A:

When the economy is struggling and people are holding on to their money a little tighter, you need to find less expensive alternatives to many activities, including summer camp. Summer camps have provided countless children with memories and experiences that they will remember for a lifetime. However, if you can't afford to send your children away to camp there are many cost-effective alternatives that can prove to be just as rewarding.

The underlying ideas of a summer camp is usually to promote physical fitness, an appreciation for nature and history, and an opportunity to meet other campers and create friendships that last long past the end of summer. That being said, including these goals in your kids' summer activities can leave them feeling just as fulfilled and you feeling a lot less stressed over summer finances. Often the most expensive aspect of camp is the enrollment fee, which can run into the thousands for some out-of-state camps. By introducing your kids to the natural beauty and history of their hometown, they will gain a greater appreciation for their community and learn those lessons from camp at the same time. Take advantage of your town's heritage sites and public transportation. Visiting the local museum or zoo during weekdays can be much less expensive and a great learning experience for children of all ages. Registering children in summer sports leagues can provide them with an opportunity to be physically active and to make new friends with teammates and opponents, and the cost of most summer leagues tends to be a lot less than a typical summer camp.

By taking the initiative to introduce your children to a variety of activities close to home you can make sure that they don't miss out on the great lessons and memories that a fun-filled summer can bring. (For more on summer financing, read our related articles Budget-Friendly Summer Fun and Save Money On Summer Bills.)

This question was answered by Lovey Grewal.

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