No matter how old your child is, the chances are that he or she is constantly looking for things to do after school is over. Besides homework, a lot of children find themselves with plenty of free time after the school day is over, and this can mean that they end up wasting hours at their computer playing video games, or hours outside going who-knows-where. If you want to make sure that your child is safe and entertained after school, then the best thing you can do is look into different after school activities.
Extracurricular activities give teens and children something interesting to look forward to after their school day has finished. They often promote learning, help kids to make new friends, and ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for kids to grow their skills ready for a position in the real world. Of course, the chances are that your kids aren’t going to enjoy every after-school activity that’s available to them, but the more you try, the more likely you are to find something that appeals to your child, and his or her schedule.
Here, we’ll take a look at 10 after school activities that you can do with your child, or your child can do by him or herself, for free. After all, we don’t all have the cash to pay for expensive tutoring and clubs.
1. Join a Sports Team
Kids have tons of extra energy to burn, both during and after the school hours. When it comes to keeping your child fit, healthy, and entertained, it’s hard to beat sports for all the diversity and benefits that they offer. There are a range of different sports out there to choose from, and many can even be adapted to suit kids with disabilities. Though there’s likely to be some “pay-to-play” clubs out there that your children can join, you should also be able to find a number of great programs through your child’s school, and local recreational clubs.
If you’re concerned that you can’t find a good free sports club somewhere close to home, then invest in the equipment that your kid needs to play and let him practice at home. On the other hand, if you have some free time, you could always consider building your own group. It doesn’t take much to get a bunch of kids together to kick around a ball after school!
Gardening might not seem like much fun to a kid, but if you have a child that’s interested in how things grow, or one that simply likes to create things, then you might have something to offer with a gardening hobby. Gardening can help to get your children away from their devices and computer screens and back into the natural world. Plus, they might even end up growing something that you can eat and enjoy together as a family later on.
Look around your local area for free gardening clubs that your child can join. There are plenty of clubs out there that only ask you to bring your own equipment to get involved. On the other hand, use some of the items that you have around your house to let him or her get involved with gardening at home. You can often grow potatoes with some out-of-date potatoes that you have lying around.
Hands-on activity with the soil helps to give children a better understanding of the resilience of nature and the environment, and if they really enjoy themselves, it might put a dent in your grocery bills too.
3. Arts and Music
There are plenty of recreational centers out there that offer free opportunities to try out different instruments and enjoy various arts as a child. Between voice changes and growth spurts, children that are approaching their teenage years are often feeling awkward and looking for a way to suitably express themselves. In a world that seems complicated to children, art and music can be activities that help them to channel their energy through their hands and minds.
If the school that your child is enrolled with doesn’t offer after school art clubs or bands, you should take some time to check out what’s going on around your local community. Choirs are pretty common, and there are always countless places for kids to go and play around with some pants after school. Individual lessons are obviously another option for kids that start to get more dedicated to their crafts, but these can be quite expensive.
4. Tutoring other Students
Although this option for an after-school activity might not rank very high on the fun scale, it can be a rewarding and exciting afterschool activity for the right people. If your child has a particular skill, then they can use that skill to help other people in their class to progress and get better grades. On the other hand, if your child is struggling with something, then he or she could consider asking one of his friends to give him a little extra help after school.
Tutoring other students will help to build compassion in your child, and ensure that they expand their skills in their preferred topic. It could also mean that they have something positive to put on their CV later down the line when it comes to applying for a job. After all, taking the initiative to tutor others and help solve problems is something that many employers will appreciate in a budding new employee.
5. Drama and Performing Arts
A lot of children act somewhat dramatically, but some have a particular knack for it. If your child loves the theatre and performing arts, then you could consider looking into drama clubs in your local area, or the clubs that might be offered by your school. These clubs could consist of comedy, chorus, or dance, and even if your child struggles under the spotlight, he or she might find that getting involved with the performing arts helps them to find their confidence more easily.
You can look for opportunities for your child to build their dramatic skills in youth clubs and community theatres, local schools, local arts associations and even churches. On the other hand, if you simply can’t find anywhere for your child to practice their craft, you could consider printing out improv ideas online and acting them out together after class as part of a bonding session.
No matter the circumstances, or the weather, reading for pleasure is a form of afterschool activity that works no matter what. It’s a great way to expand your youngster’s mind and give them the scope that they need to better understand the world around them, and improve academically too. Reading is something that a lot of children learn to love over the years, and it’s also something that your child can continue to do quite easily – even when he or she is sick.
You don’t have to limit your child to books that are on their required reading list when you visit your local library either. Often, reading for pleasure means giving your child the freedom to choose the books and magazines that they’re interested in, so that they can continue to grow their passion. Remember, any kind of reading can help to boost test scores in later academic challenges, and offering your child a variety of reading materials will help them to broaden their horizons. The more he or she reads, the more they will discover a bigger vocabulary, enhanced language skills, and the opportunity to embark on incredible adventures without any travel – or any expense.
Some scouting organisations require a payment for membership, whereas others will allow you to join a list and get in for free when a space becomes available. For boys and girls alike, scouting is a fantastic after-school activity that offers something new to discover and explore each week. Scouting has remained a popular activity for decades because it teaches children a host of useful and interesting skills, and allows them to work together or individually to practice their skills and solve problems.
Scouting can even be useful for helping your child to develop skills in leadership and expand their confidence as they learn new things. As people grow in the world of scouts and mature together, they take on different forms of responsibility, successfully planning and accomplishing various outings and activities. Many parents over the years have found that scouting is an interesting and engaging after-school activity that helps children to become more well-rounded and confident individuals overall. Check out what’s going on your area to learn more about the scouting opportunities that are available to you and your family.
8. School Clubs
Most schools know just how difficult it is to keep kids entertained and active after school. That’s why you’ll find that many schools come with clubs and after-school activities where kids can come together to build their academic skills, socialize and share their various interests. All of the activities offered by school clubs are often very useful to growing kids, and they’re not limited to reading and chess anymore either. There are plenty of clubs out there that range from art clubs, to clubs that explore entrepreneurship, and even clubs that teach youngsters how to knit.
Finding out what your child is interested in will be your first step towards finding a school club that appeals most to him or her. Remember that there are countless different options out there, and your child might just need a little bit of extra encouragement to convince him to go and sign up for a club. If your child has a specific interest that hasn’t been covered by a club in your local school, you could always consider speaking to administrators about what it might take to start your own new club from scratch. Usually all you need is a teacher to sponsor your efforts and a few like-minded students to get started.
9. Volunteering in the Community
Some children won’t be very interested in the idea of volunteering if it seems like a lot of hard work, whereas others will see it as an opportunity to expand their horizons. No matter where in the country you live, there’s bound to be some kind of organization or group that’s looking for volunteers. Kids can offer their help on various fun and interesting service projects that not only allow them to build their community connections, but also make an impact on an issue that they consider to be important. In fact, a lot of children find that they gain a strong sense of confidence and accomplishment by working for a volunteer group towards a specific goal.
Just some of the options that might be available for youngsters in search of volunteer work might include packing grocery bags for local food stores, cleaning up neighborhood areas or streams, or helping with the pets at an animal rescue center. Remember, community service is a crucial part of building up your child’s resilience and getting him or her ready for the world of work that might be ahead of them. Asking your child to get started with community volunteering could give him or her the confidence that they need to apply for opportunities later in life. What’s more, the volunteering that they do early in their years will show up well on their CV as they move into the world of work.
10. Spend time as a Family
Finally, it doesn’t cost anything to spend a little bit of time together as a family after school has finished. What this time entails will depend on you. For instance, some families might host a weekly movie night, whereas other families prefer to play board games or go out for a walk around the local area.
There are plenty of free ways that you can spend family time together, and the chances are that you will appreciate that time a lot more as your children start to get older and move away from you. Don’t underestimate the value of a night in with your kids.