The lingering recession is forcing cash-strapped parents to cancel camp for the kids—instead, they're being packed off to their grandparents'. The arrangement shifts the child-care burden to grandparents, many of whom enjoy the extra time with their grandchildren. Mom and dad save money and get some time to themselves, while the grandkids get more love and attention, and better food.
The hundreds of dollars a week that would have paid for camp are being diverted to more essential needs: groceries, electricity, and house payments. Of course, having an extra person in the house for the summer merely shifts costs to the grandparents' budget, so it can help to "try to do things that won't cost us a lot,” notes one grandma. “If this economic trouble is bringing people together, that's a positive," says a psychology professor. (Read more summer camp stories.)