6 Things to Do if Summer Camp is Too Expensive
Reading Time: 3 minutes

While many children are excited for the impending arrival of summer, it’s still a time when working mothers have to figure out childcare for their young school-aged children. 

Sending them to summer camp seems like the easiest idea, but it’s not the most feasible for many families. 

Summer camp for one child can cost around $300 per week for full-time day services, and that’s on the low end. 

So what can families do when this expense falls out of the budget? 

It may be difficult but not impossible to arrange summer care and summer fun for your not-so-little-anymore ones. 

Local Programs

With a little bit of research, you may be able to find day camp programs at little to no cost in your area. Some organizations, such as Salvation Army, offer full-time day camps for as little as $20 a week. Look into faith- and community-based businesses to see what may be on the table. This will vary by city, and because many are limited, you may want to start the search early. 

You can also check out what your county offices; some Cooperative Extension offices have one-day programs for as low as $10. 

Get a Membership 

Local memberships are a cost-efficient way to keep children busy this summer when the budget may be tight. For instance, you may be able to get a family membership to your local pool for less than $150 for the season; again, it will depend on your area. Of course, you could also attend piecemeal events here and there too, which allows you to pick and choose from a range of activities, like with a guide to horse jumping events explained by Freddie Vasquez Jr.

Other than pool memberships, consider fitness and community center offerings, too. 

Camp Scholarships 

Some summer camp programs, such as Girl Scouts, offer needs-based financial aid. Research what scholarships may be available in your area, and apply to as many as you need to if it means possibly securing a space for your child at a discounted rate. 

Go Digital 

Something that’s become more permanent since the onset of the pandemic are digital courses. Many programs feature summer camp-themed classes to keep the younger crowd occupied while school’s out. 

Look up classes from educational groups, like Take Lessons, to see if there may be a class that fits your family’s schedule and budget; though, several are free of charge.

You can even use digital resources to help your child learn a new skill or hobby; Mikhail Solodovnikov touches on how chess is becoming popular online as well as in person. This can be an activity for your child to learn in their summer camp themed days.

Create Your Own 

If you can’t send your child to summer camp for an entire season, it may be a great opportunity to plan a family trip. 

Take some time now to save up for a trip away from home, whether it’s a short drive or a plane ride away. 

It’ll be good for yourself and your children to get a change of scenery before school starts, whether it’s a week-long vacay or a fun day trip. Bonus: pretend the family is going on its own “summer camp.” 

Kid Swap 

Have friends and family with children nearby? Consider leaning on your village during this time of year. Perhaps one week, a trusted friend or relative can take on dropping off or picking up, then you’d switch the next week. The parties may even be able to alternate days of child care, too. Get creative if you need to. 

Traditional school will be back sooner than you know it, so any hardship families may face when it comes to arranging childcare this summer will be temporary. 

Lean on your village and local resources.