Don’t know what to do with the kids while you continue working this summer? Welcome to life in the Bay Area. If money is as tight as time, check out this roundup of affordable childcare options this summer.
- Boys & Girls Clubs offer summer camp programs that vary by facility. One example — the Martinez club has an eight-week program (7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily) that costs $975 (plus $25 member fee). The program includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, field trips, weekly swimming and nature walks.
- The League of Volunteers provides low-cost summer camp for children who live in Fremont, Newark and Union City. The fee is $10 to register for the six-week camp, which runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays from July 10 to Aug. 17. Attendance is flexible so you can drop in and out according to your summer plans.
- Parent co-ops can allow you to share care with four other parents, who each take one day a week to watch all five (or more) children. It’s easier to take one day of vacation each week than full weeks during the summer. Sites like Care.com offer resources to help set up one of these. (The site also details on how to set up a babysitting co-op, which would involve a cost shared among the participating families.)
- City Parks and Recreation programs often have summer camps ranging from cooking and art to sports. Many of these have an option for before and after care for an additional fee. Visit your city’s parks and recreation website to find out what is offered in your area. Some of these also cater to teenagers, such as the city of San Jose’s Mayfair Summer Youth Program, which runs noon to 5 p.m. weekdays from June 26 to Aug. 11 and is free for ages 12 to 17 years. (Note: Some programs are restricted to city residents.)
- YMCA has summer camp programs at their facilities throughout the Bay Area, with extended care options. For example, YMCA of Silicon Valley has programs starting at $265 a week.
- Some churches and faith-based schools offer affordable camps and day care options. A few even run on donation-based tuition, such as Concord Bible Church’s Lifetime Summer Day Camp.
- Some Bay Area elementary schools have summer programs that run on-site, including Adventure Time on 28 campuses extending from Oakland to Napa. Full-time weekly tuition is based on an hourly rate and starts at $253.75 but is less for half-day care.
- Drop-in child care offers an alternative for parents who don’t need regular weekly care. For example, Discovery Cove is available to the general public and run by the city of Fremont and costs $7 an hour for children ages 2 to 10.
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