It may only be April, but parents worldwide are gearing up for summer and weighing the costs of activities and fun for the whole family. Here are some solid suggestions that will help you make the right choices for your family without sacrificing your hard-earned money.
Summer camp is an excellent choice for families with one child. What about when you have more than the child? Is the cost reasonable? Should you just keep them home, especially if a parent works from home? Let us lay out the facts in support of your decision-making process. With sleep-away camps on hiatus with the presence of the pandemic, we will reference the day camp concept.
- The benefits. When it comes to summer camp, there is a myriad of benefits for your child. The psychological, physical and social aspects are indisputable. Camp can help your child,
- Discover a variety of new interests like sports, arts & crafts, nature, etc.
- Develop the ability to make new friends and rekindle past friendships.
- Spend the summer outdoors rather than tempted to play inside on a device.
- Enjoy the camaraderie of a tight-knit group.
- Bond with people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Learn autonomy while under supervision, like taking a bike train to and from camp.
- The cost. While the cost per child for camp may feel steep, consider the amount of stimulation and experience your child will get throughout the summer. You’re not just weighing the affordability but also comparing the quality of day-to-day life.
- Most day camps will include at least two excursions like a water park or amusement park. More than likely, the cost of the summer camp will be less than if you took those trips as a family.
- While parents imagine a summer of entertaining their children at home, the reality is that it is near impossible to mimic the animation they will enjoy at camp.
- Camps usually offer a discount rate for each additional child, and some communities offer low-income options.
- If private camps are too expensive, contact your local community camp. They are often just as great and more affordable.
- The pandemic factor. While COVID is still an issue, camps have worked hard to modify the way they work and are diligent in keeping things safe. They rely on smaller groups, not unlike what schools have done, and are industrious about hand-washing and symptom-checking. There is also the matter of “a sense of normalcy in an otherwise upside-down world.” – MarketPlace.org.
HOME FOR THE SUMMER
If there is just no two ways about it and summer camp is not an option, there are great options for keeping your kids busy at home and outdoors. Here are a few examples,
- Chalk it. Chalk is one of those things that you never get too old for. For easy storage and access, use a plastic storage container or freezer Ziplock bag instead of the original packaging. For younger kids, grab some stencils, teach them to trace each other, and decorate rocks. Older kids can create an obstacle course of squiggles and jumping steps, play Pictionary, and decorate the bricks of the house. The best part is that chalk is super affordable and lets your kids’ imaginations run wild.
- Water. I don’t know why but as parents, I think we fear water a little too much! Hook up the hose with an easy-to-use attachment. Grab a water table for younger kids or an assortment of buckets and containers for older kids. On hot days let them run wild. Let them water the garden by seeing who can stand the furthest but still reach the flowers. Let them “wash the car” using the hose, dish soap, and microfiber cloths. If you will be home to supervise, installing a pool is a worthwhile investment. If you need a little extra help to make the purchase, consider a small online loan that won’t affect your credit score.
- Mud and dirt. Again, we as parents get a little icky when it comes to dirt, but it’s just the thing to keep your kids busy and give them a childhood they won’t forget. Whether your kids are 2, 5 or 10, they will love making mud pies and creative play with plastic figurines.
- Creative play. Nature can be the greatest of babysitters. Try using leaves, branches, blades of grass, etc., like a paintbrush. Create a nature scavenger hunt for items found outdoors or by colour for younger kids. Go to a nearby forest and create a makeshift shelter. The opportunities are endless.
AN OLD SCHOOL SUMMER
No matter what your summer looks like, take advantage of pandemic life to get back to the old school way of life. Focus on family, making memories, and taking time to smell the flowers…or freshly mowed grass. There are plenty of inexpensive and creative ways to make it a great summer.
- Family. Spending time together is significantly underrated. Whether it’s bringing back board games for game night, roasting marshmallows in the backyard, or just going for morning or evening walks together, the little things will make your heart full.
- Food. There is a lot you can do when it comes to food that won’t just keep you healthy but will also lend towards filling your summer schedule with worthwhile activities and learning experiences.
- Ask each member of the family to choose a cooking night. They pick the recipe, help with the groceries and cook the meal – and they can skip the dishes that night in return.
- Pick a family-favourite recipe and share it with your friends. Every month you can swap recipes and even drop off meals to your friends and family.
- Exercise. Create a family challenge for the week or month. Involve friends and neighbours too if you like. If your family loves being active, consider making a home gym. You will have plenty for the kids to do on rainy days.
- Finance. We might be biased towards the importance finance plays in the day to day life, but challenge your family to a savings game. Whatever is saved can go towards a family excursion at the end of the summer. You can even check out the best finance podcasts and blogs for ideas and inspiration.
- Who can hold out longest on a purchase?
- Who can save the most spare change?
- Who can sell the most unused items?
Credito isn’t just an online credit brokerage corporation. Not only do we provide hardworking Canadians with quick, online loans, but we also work hard to bring you the best practical advice when it comes to personal finances.