6 Enriching Extra Curriculars That Fit Your Budget

These six fun and affordable activities will help keep your kids busy while teaching them something, too!

The dog days of summer bring longer hours of daylight, increased free time, and an overall more laissez-faire attitude. It's summertime and the living’s easy, right? Not if your kid is bored out of their gourd. Banish boredom before it starts. These 6 activities are as easy on the wallet as they are enriching and enjoyable for your kid. Choose your own adventure!
Hip Hop Dance
For the kid who's got a natural spring in their step, a hip hop class is pure fun. Hip hop combines several different styles of dance including break dancing, traditional jazz moves, and more contemporary moves we see in pop culture. Improv and creativity is involved in a big way, making this activity suitable for the child who likes to think outside the box, and operate outside the rules. Dance classes will typically cost from $100 - 200 per month, plus a recital fee. 
If your kid is a Gleek at heart, joining a choir will inspire them to unleash their inner performer. Being part of a musical crew will not only amp up your kid's appreciation of the arts, but it'll also expose him or her to different cultures. Musical traditions from across the globe - different languages and styles from Russian folk songs to Chinese lullabies are often a major part of children’s choir curricula. Look for a community choir (like Toronto's Choir!Choir!Choir!), or a local church or community centre so you don't have to pay a dime to join in. 
Unfortunately, art is often a neglected part of many school curricula, taking the back seat to logical thinking / analytic subjects. For the brain to be efficient, the two hemispheres of the brain must work together – the arts strengthen the connection between the two. Kids should be exposed to arts as their cognitive skills mature, so they’re right brain will be as developed as their left. Another benefit of cartooning lessons? They’re completely fun. Your kid will learn about storytelling from multiple points of view, thinking with an open mind, and expressing ideas with or without words. Cartooning proves playing can be learning.
Aside from unlocking the powers of your kid's imagination and offering a ton of laughs, the experience and knowledge gained in improv translate directly over to the real world - think: listening and observation skills, improved confidence, trust in yourself, and team development & cooperation. After all, to improvise is "to make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand." That's one savvy skill, indeed. A 6-week run of improv classes will cost between $100 - 150 dollars at a comedy club or organization. 
Naturalists Clubs
Is your kid a tree-hugger at heart? Learning about plants, wildlife and natural history from the experts and through first hand-experience can offer a life-changing experience. A naturalist club, organized through local parks, museums, or the city, involve character-building activities from hiking trips to tree planting to urban foraging. Summer is the perfect time to get in touch with the wild side. Per season, naturalist club memberships can cost between $50 - 100.
Scouts, Canada's leading youth organization, stands for leadership, social responsibility, and dedication to the community. Few clubs will give your kid an opportunity to set off on a canoe trip in the same week as they conquer a rock-climbing wall. Offer your son or daughter an all-round eye-opening summer and check out the summer camp offerings. A full year registration fee is between $165 - 180. 

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