After-school activities are ideal because they allow children to make the best of their time after leaving school. They can learn new subjects, build critical skills, improve their social interactions and benefit from exploring new interests they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
There are various activities and games children can enjoy. It doesn’t always have to be educational in nature, it can just be entertaining and fun for them. Otherwise, it can also be an opportunity for children to learn new things they wouldn’t be able to in school. You can try different activities each day, so they don’t get bored or do a few each day.
Here are fifteen ideas you can try to help keep their brain active.
Top 15 After School Activities To Keep Children Entertained
1. Bake something
Baking with your kids during after-school hours helps build motor skills, improves confidence, and enhances their attention to detail. Plus, baking can be a fun and rewarding activity for kids. Something about mixing ingredients or watching a delicious treat slowly bake excites youngsters enough all the time.
Many parents will tell you that trying to bake with children around is a recipe for disaster. However, you can always plan to prevent problems.
For example, you can prepare special treats so kids don't snack on ingredients. Getting them child-sized tools is another great idea.
There are always plenty of things to bake for fun. Popular treats with simple recipes include chocolate cookies, sorbets, fruitcakes, and pastries. Once they get more experience, you can teach them how to cook.
2. Enroll them in a coding class
As digital literacy becomes an important skill, coding classes are growing in popularity. This makes sense since kids can learn the basics of coding in these lessons and build skills for the future.
Coding classes usually introduce learners to coding languages with animations, interactive games, and puzzles. Examples of languages your kid might learn are Swift, Java, C ++, and Scratch.
Kids ages 7+ or older can learn to code since they have well-developed brains to understand the concepts. Beyond age, qualities like logical reasoning, patience, familiarity with technology, and a sense of independence are critical for success in coding lessons.
You can sign up your child for online or physical coding classes. It’s up to you to determine which option promises the most benefits based on your child’s learning needs.
3. Play Guessing Games
The meaning of a guessing game is self-evident — you have to guess the answer to a question. This could be anything from the name of a famous person, an object, a gesture, or an animal.
Guessing games come in different forms, and you have the flexibility to mix and match different styles.
Classic word guessing games require participants to write words, movie titles, or popular characters on sticky notes. They have to attach these to their heads and try to guess what's written by asking yes-or-no questions.
Guessing games are a fun and a less serious alternative to after-school math or coding classes. In addition, they can be pretty fun and engaging for kids of all ages.
4. Enroll them in online art class
Online art classes expose your children to the fundamentals of art, including color, shape, composition, lighting, and much more. They can learn drawing, sculpturing, and painting.
Online art lessons are excellent for kids of any age. If your child is artistic, then instruction from experienced tutors will sharpen their skills. And if they’re just a hyperactive 5-year-old looking to play with colors? There are beginner-friendly classes that accommodate enthusiasts with little art knowledge.
These classes don't require tremendous investment, and a computer paired with stable internet is enough to start. The necessary materials depend on the artistic medium since sculpting, painting, photography, and other art forms require different materials for learning.
If you want to avoid the stress of ferrying kids to art practice every day, an online art class might be a better choice. Besides, it's an excellent way to inspire creativity in adolescents and get their creative juices flowing.
5. Do A Scavenger Hunt
In a scavenger hunt, players have to complete a specified number of activities or find certain items. The actions or objects involved depend on what you want.
A classic scavenger hunt task might ask players to find Easter eggs hidden in different areas. The team that returns with the found items usually wins the game.
Otherwise, the scavenger hunt can be an activity-based type where players have to complete tasks. For example, the task might be to photograph animal tracks.
Scavenger hunts are an excellent option if you need an after-school activity for your child. You can join in the fun and teach your kid one or two things about teamwork and cooperation while playing.
6. Clay Sculpting
Clay sculpting is an activity your kids should try out if they’re the artistic type. Having them make things out of clay challenges their creative limits and gives free rein to their imagination.
For starters, you'll need supplies like clay, sculpting tools, paints, and paintbrushes. Also, consider visiting the local art store to find clay types that can dry without firing.
Ease kids into clay sculpting by getting them molds that can help them create pieces. Allow these to dry, and then paint them together.
With time, you can start teaching them how to make more complex pieces. But even if your child sticks with making simple clay figures, it significantly contributes to their development.
7. Learn the piano
Piano lessons are a great way for kids to spend their free time. Your child might not be the next Beethoven, but it helps develop a love for music and improves motor skills.
When teaching kids how to play the piano, try listening to a few classical pieces together to enhance their understanding of harmony and melody. Also, let them experiment with piano keys so that they can get comfortable with the instrument.
Learning an instrument like the piano or even using a piano keyboard, can help improve cognitive development and boosts creativity in children.
8. Play with educational toys
When Albert Einstein said, "Play is the highest form of research," he was right. Children grasp concepts better when learning takes place in an entertaining and educational environment.
This makes playing with educational toys a sensible after-school activity for young learners. These activities improve a range of skills in children, including problem-solving, concentration, emotional intelligence, and motor skills.
Another reason you should consider educational toys is that some are cheap to buy. With a few dollars, you can get a basic craft kit or building blocks for kids to use. And if you have more funds, consider pretend-play toys, robotic toys, and mixed reality games.
9. Create an obstacle course in your backyard
If you've watched American Ninja Warrior, then you know obstacle courses can be excellent tests of speed, endurance, and agility. However, kids can also benefit from obstacle courses. There is a reason why they’re pretty popular at summer camps.
Navigating an obstacle course takes some skill and ability to overcome challenges. By creating an obstacle course, you can help kids learn how to tackle challenges the intelligent way. Plus, the constant running and jumping help keep your child physically fit.
You can create one for your family with nothing but buckets, garden planters, logs, and other household items as obstacles.
10. Paint with acrylic paint
Acrylic paint is a fast-drying substance that is useful for creating simple art pieces. If your child is just exploring their creativity, then acrylic painting is quite suitable.
Fortunately, you don't need to spend a fortune to get kids started. All a child needs is an acrylic paint set, paintbrush, canvas, masking tape, and paper towels.
To reduce costs, buy "student-quality" acrylic paint since it's cheaper and more popular among beginners. Also, see if your child can use a cheap primary color set instead of expensive multi-color sets.
11. Build with Legos
People build crazy things with nothing but Lego blocks. You can have the children build simple Lego structures in their after-school hours.
If you want to have fun, consider building a catapult for shooting Lego balls or spinning tops. These are great for keeping kids busy and out of your way at home.
Legos are great learning tools, with many schools using them in STEM classes and other educational activities. At home, you can build a Lego pulley or build a balloon-powered Lego car.
12. Play with game boards
A game board, as the name implies, is a board specially prepared for playing a game. Usually, games involve moving pieces on a board. Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, and chess all fall within this group.
Game boards can be considered healthy fun. That's because children can have fun and learn simultaneously with board games instead of spending their time binge-watching TV.
Also, playing with game boards helps with skills like critical thinking and concentration. A classic board game is also great for family bonding exercises.
13. Play a sport
After-school sports programs hold many benefits for growing adolescents. This includes the ability to handle pressure, teamwork skills, self-confidence, self-esteem, and higher fitness levels.
There are many sports your child can sign up for. Popular options include swimming, soccer, American football, volleyball, and basketball. You can also try martial arts classes, which help with motor skills, self-confidence, and personal esteem.
A lot of schools will offer sports programs that happen before or after school.
14. Make polymer clay charms
Polymer clay is a type of clay that has grown in popularity over time thanks to its versatility and ease of use. It contains materials like plasticizers and coloring, giving it an attractive texture and vibrant quality.
Polymer clay is ideal for kids, regardless of their skill level, thanks to its flexibility and versatility. They can mold it, sculpt with it, and shape it however they like.
After drying, you can have your kids paint, carve, or polish their polymer clay creations, or they could enjoy them in their natural form. There are plenty of kid-friendly ideas like clay charms.
15. Play educational games on tablets
Educational games combine learning with fun and provide an entertaining medium for kids to learn. If you're concerned about your child's screen time, consider replacing regular games with educational games. Not only does it keep your kid occupied during after-school hours, but it guarantees healthy screen time for minors.
The educational gaming industry is well-developed, and you have various options for you to choose from. When picking games, ensure to consider your child's needs.
You might have to try a few tablet games before finding one your child likes to play. Also, consider any costs involved — while most are free, some require a one-time or recurring subscription.
For older kids or teenagers, see our guide on the best extracurricular activities to prepare them for college.