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 workshops, martial arts, dance lessons, music lessons, sports academies and clinics, computer courses and cooking classes to name a few.
With such a wide range of things to do, how do you choose the best after-school activity for your child, without stressing them out?
How to pick activities
Once you’ve done a recce of the activities available in your area, find out from your child what he or she is interested in. This is a sure-fire way of them sticking to it, and of course, enjoying it.
It’s important to not overlook seemingly mismatched options, for example, a shy child might enjoy (and benefit) from drama classes while a fidgety kid with an overload of energy might very well appreciate the focus something like martial art requires.
The important thing is to not push them to do anything they don’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 their calendars up too much. It can become overwhelming and end up with them not wanting to do anything.
If you have the time, try to visit the selected activity space while a class is in session. Your child will get an idea of the class and see if they want to participate. Most classes will let a child join in for free for one class to try it out.
Things to look for
There are a few things to look for when it comes to after-school activities. Obviously, it depends on what it is 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
- Are there any additional or “hidden” costs? You do not want to keep shelling out money and burn a hole in your pocket
- 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
- The space should be safe and age appropriate. Is there enough equipment and is it well organised? Are the children supervised and is everybody busy?
- Happy children enjoying themselves
After-school activities for your child
Mad about 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, they’ll also develop certain skills including:
- Development of fine and gross motor skills
- Establishing a healthy attitude towards exercise
The type of activities to consider are:
- 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
Got a kid that’s always drawing on the walls or cutting up your important documents to make something? An art activity is a very good way to channel their creativity.
While expressing themselves, they’ll also develop skills to help them:
- Develop their imagination
- Focus on finishing a task
- Learn about colour and composition
Look at the following classes for them:
- Painting, drawing or any other art class
- Ceramics or sculpting
Drama king or queen
If you have a child who likes expressing themselves with song, dance or poetry then look for a performing arts class. Also, if they enjoy music and want to learn to play an instrument, these classes will help them with their 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
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 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 will 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.
Hope you liked this article. To get expert tips and read interesting articles on a wide variety of parenting topics, subscribe now to our magazine.