5 of the Most Expensive Extracurriculars for Kids

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Most children participate in some sort of extracurricular activity. About three out of every five kids plays a sport outside of school, and at least half of American households have at least one person who plays a musical instrument. These activities have been known to build confidence, self-esteem, and character.

Along with the benefits associated with extracurricular activities comes a monetary cost. Consumed by planning for expenses associated with school — such as clothing, supplies, and after-school care – extracurricular activities are often a cost parents don’t immediately consider. It isn’t until a child says he or she wants to participate in such an activity that a parent researches, plans, and budgets for such expenses.

There exists a large variation in the level of expense among the various types of extracurricular activities. Some activities only involve an upfront fee that covers an entire time period, such as a year or a season, and uniforms and equipment costs are often included in this fee. Basketball at the Monroe County YMCA is an example of such an activity. For a fee of between $42 and $75, a child can play basketball for the season, obtain the necessary attire, and earn a trophy.

Many activities require an ongoing monthly or weekly fee, cost for equipment and attire, and costs for performances, like tournaments and recitals. Sometimes fees such as private lessons are yet an additional cost. The most expensive activities often involve ongoing expenses, as opposed to an upfront cost per season. Here is a list of some of the more costly extracurricular activities for children.

1. Horseback riding

Horseback riding provides an abundance of physical health benefits. According to information published on Evergreen Health, it relieves stress, builds core strength, promotes balance and coordination, and builds muscle tone and flexibility. It is among one of the more dangerous sports in which a child may participate, as falls can cause serious injury.

The cost of horseback riding by the lesson is between $30 and $50 per hour. In addition, a child needs the proper gear, such as riding boots, pants, and gloves. If horseback riding is a sport your child becomes interested in long-term, the cost of a horse is anywhere between $4,000 and $25,000, plus an additional $11,000 or so per year for a horse’s veterinary care.

2. Martial arts

Disciplines like karate, judo, and taekwondo offer many benefits for children, such as confidence building, self defense, discipline, and character.

The cost of martial arts lessons average $103 per month for studio lessons. You may also have to pay registration fees and a fee of up to $250 each time your child is promoted to the next belt. Equipment costs, such as uniforms and sparring gear, also add up. At around $20 to $50 per uniform and about $90 for gear, karate lessons and equipment cost add up to a yearly cost of around $2,000 per child. That’s not to mention the travel and signup cost for any tournaments, as well.

3. Gymnastics

Gymnastics is known for increasing flexibility. It also promotes fitness, endurance, and stamina. If your child participates in gymnastics recreationally, lessons are around $15 to $20 per session. Then, if your child’s recreational activity transforms into a competitive sport, the cost of gymnastics increases to between $150 and $300 per month.

You may also have leotards (between $25 and $50), shoes (between $35 and $60), grips (between $10 and $50), and equipment costs. Competitive teams often travel to tournaments, for which you have to pay signup fees and travel costs. Altogether, competitive gymnastics may cost around $4,000 annually per child.

4. Dance

Many children want to participate in dance at one time or another. Whether it’s ballet, jazz, or even hip-hop, dance helps children learn and promotes fitness and coordination. Dance also opens children up to different musical genres and encourages creativity.

The cost of dance lessons is anywhere between $20 and $115 per week, depending on your location, the type of dance, and the length of weekly lessons. When you add in the cost for shoes, attire, registration fees, and the cost of recitals, the yearly cost for dance adds up to between $1,500 and $7,000 per child.

5. Piano

Piano lessons offer a variety of social, academic, and mental health benefits to children. They are said to promote self-discipline, improve academic achievement, and increase self-esteem.

Depending on the education and skill level of the instructor, half-hour weekly lessons cost between $15 and $75. Plus, you have to pay for music books, recitals, and travel. Yearly costs for piano lessons may range from between $1,200 and $4,500 per child.