After school kids activities is a conundrum for countless parents. Studies show that the hours between 3 and 7 during the week are the prime time for violent juvenile crime, the period during which kids are most likely to become the victims of violent crime or be involved in accidents. So, how do you keep your children safe, supervised and out of trouble when you can't afford costly childcare or extracurricular activities? The answer is easier than you think. In this article, we'll discuss a number of productive and inexpensive ways to keep your kids busy until you get home.
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.
Technology can be a lifesaver when it comes to cutting back on the cost of after school kids activities. Instead of paying for pricey personal instruction, look into online music lessons or lessons on DVD. There are a number of music websites offering acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano and keyboard tutorials for a low and affordable price. To save even more money, buy used instruments instead of new ones. You can also rent or lease the instrument until you are sure that your child is committed to playing it. This is a great way to expose your kids to the joy of music without making you sing the blues over the cost of expensive lessons.