It may sound crazy, but if you are thinking of sending your child to summer camp, the time to start looking is now! This is the month that many camps have open houses and offer sign up deals that are limited in duration.

But how do you choose? Summer camps can be just for a half day, a full day, overnight, or for months! There are traditional camps, religious camps, and camps that center on an activity. There’s no right or wrong, only what works well for your family.

One type of religious summer camp is offered through local churches. It’s called Vacation Bible School (BVS) but is structured as a camp. They are often free or extremely low cost and they run for a week. My children did two weeks one summer and we didn’t have to be a member of the church.

If that isn’t of interest, start by looking at science centers, aquariums, and museums. Nature centers and farms offer camps as well. If your child is interested in sports, many gyms offer camps—everything from parkour to dodgeball! Check your local paper and join local Facebook groups to ask other moms for their referrals.

Many schools offer camps on their campus. Our local school puts together six weeks of half day camps. It’s a great option to have your kids with their friends and familiar faces.

Traditional sleep-away camps offer an array of everything from fun outdoor games, crafts, indoor games, science, swimming, sports, and more. Many run the entire summer and most have a two-week minimum. For those willing to go to a sleep-away camp, it can truly be the adventure of a lifetime. It’s a great way to foster independence and have your child make incredible memories. It’s not for everyone though—whether it be budget issues or a child who isn’t ready to be away from home for so long.

I personally love the variety of so many camps and would love my kids to attend a week of science camp, a week of traditional day or sleep-away camp, and a week of an immersive nature or farm camp.

Camps foster independence, provide outdoor activities that keep kids off screens and teach teamwork. They promote independence, teach a variety of skills, and help children develop new friendships. If you can afford it, with all those perks, camp may be just the perfect thing for your children this summer!