Katie Virk

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10 Questions to Ask when Picking a Summer Camp


Today, Plum District’s kicking off Summer Camps and Camp GearWe’re lining up everything from traditional day camps and enrichment programs to sports and performing arts camps, so you can sign up your little ones for an incredible summer. Check in with us often so you don’t miss anything!

Here are 10 questions to ask before signing up your little one –  to help ensure they have a healthy, happy summer camp experience:

1) Is my child ready for summer camp?

  • Assess your child’s maturity and social skills. Do they relate well and have good friends? Are they amenable and agreeable? If so, they’re already off to a good start.
  • Next, your child should have the basic skills needed for the camp you’re considering (computer knowledge, sports skills, etc).
  • For overnight camps:  Has your child had positive sleepover experiences with friends or relatives? If so, they’ll probably be just fine.  If they’re excited about the idea of going away, that’s a good sign.

2) What camp is best for my child?

  • Choose a subject your child is comfortable with, and something they’re naturally interested in. Don’t send them off to computer camp if they’d rather be playing basketball. They won’t be a happy camper.

3) What about cost?

  • Start with tuition, then find out if there are extra fees for activities, meals, transportation, or extended hours. Can you afford the total amount?
  • Check to see if it’s a half-day or full-day camp, and look at the program cost per hour. What will my child do during those hours? What will my child take away when camp’s over?
  • Most camps offer financial assistance. Inquire sooner rather than later if you need a helping hand. Options may include: financial aid, scholarships, deferred payment plans, sliding scale tuition, and discounts for bringing a friend.

4) What’s the camp’s philosophy?

  • It should be one you’re comfortable with as a parent. Think about the kind of experience you want your child to have.
  • Some questions to ask: Is the camp interactive and hands on? Is it focused on collaboration or competition? Do campers apply concepts to real word situations?  Is there much unstructured social time?
  • Speak with a camp official if that would be helpful.

5) Who’s leading the camp?

  • Find out the Director’s background and how long they’ve been directing the camp.
  • As for staff, some camps employ high school and college students – others require college degrees, more experience, and various certifications. High school and college students can make great counselors, but make sure they’re engaged and interested in interacting with children rather than just trying to make some summer money.

6) What’s the ratio of staff to campers?

  • ACA guidelines for overnight camps call for a 1:6 ratio for ages 7-8, 1:8 for ages 9-14, and 1:10 for ages 15-18. Day camp guidelines call for 1:8 for ages 6-8, 1:10 for ages 9-14, and 1:12 for ages 15-18.

7) What procedures are in place to keep my child safe?

  • All staff should have background checks and be trained in CPR and First Aid.
  • EMTs should be nearby.
  • Lifeguards should be present at camps involving water.
  • If transportation is necessary, all drivers should be licensed and trained, and all vehicles inspected.

8) What things are most important to you personally?

  • For some parents, it’s the quality of facilities. For others, food allergy prevention is critical. If you’re religious, are there services?
  • Think about what you and your child must have, and if the camp provides that.

9) What’s the camp’s approach to discipline and how is conflict handled between campers?

  • Find out what the camp rules are. The camps practices should generally be in line with your parenting practices.
  • Ask a camp official about conflict resolution. If conflict does occur, it’s important that counselors treat it as a ‘growth opportunity’. They should ask the campers how the conflict arose, how it could’ve been handled differently, and how to move forward in a positive way.

10) What do others say about the camp?

  • Learn about it’s reputation: it’s return rates, accreditation status, and references.
  • For camper return rate, 50% is good (more is better, of course).
  • For staff return rate, anywhere between 40-60% is common. A high return rate suggests the camp is well-managed and can help preserve the traditions that create bonding among campers. If the rate is lower, ask why.
  • Do a site visit, tour the camp, and get a sense of whether or not the kids are happy and engaged. There’s nothing like seeing it in action!

For more info, visit http://bit.ly/1nehbuK and http://bit.ly/1hQr0wX.


Kids’ Easter Treats – Something New!


These delightful recipes are fun to make together in the kitchen — or, create them ahead of time and bring them out for the children on Easter day!


Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 4.56.53 PM

Chick Cupcakes



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Salted Caramel Easter Popcorn (we call it ‘Bunny Food’)




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Krispy Easter Eggs






5 Kids’ Activities for Spring and Easter


Here are some of our favorite themed crafts – and a game – that delight children of all ages (and even adults!).

peeps-housePeeps’ House


braceletFruit Loop Bracelet


whiskersBunny Whiskers

egg2Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ‘Carrots’

matchingEgg Matching Game



At Plum District, we understand what it’s like to raise a family. Each and every day, our focus is to bring you and your little ones well-loved brands, inspirations, and fun activities in your very own neighborhood.

Right now, we’re preparing an exciting few months ahead for Plum Members, featuring:

  • Even bigger brands (like Disney!)better savings, special giveaways, new products, and more surprises — plus, SUMMER CAMPS for 2014

We’re lining up everything from traditional day camps and enrichment programs to sports and performing arts camps, so you can sign up your little ones for an incredible summer.

And don’t forget about our regular Plum Coupons (offers that cost nothing!) and Plum Finds (products you didn’t know you needed that now you can’t live without!).

Keep checking your daily email and PlumDistrict.com often so you don’t miss anything.

And if you haven’t already – LIKE us on Facebook for Facebook-exclusive discounts, product highlights, and more!

Thank you all for being loyal Plum District Members. We look forward to sharing an exciting journey ahead.




Boppy® Celebrates 25 Years + Special Gift for Plum Members!


We’re thrilled that Boppy® selected us as a preferred partner to help them celebrate 25 years of providing the very best infant support pillows!

A favorite among moms and little ones during the first year, the Boppy Pillow lifts baby to an ergonomic position for comfortable feeding, and transitions to the perfect spot for propping, tummy time, and learning to sit. Plus, it features a washable slipcover (in many adorable designs) for easy cleaning.

Today, in celebration of their birthday, Boppy is offering Plum Moms 25% off any one Boppy product! Browse their infant support pillows and award winners, and also check out their play mats, baby chairs, prenatal body pillows, and more. For a limited time, they’re also giving away $60 in-pack gifts inside specially marked Boppy Pillows! Visit www.Boppy.com to start shopping and use code ’25PLUM’ at checkout. (Expires 03/31/14).


Blue Apron: Gourmet Meal Kit Delivery – 35% Off Your First Order!


Blue Apron delivers weekly recipes and all the fresh, pre-portioned ingredients you need to cook gourmet meals at home.


Why does Plum District love Blue Apron?

They do all the recipe planning and shopping so you can do more of what you love: cooking at home with your family! In addition to saving time, Blue Apron teaches you and your little chefs how to prepare new, delicious meals — helping you broaden your cooking skills and bring fresh variety to the table.

Today, Blue Apron is offering an exclusive 35% OFF your first box (under $7 per meal!)click here to sign up and bon appétit!





Healthy Living Sweepstakes: WIN $100 at Gaiam + $250 at Whole Foods Market!


Gaiam is a leading lifestyle brand, offering a full range of solutions for healthy and sustainable living.

Today, they’re here with a special giveaway for Plum Members: a chance to WIN $100 at Gaiam.com + $250 at Whole Foods Market*! All entrants will also receive 25% OFF + free shipping on orders over $50 – use code 25Plum at checkout.

We love Gaiam for 3 main reasons: video

  1. At-Home Fitness: Gaiam simplifies our workout routine, bringing the solutions to us
  2. Everything You Need: Discover a huge assortment for yoga, cardio, and strength training
  3. Satisfaction Guaranteed: Enjoy hassle-free returns and exchanges for any item, any time

Shop everything from premium fitness equipment and earth-friendly clothing to eco-chic home goods!

Live your resolutions – with help from Gaiam.

*You must enter the giveaway by 1/31/14. Winner is announced 2/5/15.



Citrus Lane: Happy Moments Delivered to Your Doorstep + Exclusive Offer for Plum Members!


Founded by a mom of 2, Citrus Lane’s award-winning monthly subscription helps parents discover the best toys, books, and practical solutions for their little ones’ changing needs – from pregnancy to preschool. Each box contains 4 to 5 mom-recommended products that help parents discover what they need next and delight their children every month!

We love Citrus Lane for three main reasons:

  • Parent-Selected: Products are chosen by real parents to solve real problems
  • Personalized: Citrus Lane grows with your little one — each box is curated to their age and stage
  • Convenient: All subscriptions include free shipping – provide for your family without leaving the house!

Today, Citrus Lane’s offering Plum Members 2 exclusive offers:

  • 6 monthly boxes for the price of 4 (only $16 per box!) - order here and use code PlumGet6 at checkout
  • 3 monthly boxes for the price of 2 (under $20 per box!) - order here and use code PlumGet3 at checkout

Enjoy discovering the best for you and your growing child.





Introducing PLAE Kids’ Shoes! Free Gift + WIN Free PLAE Shoes for a Year!


Plum District is thrilled to introduce Plum Members to PLAE  - a top-quality line of kids’ shoes designed using biometric science to support healthy foot growth.

Dad, Founder, and Designer Ryan Ringholz – the creative guru behind Puma, Diesel, and UGG – brings his expertise in making premium products to PLAE.  He’s preparing soles for the next generation, fusing kid-centric design with technology to champion a fun, active, and imaginative lifestyle for little ones of all ages. Their shoes feature one-of-a-kind, interchangeable tabs (straps) that turn any one pair into many to match holiday and winter outfits!

Plum District loves PLAE shoes for three main reasons. They’re:plae-shoes-4


  1. High Quality: Uniquely engineered with premium, eco-friendly leather, suede, and removable insoles
  2. Protective: Scientifically designed to be flexible and promote the natural development of kids’ feet

  3. Customizable: Interchangeable tabs (straps) allow endless new looks – a value parents love and variety kids crave



Today, Plum Members can enter to WIN free PLAE shoes for a year (a $500 value) – plus, enjoy a FREE Tab Gift Pak (4 pairs – a $25 value!) with any shoe order PLUS free shippingClick here to shop and add any Tab Gift Pak to your cart.  Use code PLMTAB at checkout.



Win a $500 Visa Gift Card + Free YEAR of NatureBox Wholesome Snacks! Plus, a Special Discount for Plum Members


NatureBox delivers delicious, nutritionist-approved and kid-tested bites to your doorstep every month. Families love receiving their monthly NatureBox; it’s a present full of delicious surprises! NatureBox makes wholesome snacking easy for the holiday season and to kick off the New Year.

At Plum District, we love NatureBox for three reasons:

  • Festive Treats: A nice alternative to holiday sweets, NatureBox snacks are minimally processed with 0g trans fat and no artificial ingredients
  • Holiday Convenience: Perfect for the busy holidays, their resealable zip-top bags make on-the-go snacking easy!
  • Seasonal Favorites: Little ones love their new varieties like Cherry Berry Bonanza and Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Stash NatureBox snacks in your car, open up a bag for movie night or after before sports practice, and bring some with you for holiday travel to keep your family fueled and happy.

Today, Plum Members can enter for a chance to WIN a $500 Visa Gift Card and FREE YEAR of NatureBox — plus, enjoy an exclusive 50% off your first NatureBox order (any box size!) with code PLUM50 at checkout. Shipping is always free!