Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
There are more summer camp options for kids now than ever before, and they come tailored to every age and interest. From day camps that teach kids about science and technology, to week-long camping trips for scouting troops, kids can pursue their interests while making friends and learning new skills. Check this list for any useful items they’ll enjoy that you may not have considered yet.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
Get them a unique bag that’s lightweight but spacious. With a huge range of colors and patterns available, JanSport’s classically designed backpacks are sturdy enough for school but stylish enough to show off at summer camp.
Impact resistant and waterproof, this flashlight floats, so there’s no fear of losing or breaking it the first day your kiddo uses it. The tail cap is a built-in carabiner clip, so kids can even attach it to their backpacks or other gear. Even in camps with cabin camping, not tents, often kids will have to wake a counselor and walk to a detached bathroom, so having a flashlight of their own is a comforting reassurance.
The transition from cool mornings to warm afternoons with ease in these convertible pants. Three pockets mean girls have plenty of room to carry their treasures and necessities, and the extra length means they comply with many camp dress codes.
Kids need their own kid-sized sleeping bags. Bundle up at night in a warm bag for comfort and a great night’s sleep. You’ll get tons of use out of this adjustable length sleeping bag that fits preteens and young adults up to 5′ tall.
Need a pair of sturdy kids boots for outdoor activities? Available in little or big kid sizes, this trail boot keeps your child’s feet secure on slippery trails, and comfortable no matter the miles; just make sure that they’re comfortably broken in at home first.
Campfire smoke, bug spray, and an active day may take their toll on teens and preteens. Send them off with these cleansing face wipes to keep pores clear and faces fresh, even when they’re roughing it.
Keep those precious, once in a lifetime memories with an instant camera that lets kids take and share photos with ease. Send along plenty of film and a scrapbook and learn all about the places and faces your kids have so many fun stories about.
Long days boating, swimming, or playing outdoor sports can take their toll on skin, so pack some long-lasting sunscreen for your kids, but remember that they’re still going to “forget” to wear it at least once, so you can’t leave out the aloe vera.
Keep mosquitoes at bay with a powerful bug spray that dries clean quickly. Hiking or camping doesn’t mean you have to be a bug’s feast all summer. Mosquito repellents with DEET, like this one, are best packed for teens or preteens who know to take care avoiding their faces with aerosol sprays. Younger kids may have an easier time with a non-aerosol pump spray.
Stay abreast of the local weather forecast and prepared for sudden summer storms with a waterproof jacket. Stormy weather doesn’t have to ruin a good time if you’re following that old scouting motto and stay prepared.
There’s a much higher chance of your kids coming home with their shoes, jacket, sleeping bag, sunscreen, rain gear, and well, everything else, if their name is clearly and legibly written on these labels.
Even if a trip to the beach isn’t in the cards this summer, many cities offer day campers access to splash pads at local parks, so having some of these quality towels ready to go at a moment’s notice means you can opt-in for more adventures.
Keep those notes and photos stored somewhere kids can revisit them anytime. A great way for kids to record fun memories they’ll want to share later or to store their new friends’ email addresses or phone numbers for keeping in touch.
Day camps often provide uniform T-Shirts for ease of identifying campers, but many overnight camps don’t. If your child or teen has to meet a dress code, or you’re just looking for a wardrobe refresh that will still be useful when they return to school, these neutral polos fit the bill.
Stay hydrated through sports and outdoor activities with these reusable BPA free water bottles. Sending two doubles your odds that your child still has one to use at the end of the week- don’t forget to label these too.
Enjoy the hours outside without headaches or itchy eyes. These durable sunglasses are nearly indestructible, so they’re a great choice for rambunctious kids. Wearing a comfortable pair of polarized sunglasses protects your child’s vision and minimizes glare, and the strap keeps them from being lost.
A lot of personal hygiene items are scented, and fragrances bring pests like ants, raccoons, or possums into tents and cabins in search of goodies. At camps that allow campers to bring snacks, these are also useful at keeping bugs out of candy or other treats.
Summer camp can be tough on clothes; kids play hard and often spend a lot of time outdoors sweating, wearing bug spray and sunscreen. Keep that dirty laundry from festering for a week with a mesh laundry bag that allows airflow and minimizes smells.
Summer camps rarely have reliable service, so even kids who are old enough to have cell phones often need a watch to be able to keep up with their daily schedule. Help keep them aware and on time with this easy to read digital display watch. It’s waterproof so canoeing and swimming won’t damage it, and the LED lights make it a breeze to see any time, even after dark.