I can still remember when I was a kid my dad bought me a bike. He insisted he could put it together himself and didn’t need to buy the preassembled bike that was more expensive. It took my dad all day to build my bike. In the meantime however, my sister and I had to entertain ourselves. We took the box my bike came in and made a fort. We colored it with markers, cut out windows and played make believe for hours on end. Another of my all time favorite childhood memories involved my mom making me a “Fort Maze” made up of a dozen boxes for me to crawl through. The cost for these materials = nothing. The lifetime memories gained from them = priceless. Children do not need things to cost money in order for them to have fun. Giving them a little nudge to help tap into their creative side and open up their imagination can make all the difference in the world!

It can be challenging to think of planning a club without a lot of money. Some after school programs can have 20-30 kids while others may have 100 or more. Factoring that in as well and you may squelch the idea of planning a club before you even begin. But you can make it happen and here’s how:

  1. Set a budget and stick to it- The Site Director can take a look at their budget and give each Staff Member a budget and make sure they stick to it.
  2. Spread out your financesMany elements of a club may not need money to plan. For instance your center may already have supplies on hand for theme related arts & crafts and games. This way you can save your money for a specific project or special event.
  3. Encourage staff to be excited about their clubExcitement is contagious, if Staff are excited about the club, kids will be too!
  4. Host a special event at the last session of the Club- Once again this does not need to be an expense. Host a dance, take a walking field trip, schedule a guest speaker or have a dress up day! Also announcing this event at the beginning of the first week of the club will build excitement about the club and give kids something to look forward to.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to plan a budget friendly club! Happy Planning! Do you have any money saving club ideas? If so, I would love to read them!

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