the proper treatment plan to deal with itching and swelling.

Using insect repellent safely:

  • Never spray directly on your face. Spray your hands and rub them carefully over your face avoiding the eyes and mouth. Use sparingly around the ears.
  • Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin.
  • Wash skin after coming indoors.
  • Avoid products with more than 50% DEET.
  • Minimize use of insect repellent if you are pregnant or nursing.


Too much time in the sun? Sunburn can range in severity from mild redness to painful blisters and swelling. It can also be accompanied by serious conditions such as heatstroke, dehydration or skin infection. MinuteClinic can give a thorough assessment and proper medical care.

Prevention tips:

  • Use the shadow rule to measure UV exposure: a shadow that is longer than you mean UV exposure is low; a shadow that is shorter than you means UV exposure is high.
  • Wear protective clothing including, a hat with a brim 4 inches or wider, sunglasses with 100% UV protection, loose fitting, tightly woven clothing that cover the arms and legs, or clothing made with sun protective fabrics.
  • Use a higher SPF at when you are near water, at higher elevations or in tropical climates. Sunscreen effectiveness is affected by the wind, humidity and altitude.
  • Know the lingo: opt for broad spectrum sunscreen which protects against both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Wearing a t-shirt in the water does not protect your skin unless sunscreen has also been applied underneath.
  • If you have dry skin, use lotion or cream sunscreen. For oily skin, or if you are in a primarily dusty or sandy area, use a gel, which dries without leaving a film.

A big thanks to MinuteClinic for making camp physicals easy and for all these great tips to share on Daddledo!

Are you prepared to send your kids to summer camp? Do you have any other tips?

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  1. Cynthia C says:

    I remember how much fun Girl Scout camp was when I was a kid. It’s such a good experience and a good way to foster independence by being away from home.

  2. Nicole Dziedzic says:

    Wow this is a great checklist here, pretty much nailed this! Summer camp is always something the kids enjoy, great way to get them to meet new friends and go on some cool adventures.

  3. beth shepherd says:

    I love this. All 3 of my kids are going or have went to camp and this list is spot on. thank you!

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