Save on summer camps for kids

If you don't have plans for your children this summer, now is the time to start making them!
May 1, 2014 4:01:44 AM PDT
In several weeks the kids will be out for summer. If you don't have any plans, now is the time to make them.

Summer camps in the Houston area can cost as much as $600 per child per week. We teamed up with a couple of Houston moms who have each compiled a list of day camps and activities.

If anyone is looking for something fun to do with kids, Jill Jarvis has some ideas. The mother of three has a blog called "Big Kid, Small City" and is jam packed with plenty of cheap and free ideas to keep kids busy in Houston and the surrounding areas.

"I created Big Kid, Small City to help myself get out of the house and encourage myself to get out of the house and have fun in Houston because there is so much to do and a lot of it is free and cheap," Jarvis said.

She has several suggestions on how to really save on camps and summer fun for the kids. First up, try Vacation Bible School.

"There are lots of options. It starts at $25 per week per kid, which is amazing. It's usually about half a day," Jarvis said. For example, First Methodist Houston has a summer camp June 16-20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It's $30 per child with an extra $5 for extended care. Check your area churches for similar deals.

Next, look for camps that offer early and extended camps for one flat fee like the Shaloin Temple in southwest Houston.

"The Shaloin Temple is offering a 7 to 7 camp for $100 a week. They have Kung Fu, Chinese classes, so you should check it out," Jarvis said.

Sarah Gish also has great ideas to save big. She's the author of the Summer Book -- an annual directory of Houston summer camps. This year is the first year her published book is an online database, with the option to sort by age, interest, price range, and location.

"I suggest that you pick a camp close to your house -- you'll save gas that way. A lot of times parents drive all over the city, which I believe in. And I think it's important to get your kid to all kinds of interesting places, but if you're really trying to save money pick a camp close to your house," Gish said.

If you are looking for a real bargain through the summer months, Gish suggests checking one place first.

"The city of Houston offers some great camps and they're at a discount. They offer, for example, tennis camps. They have lots of specialized camps," Gish said.

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department has camps that run weekly from June 2-Aug. 8 from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. at 49 area community centers for just $30 a week. We also found tennis camps for free.

For more, visit:

Jill Jarvis' Big Kid, Small City

Sarah Gish's The Summer Book

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