The Essentials of What to Pack for Day Camp

School’s out, days are long, and kids are excited for day camp. Unlike the first few days of school, camp activities start right away. That means kids (and parents) must be well prepared from the beginning. This year, rather than get schooled on what to bring to day camp, you’ll be more than ready.


It’s important for kids to stay protected from harmful sunrays. A sunblock with an SPF of 15 to 30 is suggested. If your son or daughter has very fair skin, consider SPF 90. Model putting on sunblock for kids, calling attention to the ears, back of the neck, and parts of the hairline. Also, let them know it’s important to reapply after swimming or sweating. It’s good practice to put on sunblock before camp and at midday (during lunch). Also, bringing a hat helps keep the sun out of their face.

Change of Clothes

Pack a change of clothes in case an item gets ripped, stained, wet, etc. It can be embarrassing to go through the day with a shirt that was stained at lunch. A change of clothes ensures your child maintains self esteem and a fresh appearance.


Contact the supervisor to learn if the camp provides snacks and lunch or if parents need to pack food and beverages. Alert the camp of any food allergies and teach your child to be wary of accepting snacks or food from other children. Buy a separate lunch box or bag so your child does not stain or spoil their backpack.

Swim Gear

If counselors are bringing the campers to a pool, lake, ocean, or allowing them to run through sprinklers, it’s necessary to have some form of water shoes. Moreover, depending on the water’s surface, water shoes protect soles and toes (Many lakes have rocky or jagged surfaces.) Don’t send your kid to camp in sandals; it’s easier to stub toes or trip while running when wearing them. Don’t forget a towel!

Insect Spray

The best way to stay protected is to wear longer clothing. Suggest your child wear their socks high and put on a long sleeved shirt when walking through the woods. Otherwise, buy a child-safe bug repellant. If products with harsh chemicals pose a concern, seek those with natural ingredients such as citronella, cedar, etc.

Plenty of Water

It’s likely the camp has kitchen facilities and provides water, but teach kids to stay well hydrated throughout the day. To sweeten the deal without sugars and additives, buy a supply of flavored water.

Rain Gear

Unfortunately, a little rain must fall but kids stay dry when wearing water-resistant windbreakers. A windbreaker is light enough to wear in high temperatures and can double as a long-sleeved shirt when walking through the woods.


Of course, kids need a bag to hold all their items. Choose a sturdy, waterproof backpack with plenty of room and has separate front pockets. A spare pocket is great for housing a plastic bag for wet articles of clothing.

Home Token

Depending on a child’s age and camp experience, they may get homesick. Have them take a token from home, such as a picture of their dog or a buddy band from their brother or sister.


Quick Day Camp Checklist


  • Sunblock/sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Change of clothes
  • Lunch
  • Lunch box/bag
  • Water shoes
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Insect repellant
  • Water
  • Water-resistant windbreaker
  • Plastic Bag
  • Backpack
  • Token from home (optional)