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Register for These Low-Cost Summer Programs Now

March 4, 2015

By Kevin Rutter

Register for These Low-Cost Summer Programs Now | There are many options for low-cost summer programs out there, but the least expensive and most fun book up fast, so start your research this week. | A group of kids run through the grass while smiling and holding hands.

Summer seems like a long way off, especially to those of us in the colder states, but it’s already time to start planning your children’s summer activities. Summer is a great time for kids to learn something new, socialize with their peers, and play. But the best and least expensive programs book up well in advance, so now is the time to start your research.

Growing up, my mom gave me the brochure for summer activities at the local park district and told me to choose one myself or she would choose one for me. I’m glad she did because it got me out of the house to meet new friends, exercise, and learn about things I would not have encountered in my daily routine.

As a teacher, I receive countless letters and emails about summer programs for my students from a wide variety of institutions. There are many low-cost summer programs available in your community. Here are some places to start looking:

  • YMCA. They offer day camps, specialty camps, and overnight camps, in addition to daily activities for children. 
  • Park districts. Many park districts offer summer day camps that include field trips, learning activities, and sports. They can even cost less than $5 an hour per child.
  • Library Reading Camps. Your child or teen can join others to read together and discuss books. All they need is a library card.
  • Church camps. Ask your church if they offer youth programs in the summer. These are usually free or discounted compared to other organizations.
  • Local colleges. Local colleges and universities offer various programs for children of all ages, from early childhood daycare to teen theatre programs.

Over the years I have had several students who were accepted into really amazing summer camps, only to have the parents say no because they were too afraid to let them go overnight. I strongly encourage parents to let their child attend these types of trips for the experience after checking with teachers, counselors, and program administrators about the details of the camp including itineraries, safety, and ways to communicate while away.

Summer is a great time for your child to step away from school and take advantage of the great opportunities out there to expand horizons and develop skills. Feel free to use my mother’s motivational technique: your child chooses an activity outside of the house or you do!

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