Little I is off on her first school residential next week. She will be spending two nights away from home staying in a yurt and having loads of fun with her school friends. This seemed an apt time to share the tips and tricks I have learnt over the past few years when packing for her big sister's residential trips.
Tip 1: Pack outfits into daily bags
This is the killer tip and I'm giving it to you first as you need to know it. Kids can't find anything in their bags. They come back and say they spent the whole time in the same pair of socks because 'you didn't pack any socks'. The truth was there was seven pairs in the side pocket.
Packing each outfit (top, trousers, underwear and socks) into individual bags makes it so easy for them to pull one out and have a complete outfit to hand without emptying everything out or spending the day in the pyjamas. I did a big Shein order back in the days when we didn't know just how bad Shein was for the world so I have loads of those little zippy bags they send the clothes in. These make the perfect daily outfit bags. If you don't have any lying around you can grab some (affiliate link) packing bags from Amazon or you can use supermarket carrier bags.
Tip 2: Get them to pack with you
Sounds silly but if they know what is gone in their bag they'll know what to get out of it. Once Little E came back distraught that she lost her fitbit from her bag - it was never in her bag. Lesson learnt.
Tip 3: Overpack
If they are there for three days pack six outfits. Numerous times I've heard about kids sharing clothes because a parent packed the exact right amount of clothes but didn't expect them to fall into a stream/ditch/pile of dog poo and need an extra change of clothes. Pack more to be on the safe side, esspecially socks (but show them where in the bag they are.)
Tip 4: Always pack a raincoat
No matter how sunny the weather forecast says it is going to be you can guarantee the kids will get rained on! So it is essential you pack a raincoat and I love the styles which pack away into their own pocket making them super convenient and space saving in the bag.
We were gifted this fabulous Cara Kids Rain Parka by Lighthouse clothing which it perfect for packing for this trip. This is a fully waterproof jacket (none of this 'showerproof' nonsense) made from breathable fabric. What I love about this pack a mac is the length - it properly covers Little I's bum. She loves how vibrant the colour is. This pac a mac retails at £34.99 but Lighthouse are currently offering £10 off orders over £30 when you sign up to their newsletter, so you can grab a great discount.
Tip 6: Pack a plastic bag for dirty laundry
The last thing you want is your kids chucking their dirty (often muddy) clothes into the same bag as their clean clothes for tomorrow. Packing a plastic bag and giving them clear instructions to put their dirty washing in the bag when they take it off solves this problem. If they are going on an outdoor adventure style residential you probably want to give them a black bin bag! Also stick a sticker on the outside of the bag with your child's name on so if the bag gets separted from them it can be easily identified.
Tip 7: Name everything
You may think your child is old enough to look after their posessions. You are wrong. Naming everything is the only way to ensure that clothing and tolietries etc make their way back to the correct owner. In particular toothbrushes as you can bet two of them will have the same one. Sticky (affiliate link) name labels work well across a variety of materials.
Tip 8: Invest in a microfibre towel
Towels take up so much room in the bag and they are heavy when wet. Microfibre towels are brilliant because they pack down small and dry super fast. Most even have a hook so they can be hung up and avoid getting even wetter on the bathroom floor. We like these (affiliate link) microfibre towels but make sure you select the correct size or you may be delivered a hand towel...
Tip 9: Use a wheely bag
Many schools don't allow hard wheely suitcases because they prefer soft bags which you can squsih into the coach luggage space. We have this great oversized rucksack bag which is soft and squishy has a built in wheely handle and it has been a godsend for transporting kit fot a two/three night residential. It's actually a hand me down so really old but it is similar to styles you can find on Amazon such as this (affiliate link) galaxy themed wheely rucksack. For a full week away you'd need a bigger holdall style bag but if you can get away with it the wheely backpack works brilliantly.
Tip 10: Don't pack a favourite cuddly toy
Residentials can be a bit scary for youngsters but don't be tempted to back their irreplaceable, favourite cuddly toy or blanket. Chances are it'll never be seen again or you'll find yourself in the car driving back to the location to hunt for it. Suggest they take a less loved one or even invest in a new travelling companion for the trip.
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Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.