If you’re a working parent, you’ve likely been down the summer camp road before. Summer camps aren’t just for fun…they’re sometimes a necessary means of childcare during the summer months when our kids would normally be in school.
But summer camps are expensive, yo!
So how do you find the best cheap summer camps? No matter where you live, here are some places to look for inexpensive summer camps for kids (realizing, of course, that costs will vary by area and we all have a different opinion of what “cheap” is!).
Need a lunch box for summer? This is a favorite of ours…they’ll last all year long!
Cheap Summer Camps
Sports camps for kids hosted by local high schools – Check your local high school! Many schools run week-long summer camps for younger kids during the summer, and they are surprisingly affordable. This year my son is attending a half day basketball camp at a local school – the cost was only $60 for the week, and includes a ball and a t-shirt.
Reach out to your high school (or ones in the area) to find out more. Or, ask a teacher – they always have the scoop!
Vacation Bible School – Did you know that many camps put on weekly camps during the summer…for free? Some may have a small fee, but many are free. Ask your local churches for more info.
Your local rec center likely hosts a bunch of inexpensive summer camps! Call up the rec center, or find them online. Many have a plethora of summer camp offerings. Often, outside organizations bring their camp programs to your rec center, so costs can vary from program to program.
Check out your local library! Libraries often have tons of summer programs. While most of these won’t be the type you can drop your kid off at for the day, these can be a welcome diversion on those long summer days. Our library does a Harry Potter day and a Stars Wars day…people go all out. These are a lot of fun!
Local daycare centers (and after school programs) often have summer programs, too. One of our local daycares, which caters to pre-school age kids, opens it doors to older kids during the summer. With age-appropriate entertainment and field trips, it’s a hot ticket.
You can also ask local in-home daycare providers…they often do special activities during the summer months and might be able to add your child to their roster for a week or so, especially as families are traveling and their regular kids might be out of town.
Here are some unique summer camp ideas you might want to look into:
- Summer camp at your local museum (check out all museums…they will often have lots of options!)
- Horse camp! Many barns will host summer camps. These aren’t always cheap, but you can bet your child will come home tired and happy after a day with the horses!
- LEGO camp – did you know this was a thing? Look at your rec center or local church for this one!
- Robotic and Engineering camps
- Sports camps
- Coding camp (last year, Jack took a video game-making camp at our rec center…at the end of a week, he actually made his own video game!)
- Character camp (our local rec center offers a Harry Potter camp, a princess camp, and more)
- Space camp
- Music camp (what a fun way to introduce your kids to playing an instrument!)
- Dance camp
- Drama/performing arts camp
Another idea – if you don’t need to send the kids to day camp, but want to have some fun stuff planned each day…how about throwing your own “camps” for your kids? Here’s an example of a Mommy Summer Camp – Pirate Week curriculum. <<< she has five other fun “Mommy Summer Camp” weeks planned out for you, too.
One more note about summer camps…
Get those kids signed up early! Seriously. Many camps are filled before spring is even halfway over. So get on it! 🙂
Here are some other ideas I think you might like: