Want to pack your kids’ summer with fun — while still staying on budget? Check out these 5 tips to save money on summer camps, from the experts at ActivityHero.
By ActivityHero Staff
Tip 1: Look for summer camp discounts and deals
The most common summer camp discount is the early bird discount. These discounts are offered for a limited time, and encourage families to register early, at least a few months before the camp starts.
Overnight camps offer the best discounts in the fall, right after summer has ended. Day camps offer the best discounts when you register before February. In 2016, families shopping on ActivityHero saved an average of 12% with early bird discounts.
Timing matters, though. In 2016, the best savings were in January. Many early bird deals expire at the end of February.
By April, you may not find very many early registration discounts, but sibling and multiple week camp discounts are often still available.
Tip 2: Find “value priced” camps
Some camps, like Wizbots, a robotics camp in the San Francisco Bay Area, believe in “providing a quality program at the best value price,” and don’t offer any additional camp discounts. These programs might have every day lower prices, or they may offer longer hours or extended care at no extra charge.
What’s considered to be a low price varies by region. In the SF Bay Area, a full day camp that is $350 or less per week catches parents’ attention.
Tip 3: Consider one day sessions
Sending kids to camp for a day or two at a time can be a great way to break up the monotony of summer, or to supplement your other child care arrangements. Kids still get to experience all the fun of camp, but you’re only paying for the days you need. Steve & Kate’s Camp is one example of a camp that offers this type of flexibility — and your child can drop in for one day at a time without any advance registration. Most other one-day sessions do require advance registration. (And if it’s a very popular camp, we recommend registering as early as you can to make sure you secure your spot.)
Tip 4: Balance specialty camps and recreational camps
If you’ve been shopping for camps, you have probably seen a wide price range. Some specialty camps, such as programming or horseback riding, are priced higher because the equipment or instructors are more costly. A week of coding camp at iD Tech starts at $799.
By contrast, some recreational sports and day camps can cost a lot less. Camps held at the local park or school soccer field don’t have as much expenses to cover. For example, a week of soccer camp at Challenger Sports starts at $182.
Your child might be interested in many types of activities, so mixing in a few different camps can keep your average cost lower.
Tip 5: Apply for scholarships and financial aid
Your family may also be able to get assistance from camp scholarships or financial aid. Some camps offer a sliding-scale rate depending on your family income. Some scholarship applications are available on ActivityHero, or you can contact the camp directly to ask about scholarships.