Believe it or not, February and March are prime months for summer camp sign-ups. Some camps offer early-bird discounts during this month and March, so it's important to start planning early to nab the best deals.

These days, camps aren't just about obstacle courses and macaroni necklaces. Now, kids can learn how to save and manage their finances in the future at camp.

Traditional day and overnight camps are still plentiful, but financial literacy summer camps have grown in popularity, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a Denver-based nonprofit. Parents feel that being financially literate is an important skill to learn for their children's future as they remember the impact of the recession that occured a decade ago, says Paul Golden, a spokesperson for the organization.

Here's what you and your kids can expect from a financially-focused summer experience.

What is a financial summer camp?

These camps last from a few hours a day to a couple of weeks. They buck the traditional camp activities by teaching basic financial skills and related core values, such as the benefit of saving and budgeting, how insurance and investing works and even how to start and run a business.

Camps can be run by a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, colleges and universities and businesses.

Ages range from six to college freshmen, and camps often are broken into age or grade groups. Prices can vary from $25 to $2,500.

Richard E. Martinez Jr., president and CEO of both Young Americans Bank and Young Americans Center for Financial Education in Denver, says their summer camps have an underlying theme of personal financial responsibility, such as budgeting and managing money. Participants also tour the bank to learn what a bank is, how it works and about different account types.

"At those ages, that is really what we are trying to do, to give them the vocabulary, as well as give them an experiential opportunity to put everything that they've learned into action," said Martinez.

Some camp programs are available in multiple states. Future Investor Clubs of America's FICACAMPS offers one-week and multi-week programs in 10 states. The programs focus on topics such as insurance, banking and stock trading. Campers also take field trips to locations, including the New York Stock Exchange or the United Nations headquarters.

What to consider when choosing a financial camp

Registration for camp programs typically opens in February or March and runs until June. Some camps fill up early, so it's wise to sign up soon to claim a spot for your child. If it's filled up, ask about a waitlist.

It's smart to do your due diligence when looking for camps that teach strong fiscal habits.

Parents should ask themselves if the camp they are considering seems commercial - such as promotions for specific types of accounts, services or products that are embedded in the educational materials - which, Golden says, will taint the education. Instead, look for camps that teach fundamental financial concepts.

"Just understand where the instruction is coming from, how it's being presented, is it a fun environment, what are your kids going to get out of it," Golden said.

Young Americans' summer programs have grown in the 20 years they have been offered, Martinez said. The camp materials try to connect with kids, such as using candy.

"In the entrepreneurial camps, they'll do things like creating Mr. Goodbar, so understanding all of the resources and the costs of putting together a product and how does the marketing go into doing those types of things," Martinez said.

If you're concerned that the financial aspect may be daunting to your child, Golden suggests looking for camps that have money as a subject or component, along with more traditional activities, such as swimming or crafts. Even YMCAs and organizations like United Way have camps with financial literacy components among their slate of summer programs for kids.

Reaffirm what your kids learned

Golden says managing money is not a one-time offering, and it is crucial for children to continue learning from their parents outside of the camps. Parents should build on the teachable moments, he says.

"So even if you are sending your kid to this type of camp, that's great, but understand it's still up to you - and so your responsibility - to have regular frequent meaningful conversations about money with your kids that are not lectures, you know, and also setting a good example for your kids to follow," he said.

25 financial summer camps to consider in 2018

Here is a snapshot of financial summer camps around the U.S. For savings, ask about early-bird and sibling discounts, such as 10 percent off the rate.

Alabama

Camp iCare

● Financial and philanthropic responsibility are taught through courses, activities and field trips that cover topics such as needs vs. wants and giving.

● Auburn University

● July 9-12 (day camp)

● 6-12 years old; children must have completed kindergarten.

● $160

carycenter.auburn.edu/campicare

Alaska

University of Alaska Fairbanks

● Provides basic knowledge for campers about earning, saving, spending and money management.

● Aug. 6-10 (day camp)

● 2th-12th grades

● $190

uaf.edu/summer/programs/camps

California

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts and guest speakers from major corporations.

● University of Southern California, San Diego State University, and City College of San Francisco

● Multiple options in July and August (day and overnight)

● 8-19 years old

● $949.95 (tuition only), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board)

ficacamps.com/locations

Camp Millionaire

● An experiential and interactive financial education camp focused on a proprietary game called "The Money Game" that teaches kids about money and investing.

● Santa Barbara

● July 9-13, 2018

● 14-20+ (day)

$495

creativewealthintl.org

Camp BizSmart

● Campers experience team-based product design and a business plan challenge designed by the Silicon Valley CEOs and entrepreneurs. The camp includes students presenting before a panel of angel investors and executives.

● Santa Clara University and Silicon Valley

● Multiple options from June 18-August 4 (day and overnight)

● 11-16 years old

● $1,995 (tuition), $4,350 (tuition and lodging)

campbizsmart.org

Colorado

Young Americans Center for Financial Education (programs include Young AmeriTowne, Junior Money Matters and International Towne)

● Campers learn financial literacy basics such as budgeting and money management.

● Denver area

● Multiple options in June and July (day camp)

● 2nd-8th grades

● $240

https://yacenter.org/summer-camps/

District of Columbia

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts and guest speakers from major corporations.

● Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, Washington, D.C.

● Aug. 6-10 and Aug. 13-17 (day/overnight)

● 8-19 years old

● $949.95 (tuition), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board)

ficacamps.com/locations

FLORIDA

SUMMER CEO

● Campers learn about product testing, marketing and small business plans (also developing a plan), and take a field trip to Microsoft.

● YMCA of Central Florida, Orlando

● July 31-Aug. 4 (day)

● K-5th grade

● $225-$325

ymcacentralflorida.com/specialty-camps

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts and guest speakers from major corporations.

● Rollins College and Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus

● June 11-15 and June 25-30 (day and overnight)

● 8-19 years old

● $949.95 (tuition), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board)

ficacamps.com

Georgia

Money Dawgs

● Games and activities, such as viewing and critiquing financial behaviors shown on television and the movies, will help campers discover secrets about money, personal finance, and investing.

● University of Georgia, Athens

● July 16-20 (day and overnight)

● 11-14 years old

● $360 (day camp), $830 (overnight camp)

georgiacenter.uga.edu

Wealthy Habits (camps include Money Basics, Think Tank to Shark Tank and Camp Wall Street)

● Students learn critical thinking about skills such as budgeting to risk management in order to make smart decisions.

● Atlanta

● Multiple options in May, June and July (half days with morning or afternoon sessions)

● 13-19 years old

● $120

wealthyhabits.org

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts and guest speakers from major corporations.

● Emory University, Atlanta

● May 29-June 8 (day or overnight, with the option for one or two weeks)

● 8-19 years old

● $949.95 (tuition only), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board) per week

ficacamps.com

Idaho

Camp CashEd

● Activities teach campers about budgeting, investing, stock market fundamentals and building long-term wealth.

● Boise State University

● Dates TBD

● 10-14 years old

econidaho.org/student-programs/

Illinois

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts and guest speakers from major corporations.

● University of Illinois at Chicago

● July 2-6 (day/overnight)

● 8-19 years old

● $949.95 (tuition only), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board)

ficacamps.com/locations

Nebraska

Maverick Investment Camp

● Campers learn about savings and investing by learning from professors and local executives, meeting university students in the Maverick Investment Program who manage more than $1.5 million in assets and participating in a portfolio simulation.

● University of Nebraska Omaha

● June 18-20 (day camp)

● 11th and 12th grades, college freshmen

● $25

unomaha.edu

New Jersey

Financial Literacy Camp

● Campers gain an introduction to financial management and investment with lectures and discussions, field trips to Wall Street and other financial institutions, team projects and computer labs.

● New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark

● June 25-July 9 (overnight)

● High school students

management.njit.edu

New York

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts and guest speakers from major corporations.

● New York City

● Multiple options in July and August (day and overnight)

● 8-19 years old

● $949.95 (tuition only), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board) per week

ficacamps.com/locations

Youth About Business

● Campers experience simulations of merger and acquisition transactions in order to gain a contextual understanding of business.

● Columbia University

● July 9-13 (overnight)

● 9th-12th grades (students must apply by submitting two teacher recommendations and writing an one-page essay)

● $1,500

youthaboutbusiness.org/summer_programming

North Carolina

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts, and guest speakers from major corporations.

● University of North Carolina-Charlotte

● Aug. 6-10 (day/overnight)

● 8-19 years old

● Cost: $949.95 (tuition only), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board)

ficacamps.com

Oregon

FICACAMPS

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts, and guest speakers from major corporations.

● University of Portland

● Aug. 14-18 (day/overnight)

● 8-19 years old

● $949.95 (tuition only), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board)

http://ficacamps.com/locations.html

Tennessee

Camp BizSmart

● Campers experience team-based product design and a business plan challenge designed by CEOs and entrepreneurs. The camp includes students presenting before a panel of angel investors and executives.

● Chattanooga

● June 17-29 (day/overnight)

● 11-15 years old

● Cost: $1,795.00 (tuition), $3,495 (tuition and housing)

campbizsmart.org

Youth About Business

● Students participate in complex business transactions, such as leveraged acquisitions and joint ventures.

● Vanderbilt University, Nashville

● July 9-13 (overnight)

● 9th-12th grades (students must apply by submitting two teacher recommendations and writing an one-page essay)

● $1,800

http://www.youthaboutbusiness.org/summer_programming.php

Texas

MoolahU

● Austin

● 8-16 years old

● Multiple options in June, July and August (day camp)

● $340/week

● Kids learn how to be responsible with money; the camp partners with local Austin businesses to teach entrepreneurial skills.

moolahu.com

FICACAMPS

● Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and Texas Southern University in Houston

● June 5-9 and June 11-15 (day/overnight)

● Ages: 8-19

● $949.95 (tuition only), $2,499.95 (tuition, room & board)

● Campers experience financial intelligence training, field trips to local financial districts, and guest speakers from major corporations.

ficacamps.com/locations

Washington

Growing Wealth From the Start's Camp Millionaire

● Edmonds

● July 21-22

● 10-16 years old

● $229

● Campers learn concepts such as time vs. money, the importance of and emotions around money and participate in activities where they make decisions about spending paychecks, paying taxes and planning for the future.

eventbrite.com

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