We do a bit of traveling throughout the year; camping trips, weekend trips to the beach, trips up to visit Jim’s Mom, etc. I keep a separate packing list for each of these trips, because what I need to take camping, isn’t necessarily what I’d need to take to Jim’s mom’s place….and packing for a week-long trip is different than a 2-3 day trip. I also have sections on the list for cold weather and hot weather.

But my point isn’t just to have a packing list ready for your trips…

I have a KIDS packing list. All our kids can now fully pack their own clothing and personal belongings. They actually find it to be a fun activity, and it helps me tremendously. Furthermore, when they complain that something wasn’t packed, it turns into a responsibility and accountability lesson.

Their list is simple. The main category is clothing items and all I have to do is write in the quantity:

# short-sleeve shirts
# long-sleeve shirts
# shorts
# jeans
# comfy pants
# tank-tops
# athletic shoes
# socks

I also list “sometimes needed” items like shower/water shoes, swimsuit, raincoat, rain boots, etc. If we don’t need them for this particular trip, I cross it off the list.

The kids are also responsible for packing their own entertainment items and accessories, too:
-ipod (headphones and charger, too!)
-nintendo DS (charger and games)
-water bottle
-toothbrush & paste
-baseball glove and baseball for catch

Does it work perfect?

Not always, but darn close.

The very first time we did this was almost a year ago for a camping trip. I didn’t double-check how well they did. I was going to trust them to stick to the list. Let’s just say I was not thrilled with their clothing choices (because things didn’t match), but it wasn’t the end of the world.

The worst that’s happened so far?

One time Trevor forgot underwear.

And another time I didn’t tell the kids to bring their fleece hoodies because I was going to pack them myself, and then I forgot, so they were coatless.

But overall it works very well, saves me some time and stress, and gives them some responsibility.

Our kids are 4, 7 and 10. Give it a try!