Thursday, January 30, 2014

FREE Extracurricular Activities for your children (or for a nominal fee)!

I want my children to develop a myriad of talents.  However, I do NOT have the resources for them to be in sports, clubs, and many other extracurricular activities.  I have NOT let this financial setback be a stumbling block.  There are many other ways to approach giving your children extracurricular activities without breaking the bank.

My suggestions:
  • Check with your local 4-H clubs to see what they offer.  You might be pleasantly surprised what your children can join for little to NO cost to you!!
    • Our local 4-H club offers a FREE archery club (providing equipment during practice) and a sewing club for a nominal fee of $25 for 8 weeks.
  • Check your local golf clubs.  Many offer classes for kids.  One of our local golf clubs has a financial aid/hardship application.  Two summers ago my children have had one month of golf lessons for free.  (This is something they would never have done on our budget.)
  • Check your local archery clubs in town. They may have a FREE shoot for kids.  We have a couple different archery groups in our hometown.  One offers a FREE shoot during the summer for children, ($5 for adults).  During the winter months, they offer a 1-2 times a week shoot for everyone for a nominal fee (Kids $1, Adults $1).  The gear is all provided!
  • Check with your local swim team.  When I was young, my mother traded her time, (being the club’s treasurer), in exchange for me and my sister’s membership on the private swim team.  I wanted the same swim experience for my children.  I went to our local swim team to ask if I could exchange my time for a discount.  It turns out the team has a “scholarship program” for lower income families.  I filled out the application and volunteer a certain number of hours per child during the year.  Now my 2 children who can swim across the pool get a significant discount.  It has helped out tremendously because if it weren’t for this discount, they would not have the opportunity to swim like they currently do.  (I have also loved that the team has let my children volunteer as well.  They are invested in swimming and find a sense of accomplishment in helping to “pay” for their lessons.)
  • Keep your eyes peeled for those flyers!  Whether they come home with your kids from school or at local community centers such as libraries and pools, many times there are “one time FREE events” (or for a nominal fee) to expose kids/families to different kinds of sports or cultural events.  I happen to know of an event this weekend, where I live, that for $2 teens can learn different dances from a traveling group coming through town.  Next month there is another event for kids’ ages12-18 to learn all about aviation for FREE, including the kids participate in a simulated flight where THEY are the pilots!
  • Our local library has events all the time that provide learning new skills for children, teens, and adults!  For the younger children, our library has a Lego Club, and a Craft Club….others are for the older teens such as book club, gaming, card games, and computer education.  For adults, there are lectures, computer education/help, and monthly classes—all for FREE!
Being on a strict budget does not need to limit your children’s (or your) opportunities!!  You just need to be a little more aware and diligent in seeking for and taking advantage of the things happening in your community!!

Happy Pinching Pennies!

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