You remember that kid from summer camp, right? The one who was cool and collected from the first step off the bus to the last campfire Kumbaya? The one who seemed to anticipate every need with Jedi-level foresight? This year, that kid is your kid. That’s right, we’ve collected genius hacks that will win summer camp before it even starts.

  1. Give your kid a signature color. Let your child pick a favorite color, then as you’re gathering or buying supplies like flashlights, bandanas, water bottles, and rain ponchos, select that color. This will not only make it easy for your child to keep track of his property, but counselors and other campers will catch on too. Add a strip duct tape in that same color to items that need color identification.

  2. Un-invite lice to the bunk house. Lice don’t have to be part of the summer camp experience, especially with some smart and simple prevention tips. Lice transfer from direct contact, either head to head or from items that have touched one head and then another. Teach your child our simple rhyme: If it touches hair, we don’t share. That goes for combs, hats, bandanas, hair ties, and pillows. In addition to our BOO! Shampoo and Conditioner, a bottle of BOO! Lice Prevention Spray is a summer camp essential, safe and effective to spray on bedding as well as hair and skin. (And this item is definitely OK to share!)

  3. Totes must. Speaking of shampoo and conditioner, the best way to ensure that your camper is keeping up on his or her hygiene is to keep all shower supplies in a handy plastic tote or caddy (color coded, of course) that they can transport to and from the showers without dropping or forgetting a thing.

  4. Extra, extra! Anticipate items that inevitably get used up or lost and tuck extras inside the duffle bag. The usual suspects: toothbrush, toothpaste, hat, sunglasses and socks.

  5. Make mail easy. Nothing helps an uneasy camper like a surprise letter or package from home. Slip one in the mail the same day as drop off for a timely “hug” from home during the first few days. Include in it some self-addressed stamped envelopes and stationery to make a “Thanks, Mom, you’re the best” letter easy to send back.

  6. Smile for the (disposable) camera! The only thing better than memories from camp will be pictures from camp. Don’t risk sending—and possibly losing—a  pricey camera. Toss a couple of disposable cameras into the duffle bag—with a strip of that colored duct tape—and encourage your camper to fill them full.

  7. Camp is for old shoes. Between hiking, mud puddle jumping, and mess hall food fights, old comfortable shoes are a must. Send your camper with a pair that you can both feel good about discarding when camp is over.

  8. Think beyond sunscreen. Long days in the water can take their toll on more than just skin. In addition to sun block, protect lips, eyes, and hair from harmful UVA/UVB rays that dry and damage. Lip balms with SPF, sunglasses or goggles with protective lenses, and leave-in treatments for hair will keep them protected head to toe.

Have a favorite summer camp hack that we missed? Share your ideas in the comments!