We’re back to a semi regular form of life and that means keeping kids busy and entertained after school. Naturally, you should reflect on your child’s interest to discover what after-school activities might work best, but sometimes it helps to have some ideas to get the wheels turning. Something like, say, this list of 30 after-school activities for kids.
These run the gamut from sports to arts to music to theater to everything in between. Childhood is a great time to find out what lights your fire. But the only way to uncover that thing is by exploring all kinds of different things. Maybe you’re
raising a karate kid. Maybe you’re not, but how will you know if they’re never exposed to karate? Same with ballet. Until a child has had a chance to learn first, second, and third position, they may not know that that’s the thing they want to do more than any other thing, if not forever, then at least for now.
Perhaps the most important thing is to remember that everything has its season and to take the pressure off the activity. Maybe this fall is all about taking a Bob Ross painting class. But let your child know that being a mini Bob Ross doesn’t define them. They can try something else in the winter. Variety, as after-school activities for kids teach, is the spice of life.
1 Painting Class
An early introduction to the arts can inspire a child’s lifelong passion for the humanities. Get them started early with a Parks & Rec class or private painting course.
2 Origami Course Evgeniia Siiankovskaia/Moment/Getty Images
Folding paper requires focus and good fine motor skills, all things children need to develop. But the payoff is when they discover the amazing things they can create with this Japanese tradition.
3 Sewing 101
Whether it’s learning hand stitching or getting an introduction to a sewing machine, many fabric stores offer sewing classes for all ages.
Call it soccer, call it futbol, call it whatever you like, just give your child a chance to play this internationally beloved game. By participating in a soccer team, they’ll learn discipline, get exercise, and just have fun.
5 T-Ball Team
For any child who’s baseball curious, T-Ball is a great place to start. The games go super slow so children have a chance to really succeed, getting multiple at bats, and plenty of time to practice running the bases.
Even if your child can’t throw the ball even close to the hoop, that doesn’t mean they’re not ready to join a basketball team. With practice, they can improve their hoop dreams.
Have a kid fascinated by the Medieval age? Do they dream of being a knight? Bring that dream to live by enrolling them in a fencing team.
8 Lacrosse Team
It may surprise you to learn that there are lacrosse teams available to children as young as four. If they can run and hold a stick, they’re good to go.
9 Ice Skating
Have a future Michelle Kwan on your hands? Get her in the rink asap.
10 Violin Lessons
Many parents dream of their children becoming classical music prodigies. And while that might not be in the cards, introducing them to string instruments can start as young as five.
11 Drum Lessons
Sign up at your own risk. If your child loves to bang on things and you want to channel that energy into percussion instruments, it might help to have a large play room where you can set up their gear.
12 Banjo Lessons
The banjo has been growing in popularity recently and especially amongst children. Many cities now offer children and adult banjo lessons, so you can learn to play together.
13 Chess Club Vadim Serebrenikov / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
The Queen’s Gambit inspired a renewed interest in chess, and if it’s found a place in your home, you can encourage your child’s interest in the game by finding area tournaments and clubs. 14 Leather Work
Kids who are interested in tactile arts might find themselves gravitating to a leather work class. Many maker centers offer courses like these.
Your child doesn’t have to wait for high school shop class to expand their love of woodworking. To find a course, contact the art department of your local university or community college.
16 Kids Yoga
Help your child stretch and relax with kids yoga. Many yoga centers now offer classes just for children.
17 Camp Fire
This after-school club brings children together to do community service projects, arts and crafts, and activities to earn badges.
18 Girl Scouts Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Learning about nature, community, and friendship is what the Girl Scouts are all about. Find a club in your town to get your daughter enrolled.
19 Cooking Class
Have a little sous chef on your hands? Help them build their culinary prowess by taking them to a cooking class or finding them private lessons with a local chef.
20 Language Class
Learning a second or third language can open so many doors. And the sooner a child can learn, the better.
21 Jazz Class
Dance allows children who have a hard time sitting still to move freely and express themselves. Jazz class is a great way to let them explore their body and rhythm.
22 Tap Dancing
The shoes alone are what intrigue most children. But once they learn the steps to “Shuffle off to Buffalo,” they’ll be hooked.
23 Hip-Hop Class
If your kid can’t help but move when they hear a beat drop, get them into a hip-hop dance class right away.
Ballet offers children not just an introduction to a beautiful form of dance, but the language of ballet also opens a window on the French language. So think of ballet class as a two-fer.
This Japanese martial arts system is not just a form of a exercise but a way to build confidence in a child as well.
26 Swim Team FatCamera/E+/Getty Images
Little swimmers can channel their fish-like abilities while learning about healthy competition when they join a swim team.
27 Garden Club
Have a neighborhood veggie garden? Find a local master gardener to lead a group of kids in weekly lessons on plants and their care.
28 Horseback Riding
Whether it’s dressage or Western riding, being around horses can have a profound impact on children. This has been found especially true for those with
special needs. 29 4-H Club 4-H Clubs have been around since the beginning of the 1900s and they continue today as a way for children to learn leadership skills often by raising livestock and building agricultural skills.
With these ideas, you can begin to figure out what interests your child and get them involved in all kinds of fun after school activities.