Whether your kid stays home with a baby sitter, takes swim lessons through the local parks department or signs up for a dizzying array of camps, the logistics involved in patching together activities can be overwhelming.
Now a host of startups, including ActivityHero, ActivityTree, Camperoo and Famtivity, have sprung up to streamline the process for parents. Part clearinghouse, part community bulletin board, each makes it possible to find and book summer camps and kids' recreational classes online. The Web-based services are supported by ads and are free to parents. By one recent estimate, Americans spend
"I was working full time and planning for two kids. I had a zillion browsers open to find camp in August without a good search engine," said Chang.
That inspired Chang to cofound ActivityHero, which launched in the
For example, you can search for a science camp in San Jose for your 7-year-old during the third week of August, or a drama camp for your 12-year-old in Oakland. You can also register for the camps directly on the site.
ActivityHero has more than 14,000 provider locations nationwide and has more than 3,500
"Our traffic keeps increasing, and June is our peak month," said Chang. "It's a way to find what you are looking for and cut out the other noise. We also have a planning calendar, so that you can visualize the schedule and share it with friends and family."
Famtivity, another startup that helps parents find, share and manage their kids' activities, has raised
"If you have a kid, you immediately get the problem. It's not a hard sell," said Kaplan, who has two daughters aged 12 and 14 and lives in
Famtivity sees social networking as the secret sauce that will lead to growth.
"My kids don't want to do anything unless their friends are doing it too," said Kaplan. "How do you figure out which friends are the critical friends? It's social navigation that you have to do with kids, and then coordinate with other parents."
And camps and activities also come with gear, from soccer cleats to ballet shoes.
"There's all the classes, and then all the things you need to buy," said Kaplan. "It could become the Amazon of kids equipment and supplies."
planning Summer for the kids, high-tech style
ActivityHero: A search engine that lets parents find camps by type of activity, city, age group, and start and end date. It has more than 3,500
ActivityTree: Claiming to be the largest online resource in
Camperoo: It also allows parents to search for camps or activities, as well as register for them online. It also offers what it calls the "Camperoo Concierge" for additional help.
Famtivity: In addition to offering the ability to search for activities, it emphasizes the ability to use social networking tools to find activities and share them with others.
(c)2014 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services