When I was a kid, some of my favorite memories of summer fun were the times I spent at summer camp.

From marine biology to soccer camp, I enjoyed learning new things with new friends while on summer break. The camps I attended fostered positive connections within my community, fed my curiosity for subjects I didn’t learn in school and helped me feel more independent as I matured.

These camps might have actually been called “daycare” according to my mom, but they were adventures to me and I’m excited to pass on the summer camp tradition to my own kids! No matter the camp, your kids don’t have to stop learning just because it’s summer time.

Want your little ones to get the most out of their summer camp experience? Here are 5 tips that moms can do to make sure their camper comes home happy:

Keep Camps Relevant: Is your child an avid sports player? Do they show interest in video games? Are they natural drama queens? Summer time is fun time, so keep the camp selection relevant to their interests. For older kids, pick out 3 camps according to your schedule and budget and allow your child to choose one. For younger kids, who are generally more open to suggestions, focus on a skill you want to explore. My 4 year old daughter is a natural performer, and after a week of Drama Camp, has learned how to project her voice without screaming and how to communicate with body language. She has a blast and I felt good knowing that the experience is reinforcing her natural desire to be in the spotlight.

Set a Routine: Everyone loves to sleep in during summer time, but if your camp starts early in the morning, you’ll want to stick to a routine in order to best maximize the experience. Kids need sleep to feel great the next day, so make sure they’re going to bed on time. Picking clothes and packing snacks the day before also makes the morning less hectic. Speaking of snacks…

Pack Hydrating Snacks: Tampico offers plenty of flavorful drinks that hydrate your camper while giving them a special summer treat. Throw in juicy fruits, like grapes or oranges, and they’ll feel hydrated and ready for fun.

Create Connections: Summer camp can often mean making new friends – and that’s scary for some kids! If your camper is shy, help them through the first day by creating connections with fellow moms and campers. As you drop them off, say hello to those around you. Introduce yourself to other moms, ultimately introducing the kids to each other. You never know who else is a bit shy on the first day, too. And at the very least, knowing that you feel secure and excited will help your child feel the same way, too.

Apply the New Skills: A large part of feeling like an experience was worthwhile is the knowledge that the new skills, relationships or lessons are being applied to your life. Keep the new friendships your child has made. Continue with more classes in the subject matter. Practice the skills they’ve learned at home, or ask your camper to teach their younger siblings.

Summer camps can be expensive and time consuming, but they are valuable learning experiences for your child. Don’t let them go to waste! Summer camps teach kids independence, allow them to learn more about their interests or be exposed to things they never knew they loved. With just a few simple tips, moms can make sure their kids are getting the most out of their summer camp experiences.