Do your kids need something to do after class? Look no further. Here’s our guide to after-school activities at home for all ages.
The back-to-school season looks different this year for every parent. In the age of COVID-19, juggling the responsibilities of working from home or helping your children with virtual learning can be even more challenging. But what to do when school is over?
According to the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), 79% of children from the ages of 6-17 participated in some sort of after-school extracurricular activity between 2017 and 20181. Whether or not your child is attending school in-person this year, filling up this time is a new challenge. To help, we’ve put together a list of activities for children of all ages to help parents navigate the new normal.
- Watch the big game virtually
- Stream a workout class online
- Train with the best
- Learn a language
- Start cooking
- Make homemade ice cream
- Practice playing an instrument
- Movie night
- Arts and crafts
- Join a virtual club
- Do chores
- Play outside
- Game night
- Create a movie
- Supplemental learning
Get a virtual ticket to the big game
Are your kids sports fanatics? Or still trying to get them into a team mindset? Either way, watching the game together can be great to promote physical activity or at least get excited again after missing out on this year’s season. This year, the NFL has partnered with Microsoft Teams to broadcast at-home fans on the screens in the stadium and even on TV. The best part? It’s free. And you might just be lucky enough to see your family cheering on the team after a touchdown.
Stream yoga or another workout class online
Making sure your kids stay fit can be difficult when you feel stuck at home, but luckily there are plenty of online resources to help them exercise right in the living room! Yoga is a great way to keep your kids fit, but it also has other benefits as well. It can help with balance, listening skills, and getting used to a routine. Check out this great online resource with yoga classes designed for kids, or search YouTube for other classes and exercises your kids may prefer.
Train with the best
Are your kids struggling to practice without a coach? Subscribers to Masterclass can access lessons from experts in everything from acting to skateboarding. Kids can practice basketball handling skills with Steph Curry in the driveway or even try their hand at tennis with Serena Williams. With Masterclass, your kids can get the best coaching experience out there, all without leaving the house.
Learn a language
It’s hard learning a new language, but starting young can help kids develop fluency early.
Plus, there are plenty of apps and online resources available for kids to start small and keep practicing their skills. Download apps like DuoLingo or Babbel for language lessons across age groups, or check out online resources like LittlePim, FluentU, or Rosetta Stone depending on your child’s age. Who knows, maybe you’ll get in on it too.
Make homemade ice cream
This one is easier than it seems, I promise. It has the potential to make the whole family happy. All you need is a plastic bag, milk, ice, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and any toppings you might want. Check out this online recipe and be sure to watch the video for a step-by-step tutorial.
Start cooking with them
One of the hardest things to juggle as a parent is mealtime. Without after-school activities, you’ll likely have more time to sit down together as a family for dinner. Why not prepare food in the kitchen together too? Whether your child is still in elementary school or approaching high school, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to get involved. Whatever their age, be sure to pick recipes that are easy, fun, and safe. For younger kids, try making pizza or cereal treats together, or consult this online resource for recipe ideas. Older kids can learn how to make their favorites, too, or even get started with an online cooking class across age groups.
Try an instrument
Music is a great way to keep kids entertained, but it’s also an easy thing to practice at home. Even though they might not have access to one-on-one lessons, kids can still work on the skills they’re learning in school–or even just take up a new instrument altogether. Online classes are a great way to keep kids practicing and learning, as long as you have a pair of earplugs nearby!
Start-up movie night together
Sure, this one isn’t the most active idea. But it’s fun for everyone! Pick a day of the week to watch a movie or show with your kids that everyone will love, and maybe even prepare snacks together beforehand. One thing that after-school activities help parents and kids develop is a routine. Plus, there is something to be said about having a night of the week you can all look forward to together. Watch your old childhood favorites and relive those classics with your kids for family fun everyone can appreciate.
Lots of kids love crafts. Plus, they’re a great way to stretch your child’s creativity while also encouraging them to practice completing a task from start to finish. There are tons of craft ideas online that are really easy and could even provide your child with a new toy without the cost. Some favorites include making slime and this extensive list of 50+ crafts. Check out YouTube for even more ideas and tutorials.
Join a virtual club
Was your child involved with drama or chess club last year? Or, want to encourage them to start reading by joining a book club? There are virtual clubs for all kinds of activities that not only get your child to practice a new hobby but also promote social engagement with other kids. One of the things your child needs after working on the computer or doing homework is time with other kids, and this is a great way to do it. Check out FunClubs for a list of online groups your child could join today.
Give them chores
This isn’t the most fun option for kids outside of school but can be helpful for parents managing a busy schedule. Plus, it teaches kids important lessons about responsibility. With online resources and apps like ChorePad, kids can keep up with their progress and even see potential rewards come out of their efforts. Getting your child into these routines can help you, but also help them develop a daily pattern that could otherwise be hard to manage without after-school activities.
Download apps that make your kids want to play outside
Worried that your child is missing out on outdoor time this year? Surprisingly, apps for your phone or tablet can be a great way to encourage your kids to get outside and exercise. Depending on their ages, numerous apps are available to provide your kids with localized scavenger hunts in the backyard, geocaching in your neighborhood, or even stargazing for the aspiring astronomer.
Have a game night
Game night is a great way to get the whole family together. Don’t have any board games that everyone enjoys, or worried that your younger kids won’t be able to keep up with the older ones? There are plenty of games you can download as apps on your phone for free, just take a look at the suggested age and get started. Or for older kids, check out JackBox TV, a feature that lets each player use a mobile device to draw doodles or write answers that show up on the TV for everyone to see and play along with together.
Make their own movies
Kids love mobile devices and TV, but what if they were using their brains to create instead of just watch? Encourage kids to work on a script together, pick out costumes, and even edit scenes on iMovie or another video-editing app for the finished product. The bonus? You can keep this home video forever.
Enroll in a supplemental education course
Even though your kids are spending a lot of time in front of the computer during school, there are great resources out there for kids to build on their learning. Whether it’s games or online courses, check out this database with options for kids K-12.
Making a schedule for your kids after school
Whether your child is 6 or 16, there are all kinds of activities they can do after school that promote social engagement and even physical activity. The key, not only for your sanity but also for your child’s development, is setting a routine. If they sign up for a club or start learning an instrument after school, you can easily make it a routine to practice every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 to resemble an after-school extracurricular schedule. Start Monday movie nights or Wednesday workout classes and create a calendar for your family that makes it easier for everyone to get through the week together.
1Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. 2017-2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data query. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).Retrieved 09/30/2020 from https://www.childhealthdata.org/browse/survey/results?q=7166&r=1.