If you’re thinking, “Hey wait, it’s only spring and I have plenty of time to find a summer camp for my kids,” then I’m here to serve as a warning. I learned the hard way that the best, inexpensive summer camps fill up fast. My church offers a 5-day sleep-away camp in Missouri for minimal costs, and a day camp for little ones. These camps are filled with activities, art, and singing and my children love the experience. But, they do require early sign-up. This week, I’ll help you find the best camps or summer activities for your kids at the best value.
The Great Outdoors (and Indoors, too)
As parents, we all have a good grasp on what kinds of activities our children would enjoy. If your first thought when you think of camp is canoes and fire pits, think again. No matter what interests your child, there’s probably a day or even an overnight camp that suits their interests. Costs vary, as do the timelines of these camps, but if you start saving now, you can give your kids a memorable summer and even a head start on their next activity or sport.
Have a studious little scientist in your brood? There are several local science camps, focusing on everything from astronomy to junior crime detection. Budding artists or actors in your family? There’s a camp for them to hone their abilities and meet other mini-thespians, even a camp for beginner filmmakers! For your athletes, there is an abundance of soccer, baseball, dance and even ping-pong classes available.
Camps Across KC
Schools, churches, clubs, museums and some businesses offer summer camps. The same variety can be found in the costs and length of these camps, too. Places like the YMCA http://www.kansascityymca.org/programs/camps/camp-types
offer many types of camps for kids that last or a week or all summer long. These camps are typically low cost, and there are even scholarships available for qualified families.
Check your county or city’s dot-gov website to see what’s offered locally, especially if commutes and work schedules are a concern. You’re likely to find something nearby and you can also get information that will let you start estimating costs.
Budget For Fun
When you’re creating a summer camp budget, you’ll want to take into account the cost of gas, supplies (like a butterfly nets, helmets or paints, depending on your camp of choice), and if necessary, snacks and sack lunches. Overnight camps usually include the cost of meals but you may need to add in towels or backpacks. It never hurts to call ahead and see what’s expected if you’re unsure.
The most important thing to remember? Start researching summer camps now. With the variety of programs, locations and costs, you’re sure to find something that will keep you, and your kids, happy and making memories all summer long.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Tina Mapes is an assistant branch manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.