Leah’s First Residential School Trip & Packing Tips

Oh my gosh, how quick is my youngest child growing up? After a week on holiday with us we are now home and I have packed another suitcase and waved Leah off on her first ever school residential trip. My nerves are in absolute tatters.

But how cute does Leah look with her suitcase?!

Residential School Trip

The suitcase Leah has taken with her is actually a new suitcase which we purchased just before going on holiday (as our previous case zip broke). Leah chose this case as she loved the blue flowers, and it was packed with her clothes for the holiday and now her residential.

When is the right age for a residential trip?

Leah is now aged 7, and some of you may be thinking “isn’t 7 too young for a residential trip?!”. Don’t worry, I asked exactly the same question as you when Leah started at her Infant School last year and I’d heard that the current year 2 children were due to go on their residential trip. But to answer yours (and my) question and now having gathered more information about the trip, I don’t think its actually too young.

When I was a child we only had 1 residential trip, it was in Year 6 and was 4 nights away as an outreach centre about 40 miles from home. For me this was absolutely too much, I’d never stayed away from home and I typically got homesick on a family holiday, regardless where we went. As a result of the residential trip I found I couldn’t even unpack my suitcase and I returned home that night. I didn’t stay away from home until I was working.

Residential School Trip

Today, to ease the kids into the world of residential trips some schools are doing staggered trips. Leah’s school (and adjoining Junior School) have set up a fantastic introduction to residential trips.

Here’s what they do;

  • In Year 2; the kids go on a one night residential trip to an outreach centre only 15 minutes away by coach.
  • In Year 3; another 1 night stay, this time a little bit further afield at another outreach centre.
  • In Year 4; 2 nights at an adventure centre within Shropshire, of a similar distance to the year 3 trip.
  • In Year 5; it’s 4 nights at a main outreach centre in Wales, some readers may know of this place, Arthog.
  • In Year 6; it’s a great 3 night trip to London.

WOW! They are super lucky kids!

Packing Tips

As Leah is on her first ever residential trip, we have been advised on what to pack to help the children through their first overnight school trip. But here are some of my top packing tips;

Label EVERYTHING!

I have labeled all of Leah’s items which she is taking with her (even including her bedding!).

Residential Trip
Plastic Bags

I have packed Leah’s wellies in a plastic bag regardless as their naturally mucky and I don’t want them rubbing against her clean clothes. I have also packed a couple of extra bags just incase the weather turns and she can pack her damp/muddy clothing separately from everything else (wishful thinking).

Stick To The Packing List

Thankfully Leah’s school provided a list of items to take with her. I have taken it as gospel and packed very little more (mainly the plastic bags mentioned above), as I’m sure the teachers are experienced with this kind of trip and know the kids won’t need anything more.

Residential Trip Packing List
Packing List Leah has for her residential trip
No Secret Gifts or “I Love You’s”

For any child facing their first residential trip this can be a daunting experience, and any reminder from home, ‘I Love You’s” or notes saying “We are missing you” is bound to upset any child. For that reason I won’t be packing anything in Leah’s case along those lines. As you can see Leah has been advised to pack 1 small toy for bedtime and this will be her beloved DogDog which she has had since birth. That will be more than enough.

Let Them Pack

I’ve been pretty hot on letting Leah pack for herself as this will familiarise her which her belongings for the duration of the trip and hopefully she won’t loose anything (fingers crossed!).

Leave Space In The Case

As you can probably work out Leah’s case is a little too large for one night away, don’t get me wrong it is very nearly full (because of the bedding and her coat being bulky) but I wanted to ensure there was space so that Leah won’t get stressed packing her case back away to come home.

What are your top packing tips for a Residential Trip?

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