This article appears in Summer Camp magazine 2018.

Away at camp missing home and family, there’s almost nothing better than getting a care package.

Sending a care package relieves the guilt some parents feel, said Gay Gasser, owner of Mirth in a Box, a company in Fairfield, Connecticut, that specializes in sending care packages to camps and colleges.

Camps have rules about what can be sent. Some don’t allow food. Others only want flat packages. Be sure to check the camp policy.

The best care packages contain of mix of things and always include something to make the recipient laugh, Gasser said. Whoopee cushions are popular, she said.

Small games, a deck of cards or other items that can help a camper make friends are great ideas, Gasser said. Some favorites include Uno, embroidery floss (for friendship bracelets), high-bounce balls, Velcro catch games, a pocket star finder, Mad Libs and travel-size checkers. Games should be easy to learn and not require too much concentration, Gasser said.

Because camp often includes quiet time, journals, sketchbooks, and drawing and writing tools also are good choices.

“Since they won’t have their phones, they’ll need something to write each other’s numbers down at the end of camp,” Gasser said.

Gift-givers often like their packages to appear bigger, so they add extra packaging.

“Don’t do it. The camps really dislike it. Remember, they have to store, distribute and get rid of all that packing material,” she said.

In addition to checking what’s allowed, double-check the camp’s mailing address for packages. Camps often have summer and rest-of-year addresses, Gasser said.

And don’t send your famous chocolate chip cookies.

“Even if they allow food, camps don’t like it. It doesn’t travel well, plus it attracts bugs or even bears depending on where the camp is located,” Gasser said. Also avoid sending anything too expensive.