19 Kids’ Summer Camp Essentials for Sleepaway Fun or Backyard Adventures
Pass the Morse code flashlight, please!
Updated Oct 12, 2018 8:26 PM
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Camp, be it the sleepaway or daytime-only variety, is one of those quintessential kid adventures that deserves its own special packing list. Because it’s so much more than just singing songs around the fire or making friendship bracelets and macaroni art. That first taste of independence (and maybe first taste of s’mores) is a big deal. It’s paramount childhood memory making in the works!
Below, the Domino edit for your little ones—from a Wes Anderson–worthy Morse code light to the cutest letter correspondence set—that has us wishing we were heading off to camp this summer (but also happy to say goodbye for just a bit to remember what it feels like to not be glued together 24-7 as a family unit). Once you’re reunited, keep the magic going by pitching a tent right in your backyard and breaking out that sky gazer’s guide.
When you’re ready to start packing, reach for this standout duffel that is superdurable and weather-resistant and can be carried by the shoulder strap or as a backpack. Use it with these cheerful striped packing cubes that will not only keep everything organized in transit, but, thanks to their mesh tops, pull double duty as aerated laundry storage between washing weeks—er, days.
Encourage a burgeoning naturalist with these inspiring supplies: a bug jar (made from plant-based plastic) complete with a measuring grid, magnifying glass lid, and—most important—air holes; a pocket-size journal for recording camp adventures and nature note taking; and a kid-friendly digital camera that has both a neck lanyard and a wrist strap for safekeeping.
Day Hike Starter Pack
Send them off with a mini backpack that’s ideal for your mini’s daytime adventures—this one is made from water-resistant fabric. It will fit the essentials, like an insulated, stainless steel water bottle with a leak- and shatter-resistant straw cap (available in seven fun colors, to boot); a superloud titanium emergency whistle; and a nontoxic insect repellent that’s suitable for kids ages 2 and up and can be used on skin, hair, and clothes. Bites, be gone!
Stash all of their toiletries in this colorful Dopp kit, which is loaded with organizing pockets (including a detachable zipper pouch) and has a built-in hook hanger. Another smart travel hygiene solution? Solid shampoo (read: no in-transit spills or leaks). These concentrated bars are made with plant-based ingredients and help teach a lesson in sustainability—no plastic packaging!
Because you know they’ll be staying up after dark, this portable LED lantern (which runs for up to 16 hours on four AA batteries) is sure to come in handy. Once the sun goes down, they may even get inspired to learn about outer space with this night-sky guide or send a few secret messages via a delightfully lo-fi Morse code flashlight.
Catch Those Z’s
Some supplies for post-stargazing: a set of kid-size walkie-talkies, so they can rest soundly knowing that their camp companions are within ear’s reach at all times, and a fleece-lined rainbow sleeping bag with an integrated pillow that rolls up compactly—secured with attached Velcro-closure straps—when the cabin sleepovers end for the season.
Maybe the best part of camp: sending and receiving mail after it’s over. The next gen will be psyched about picking up a pen (and the art of old-school correspondence) with this special themed stationery—designed for writing to family and friends or even the next bunk down. And when it’s time to say goodbye, they can use these charming keep-in-touch cards to exchange contact info with their new bestie campmates.