After school kids activities are the perfect way to keep your children supervised and productive until you get home from work. However, budget cutbacks have forced schools to reduce the number of programs offered. This can put sports and arts programs out of the reach of low income families. However, there are less expensive alternatives to these programs that are every bit as good. In this article, we’ll show you how to find these inexpensive yet immensely valuable services in your community.
The first step in finding inexpensive after-school activities for kids is researching your local community resources. Many schools, churches and recreation centers offer great programs for a nominal fee. These programs can include swimming, martial arts, arts and crafts and music. Speak to other parents about the programs that their kids are involved in. Some organizations will offer group rates or discounts to families with two or more children. Registering early can also save you cash. Many teams and schools offer a discount to families who are willing to commit early and register by a certain date. For older children, you may want to consider getting them involved with a community service that needs volunteers. They can volunteer at hospitals, libraries, senior citizen homes, or even coaching or supervising an after school club for younger kids.
With after school kids activities that involve sports, consider going with quality used equipment, since children can outgrow gear quickly. A new pair of hockey skates can cost more than $150 and that’s a lot of money for a family with two or three kids who want to hit the ice! You can find good used equipment by speaking to the team coach for recommendations. You can also visit used sports equipment stores, eBay and consignment stores. You can also trade or sell equipment that you have at home to offset the costs. Shopping off season is also a great way to save money. You can save a bundle by buying equipment at the end of a season and storing it until the following year.
Paying for instructors is a big portion of the cost of after-school activities. Instead of paying through the nose for one-on-one instruction, consider asking the skilled and talented people that you know to be a coach or teacher. Is your neighbor a great piano player? Perhaps you have a friend who learned to swim before they could walk! They may do it for a small fee or a barter arrangement, or you might get lucky and find that they’ll do it for free just for the love of the activity.
After school kids activities have been among the first items of household expenditures to be reduced or cut as parents try to save money in the recession. However, this doesn’t have to mean that you cut back on the experiences your child can have. It may take a little time and effort, but you can find excellent programs at a reduced cost. You should also look into grants or financial aid available to low income families. Some dance class schools, programs for kids crafts, sports teams, and music schools offer scholarships and financial aid for students. It’s a good way to offset the rising costs of keeping your kids busy after school.
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