16 Best After School Activities for Kids

After-school activities are highly beneficial for helping kids improve their social skills, encouraging them to be more attentive in school projects, and enhancing their academic performance.

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Need some ideas? This blog post will equip you with the best after-school activities for kids that will boost their physical and mental development. Let's get started!

Fun After-School Activities for Kids

Spending all their time in school, sometimes kids may need some fun activities involving play to blow off some steam. Here are some of the most enjoyable after-school activities for kids at home that can be both entertaining and educational.

1. MentalUP Brain Games

If you need a wide variety of after-school activities for kids of all ages, you should try MentalUP. This innovative learning app features 150+ brain training games and 240+ physical education exercises kids can do indoors or outdoors.

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With its adaptive learning algorithms, MentalUP tests kids' skills continuously and provides them with daily 20-minute brain training and 7-minute exercise plans. These plans are curated according to kids' needs, interests, and grade levels.

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2. Making Colorful Popsicles

If you are looking for indoor activities for kids after school that will feed their creativity, you should try making colorful popsicles with your kids. The activity is suitable for kids of all ages and develops their mathematical skills by challenging them to measure ingredients.

after-school activities for kids

To make ice cream or popsicles, you'll need some fruit juice, food coloring, popsicle molds, and popsicle sticks.

Allow your kids to combine different juices and food coloring to fill the molds, and let the molds freeze for one hour. Gently pull the popsicles out and enjoy your colorful frozen treats! You can use this alternative as one of the best rainy day activities for kids.

3. Scavenger Hunt in the Park

This is one of the most fun activities for kids after school that children can share with their peers or family members.

after school program activities for kids

It nurtures kids' curiosity, improves their observational skills, and enhances their spatial awareness by encouraging them to explore their surroundings and uncover new things.

To play a scavenger hunt in the park, you will need a list of instructions, a basket to collect the items, and a reward for completing the hunt. You can ask them to find different items in the park, such as leaves, bugs, rocks, or flowers. Donโ€™t forget to set a specific time limit for the hunt.

4. Origami

Origami is one of the most beneficial after-school program activities for kids of all ages. It is a highly effective activity that improves their concentration, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and patience.

after school activities for kids at home

Additionally, it can be a meditative activity that helps reduce stress and anxiety. Origami can be done with any kind of paper, but it is usually easier with thin and square sheets.

To do origami, kids need to follow a set of instructions that show them how to fold the paper step by step. It is always better to begin with basic models like an airplane or a boat. These designs are suitable for beginners and help kids build confidence.

5. Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practices are excellent for helping kids reduce their stress levels, relax, and increase their self-esteem.

activities for kids in after school programs

These practices can be transformed into calming and effective activities for kids in after-school programs. You can introduce mindfulness to your kids at around 3-4 years old.

Also, they can include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, sensory exploration, gratitude journaling, guided storytelling, group activities, and mindful games. Consistency is key, so it is essential to incorporate these practices into children's daily routines to help them build mindfulness skills over time.

6. Calligraphy

If you are running out of school activities ideas for kids, you can try calligraphy activities. This visual art form involves the creation of expressive writing, and it is a highly beneficial practice for kids that can enhance their cognitive and artistic development, handwriting, and creativity.

fun after school activities for kids

Calligraphy can be done with different styles, such as Roman or Chinese. Kids need to hold their pens at an angle and vary the pressure they apply to create both thin and thick strokes.

They also need to follow the proportions of each letter. You can provide your kids with calligraphy kits that include practice worksheets and pens.

Popular After-School Activities for Kids

Kids might get bored or feel lonely after school. Here are some of the most popular after-school activities for kids that they can enjoy doing or playing with their peers and other family members.

7. Movement Chain Game

If you need some icebreaker ideas for after-school activities for shy kids, this movement chain game will undoubtedly become a cherished option.

list of after school activities for kids

It is especially suitable for young children and excellent for enhancing their memory, coordination, quick thinking, and physical fitness. The game involves creating a sequence of movements that each player has to repeat and add to.

For example, the first player might do two jumping jacks, then the second player has to do two jumping jacks and a spin. The third player should repeat these movements and then add one more move.

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8. Storytelling Game

This is one of the best after-school winter activities for kids, elevating their creativity, imagination, critical thinking, and linguistic skills to the next level.

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This game is suitable for children of all ages, offering an interactive experience that can be customized to match their age, skills, and interests. To play this entertaining game, you need to create small paper slips and write random words on them, such as "yellow," "sun," or anything your kids might like.

Then, place all the slips in a jar and ask your kids to pick one from it. Encourage your kids to come up with stories using the words mentioned on the paper.

9. LEGO Hunt

The LEGO Hunt might be one of the simplest and most fun after-school activities for kids. If your kids are bored of scavenger hunts or other similar activities, you can choose this one instead to promote their attention span, problem-solving, persistence, and teamwork skills.

after school winter activities for kids

The idea is to hide LEGO pieces around the house or yard and have the children find them. Be sure to provide riddles or clues that guide kids to the hidden LEGO pieces.

You can customize the hunt's difficulty level, making it as easy or as challenging as you prefer, based on your children's age and skill level.

10. DIY Advent Calendar

Creating a DIY advent calendar is not only a wonderful way to count down the days until Christmas but also an opportunity for families to bond over crafting and creativity.

popular after school activities for kids

This activity is great for building anticipation and helps children learn about numbers, dates, and seasons. So, it can also be used as one of the most improving extracurricular activities for kids.

So, if you are interested in Christmas after-school activities for parents and kids, try creating a customized advent calendar using a variety of crafting materials such as colorful stickers, vibrant paints, or any other items that pique your interest. Then, you can fill each day of the calendar with a small gift or a treat.

11. Playing Uno

The classical card game Uno, might be one of the best after-school activities for big kids. It helps them improve their concentration, strategy, and arithmetic skills.

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Plus, it can be played with two to ten players, making it perfect for group play and fostering social interactions. The objective of Uno is to be the first player to empty their hand by playing their cards onto the discard pile.

To achieve this, players must carefully consider their card choices and employ strategies to outsmart their opponents. The game can take unexpected turns as players utilize special cards.

Art and Science After-School Activities for Kids

Now that weโ€™ve evaluated the most entertaining and popular after-school activities for kids letโ€™s take a look at those that can expand kids' creative thinking and passion for science.

12. Recycling Crayons

This is one of the most effective art and science after-school activities for kids. It helps them understand the importance of recycling, educates them about environmental responsibility, and enhances their fine motor skills as they manipulate crayons and molds.

after school activities for kids of all ages

To create recycled crayons, start by collecting old and broken crayons to give to your kids. They can break these crayons into smaller pieces and then place them into various fun-shaped silicone molds. Allow the crayons to bake for 5 to 10 minutes until they melt. Your colorful and recycled crayons are ready to use!

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13. Magnetic Slime

Magnetic slime is one of the most entertaining after-school activities for elementary kids that enhances spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.

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It fosters scientific thinking, stimulates sensory exploration, and encourages kids to observe and test the phenomena of magnetism. This slime can be made by mixing a small amount of a polymer (such as polyvinyl alcohol or white glue), borax, and iron oxide powder.

The key to making magnetic slime is to incorporate iron oxide particles into your slime mixture, which makes it responsive to magnets. Then, kids can experiment with this magnetic slime.

14. Making a Lava Lamp

Making a lava lamp is a simple and enjoyable way to teach kids about density, solubility, chemical reactions, and lighting effects.

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It's one of the most exciting and interesting after-school activities for kids at home, offering them a hands-on opportunity to explore fundamental science concepts. A lava lamp can be made with water, oil, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer tablets.

The bubbles are formed by the difference in density and solubility between the water and oil, and the tablets cause them to move up and down. If the fizzing slows down, you can simply add some more Alka-Seltzer to keep the lava lamp effect going.

15. DIY Friendship Bracelets

If you need creative and fun after-school activities for kids that'll enhance their social and motor skills, this activity is a fantastic idea.

after school activities for elementary kids

This activity is also highly beneficial for improving kids' hand-eye coordination, concentration, and patience. Plus, it can help them relieve stress. Start by selecting colorful embroidery floss or yarn strands and knotting them together in various patterns, such as chevrons or braids.

After weaving the threads into the desired design, adjust the size and secure it. Children can pass out and trade friendship bracelets, creating a sense of community.

16. Tornado in a Bottle

This is one of the most engaging after-school activities for kids of all ages that fosters their interest in science experiments.

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It is an easy and exciting experiment to teach kids about weather phenomena, the concept of pressure, and the mesmerizing dynamics of vortex formation. To create a tornado in a bottle, fill a clear plastic bottle with water, leaving a small gap at the top.

Add a few drops of dish soap and glitter for visibility, then tightly secure the cap. Now, swirl the bottle in a circular motion to create a tornado-like vortex inside the water.

Benefits of After-School Program Activities for Kids

Considering the list of after-school activities for kids we've provided, you probably understand the importance of fun after-school activities for kids' personal and academic development.

art and science after school activities for kids

Here is a more detailed look at all the benefits of after-school activities for kids in different grade levels.

1. Effective Problem-Solving

Many after-school activities involve challenging scenarios that require children to think critically. Whether it's through team sports, puzzles, or creative endeavors such as robotics or debate clubs, kids learn how to tackle challenges, analyze situations, and devise strategies for success.

These problem-solving experiences can directly translate into their daily lives, empowering them to develop the confidence and competence needed to face challenges with resilience and adaptability.

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2. Improved Academic Performance

Engaging in activities that encompass learning new skills, practicing discipline, and setting goals can positively impact a child's schoolwork.

By dedicating time and effort to a particular activity, they acquire the essential trait of persistence, which is crucial for academic success. Additionally, the diverse interests cultivated in extracurriculars can significantly broaden a child's perspective, making them more engaged and curious learners in the classroom.

3. Enhanced Social Skills

Interacting with peers who share similar interests fosters friendships, teamwork, and cooperation. When children engage in after-school activities with others, they are exposed to a diverse range of personalities and backgrounds

In group settings, children learn to communicate effectively, negotiate differences, and practice empathy. And these vital skills contribute to a child's emotional intelligence significantly.

4. Stress Reduction

After a long day at school, kids can experience stress and pressure from academic demands. After-school activities offer a welcome respite from these pressures, allowing children to unwind, relax, and engage in activities they genuinely enjoy.

This balance between academics and leisure not only reduces stress but also teaches children the importance of self-care and maintaining a healthy school-life balance, setting them up for better mental health throughout their lives.

5. Time Management Skills

Participating in after-school activities encourages kids to become adept at managing their time effectively. With various commitments, they learn to prioritize tasks, set schedules, and allocate their time wisely.

By juggling their academic work, extracurricular activities, and personal time, children develop a sense of discipline and organization. This skill is invaluable as it prepares children for the responsibilities they will encounter in adulthood.

Tips to Choose the Most Suitable Activities for Kids After School

Since there are numerous outdoor and indoor activities for kids after school, you might find it challenging to decide which activities are best for your children. Here are some insightful tips to assist you:

  • Take into account your child's hobbies and interests when selecting activities.
  • Ensure that the chosen activities match your child's developmental stage.
  • Strike a balance between academic and non-academic activities.
  • Have open discussions with your kids about what activities they'd like to try.
  • Ensure that the activities are convenient and fit within your family's daily routine.
  • Encourage activities that promote social interaction and friendship.
  • Monitor the impact of extracurricular activities on your child's academic performance.
  • Be flexible and open to adjustments as your child's interests and needs evolve.
  • Remember to leave some free time in your child's schedule for unstructured play.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have some unanswered questions? Here are the most frequently asked questions about after-school activities for kids, along with their answers.

What are after-school activities for?

After-school activities offer students opportunities to explore their interests, develop new skills, and engage in constructive, extracurricular pursuits outside regular school hours.

Why should schools provide more after-school activities?

Schools should provide more after-school activities to enhance students' social, emotional, and academic development, fostering a well-rounded education and helping working parents by offering a safe and productive environment for their children.

Should after-school programs be mandatory?

After-school programs should not be mandatory, but they should be widely accessible, allowing students and parents to choose whether they wish to participate based on individual needs and interests.

Whichever way you choose to support your kid's development journey, it is best to ensure that the activities, games, or exercises are tailored to their grade level and help them improve their understanding of school subjects.

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