What is the best after school activities for kids?
Let’s begin our journey with understanding the concept and the importance of after school activities for kids :
It is often seen that children pick-up bad habits (e.g. drugs, alcohol, etc) if they have too much free time after their school hours. Hence it is essential to engage children in some activity which is constructive as well as educational.
After school activities for kids are such productive and beneficial programs designed for the children to fill their time while their parents are away for a job (or even if they are at home). These programs also help to enhance a child’s prospects in life. And these programs are a lot of fun too.
Some of the popular after school activities for kids include sports, dance, yoga, music, art, and craft, etc. Depending upon your child’s needs and interests you can choose his or her after school activity. There are various clubs, YMCA, and many community colleges that hold these programs.
Ask about the various programs available in your nearby venue along with their cost and the schedule of the various activities. after school activities for kids help to enhance the curriculum that children follow during the school day.
For example after school activities for kids like dance and music help supplement the learning of art subjects in the school. After school activities also help the children to develop an understanding with the adults who assist them with the after school activities.
So, these activities play a vital role in strengthening relations between schools, families, and communities. These activities help the children in developing additional skills which they can put to good use later in their life e.g. an after school activity could later be pursued as a career by a child.
Despite the various benefits from after school activities, you should always remember to set a time for these activities so that your child’s school homework does not suffer. So, after school activities have several benefits and are the best way of channeling (positively) the immense energies in chil10All alerts.
What are the benefits of after school activities for kids?
Parents have different views on after school activities for kids. Some believe that after school activities are essential for the overall development of the child.
while others believe that after school activities help in proper utilization of the time (after school hours of the children). Experts believe that these activities are essential for the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of the child:
Physical development focuses on muscle development and coordination. After school activities like football, basketball help the child to develop muscles and give a good exercise to the body in general.
These activities also focus on team spirit and help in developing team skills in the child. Similarly, indoor activities like art and craft bring about creativity and help in developing eye-hand coordination.
After school activities help the children to make friends outside the school. These activities help them interact with people of different ages and hence develop social skills.
Children learn to express their feelings and emotions. After school activities like drama, theatre helps shy children to become outgoing. So, after school skills also help in the emotional development of the child.
Children enjoy learning new skills that require creativity. Various after school activities help the children develop their intellect through problem-solving and creative approaches. Thus contributing to the intellectual development of the child.
However, it is important to remember that the development of a child through after school activities depends on a number of factors like age and interest of a child, their strengths and weaknesses, etc.
Where to find after school activity programs for your child?
Now that we know a bit about after school activities for kids and their importance in the upbringing of a child, the next logical thing would be to understand “Where one can find the after school activity programs for the child to join and benefit from?”:
after school activities for kids are outdoor and indoor activities that allow a child to enjoy in a fun and stress-free environment. These activities help the child to develop a better attitude to learning.
Appropriateness of an after school activity is dependent upon a child’s interest. After all, a child can enjoy and learn an activity only if he/ she is interested in. Since they are many after school activities, you need to make sure whether your child’s activity is available at a nearby place.
Actually, there are various places where after school activities for kids are organized.
The first place to search for an after school activity program is the school. Ask the teachers or the principal about the various programs held after school hours. Interaction with other parents also helps you in getting suggestions about other after school activity centers/ options available in the locality.
After school activities for kids are also organized at various community and recreation centers. Other places that organize after school activities are the YMCA, the 4- H, boys, and girls club of America, etc.
You can even search for venues on the internet or request a brochure from childcare centers. after school activities for kids can be arranged at home too. An Art and craft class at home is a very good option for keeping children busy after school hours.
Hence, after school activities for kids programs can be found at schools, homes, community centers, and recreation centers. Helping your child choose an after school actز
Helping your child choose an after school activities for kids
Main factors Part 1
Now we come to one the most important part of our discussion on “after school activities for kids”. Here, we’ll check out the varied factors that any parent or guardian must consider when helping a child in choosing the after school activities for him or her.
We will start by looking at the three main factors and then wind it up with a few additional factors:
The general advice is that you simply should allow your child to settle on an after school activity by himself/ herself (since it’s them who are going to be participating therein after school activity).
However, this doesn’t mean that you simply should leave the choice completely to your child. A child may be a child, after all; and youngsters won’t be able to make the simplest of the choice even on matters that concern them to the core.
This means that your child does need your help in choosing an after school
Even before you ask your child about the after school activity and his choice of one, you ought to evaluate his/ her strengths, weaknesses, interests, and overall growth.
Let’s see how can evaluate the suitability of an after school activity on the basis of your child’s strengths and weaknesses only:
Based on your general observation of the child’s growth and his/ her
performance at various school activities, you can take a call on what the
strengths and weaknesses of your child are e.g. your children may not be good at planning or the child may be weak in subjects like Maths, or your child may be good at games that involve a lot of physical activity.
Now, there are two approaches suggested here. You can either groom your child to take up an after school activity which further supplements their strengths or you can tutor them to take up an after school activity that will help them overcome their weakness.
However, the best thing is to help your child choose a healthy combination of after school activities; so as to serve both the purposes equally.
Also, do not forget that there are other factors (child’s interest, his or her overall growth, etc) that go into deciding on the after school activities for your child.
Helping your child choose an after school activities for kids
Main factors Part 2
Your child will need your help in making a proper selection of the after school activities that best suit him/ her. Even though the child might not ask for your help directly, he/ she would surely need it (in most cases).
We know that the evaluation of the suitability of an after school activity is based on the strengths, weaknesses, interests, and overall growth of the child. Let’s see how the evaluation is done on the basis of interests of the child:
As a parent or a guardian, you would be able to make out the interests of your child quite easily. If you just observe them – their activities and their preferences – you would be able to make out what your child is interested in most and what he or she is not interested in.
For example, if your child shows interest in watching a particular sport on the television, he or she might be interested in taking up that sport or a similar sport as an after school activity. If they show interest in watching science programs, they might like science experiments or similar activities, as their after school activity.
Similarly, a child that shows interest in gardening might like to know more about plants and nature in general. Children who exhibit interest in art might like to take up clay modeling or craft as an after school activity. A music lover might be interested in learning to play a musical instrument. And so on and so forth.
So, it’s quite easy to discover the interests of your child.
Once you know their interests you can start looking for availability of such after school activities in your area and help your child choose one or two from the list (but in this process, do not forget to consider the other factors e.g. strengths and weaknesses of the child, his or her overall growth/ development, grade by grade guidelines, etc)
Helping your child choose an after school activities for kids
Main factors Part 3
Besides the other two main factors i.e. the strengths and weaknesses of the child and his or her interests, you also need to consider your child’s overall growth when helping him/ her decide on a suitable after school activity. Here, by overall growth, we mean physical and mental growth.
There are several after school activities that can contribute to the overall growth of a child. Let’s understand this by taking some examples: Most outdoor activities involve physical activity – some involve rigorous physical activity while others involve moderate physical activity. All such physical activities give good exercise to the muscles and the body in general.
These activities also help in bettering the co-ordination between various parts of the body. Some activities (e.g. basketball) that require stretching out of limbs are known to help the children in growing taller.
Besides that, such after school activities help the children in inculcating good habits (e.g. doing regular exercise) that help them in keeping fit in the long run. Similarly, there are a large number of after school activities that spur mental growth and creativity in children.
Some of these are indoor activities while others are outdoor activities. For example, art and craft are a great after school activity that can help the child develop creative skills. Similarly, playing chess provides a good mental exercise. Another good after school activity is – solving puzzles.
Solving ‘Sudoku’ is yet another after school activity that requires a good amount of mental calculation. Besides these, there are several DIY (do it yourself) kits available in the market that require the child to apply their brains in order to assemble things or create models, etc.
So, there is no dearth of after school activities for kids; but you need to ensure that the selection of after school activities are balanced in a way that aids the overall development and growth of the child.
Additional factors to consider when choosing after school activities for kids
Besides the three main factors (strengths and weakness of your child, his or her interests and overall growth/development), there are some other factors that you need to consider when helping your child in choosing an after school activity for him/ her.
Let’s take a look at two such factors:
1. Schedule of the family:
You should always consider your family’s daily schedule before planning an after school activity for the child. If you choose a daily outdoor activity for your child, plan for the child’s transport (to the club or community center).
If such a plan doesn’t fit your schedule then look for other alternatives. You can also choose indoor after school activities for the child – such activities which do not involve travel. If you want (and if the child likes it) you can schedule a combination of indoor and outdoor activities too.
2. Grade by grade guidelines:
You should always base your selection of the after school activity on the grade by grade guidelines. These guidelines help you decide the amount of time that needs to be spent on the after school activity as per the age of the child.
For example, for kindergartens, you should limit the frequency of after school activities to one or two days a week. The activities should be simple, stress-free, and enjoyable. Sketching flowers, animals or figures help the children enhance their creativity. Always make sure that there is no over the scheduling of the activity; this might cause stress and irritation to the child.
Best After school activities for kids Ideas
In this article we will discuss the best after school activities for kids and how to schedule them . let’s begin
How to schedule after school activities for kids?
It is important to help your children schedule their after school activities club ideas in a proper way. Here are a few ways in which you can schedule (or help schedule) your child’s after school activities for kids:
If your child participates in more than one activity, prioritize his/ her activities according to his/ her interest and also based on how beneficial each activity would be for your child’s all-round development. You should try to limit the number of activities in a way that your child doesn’t feel exhausted at the end of the day.
If you have more than one child in the home, encourage them to participate in the same activity (unless they have very different interests, capabilities, etc). This will help you coordinate the activities of both the children efficiently.
If your child participates in more than one activity, then try scheduling certain activities fortnightly so that you don’t over-burden the child.
If your child participates in outdoor after school activities for kids, then arrange for the child’s transport beforehand. You can ask your spouse or friends to drop/ pick the child if you are unable to pick him/ her due to work etc.
Many activities take place once every few months. You can encourage your child to participate in those activities rather than enrolling for too many activities at the same time.
Proper scheduling of the child’s after school activities prevents exhaustion and fatigue in the child and keeps them interested in participating in after school activities. A proper schedule will also help the parents and guardians in managing their time properly.
After school activities for kids ideas
Art and Crafts: A creative after school activities for kids ideas
Most parents want their children to develop some creative skills too. Creative skills can be best developed through activities like art, music, and drama. Moreover, these after school activities help a child to build basic and advanced thinking skills.
Art and crafts activities are the two most common after school activities amongst the kindergartens and preschoolers.
These activities introduce the children to drawing, painting, working with paper or clay, and other materials. So, after school activities really help to develop and enhance the creative skills of a child.
Experts believe that art activities help a child to think seriously, evaluate information, and then make decisions.
A child is able to interpret and understand various complex symbols with the knowledge of art. Art helps the children to explore and express their opinions through drawing and painting.
On the other hand, crafts help to develop specific abilities like making a pot out of clay or develop something according to a model. Various craft activities for the preschoolers include making swimming ducks, kite making, or designing wind chimes using spoons, shells, pieces of metal, etc.
You can even organize this after school activity (art and crafts) at home. The material that is needed for art and craft activities is easily available at art & craft shops. Clay modeling kits, drawing pens, colors, canvasses, etc are all quite easily available.
Besides that, you can even encourage your child to come up with creative ideas wherein they create a piece of art through waste material e.g. they could use broken cups, saucers, spoons, etc to make theirs over the creative thing.
Craft ideas for kids
One of the most common after school activities for kids amongst children of all ages is art and craft. Let’s take a look at some craft ideas that can be quite useful for children:
Your child would love to make bookmarks. Cut a card or a thick paper to any shape. Remember that the size of the shape should not be more than the dimensions of the book.
Decorate the bookmark with stickers, colors (with crayons), etc. You can punch a hole at the top of the bookmark to insert a ribbon. And your bookmark is ready.
Collage is an entertaining and educative activity that is generally based on a theme. Give your child a construction paper or cardboard along with magazines, scissors, and glue.
Ask your child to cut pictures according to the theme. Once all the pictures are collected, ask them to paste the pictures to form a themed collage. You could even use to provide them with family photos for a ‘Family Collage.
3. Glitter Bracelet:
This activity is most enjoyed by girls. You need a masking tape along with glitters for this craft. Take a bowl filled with glitters. Then just dip the sticky part of the tape in the bowl. A glittering bracelet is ready. You can wear the cut tape on your hands.
4. Caterpillar puppets:
To make a colorful caterpillar, you need a cotton sock, buttons, cotton balls, ribbon, glue, straw, and markers. Stick different color buttons, ribbons, and cotton balls to the socks to form the body of a caterpillar. The next step is to make the antennae of the caterpillar.
Cut the straw in half and push both the pieces of the straw through the toe of the sock. Use black and red markers to draw the eyes and mouth respectively. You are done with your colorful caterpillar.
5. Table mats:
You need a construction paper and crayons for this craft. Cut the construction paper into rectangular pieces. Draw pictures on these rectangular pieces and color them with crayons. You can make a personalized mat for each member of the family.
The list of craft ideas is endless. Just look around and you will come up with many craft ideas for your children.
Swimming as educational after school activities for kids ideas
Most children love playing in the water. Swimming is very good after school activity for such children. And swimming is a lot of fun too, especially in the summers.
Community centers and clubs have separate swimming pools for the children where you have professional coaches to teach and guide children.
Apart from enjoyment, swimming provides numerous benefits to the child. Let’s take a look at some benefits from this activity:
Swimming promotes the physical development of a child. It helps in the development of the muscles of the body. It is an activity which brings about fitness in a child along with a lot of fun.
Swimming promotes the intellectual development of a child. It helps the child to think and plan things. Hence, the thinking process of a child is accelerated.
Importance of time
Swimming helps children to manage their time since the underlying theme is to swim faster. This encourages the children to practice their strokes and movements so that they take less time to reach their destination point. Hence, swimming teaches students the importance of time.
Goal setting skills
A child learns to set his/ her goals through swimming. Professional coaches in the clubs help children to set short term and long term goals. During the initial stages of the activity, the coach helps the children to develop an interest in the activity.
As their proficiency increases, they set their own goals (in terms of learning different types of swimming and learning to swim faster).
Children learn discipline too. Swimming inculcates a spirit of sportsmanship that helps them work in a team and exercise patience (e.g. waiting for their turn when the coach is teaching several children at the same time).
After school activities for kids club ideas: Baseball
Baseball is very popular after school activity among children of all ages. We often find children move around with their favorite baseball bats and gloves.
Kids generally start with using plastic bags. As they grow older they have a wide choice with the bats and gloves (as baseball bats come in different width, length, and materials).
Baseball is a big stress-relieving activity. It helps the child in improving their concentration even when there are distractions around them. Hence, it helps them grasp things quicker. As a result, the child is able to perform better in school too. This outdoor after school activity also helps the child in keeping fit.
Though baseball provides numerous benefits to the children, it is important for parents and coaches to make the children familiar with the safety tips that are associated with playing baseball. Here are some tips that will help your children ward off any injury:
Baseball equipment, like baseball bats, gloves, helmets, and shoes with cleats, should be of the proper size. They should always be worn correctly even when waiting for a turn to bat.
- You should install breakaway bases on the playing field to avoid sliding injuries.
- And above all, you should make sure that the child drinks enough fluids during and after the play. Baseball is fun. But make sure that the child starts this activity under the guidance of a parent or coach. This will help them avoid injuries.
A fun-filled after school activity for kids
Gymnastics is a great after school activity. This activity involves flips and jumps and various other movements that strengthen the muscles of the body. Girls develop an interest in this activity at an early age and (some) boys too like gymnastics as an after school activity.
You can develop and enhance the gymnast in your child by getting him or she enrolled in a local community center or club. Gymnastics should be learned under the guidance of an instructor since there is a possibility of injury if the gymnastic routines are not done properly.
You can go for either individual lessons or group lessons. However, the options available will be dependent on the learning center that your child joins.
If you or your child have a particular preference (either in terms of the lessons or in terms of the mode of coaching), it’s better to check that out beforehand by visiting the community center in your area (especially during a time when Gymnastic sessions are on).
Also, note that you should always wear the right kind of clothing that is suitable for gymnastics. Loose clothing might hamper your movements and cause injury.
Check with the instructor beforehand and get the right kind of clothing and other equipment before starting with your gymnastic lessons.
This after school activity has numerous health benefits. It improves coordination between various body parts and imparts flexibility to your body.
It also helps in improving the concentration power of a child. This after school activity helps to burn excess fat in your body and helps you remain fit and healthy.
So gymnastics, as an after school activity, is a great option but it should be taken up under the guidance of a good instructor and with proper clothing and equipment.
Martial Arts: after school activities for kidsthat teaches self defense
Martial arts training is an after school activity that teaches self-defense. It is an after school activity that raises the confidence level in your child and also acts as a stress buster (besides teaching them a skill that will help them defend themselves from criminals, muggers, etc).
There are different styles of martial arts e.g. karate, kung fu, tai chi, etc. However, the core purpose of all types of martial arts is the same i.e. self-defense.
Martial arts can be learned at any community center or club that offers such training. Look through yellow pages to find schools or clubs that teach martial arts and that are in easily commutable distance.
There are various factors that you must consider when looking for a community center or a club or an independent instructor, for learning martial arts.
You must check if the community center/ club offers a free trial class that your child can go to before deciding on joining the course.
You should make sure that the children undergo martial arts training only under the supervision of a trained and certified teacher (lest they harm or injure themselves).
Also, check if the children are getting individual attention and supervision? The teacher-student ratio is important here.
Remember, a good teacher and the right martial arts school/ institution will help your child develop skills in martial arts and have a lot of fun.
Martial art has numerous health benefits. It is as such a good exercise helps you keep yourself fit and in good health. In the case of children, it helps in raising their level of energy, focus, and concentration power.
Should the child be persuaded to continue with an after school activity?
WOW, that was a long list of after school activities. Besides these, after school activities, there are a number of other after school activities that are popular too.
But let’s now move on to another important issue that is faced by a number of parents and guardians:
After school activities for kids are beneficial programs that are designed to put the after school hours of children to productive use. But many children want to step out of these activities (mainly because they think of after school activities for kids as a second shift in their school).
In such a scenario, should the child be persuaded to continue with the activity or should they be allowed to quit the after school activity?
It’s a difficult question to answer and the answer will be different for different cases.
Parents or Guardians have to themselves look for an answer to this question. For this, the parents or guardians need to carry out discussions with the child and understand the problems that the child is encountering.
It might just be the case that the child doesn’t like that particular after school activity. But he or she might have found interest in some other after school activity.
In such a case, there is no point in persuading the child to take up an activity in which he or she is not interested. They might not enjoy it and it could make them irritated.
However, it is also possible that the tutor or the coach for the after school activities for kids is not proficient enough or doesn’t try to generate interest in the activity.
This might bore a child and lead him/ her to develop a dislike for the after school activity.
Another reason for showing unwillingness towards after school activities for kids are fatigue. Sometimes children become too tired due to over-scheduling of activities. So, limit the number of after school activities for kids in a way that is comfortable for your child.
Stiff competition in the after school activity group might sometimes become a reason for a child’s reluctance in an activity.
In such a case, you need to encourage your child and emphasize the importance of participation (not winning).
There could be many such scenarios and parents should understand the reason behind a child’s reluctance before persuading them to continue with the activity.
How to find the right balance between school and after school activities for kids?
Yes, the problems don’t seem to end when things are related to children, their education, and their overall development. Here is another one:
Finding the right balance between school and after school activities is a difficult task. Here are some tips that will guide you in finding the right balance between the two:
Prepare a schedule
Once you are aware of the child’s interest in an after school activity, prepare a schedule to allocate time for each activity on a weekly basis. You should also make a rough estimate of the time that your child requires to complete his or her homework every day.
Also, consider the time your child spends in socializing with his/ her friends. Eventually, you should prepare a schedule based on all these factors and try to strike a balance between school and after school activities.
Take note of stress signs
If your child shows signs of stress – like crying, yelling, or irritability – there are chances that your child is feeling too loaded with school and after school activities. In such a case,
you should cut down on the number of after school activities so that your child feels relaxed and does not struggle with homework, etc.
Take note of performance at school
If you notice that your child’s grades (at school) are deteriorating due to after school activities, cut down on the after school activities. You can either do away with a few after school activities or ask the child to reduce the time he or she spends on the after school activities.
‘After school activities for kids’ are indeed important for the all-round development of your child, but not at the cost of school.
Benefits from after school activities for kids
To conclude our discussion on after school activities for kids, let’s take another look at the benefits from after school activities:
after school activities for kidss offer many advantages. Besides providing for productive use of after school hours, they help build a child’s confidence in himself/ herself.
Let’s take a look at some advantages that are offered after school activities for kids:
Children build self-confidence when they learn new things and participate in various activities. This helps them become a social person and enhances the spirit of participation in them.
2. Physical development
After school activities like outdoor sports help children grow physically too. These activities give a good exercise to the body muscles and help the child in keeping themselves fit (physically as well as mentally).
3. Team spirit
After school activities like basketball, baseball, and other such sports require the child to participate as part of a team and not as an individual. Team spirit is important in almost every sphere of life (work as well as home) and these after school activities provide the right kind of opportunity for the children to develop team skills.
4. Stress reliever
After school activities like yoga, playing a musical instrument, etc help in relieving stress. These activities help the child relax. This helps them get ready for the stressful world that we live in.
5. Management of time
After school activities for kids teach children – how to manage their time efficiently. For example, swimming is a sport where people win and lose by one second or even lesser. This emphasizes the importance of time to them.
after school activities for kids help in the development of creative skills among children of all ages. Art and craft help them to express their views and thoughts in a creative manner.
I hope i could covered many thing about after school activities for kids .