Summer Break to Cost Parents $600 Per Kid

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Summer camp kidsBy BLAKE ELLIS

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Families are paying a pretty penny to keep their children busy this summer.

The average American family expects to dole out an average of $601 per child this summer, according to data released Wednesday by American Express (AXP), based on a random sample of 2,008 adults.

And affluent families, with annual household incomes of more than $100,000, are dishing out double that amount -- at an average of $1,116 per kid.

"Between sleep-away camps, swim clubs, and sports that ramp up between June and September, summer expenses can add up," Claire Bennett, executive vice president of Loyalty & Membership Benefits at American Express, said in a statement.

About 28 million families with children under 18 plan to spend hundreds of dollars on their kids this summer -- adding up to more than $16.6 billion. About 29% of Americans expect to spend more money than they did last summer, while 47% expect to spend the same amount.

The majority of families, or 63%, said they will take their children on day trips -- to theme parks like Disney World or Six Flags, for example -- and these excursions are expected to ring in at an average of $208 per child.

Another 34% of families are enrolling their children in sports, costing an average $180 per child, while 26% are signing their kids up for educational activities costing $139 for each kid.

Financial Camps
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Summer Break to Cost Parents $600 Per Kid
Company:  Camp Millionaire
 Founder: Elisabeth Donati
 Ages: 10-13
 Cost: $229
 Duration: 2- to 5-day sessions
 Locations: Anaheim Hills, Santa Barbara, Los Gatos, Palm Desert, Montclair and Santa Clarita, Calif.
 Description: Camp Millionaire is a game and activity-based financial literacy program for kids and teens. Students learn how to make, manage, multiply and donate their money wisely during this weekend event. The camp features The Money Game, where kids create a mini society based on "moola"-mock currency. Kids spend the weekend learning how to invest in stocks and pay credit card bills and phone bills.

Company: Young Americans Center For Financial Education
 Founder: Bill Daniels
 Ages: 7-13
 Cost: $195 (scholarships available)
 Duration: 5-day and 1-day sessions
 Location: Denver, Lakewood and Stapleton, Colo.
 Description: The Young Americans Center for Financial Education offers eight types of weeklong camps throughout the summer. They focus on teaching youngsters to be financially responsible through real-life experiences and hands-on programs. Themes include personal finance, free enterprise, global economics or entrepreneurship. Each session culminates in a one-day real-world scenario in which purchases are necessary and financial assets limited. Examples include running a kid-sized town, running a "world economy" (with a focus on trade, currencies and deficits) or hosting a marketplace to sell products from a newly-created business.

Company: Camp BizSmart
 Founders: Dr. Michael Gibbs and Peggy Gibbs
 Ages: 11 to 15
 Cost: $600 to $1,480
 Duration: 5- or 10-day sessions
 Locations: Stanford University, Calif.; Punahou, Hawaii; Silicon Valley Community Foundation, San Mateo, Calif.; JFK University, San Jose, Calif.; JFK University, Pleasant Hill, Calif.
 Description: The camp's mission is "to train aspiring entrepreneurs in the 'thrival skills' required for success at home, school, and in the increasingly competitive global marketplace." Michael Gibbs, founder of Camp BizSmart and a former Fortune 500 exec, started the camp with his wife, Peggy, during the height of the economic recession to focus on "tweenpreneurs." Students work on "hot topic" business problems offered by hip companies like Hope Lab, NeuroSky, Hara and Serious Energy. Students are mentored by industry executives as they learn and practice business skills including competitive analysis, design innovation, cost analysis, and profit-and-loss cash flow. Students are coached by executives from companies such as Cisco, Apple and Google, and apply the skills they learn to the business case they are solving, as teams of six come up with ideas for business solutions.

Company: Camp Challenge
 Founder: Thad Woodard
 Ages: 10-13
 Cost: Free
 Duration: 5-day sessions
 Location: Westfield, N.C.
 Description: Run by the North Carolina Bankers Association, the camp mixes financial education with traditional outdoor camp activities like horseback riding. Students learn financial literacy through an online simulation called "Life With Bills," which allows them to design an avatar, apply for a job (based on desired salary), get paychecks (and learn the differences between net- and gross-pay), and pay bills. Students also learn about civic responsibility, etiquette and entrepreneurship.

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