If you’re just starting to explore day or sleep-away camps for your kids now, you may be feeling somewhat dismayed by the seeming lack of affordable options and the early deadlines or rigid requirements for registration. The good news: we’ve identified some budget-friendly finds for parents who are looking for ways to bypass waitlists or need some flexibility when setting their family’s summer activities.
Start planning ways to keep your kids active and engaged this season by taking a look at these suggestions here:
Check out the Y.M.C.A.: Whether your kids are teens or Pre-K, you’ll find an impressive range of camp options at prices you’ll be hard-pressed to beat at Y Camps! Within San Francisco alone, there are eight day camps with plenty of activities such as swimming, games, arts and crafts, team building, and exploratory field trips. YMCA Sports and Specialty Camps offer the opportunity for kids to build skills and friendships while spending more time focused on one activity, and Teen Adventure Camps provide thrills from white water rafting and surfing to cycling and amusement park tours. For those who are looking for sleep-away options, visit the Y’s Camp Jones Gulch website. Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains among the redwood trees, this camp even has a three day “Mini Session” for children entering grades one through three.
Find flexibility at Steve and Kate’s: If you want to ensure that your kids will have plenty of enriching experiences and summer fun but can’t predict your family’s schedule from June through August, Steve and Kate’s Camp is a great solution. This day camp allows you the option to purchase a membership for the entire summer or any number of day passes good for all of their locations in the Bay Area. Unused day passes are automatically refunded at summer’s end, and you can upgrade plans to a membership from a day pass plan at any time. For grades Pre-K through seven, Steve and Kate’s allows kids to choose how they want to spend their time—whether it’s dancing, zip lining, baking bread, playing soccer, making stop-motion animation, or engaging in any other of the many activities the camp has to offer.
Browse the daily deal sites: It’s amazing how easy it is to overlook the value of sites like Groupon, Living Social and Yipit when it comes to booking summer plans. These online marketplaces contain a gold mine of bargains on almost every conceivable kind of kids’ camp. With just a quick search on Groupon, we found a deal for more than 50 percent off of a Crusader Film Academy summer camp and a 31 percent discount on a one-week STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education), Public Speaking, Leadership, or Writing Camp for one child.
Consider Galileo Innovation Summer Camps: With dozens of locations throughout the Bay Area, Galileo’s is designed around the camp’s trademarked approach to teach kids from Pre-K to eighth grade to embrace challenges, learn from mistakes and create without fear. Campers engage in art, science, and outdoor activities built around four different weekly themes to help spark their imaginations and inspire innovation. Interested in learning more about how Galileo can help instill confidence and provide creative outlets for your kids? Hurry, because now until this Friday, June 10, the camp is offering a 30 percent savings off of every week of camp in which your child is enrolled. Visit http://www.galileo-camps.com/family for details on this limited-time offer.
Look into your city’s Department of Parks and Recreation: Don’t forget that many Bay Area cities have excellent, low-cost day camps available for kids ages Pre-K through teen. Programs and fees vary from city to city, but may run anywhere from $150-$400 per week. Some parks and recreation programs also offer a daily, drop-in rate and extended care.
Still want to peruse more options or are you looking for a summer camp that focuses on a particular skill your child wants to develop or passion they want to indulge? ActivityHeroe is great place to find camps and classes in your area that fit your schedule and your child’s interests. The service provides a helpful sampling of various categories to choose from, and allows you to filter a search for programs by age. Find your ActivityHeroe for the San Francisco area at http://bit.ly/ActivityHeroeSF.