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Top Ten Items for Children's Summer Camp Success

Authored By: Kyla Ludwig on 6/15/2021


Here are the top 10 items needed for kids enrolled in day camps this summer.

  1. Water.
    Lots of it! The bigger the bottle, the better. Kids are often asked to bring refillable water bottles. They should start the day with it filled, and when they need to replenish, they can fill it as needed. Hydration is important to balance the water and electrolytes within our bodies, determining how well most of our physical systems function. It also plays a big role in maintaining the temperature of the body.
  2. Lunch, Snacks and Food Containers to Keep them in.
    The "right" kind of food to keep kids healthy and energized throughout the day is essential. Kids' nutrition is crucial, including making sure they have enough of it. More food is better than not enough. Unfinished food can often be brought home and used the next day. Then there's also the "right" kind of lunch bag and reusable containers to pack smart. A well-organized lunchbox allows space for more food in their lunch and prevent fruits from getting squashed and chips from crumbling into dust.
  3. Clothing.
    Always dress appropriately by paying attention to the weather forecast. Kids will be more comfortable in a sweatshirt for chilly mornings and a raincoat for stormy days. It might be more fun and a great learning experience for kids to check the weather forecast on their own. Consider downloading one of these apps to yours or your child’s phone. Let them take some personal responsibility for their day’s preparation.
    • The Weather Channel
    • Clime: NOAA Weather Radar
    • Weather Bug
    • Weather Duck
    • Weather & What to
    • Chilly Weather
    • Freddy the Frogcast

      Packing an extra set of clothes in a sealed zip lock bag is always a good idea. This will help keep extra clothes dry and muddy sneakers from getting everything else dirty. And it provides a place to store wet clothes or shoes in the off chance they get caught outside in a downpour.
  4. Sunscreen.
    No one wants to take a chance on getting a sunburn. It's downright uncomfortable and generally takes a while to go away! It can also result in your child being unable to attend camp for a day or two. There is no quick fix. Only medication and certain remedies can help the healing process and relieve pain. Repeated sunburns can also increase the risk of skin damage. Skin should be protected from harmful UV rays. When outdoors, it's just as important to apply sunscreen on cloudy days as it is on bright sunny days. Reapplying often is a good idea. Sunscreen does wear off quickly, and more so after exposure to water. These are some top sunscreen options recommended by TripSavvy.
  5. Bug Spray.
    No one wants an itchy bug bite bothering them all day. It's downright annoying. There can also be a health risk as some bugs transmit diseases. This includes certain deer ticks which carry a species of bacteria that can lead to Lyme disease if not caught early enough. If you’re not a fan of bug repellents with deet, there are also natural bug repellents available to purchase.
  6. Swimsuit.
    Some summer camps include a pool, lake, or beach for physical activity, leisure, and learning. Swim lessons are a bonus to camp activities and are an important life skill for children and adults alike. Knowing how to swim could save a life! Fit, comfort, and quality are important considerations when selecting a swimsuit for children.
  7. Towel.
    After a good dip in the water or swim lesson, drying off well is important before changing out of a swimsuit and back into dry clothes. Towels should be absorbent, soft and suitable in size. Absorbency ensures the water is quickly and completely removed from the skin. A poor-quality towel will take longer to soak up the water, and as we know, kids are prone to rushing. That being said, size makes a difference in the “right towel.” Larger towels are difficult for little ones to manage and good ones can come at a hefty price. A smaller towel will be easier to pack and tote around, especially after its wet. Make sure to provide a plastic storage bag for that damp towel as well, and be sure to take it out of the car and put it into the dryer at the end of the day. Musty, damp towels aren’t on anyone’s “must have” list.
  8. Bags.
    You’ll definitely need something to carry all the “stuff” collectively on this list. A backpack can help there. Its purpose is to keep the items you put inside orderly and organized. Hiking backpacks are not a good choice for use at summer camp. They provide far more organization than you need and are usually quite expensive. I recommend going with a quality school backpack. It should be sufficient for summer day camp needs, plus you can use it into the school year and get more bang for your buck. There are many backpacks to choose from but be selective and pay attention to ratings on durability. VeryWellFamily gives high ratings to the backpacks on their list for consideration. There’s an assortment of highly-rated backpacks to consider purchasing. Backpacks that have several pockets are beneficial for keeping items organized making it easier to find a particular item at any given time. And, while you’re filling that bag in the morning add another storage bag -for muddy shoes, backup/extra clothes, wet clothes, and swim attire. 
  9. Labels.
    Best piece of advice is to label everything! And I mean everything. You want to keep track of your child's "stuff" because you know full well, they're not going to. Labeling is not only helpful in preventing items from getting lost; labels are also beneficial in avoiding things from being mixed up. You don't want your child bringing home a swimsuit that isn't theirs. It may look exactly like it, but only in a different size. From various decorative, cute, and colorful shapes to simple, plain white, and boring rectangular strips, believe it or not, there are many options to choose from that meet your needs. You may not care how they look as long as they get the job done; however, your child might be particular about their appearance. Different designs can get kids excited about having to label all that "stuff." Amazingly, the NY Times offers some great picks for labeling lunch boxes, clothing and just about anything else.  
  10. Sleep.
    Getting enough of it is paramount. This one last requirement is usually not called out specifically on lists of this sort, but it's important enough to my family that I just included it. Sleep is just as important, if not more, than the other items that come before it. Exhaustion can affect our performance. Our bodies need to be fully rested and our minds clear. Sending a groggy kid off to camp could be disastrous! A child may have trouble concentrating on tasks or express disinterest in participating in activities. They may snap at friends or staff due to irritability. You don't want your child's counselor to suffer at the hands of your moody monster, do you? They already have enough to worry about. Camp keeps kids busy, both physically and mentally. It can be exhausting. Sleep is essential and a necessity for children. But how do you ensure your child gets that sleep at night? Consider Storytime, Meditation, or Music as valuable tools to settle and calm kids down after a busy and activity-packed day.

    What’s your favorite way to get your kids drifting off to sleep after a busy day, or in summer when the sun is still up and they’re begging to be allowed just a few more minutes to stay awake? Feel free to share in the comments section. 

You may already have in your possession some of the items on this list. Make sure you find them now and set them aside in a designated place - a sort of collection spot. This way you'll know for certain what you have and exactly where it is. You can then add the items still needed, as you purchase them, to this location This method will save you time and money. You won't be frantically looking for items of yours and end up buying more of what you already have stashed away, hidden amongst a towering stack of storage bins in your basement. The earlier you work on collecting these items, the better off you'll be. Relax. You've got this!





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