As the school year comes to an end, children are daydreaming about summer. And for many kids, that means daydreaming about summer camp.  My daughter will be heading to several "day camps" this year, but we still need to get organized when it comes to packing...too much and she'll be lugging her stuff around the whole time, too little and she'll be uncomfortable or embarrassed that she doesn't have the right supplies.

Of course, your supply list will vary depending upon the type of camp your child attends and the legnth of the camping trip.  But in general, the American Camp Association suggests the following guidelines for parents to keep in mind when packing for camp:

Headgear – Parents should consider packing items to protect a camper from the sun.  ACA suggests that parents pack scarves, bandannas, baseball caps, or a sunhat, as well as needed eyeglasses, sunglasses, and swimming goggles.

Clothing – Clothing is a necessary component of camp, just don’t expect any to return home clean!  Pack lots ot tees, swim suits, and shorts for hot days; a jacket, sweatshirt, jeans for cool or cold days; and a raincoat or poncho for rainy days.  Also, long pants will protect a camper from poison ivy, bugs, and thorns during hikes.  Check with the camp to see if dress clothes are required.

Footwear – Appropriate footwear is one of the most important items to pack for children at camp, especially when they are hiking, spelunking, running, and heading to the beach.  Remember that shoes should be broken in prior to the start of camp.

Bed and bath – For children attending a resident camp, parents should remember to pack the home basics. Your child will need towels, a blanket, pillow, pillow cases, sheets, sleeping bag, laundry bag, and mattress pad.  And don't forget to put together a bathroom kit that has all of your child's grooming supplies in one spot: brush and comb, shampoo, soap and soap container, toothbrush and holder, toothpaste, deodorant, insect repellent, feminine products, sun block, shaving gear, and lip balm.

Fun stuff – Don't forget to pack some fun stuff for your kids to enjoy and share with their friends while they're at camp.  Books and magazines, flashlights and batteries, Frisbees or other toys, a water bottle, and writing materials can all make camp days more fun. Skip the electronic doodads and other battery powered gizmos and let your kids enjoy their friends and the camp facilities instead. 

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