Low-Cost and Free Summer Camps for Kids
Here are some low-cost and free summer camps for kids to help you fit summer camps into your budget and better manage the cost of sending your kids to camp.
The opportunities given to kids at summer camp programs can be invaluable. The benefits of summer camp are something most parents and educators understand and agree on. Kids need stimulation in order to foster their development. Summer camp keeps kids active and staves off the boredom, stagnation, and lack of social activity. Also, kids who attend summer camp often have an easier time adjusting to the new school year.
Overcome Cost and Logistics for Summer Camp
So, why doesn’t every child have the opportunity to attend summer camp? For many parents, it’s a simple matter of cost or time and logistics. Many programs have registration fees, deposits, and additional costs. Some require special scheduling which means parents have to take time off of work or go out of their way from their daily commute.
The cost of the most intensive or prestigious programs can even start to look more like a tuition payment than a signup fee! These programs can be worth every penny for the experience and opportunities they provide, but how do you fit them within your schedule and budget?
Blueprint4Summer is here to help you.
Be sure to check out Blueprint4Summer’s free search app if you are looking for ways to find affordable and feasible summer learning opportunities for your kids in St Louis! Here are Blueprint4Summer’s top tips for finding free and low cost summer programs, so that you can focus on the fun!
Find Free Summer Camps for Kids
Every year, there are typically hundreds of free summer camp sessions in St Louis listed in the Blueprint4Summer search app.
St. Louis has countless amazing free summer learning opportunities for kids – you just have to know where to find them. Keep an eye out for flyers about the local community and school events. Follow your favorite education, art, and sports organizations on social media. Join some community groups on your favorite social network and watch for kid-friendly opportunities. Sign up for email newsletters (and check your inbox!). Many places of worship also hold summer programs and events for children. Your local parks, science and nature centers, and libraries may also offer programs for kids at no cost. You can use Blueprint4Summer’s free search app to quickly find free and low-cost summer programs.
Explore Low-Cost Summer Camps
In addition to hundreds of free summer camps, there are also hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of affordable summer camp sessions listed on Blueprint4Summer every year that cost just $100 or less. These camps offer inexpensive STEM, art, sports, dance, music, and other programs to keep your kids busy during the summer without breaking your budget. Low-cost camps are great for multi-child families and those looking to schedule multiple programs for their children throughout the season. There are plenty of inexpensive programs for kids in St. Louis to attend this summer.
*PRO TIP – On any camps that you like, just click “Add to Blueprint.”
This will help you organize your camps on your calendar. It’s especially helpful for families with more than one child. Just create a free account to get started.
Ask About Financial Assistance
Remember those high-priced summer programs we mentioned earlier? Well, there is a secret about them you might not know — many of these programs offer financial assistance bursaries and subsidies for low-income families to help ensure that all kids have access to amazing summer opportunities. It’s not just the pricier camps, either. Many programs at all budget levels offer financial assistance or scholarships. Not every camp offers financial assistance, but many of them do.
There is a search function for scholarships too!
Check out all of the summer camp sessions with scholarships listed on Blueprint4Summer St Louis. When you find a camp you like, click through to the program’s website and look for a link to financial assistance options. Qualification requirements will vary from one camp to another, and income thresholds may be higher than you expect, so be sure to check to see if you qualify.
Find Additional Summer Camp Scholarships
There are plenty of organizations that give away scholarships for students of low-income families to attend any summer camp of their choice. For example, the American Camp Association takes donations in order to fund their scholarships to give to low-income families so that they can have the ability to send them to any camp. The ACA has great advice on how you can make summer camp more affordable.
Tips for Managing Summer Camp Costs
Now that you know your options for finding free and affordable summer camp sessions, here are some additional tips for budgeting and managing summer camp costs.
- Check for additional fees and deposits. Some programs require a snack, supply, or equipment deposit. Just like a classroom, some programs may require special school supplies, uniforms, or other items. Some programs feature a special event, activity, or outing that may be paid for later rather than up-front. Be sure to check with your program providers to make sure all costs are considered in your summer camp budget.
- Consider the cost of snacks or meals. Many programs provide these items, but some require kids to bring lunch. Older kids in some programs may even have an opportunity to purchase their lunch from a range of options. Be sure to factor in food-related costs before and aftercare as well.
- Don’t forget about transportation. Getting kids to and from camp can require time off work, rack up commute costs, or require transportation fees. Coordinate with other parents to carpool if possible and be sure to factor these costs into your budget.
- Plan ahead for next year. As you’re searching and planning your summer, you will likely see some interesting programs and options that may not fit in your budget or your kid’s age range this year. Don’t forget to save these items so you can factor them into your budget for next summer. Start dropping change into a piggy bank or open up a savings account. If your child is old enough, let them participate in the savings process so they can see the value of the experiences they’re getting.