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Toothbrush: check. Sunscreen: check. Water bottle: check. But what else? There's always one small -- but crucial -- thing you forget! Send off your little one with everything he or she needs to have the best summer ever.
Camp Clothing Labels
Repeat after us: no more lost laundry. Custom name tags for your little campers' clothes means less time decoding whose shorts are whose and more time spent capturing the flag. One of our favorite sources, Namemaker, offers both iron-on labels that quickly put an ID to items, and high-quality woven-cotton ones, loomed in Europe, that can be secured with a couple of stitches.
Namemaker iron-on and woven-cotton labels, from $26 for 100, namemaker.com
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Sunblock, sunglasses, snacks: the grab-n-go essentials are never out of reach when they're tucked into a one of these carry-all totes -- not to mention they give off a serious "cool kid" vibe.
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Who wouldn't love kicking up dust, playing soccer, or running through the woods in a pair of these? These one-of-a-kind kicks come with a lot of personality -- just like your kid -- and all you need is a few dabs of craft paint.
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Binoculars and Navigation Devices
Equip them with the tools they need to go on their own mini expedition. While a compass will let them keep track of where they're going (and how to get back!) a trusty pair of binoculars will make exploring their surroundings all the more fascinating.
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A hat is a summer wardrobe essential that works double-time: it's a stylish accessory and a shield from the bright sun. These DIY bucket hats are no different -- plus, they're reversible! This means that they save a bit of space in your camper's bag, since it's basically like packing two diferent hats in the space of one.
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There aren't likely to be many boring lulls in your camper's activity-packed day, but for those hours when there's downtime, a portable, nature-friendly game board -- like this DIY checkerboard -- is the perfect idea.
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Texts and phone calls are great -- until reception drops. Staying in touch is easy -- and fun! -- with a colorful kit like this one. Kids can create their own one-of-a-kind postcards before sending updates home.
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Make sure that camp photos have a safe (and decorative) home with an easy DIY scrapbooking kit that practically functions as a camp photo album, camp journal, and fun project all in one.
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Camp is a great place for kids to unplug for a bit and enjoy the outdoors, but since that doesn't necessarily mean leaving phones and tablets back at home (that might be asking too much), it's good to have something that will shield devices from things like water spashes.
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Seashells, skipping stones, pinecones, friendship bracelets, those tokens pile up in your kid's bag. But small plastic jars like these can double as camp souvenirs -- just label them and over the course of the summer, kids can fill them with teeny-tiny knick-knacks from their camp adventures and keep them all contained in one place.
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Camp is the perfect place to make new friends, and friendship bracelets are the perfect way to celebrate those new ties (no pun intended). Send your camper off to camp with some string or yarn, as well as a few pattern skills up their sleeve, to make sure that they're all set to craft with their bunkmates.
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Get your kid's threads camp-ready with colorful iron-on patches. They instantly upgrade plain T-shirts, shorts, or backpacks and keep them distinguished from everyone else's clothing articles.
$5 each, mokuyobi.com
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Prevent any unfortunate bag mixups at camp by taking the time to tag each of your camper's bags before leaving home! These leather tags not only get the job done, but are super durable, meaning that they're sure to stand up to anything camp throws their way.
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Between mornings at the lake and afternoons out in the woods, the sun will start to take its toll. Remember to pack essentials like sunscreen, sun-protecting lip balm, and insect repellant help make sure that your camper is always ready to face the elements -- because nobody has time to worry about a little bit of sun when there are adventures to be had!
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Lotion SPF 45, $17, amazon.com
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Stick SPF 70+, $8.49, neutrogena.com
Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother, $10, burtsbees.com
Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, $8, burtsbees.com
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A little bit of lakeside reading is a great alternative when campers aren't in the mood to swim -- so long as books are protected from water splashes, surging tides, and anyone with a surprise "cannon ball!"
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The end of camp means having to part ways with new friends, but a keepsake volleyball -- signed by friends, counselors, and cabinmates -- is the perfect way for your camper to remember everyone long after summer is over.
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