After School Activities For Kids
Wondering how to keep your energetic little one engaged after she comes back from school? Here are some great after-school activities for kids that are not only fun, but also educational.
By Kevin Doyle
There’s no better way for a child to build up essential skills than through entertaining and fun after-school activities that incorporate learning. Depending on where you live, you can find after-school programmes such as martial arts, dance, music, games, computer science, cooking and so on. These should be available whether your child is a kindergartener, a pre-schooler, a middle schooler, or in elementary school.
Nowadays, in almost every city or town, there are a wide range of after-school activities for kids available. Here are a few after-school classes ideas from which you can chose one according to your child’s interest.
After-school activities for kids
After-school games and sports
Sports is the perfect choice if your child is a bit of a live wire, and has a competitive streak. While getting a good workout, your child will also:
- Learn about teamwork
- Develop fine and gross motor skills
- Establish a healthy attitude towards exercise
List of after-school activities to consider:
- Individual sports like tennis, swimming, gymnastics and martial arts
- Team games like basketball, baseball or netball
- Fun fitness activities like wall-climbing, indoor trampolining or roller skating
After-school art and craft activities
Got a kid who is always drawing on the walls or cutting up your important documents to make something? Art classes can be a very good way to channel his creativity. While expressing himself, he’ll also:
- Become more imaginative
- Focus better
- Learn about colour and composition
Try to look for the following after-school classes for your child:
- Painting, drawing or any other art class
- Ceramics or sculpting
After-school drama programmes
If you have a child who likes expressing herself with song, dance or poetry, then look for after-school performing arts classes. If she takes up a performing arts activity, you’ll notice she:
- Expresses emotions better and is more empathetic
- Develops positive practice habits
- Works better as a part of a group
- Confidently address an audience
Possible classes to explore include:
- Music or dance lessons
- Acting or drama classes
- Creative arts
- Music workshops
After-school learning activities for STEM kids
If your child knows more about your smartphone than you do, or if it sounds as though she’s speaking gibberish when she explains the latest technological development, then it’s worth finding after-school classes or groups that focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities. Whether it’s a coding class or a computer club, it’s not only fun, but a good way to make your child future ready.
Besides after-school activities, there are also educational toys that will encourage a love for STEM in younger children.
Clubs that encourage STEM can help your child:
- Use critical thinking
- Master technical and digital competency
- Develop the necessary patience to stick with a problem
Your young Einstein might enjoy:
- Coding classes
- Computer classes
Along with good education, the activities children do outside of school also plays a major role in moulding them into well-rounded individuals. Here are a few after-school programmes, participating in which can be beneficial for your child:
- Volunteering for projects like animal care, cleaning the beach, saving wildlife, planting trees and so on.
- Doing community service like feeding the poor, donating gifts to orphans, visit to old age homes and so on
- Making field trips to places like fire station, farms, farmer’s market, library, museum and so on.
- Engaging in art and craft activities like making handicraft, learning to draw and paint, making stuffed toys and so on.
After-school club activities ideas
Clubs are not only a place to meet and socialise, but also where learning happens in an informal and relaxed manner. For example, becoming a member of a:
- Phonics and reading club can encourage the habit of reading, which is a must to expand your child’s knowledge base. And, learning phonics would also increase your child’s ability to understand and speak a language in a better manner.
- Eco club can help your child learn what is affecting the environment and help in protecting nature.
- Photography club can bring out the artistic side in your child.
- Science club can help your child understand why and how of things happening around him.
- Board games club can introduce him to games like chess which, together with being entertaining, also help in improving memory and recall.
How to pick after-school activities for kids
Look at your child’s interests
Make a list of the after-school programmes available near your house. Then, find out from your child what he or she is interested in. If you pick an activity that your child is interested in, he’s more likely to stick to it, and of course, more likely to enjoy it.
Don’t overlook unique or seemingly mismatched activities
It’s important to not overlook unique hobbies and seemingly mismatched activities, for example, a shy child might enjoy (and benefit) drama classes while a fidgety kid with an energy overload might appreciate the focus and discipline an activity like martial art.
Don’t push your child unnecessarily
It’ important to not push your child to do anything she doesn’t want to do. If you always wanted to ride a horse as a child, it doesn’t mean your child wants to do the same. And, don’t make the mistake of filling up your child’s calendar. It can become overwhelming and end up with her not wanting to do anything.
Visit your local activity centres
If you have the time, try to visit the selected centre with your child while a class is in session. Your child will get an idea of the class and make up his mind to participate or not. Most places offer free trials.
What to look for in after-school activities
There are a few things to look for when it comes to after-school programmes and activity centres. Obviously, it depends on the activity, but we recommend also checking the following:
- The teacher–child ratio should be 1:12. If the children are younger, then 1:10 is a good ratio
- The space should be safe and age-appropriate. This is especially important for children who are in kindergarten. Is there enough equipment and is it well organised? Are the children supervised and are they safe from sexual abuse?
- Check if the staff are qualified to teach what they’re teaching and don’t be shy to ask for references
- Are there any additional or “hidden” costs? You do not want to keep shelling out money and burn a hole in your pocket
After-school activities for children entertain, educate and keep them out of trouble. Is there an activity you’d like to suggest?
About the author:
Written by Kevin Doyle on 21 September 2017. Last updated on 10 April 2020.
The author is co-founder of Toys Advisors blog. He loves to learn and share about parenting and DIY.
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