It may only be March, but now is the time to start thinking about summer camp for your child.

Susie Lupert, executive director at the nonprofit  American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey, says the best thing to do is to call the camp association at 212-391-5208 or go to the website at You can search for camps by ZIP code or by activity.

"Camp, in our opinion, is an essential part of a child's education and should be an essential part of their year, so we really encourage people to do everything in their power to make sure their children are having an amazing summer," says Lupert.

She says summer camp is place where children can explore, take risks and learn independence away from their parents. It's something that might be more challenging than their physical capabilities plus kids get to be outside all day.

Summer camp can also be technology-free, allowing children to unplug and de-stress.

It's also an opportunity for children to learn about themselves, make new friends and have great experiences in the outdoors.

Lupert says when choosing a camp, know what your child's interests are. Whatever they like, there is most likely a camp geared toward that interest, including sports, arts  — even Harry Potter camps are gaining popularity.

There's always general camps that offer swimming, arts and crafts, tennis and rock climbing.

Summer camp costs can range from $100 to $1,000 a week. You can customize a schedule where a child may attend camp full time, part time, or just a few days a week.

Lupert says parents should not be afraid to inquire about sliding fees.

If your child is too old to attend summer camp, Lupert suggests he or she consider applying for a job as a camp counselor.

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