If you’re experiencing the excitement — and nervousness — that can come when you first sign your child up for summer camp, packing might be the last thing on your mind. However, what your child has in their backpack during day camp is important. In fact, it can make or break their camp experience! While every camp is a little different, if you’ve signed up for our summer camp in Thousand Oaks, here’s what you need to pack for your child.
The Complete Day Camp Packing List
A sturdy backpack is essential to store all of your child’s belongings. While you don’t need to invest in fancy mountaineering-grade equipment, do be sure your child’s backpack is up to the task of toting around all their camp stuff. Keep in mind that their backpack will likely get wet, so don’t send them to camp with something they’re attached to keeping for the next several school years, either!
Counselor Pro Tip: Pick a distinctive backpack your child will remember and recognize, so it doesn’t get lost among all the other backpacks at camp.
No summer camp packing list would be complete without one of the most important items you should bring to camp: a water bottle! While disposable water bottles are better than nothing, reusable water bottles are best since they’re durable and made to last. You can even add ice to insulated bottles to ensure your camper stays cool all day. While some large water bottles can be unwieldy for small children, large water bottles are generally better than smaller ones since your child can stay hydrated for longer without having to refill the bottle.
Counselor Pro Tip: Label your child’s water bottle with their name and age group, so it doesn’t get lost.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Summer is a great time to be a kid — except for when sunburn and bug bites put a damper on the fun. Pack both sunscreen and bug spray for your child every day at day camp. To ensure your child actually wears their sunscreen and bug spray, you can always apply it to them yourself before you drop them off or send them to camp on the bus!
Counselor Pro Tip: The best way to prevent tick bites is to use a bug spray that contains at least 20-30% DEET. No matter what bug spray you’ll be using, always check your child for ticks when they come home at the end of the day. They can hide in unlikely places such as below the hairline, underneath ankle socks, and in the armpit and neck areas.
A baseball cap, sun hat, or other kind of headwear keeps shade out of your camper’s eyes while also reducing sweat that collects as they run around in the heat.
Counselor Pro Tip: Remind your child to remove their hat and stash it in their backpack before they go jump in the pool or take part in other wet and wild activities. Nobody wants to lose their beloved baseball cap!
We offer fresh prepared lunches for campers for a small cost, but if you won’t be partaking in this option, be sure to pack your child a healthy lunch each day. Remember that they’ll be running around outside rather than sitting in a classroom as they do at school, so consider including an extra snack. Looking for healthy, filling snack options? Try string cheese, dried fruit and nuts, veggie sticks, granola, or edamame beans.
Counselor Pro Tip: To keep your child’s hands clean before and after meals, pack a small bottle of hand sanitizer or sanitary wet wipes in their lunchbox.
Bathing Suit, Towel, and Flip Flops
One part of our summer day camps that our campers especially enjoy is swimming, splashing, and just plain having fun in the water — so it goes without saying that you’ll need to pack your child a bathing suit and pool towel. Since your child is required to attend camp wearing closed-toe shoes, also pack them flip-flops, sandals, or shower shoes for the poolside.
Counselor Pro Tip: A plastic shopping bag or gallon slider bag makes a great place for your child to store their wet suit and towel after swimming time. This way, everything else in their backpack stays dry!
Change of Clothes and Light Jacket
Ensure your child has a clean set of clothes to take to day camp each day. Include a clean and dry pair of socks, at least one pair of underwear, a shirt, a pair of shorts, and an additional pair of sneakers. Include a light jacket just in case — you never know when it will get a little chilly — and pack your child a foldaway rain poncho in case it rains.
Counselor Pro Tip: Choosing a raincoat as your child’s light jacket is a great choice since it eliminates the need to pack them a rain poncho.
Don’t forget to pack any emergency medications your child carries with them, such as inhalers or epi-pens. Even if your kid is old enough to carry these items on their own at school, always check with your camp director to make sure your child’s counselors are aware of their medical conditions. If you need to send your kid to camp with any ingestible medications such as pills, also investigate the protocols around these.
Counselor Pro Tip: If your child will be carrying their own inhaler or epi-pen, be sure to have another stashed at home should they happen to forget or damage it at camp.
Enjoy Summer More Than Ever!
Make summer amazing for your child this year — sign them up for Camp Keystone! We offer a huge variety of camp activities for teens, younger kids, and toddlers alike. But hurry and sign up now because spots are going fast. We’d be happy to hear from you soon!