As we had a customer come in today to get some care package items for their granddaughter, I think it's safe to say that camp season has officially begun. Which means we'll be having a ton of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. in for small trinkets to send away to their children at camp. Generally, most camps don't allow food items to be sent, and some even limit the size of the items to ones that can fit in an envelope. Some of our bestsellers for camp are temporary tattoos, stickers (we have stickers from Peaceable Kingdom, Mrs. Grossman, and Dover), cool bookmarks (such as our 3D ones from Bookmark Trenz and Moovie Studio), and those little number puzzles that for whatever reason are a huge hit for campers.
Playing cards, or card games like Top Trumps, are also a favorite for camp, since they encourage playing with other campers and socialization. We also have a great selection of tin can card games from Blue Orange Games, maker of Spot It!, that would be perfect for playing on a picnic table. Moving back to crafts, we have a whole spinner full of activity books from Lee Publications (including those 'Magic Pen' books that are apparently difficult for parents to find nowadays), and coloring books/activity books from Dover. We also have some Scratch and Sketch books in from Peter Pauper Press that sell out almost as soon as put them out, so if you're thinking about picking one up, do it before someone else snatches it up!
One of the best places to look for camp gifts is our classic toys area. Yo-yo's, keychains, balsa wood gliders, jump ropes, Chinese jump ropes, jacks... all these and more make for great classic toys that your kids can play with at camp. In general, try and find them something that either reminds them of home, or something that can be played with others.
The great thing about all of these toys is that they all work well as travel toys, too. We're getting a lot of families in looking for things to keep their kids occupied on flights and car trips, and small activities like this are perfect. We recommend getting one small toy/activity for every hour that you'd be traveling, to make the time pass for the kids and give them something to look forward to. Puppets are also a great toy to bring on a long flight. I've sat in front of a family playing with a puppet and it was incredible to watch (and more importantly hear) how successful the puppet was at calming the child down and keeping them still and happy. Remember, liquids are a no-no, things that make SOUND... big no-no, things with small pieces that will inevitably get lost on the floor... you guessed it, not a great idea. Also, we have heard that sometimes modeling clay will get confiscated since it's similar to plasticine, so it's best to avoid that, though it seems that Play-Doh is okay. Another also... it's nice to show up with a perfectly wrapped gift for your host's children when you arrive at your destination, however, the TSA does not like wrapped gifts, and will often unwrap them randomly. If you would like your gift wrapped, just ask us for the bag and tissue flat, then you can put it together in less than 30 seconds when you arrive and have it looking lovely and fresh, not mashed from the flight or torn apart by the TSA.
So there you have it. Have a safe summer, stop by and say hi, and as always, anytime you need help finding something, just ask!