Summer Camp Essentials: Top 10 Items to Pack

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Most overnight summer camps provide the basics for your child, but it's smart to pack these essentials just in case. Plus, by purchasing the items yourself, you can be assured of their quality. Check out our list of important camp items that are often forgotten.
Summer camp essentials, summer camp girls in bathing suits
Bathing Suit
This ought to be a no-brainer, but it can be left out in the shuffle of packing. Swimming and water activities are a big part of many summer camp experiences, so a swimsuit (or two) is essential. Also pack aqua socks/water shoes or flip-flops for to protect kids' feet, and a beach towel.
Summer camp essentials, young boy child with sunscreen on back at beach
Sunscreen
Not only are sunburns painful, but too much exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of skin cancer. A sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher can make spending summer days outside a safer proposition. Check out the safest sunscreens for kids.
Summer camp essentials, insect repellent for children bug catching
Bug Spray
Even if your child loves creepy, crawly things, mosquito bites and bee stings can make summer camp unpleasant. So don't forget the bug spray — just be sure to use one made for kids, which should contain less of the toxic active ingredient, DEET.
Summer camp essentials, boy with camera
Cheap Camera
You wouldn't want to risk sending your child to camp with an expensive camera. A cheap disposable camera or an old digital camera (with extra batteries) is a great way to ensure that summer camp memories can last a lifetime.
Summer camp essentials, boy reading with flashlight
Flashlight
While many camps provide flashlights for nighttime activities, it's a good idea for your child to take along his own flashlight, along with fresh batteries. You never know when one might come in handy. (Okay, it also helps with a little friendly mischief!)
Summer camp essentials, girl brushing teeth with toothbrush
Toothbrush
You can't guarantee that your child will remember to brush at camp, but don't let it be for lack of trying on your part. Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a water cup.
Summer camp essentials, boy in beach hat
Cap or Sun Hat
During sports and other outdoor activities, wearing a hat is a great way to keep the glare out of young eyes. It also provides some extra sun protection for your child's face.
Summer camp essentials, reusable water bottle near beach
Water Bottle
A durable water bottle can be crucial for hikes and other long daytime activities. Keeping kids hydrated during the hot summer months is important for their overall health.
Summer camp essentials, two girls in raincoats with umbrellas
Raincoat or Poncho
The ideal camp session would feature only sunny days, but Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate. Wet weather gear is a must.
Summer camp essentials, camp kids writing letters or journaling on paper
Personal Notebook or Journal
Encourage your child to keep a journal of her camp experiences. She may not realize it now, but later in life those memories will be meaningful. Pack a notebook or print some of these blank journal sheets.