Summer Camp Essentials

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School will be out before you know it, and it certainly feels like summer outside. So I’ve got you covered – literally and figuratively with three summer camp essentials for all the fun days your kids will spend outdoors.

When it comes to bug spray, the chemical DEET found in most commercial insect repellants is questionable, safety-wise. I hate the thought of spraying my kids with harsh chemicals, especially when they’re prone to put everything in their mouths. It’s easy enough to make your own bug spray that’s effective and safe, out of ingredients you can find at the grocery store.

DIY Bug Spray

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.

Add 3-4 tbsp total, dried and fresh herbs. I used dried lavender, whole cloves and fresh mint (mint is very important for keeping the bugs away!)

Mix well, cover, and allow to cool.

Strain out the herbs and mix the water with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel. Add 10 drops of citronella essential oil.

Store in a spray bottle in a cool place.

Shake well before applying.

You can also dab a little vanilla extract or lavender oil on your child’s neck, wrists, behind the ears, under the arms, ankles, and backs of knees.


Harmful UV rays are always around especially during the summer, so sunscreen is so important. I like to use a natural, mineral-based sunscreen with 50 or higher SPF. My favorite brand is called Think Baby and it can be found in the baby section at Target. It also has the best score possible on the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen rating system. Its proven safety and the fact that it’s easy to find make it a no-brainer choice for me.


Hydration is key all year round, but especially in the hot summer sun when kids are playing outside. The right water bottle isn’t always easy to find. I typically buy on Amazon because I have pretty specific qualities I look for. I suggest an environmentally friendly stainless steel bottle (kids’ size, 10-15 oz is plenty big enough for little hands) with a large enough opening for ice, and a sturdy straw lid that closes to prevent leaks. I love these by Simple Modern. They’re comparable to the popular Hydroflask but about half the price.

Here are a few more tips: If your kids are still in car seats, check the dimensions of the bottle to make sure they’ll fit in your child’s cup holder. They can also be clipped to any backpack using a carabiner, which you can grab here. Finally, always make sure to label your child’s water bottle with a sharpie!

I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite products/tips for summer camp? Let me know in the comments.

Have a great summer!

Allie PeachComment