Ok, so you’ve decided your child and you are up for the adventure of summer camp but now you have to actually pack!  Most camps provide a checklist of items each camper will need, as well as a list of forbidden items.  It’s best to adhere pretty strictly to the list or your child’s items may be confiscated and held until camp is over.


  • A day camp bag might include:   a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, and lip balm that your child can apply by herself.  If you’re in an insect-prone area, include a non-toxic insect repellent (Don’t Bite Me patches are a great choice and can be applied in the morning and removed in the evening) a sun hat, two filled water bottles, comfortable tennis shoes, sandals, an extra set of clothing, and a raincoat or umbrella.
  • If your child has serious allergic reactions or is taking prescribed medication, be sure to check out the day camps regulations on sending medicine to camp.  Most don’t allow the child to carry the meds, nor self-medicate.  If your child has an epi-pen, work with the camp to be sure it’s stored in a location that is safe and yet accessible, even when away from the camp location on day trips.  Be sure your child understands her allergies and consider a medical alert bracelet or Safety-Tat to be sure those caring for your child knows about her allergies or medical concerns.
  • Check to see if the day camp will provide lunch and a snack. If those aren’t offered, pack a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and juice in a box. Avoid anything that has to be refrigerated or anything that will melt in the summer heat.  Most day camps do not have enough refrigerated storage for lunches.
  • Bring along a snack when you pick your child up. She’s been busy all day and will probably be hungry and thirsty. Bringing a snack will likely be cheaper and healthier than making a trip a drive-thru on the way home.


Overnight camping requires the same basic list as for day camp except obviously more is added. Camps generally provide pretty detailed lists of what to bring as well as what not to.

  • Before going, label everything your child takes with her name. Waterproof markers are fine for most things but you can also find iron-on labels for clothing.
  • If you’re hoping to hear from your camper, include several pre-addressed and stamped envelopes or postcards along with a fun pen or pencil to write with.
  • Also consider a blank journal so your camper can keep track of the activities and friends she meets as well as for recording the email and FB info so they can connect when they get back home.