The simplest way to label clothing is with a permanent laundry marker with indelible ink. These are quick and easy, and the ink is designed to last through many washings. The downside is that while writing the name on one side of the clothing, it can soak through to the other side -- and it is permanent. It also may limit the clothing's acceptance as a hand-me-down.
There are also self-inking stamps that can be used to label clothing but, again, they can mark through clothing.
Iron-on labels are available that will usually last the life of the clothing. Craft stores carry iron-on labels with laundry markers, which can be done at the last minute.
Sew-in labels range from the ordinary to the sublime but better check with the camper to make sure he or she likes it. Be sure to allow time to order and receive labels -- and to sew them in to clothing.
The newest way to label clothing is with a plastic tag, similar to a security tag in a store only a lot less cumbersome. They are stuck on with applicators, which come in various sizes depending on the number of garments to be labeled. Plastic tags are most comfortably worn on a side seam or shirt tail rather than behind the neck.
Other tips for labeling clothes:
* Socks are easier to label with feet in them. Have your child perform this task.
* Buy used clothing to wear to camp so it won't be a big loss if it doesn't return home with your camper. Check out a dollar store for socks.
* If your child is older, don't label the clothing -- make a rule that any clothing that gets lost and needs to be replaced will be paid for by her or him.
* Parents also advise packing clothes in zip lock bags, one for each day. This keeps the dirty clothes away from the clean ones, protects the clean clothes from spills and dirt, and keeps everything organized.
A huge variety of labels, like everything else, is available on the Internet. Choosing them with your child can be part of the going-to-camp experience. Or you can grab a Sharpie the night before camp begins and label away.