It's just one of those mundane chores that need to be done: labeling every article of clothing, towel, backpack, and other gear that will travel with your child to summer camp—or to school or daycare—in the hopes that when it inevitably gets lost, it will find its way home to you. Nothing's going to make this job of labeling camp clothes, baby bottles, or school supplies fun, but we've rounded up the whole range of different ways you can label your kids' stuff, from swimsuits to water bottles and sippy cups, with beautifully embroidered personalized labels to fun, custom name tags with cute, colorful designs, to ones you can make at home.
Here are a few the best name labels for kids' and baby gear that we've found, and yes, most all offer dishwasher-safe, easy peel-and-stick options!
Still searching for the perfect summer camp for your kid? Check out our local guide to summer camps near you.
Label all those sleepaway summer camp supplies with a personalized Mabel's Labels name tag.
For those seeking longevity: From daycare to sleepaway camp, many moms turn to Mabel's Labels for the staying power—literally. One editor told us she has Mabel's labels still attached to certain items eight years later! These durable, waterproof name labels come in all the shapes and sizes you'll need for all (and any) kid activities, including sports and private school uniform labels. Check out the cute designs and colors available in the summer day camp label pack, from s'mores to unicorns and plenty of furry animals.
For the parent with more than one kid: If you don't envision being able to get through one of those "value packs" of labels right away, but still need a bunch of labels for kids given your household headcount, check out Sticky Monkey. It's one of the few custom name label makers we found that lets parents split an order between two names. There are plenty of unisex designs from which to choose.
RELATED: Top STEM Summer Camps Around the Country
Camp supplies *might* just make it home with Stickerkid labels.
For the emoji generation: Find just about every type of label and value pack option at Stickerkid, including daycare and baby bottle packs, as well as labels for school or summer camp. Personalize your kid's labels by selecting from a dizzying number of label icon options with filters like adventure, lovable, superheroes, SummerEdition, and yes, emojis. Ships fast, which we procrastinators greatly appreciate!
For the geek in you: Why buy clothing labels when you can buy a gizmo and make your own. With special iron-on tape, you can turn a normal label-maker into an iron-on name tape maker, just type in your child's name and click out as many as you need.
The simple but appealing designs at Name Bubbles give your kid's stuff a unique look.
For the modernist in you: The fresh, low-key designs at Name Bubbles are wooing those parents who prefer an understated look. Kids will love the rainbows, dinosaurs, and unicorns and want to put them on everything. Hey, maybe they'll actually help you! Give them a sheet of labels and let them cover those water bottles, towels, and more camp clothing and other gear with their name.
For the kid in you: Even iron-on labels don't have to be boring with Kiddo Tags. This site makes fun, brightly colored, and cutely designed name labels, plus special stickers for sneakers and every other possible thing you could ever want to put your name on.
For the traditionalist in you: Just want your basic iron-on camp name labels. Campbound.com sells them at just $20 for 100. Can't beat that. The company also offers rolls of sticker name labels.
For the parent of kids with allergies: A life-threatening allergy isn't something you want to whisper about. Instead, shout it out with bright red, orange, yellow and "medical alert" allergy labels on lunchboxes and elsewhere. We found great options at Mabel Label's, Sticky Monkey, Stickerkid, and Name Bubbles. Customize with the name of your child's allergen, emergency instructions, and phone numbers, or select a pre-filled label.
For the bureaucrat in you: Pretend you work in the insurance claims department as you stamp your child's name into their clothes one after another with your own custom made name stamp and indelible fabric ink pad. DENIED.
All photos courtesy the name label companies.
A version of this article first published in 2008.