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 activities that incorporate learning. Depending on where you live, there are usually after-school activities, programs, lessons, classes, courses and workshops in various subjects like martial arts, dance, music, games in sports centres and academies, computer science, cooking, etc.. These should be available whether your child is a kindergartener, a pre-schooler, a middle schooler, or in elementary school.
With such a wide range of after school activities ideas available, how can you choose the best after-school activities, classes, programs, and workshops for your child, without stressing her out?
How to pick activities for kids after school
Look at your child’s interests
Once you’ve done a recce of the after school activities near you, 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) from drama classes while a fidgety kid with an energy overload might very well appreciate the focus and discipline an activity like martial art requires.
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 children wants to do the same. And don’t make the mistake of filling your child’s calendars up too much. It can easily become overwhelming and end up with them not wanting to do anything.
Visit your local activity centers
If you have the time, try to visit the selected activity space after school while a class is in session. Your child will get an idea of the class and see if he wants to participate. Most places offer free trials.
What to look for in after school activities for children
There are a few things to look for when it comes to after school programs and activity centres. Obviously, it depends on the activity, but generally we recommend checking the following:
- The adult child ratio should be 1:12. If the children are younger than 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 there measures to prevent child sexual abuse?
- The staff should be having as much fun as the children. Check if they’re qualified in 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 your child
After school games and sports
Sports is the perfect choice if your child is a bit of a live wire, and has a bit of a competitive streak.
While getting a good workout, your child will also develop certain skills including:
- Development of fine and gross motor skills
- Establishing 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 things like wall-climbing, indoor trampolining or roller skating
After school art and craft activities
Got a kid that’s always drawing on the walls or cutting up your important documents to make something? Art classes can be a very good way to channel children’s creativity.
While expressing themselves, they’ll also develop skills to help them:
- Be more imaginative
- Focus on finishing a task
- Learn about colour and composition
Try to look for the following after school classes for them:
- Painting, drawing or any other art class
- Ceramics or sculpting
After school drama programs
If you have a child who likes expressing herself with song, dance or poetry then look for an after school performing arts class. Also, if they enjoy music and want to learn to play an instrument, these classes will help them with children’s confidence.
If they take up a performing arts activity you’ll notice they’re able to:
- Express emotions better and be more empathetic
- Develop positive practice habits
- Work as 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 future-proof them for when they’re older, career-wise.
Besides after school activities, there are also educational toys that will encourage a love for all things STEM for younger children.
Clubs that encourage STEM will 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
There you have it – our best after-school activities for children that will entertain, educate and keep them out of trouble. Is there an activity you’d like to suggest?
The author is co-founder of Toys Advisors blog. He loves to learn and share about parenting and DIY.
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