DFW Camp Expo

The Ultimate Summer Day Camp Packing List

Looking for the ultimate summer day camp packing list? You’ve found it!

While you won’t need to pack as much to send your child to summer day camp as you would if they went to sleepaway camp, it is still a good idea to make sure that they have what they need each day.

Many of the items you should pack for them will be similar to what you have already for school.

Here’s your ultimate summer day camp packing list:

Appropriate Clothing

What to bring to summer day camp a back pack on a girls back.

Appropriate clothing is one of the most important things to bring to summer day camp. Depending on the activities planned for the day, your child may need comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for easy movement. You may also want to pack a spare change of clothes in case of unexpected messes or accidents. This is especially true for summer culinary camps or art programs.

Here’s a list of appropriate clothing items for kids attending summer day camp:

  1. T-shirts: Lightweight and breathable, perfect for active days in the sun.
  2. Shorts: Comfortable and quick-drying shorts for running, jumping, and playing.
  3. Swimwear: Essential for water activities. Choose swimsuits that fit well and allow for easy movement.
  4. Sandals or Flip Flops: For spending time at the pool or beach.
  5. Sneakers: Closed-toe shoes with good support for running, hiking, and playing sports.
  6. Lightweight Long-sleeve Shirts and Pants: For additional sun protection.
  7. Socks: Pack plenty of socks to wear with sneakers and closed-toe shoes.
  8. Pajamas: Comfortable sleepwear for overnight stays or campouts.
  9. Underwear: Pack enough underwear for daily wear.
  10. Extra Clothes: Include an additional set of clothes in case of spills or accidents.
  11. Hiking Gear (if applicable): If the camp includes hiking trips, consider packing hiking boots, moisture-wicking socks, and lightweight pants or leggings.

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Personal Items

Toiletries for the ultimate summer day camp packing list.

When it comes to summer day camp, ensuring your child has all the necessary personal items is key to their comfort throughout the day. 

Packing the right personal items makes for a smooth camp experience, from keeping hands clean to fighting off those pesky Texas mosquitoes. 

Consider these personal items:

  1. Backpack or Day Bag: A sturdy backpack or tote bag to carry all essentials comfortably.
  2. Hand Sanitizer: For keeping hands clean, especially before eating or after using shared equipment.
  3. Tissues or Wet Wipes: Handy for quick clean-ups and wiping away dirt or sweat.
  4. Personal Medications: If your child requires any medications, make sure they’re clearly labeled and packed securely.
  5. Identification Card: Attach a card with your child’s name, emergency contact info, and relevant allergies or medical conditions.
  6. Camp Forms and Paperwork: Make sure all necessary forms, waivers, and emergency contact information are completed and packed.

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Sun Protection and Hydration

Sun protection is crucial for outdoor activities, so be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen for your child. Make sure to add these items to your kiddo’s summer day camp packing list:

  1. Sunscreen: This is a must! Help your kid apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before camp. Make sure your child is primed with how and when to use the sunscreen. Don’t forget to pack extra for reapplication throughout the day.
  2. Lip Balm with SPF: Protect your child’s lips from the Texas sun. 
  3. Sun-Protective Clothing: If your camper will be spending time outdoors, lightweight long-sleeve shirts and pants for additional sun protection, especially during peak sun hours.
  4. Sunglasses: Consider packing sunglasses to provide extra protection from the sun’s harsh glare if your camper will be outdoors or in very sunny areas.
  5. Water Bottle: Pack your happy camper with a refillable water bottle to keep your kid feeling energized and hydrated all day. Many summer day camps will have water fountains available, but having a personal water bottle ensures that your child has easy access to hydration at all times. Encourage your child to drink water throughout their time at camp, especially during physical activities or outdoors.

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Lunch and Snacks

Packing healthy lunches and snacks for summer day camp.

Depending on the camp’s guidelines, you may also need to pack snacks and lunch for your child. Choose portable, non-perishable snacks that will provide sustained energy throughout the day, such as granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit. 

Here are a few of our top lunch and snack ideas to add to your summer day camp packing list:

Lunch Ideas:

  1. Sandwiches: Fill whole grain bread or wraps with lean protein like turkey, chicken, or plant-based options like tofu. Add plenty of veggies like lettuce, tomato, and cucumber for extra flavor.
  2. Healthy Wraps: Roll up sliced turkey or ham with cheese and lettuce in a whole wheat tortilla for a portable and filling lunch option.
  3. Bento Boxes: Pack a variety of foods in a compartmentalized lunch box to create a balanced meal. Include a mix of fruits, veggies, protein (such as cheese or hard-boiled eggs), and whole-grain crackers or bread.
  4. Salads: Pack a colorful salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and grilled chicken or chickpeas. Include a separate container of dressing to keep the salad fresh until lunchtime.
  5. Leftovers: Don’t let leftovers go to waste! Pack leftover pasta salad, quinoa bowls, or stir-fry for a convenient and tasty lunch option.
  6. Skip Sugary Drinks: Avoid sugar-loaded snacks or soft drinks that can lead to energy crashes.

Snack Ideas:

  1. Fruit: Pack a selection of fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, grapes, or watermelon for a refreshing and hydrating snack.
  2. Vegetable Sticks: Slice up carrots, celery, and bell peppers and pack them with hummus or a yogurt-based dip.
  3. DIY Trail Mix: Combine a blend of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips for a fun snack that gives your kiddo a healthy boost of energy.
  4. Yogurt Creations: Choose individual containers of yogurt for a creamy, protein-loaded snack. Add honey or granola for extra flavor and crunch.
  5. Classic Cheese and Crackers: Combine cheese with whole grain crackers for a snack that provides protein and fiber.

Tip: Remember to bring a lunch or cooler bag. If the camp doesn’t provide meals, pack a lunch in an insulated cooler bag to keep food fresh.

Read More: Packing Healthy Summer Camp Lunches

Summer Day Camp Essentials for the Outdoors

Three happy campers pose for a photo at their Frisco, Texas camp.

Any outdoor summer day camp adventure requires a bit of pre-planning, especially if you’re in Texas. 

Here are the must-have items to include in your child’s backpack:

  1. Bug Spray: If your child spends a lot of time outside, it might be wise to have them carry insect repellent spray with them to prevent mosquito bites. While this may not be needed at a camp that’s mostly indoors, it is a good idea if your child goes to camps that go hiking or that spend time in community parks.
  2. Swimwear and Towel: If the camp has swimming activities, remember to bring a swimsuit and a towel (if the camp does not provide one). It’s also a good idea to pack a plastic bag for wet clothes.
  3. Closed-Toe Shoes: Comfy sneakers or athletic shoes are ideal for running, playing, and exploring. 
  4. Hiking Gear (if applicable): If the camp includes hiking trips, consider packing hiking boots, moisture-wicking socks, and lightweight pants or leggings.
  5. Rain Jacket or Poncho: Be prepared for unexpected rain with a lightweight, waterproof jacket.

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One LAst TIp

Sending your child off to day camp is an exciting adventure for you both! By packing these essentials, you’ll ensure they have everything they need for a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience.

At DFW Camp Expo, we have the best directory of summer camps (and their contact information) in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

We hope this summer day camp packing list has been helpful! If you have any questions, drop them below.

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