After School Activities: Keeping Children Busy and Happy

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Do you ever feel that you and your children do the same thing after school activities every day or that you’ve fallen into the rut of them plonking themselves in front of the TV when they get in or on their tablets (etc)? Finding new and fun after school activities can become a chore which is where we come in with some tried and tested new ideas and sources of inspiration.

Have a Routine
When you all get back in from school having a routine will help you work out how much time you have to fill. For example, if you get in at 3.45pm and have 20mins of reading and spellings to do, plus 10 minutes or so for a snack and a drink and aim to sit down for tea at 5.30pm you have an hour and a quarter to play with.

To Schedule or Not to Schedule
Some families like to have an after school schedule, for example, Monday might be art and crafts, Tuesday is swimming, Wednesday could be digital time, Thursday baking and so on. This can work brilliantly on two fronts. Firstly the children know what to expect which is always good when they’ve come home bouncing with energy or grumbling because they are a but tired, and secondly, it helps you plan.

Whether you plan your time or not will depend entirely on you, your children and what you have going on. Some people prefer a more laid back “we’ll see how tired the kids are” approach.

Tried and Tested Activities

  • Marshmallow Construction – Perfect for older children! You need some cocktail sticks and big and small marshmallows. Use these to build up towers, boxes and all sorts (of course any leftovers go into hot chocolate).
  • Free play in the garden (great for running off excess energy).
  • Board games or cards.
  • Balloon fun – blow up a balloon and see how many times they can hit it up in the air without dropping it to the floor or decorate balloons to make them look like they have funny faces.
  • Art and craft activities – this could be anything from a structured activity such as “today we are making photo frames” to “there are your crayons and here is your colouring-in book”.
  • Carpet Ten Pin Bowling – perfect for indoor fun!
  • Cooking / Baking – Why not have the kids help you prepare the vegetables for tea or make a pudding?
  • Reading Time – Perfect for those cold rainy days when outdoor play is a no-go and a teddy, a blanket, a squishy blanket and a book are in order. Reading time or story time is suitable for all ages.
  • Scavenger /Treasure Hunt – It doesn’t take very long to write out some quick clues or items to find and kids love games like this, especially if there is treasure or a prize at the end.
  • Ping Pong Ball Racing – Tape some straws or similar down a table to form a straight track, give each child a straw and a light ping pong ball. The idea is to blow through the straw to make the ball race down the track. An alternative could be blowing the ball back and forwards to each other.

After School Activity Inspiration
If you are looking for more ideas Pinterest is jam packed full of fabulous activity inspiration to get you going. The great thing about these activities is that you can use them time and time again, perhaps having a box dedicated solely to after school fun.

What do you do after school? If you have some activities that your little ones love do let us know!

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