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Thinking about what your kids will be doing this summer might seem like a long way off, but before we know it, school will be out and our kids will need something to do.  

One activity for millions of kids is to attend a summer camp. Summer camps not only give kids something to do, but it also can help them learn a new skill, gain some independence and build their self-esteem. 

To get a jump start on summer activities, here a few tips for choosing a summer camp according to KinderCare Learning Center:

- Establish family goals and interests: Ask your child about his or her interests. Discuss potential types of camps and identify the area or areas he or she is interested in.

- Identify your needs: Evaluate your schedule and needs. Consider the program's ability to be flexible. Ask for a program's definition of "full days."

- Look for camps that have variety: Offer your child day-to-day variety. Look for programs that have a range of activities experiences and opportunities.

- Balance learning and fun: To keep your child from losing valuable information during the school year, find a program that incorporates learning activities in a fun way.  

- Remember all domains of development: Look for a program that incorporates activities across all social, emotional, physical and intellectual domains.  

- Insist on health and safety basics: Look for centers or programs that are licensed and meet stringent health and safety requirements for the care of children. 

- Visit the program and preview the activity plans: Look for well-organized activities, thoughtful preparation, and a safe and inviting environment for your child. 

- Meet the program staff - Meet the program manager and as many staff members as possible. Also ask about the program's plans for including families and communicating with you about daily and weekly activities.

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