Enrichment Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank


Now isn’t the best time to discuss school budgets in Connecticut. Cuts are being made across the state, and unfortunately that means some of our beautiful enrichment programs are the first to go. Both of my children have a thirst for learning and a need to be challenged. I’ve been on the lookout for ways to supplement their schooling without maxing out our credit cards and calendars!

An App for That

Technology doesn’t have to be a bad word. I’ve put aside my own reservations on technologybased education and took the plunge into using our computer and iPad as a resource. What I have found is that there are a ton of great programs to jump start my children’s learning in a variety of ways. The best part is the majority of them are free!

My daughter has found the Grand Piano app to be a great way to learn and practice the notes of the piano keys. She has also learned multiple, simple songs from this program. Declaring that she would someday like to live in Paris, she also has started beginner French lessons with Penyo Pal. STEM and beginner coding apps worth mentioning are: Trainyard, Lightbot, and NASA. For my four year old who is so ready for Kindergarten, the King of Math app has moved his number sense skills to the next level.

Plus, check out Julie’s post for apps specifically for your Kindergartner. If your child is in elementary school, take advantage of the login information that comes home from their school computer programs. RAZ Kids for reading is a favorite among both my children and students alike. We also currently love MobyMax which is a comprehensive program that provides enhancements in all subject areas.

Penyo Pal app makes learning French fun!

Explore the Community

True, there are dozens of full time enrichment summer camps that can cost quite a bit of money, but there are also many conferences and expos sponsored by local organizations that are actually quite reasonable. My daughter just attended the Amazing Girls Science Conference at Norwalk Community College and joined other science loving ladies to work collaboratively to build a real game out of various materials.

Minds in Motion hosts several expos across the state with multiple interactive workshops to choose from in the day. GE and Apple also sponsor various learning events to encourage STEM activities. The local library and elementary school before and after programs are also wonderful resources for new and exciting classes that go beyond subjects learned in the classroom.

My amazing girl loved building and learning at the Amazing Girls Science Conference.

Teach Them What You Know!

Family learning is probably my favorite of the options, because you are spending quality time together while engaging in an activity that you are passionate about. Don’t have time to register for the local chess club, but Nana is an avid player? Coordinate some times for lessons! Have a love of yoga but not enough money in the budget to swing a parent/child class? Put on Cosmic Kids Yoga and get ready for some Downward-Facing Dog.

As your children enter elementary school, learning an instrument may be something they desire. My daughter and I decided that learning the guitar was the best decision for her first instrument since I already know how to play it. I spent less than $40 on Amazon for some beginning guitar and music theory books (thank you, Lina Ng) so that sis and little brother can start their journey into music education. Sunday nights in our house have become “Music Lesson Nights” for all!

What are some enrichment ideas that you can recommend for our little ones?

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Shannon has lived in Fairfield County, CT for most of her life and currently lives in Monroe. She has a daughter L (September, 2008) and a son B (May, 2012). Shannon balances being a wife and mom with working 186 days out of the year as a special education teacher. Thank goodness for vacations, summer break, and snow days! You can be sure that she fills those days with as many amazing activities and outings that she can think of to make up for the time that she is at work. In a distant life, way before babies, Shannon was an aspiring actress and musician. You can sometimes still find her leading sing-a-longs with her guitar at the kids’ playgroups or at her daughter’s school.


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