Summer day camp for kids requires a different set of supplies than the ones they take to school. They might not be carting around pencils, crayons and books, but the following list of supplies will ensure a safe and fun summer at camp for your kids.
As a mom who sends who children to summer day camp each year, here is a list of supplies that everyone needs.
Personalized Iron On Clothing Labels for Kids
There is nothing as frustrating as having your child come home from summer camp on the first or second day with a brand new item missing. If there is any hope of recovering it, invest in personalized iron-on clothing labels with your child’s name and phone number on it. You do not want to put on the bunk number on the label, as it will change from year to year. If you just put your last name on the label, it can be use for all of your kids.
A Sharpie marker will work on non-clothing items. Write your child’s first and last name on these.
Backpacks for Kids
For summer day camp, kids will need a sturdy and waterproof backpack to carry their personal items. Wet towels and bathing suits are heavy, and cheap backpacks are not made for this kind of wear and tear. Backpacks for kids get dragged around and then they sit in dirt or mud. There is nothing more frustrating than having to replace a camp backpack mid-summer.
While duffle bags are fun for sleepovers and messenger bags are cute for school, they are not meant for camp. Gym bags that have a handle are not easy to lug around. Stick with a sturdy backpack that leaves your child‘s hands free.
Backpacks should also have netting on the outside that can fit a large water bottle. A separate outside zipper compartment for a snack is also a must have if your child takes a bus home.
Water Bottle for Kids
The heat in July and August can be brutal, and kids at summer day camp spend the vast majority of their time outdoors. A water bottle that will keep beverage ice cold is a must-have. Even though the camp should have a hydration station at each activity, many kids like having their own personal water bottle. It can be filled with Gatorade or any other favorite beverage that will keep your child hydrated.
A water bottle for kids helps you keep track of how much your child is drinking by what she brings home each day. If it is full, you need to ask them if they are drinking at each activity or if they refilled it at camp.
At most summer day camps for kids, they swim twice a day-once for instructional swim and once for free swim. This means two bathing suit changes. I suggest buying cheap bathing suits. There is no need to invest in expensive suits for camp, since if you are lucky not to have your child lose any, the ones you have left will be pilled and faded from the pool.
Boys should have a rash guard (swim shirt) that can double as a tee shirt during the day. For girls, it easier to send them to camp in bikinis or tankinis. Trying to use the bathroom in a one-piece bathing suit with a shirt and shorts on is challenging. A two-piece bathing suit eliminates the problem and makes trips to the restroom easier.
Swimming Goggles for Kids
When I was growing up, no one wore goggles in the pool. Having your eyes get all red from the chlorine was a rite of passage. Nowadays, swimming goggles are a must have camp supply. Buy multiple sets because kids lose goggles. For younger children, buy the junior sized goggles because they fit their faces better. Since I have a boy and a girl, I buy unisex colors such as clear and blue so either one can use it.
Children need to have two towels each day for camp. Because my kids have lost towels each summer, I buy them as cheaply as possible. Each one of my kids picks their favorite color and that is their color for the entire summer. It helps them remember which towel is theirs when dozens of them are laying by the pool, and they do not have to remember which color towel they did they brought to camp that day.
Snack Containers for Kids
After a long day at summer day camp, kids are hungry. If your child has a long bus ride home, it is important to pack them a snack to keep their energy levels up and to prevent them from being starved when they walk in the door. Portable snack containers are great for keeping snacks fresh and intact. Since they are reusable, you are saving the planet. Invest in two for each child-one to have ready to pack and one for the dishwasher. In case one snack container gets lost, you still have another one on hand.
After your child’s first round of swimming at camp, she needs to put her wet towel and bathing suit somewhere in her backpack. She also needs to keep her change of clothes for the bus ride home dry. An item that serves both purposes is the Dry Sack. Pack one for wetclothes and another for dry.
Sunscreen for Kids
It is imperative that you send your kid to summer day camp already lathered in sunscreen. It takes at least a half hour for it to be absorbed into the skin. But once your child has been swimming, it needs to be reapplied. Each child needs to have her own spray bottle of sunscreen for camp. Label it and make sure itgets used every day.
Unless the camp is at an indoor resort, bug spray is an additional summer camp supply your kids need to have in their backpack. Summer camp counselors can make sure that it gets applied after swimming.
Summer day camp for kids is a fun experience. Providing them with the right supplies makes it more enjoyable.