Monday, September 7, 2015

Entertaining The Munchkins After School

Children with no extracurricular or extramural activities are a pain in the, ahem… rear end!!! I am convinced my kids are fibbing about how much homework they have because I definitely don’t remember this much free time, but even after talking to the teachers, I have yet to find assignments left undone and tests not studied for.
So, in order to carry on using those one or two hours between the time that school finishes and when I start dinner for my 21st century coupon clipping (in other words, I visit coupon sites like do a search and print the coupons I’m going to need!), I needed to find some affordable after school activities to keep the kids busy. And here’s a list of the most fun, stimulating activities I found for them to choose from:

Get your kids to start a daily journal. On the way home, ask them to tell you the two worst things that happened to them that day and the two best things. Then, when they get home, they are to put these things in their journal. Younger kids can draw a picture and you can make a note on the back describing what the picture is about, while older kids can actually write their journal entry on a sheet of paper. You can then get them to decorate the page and collect it. It’s a great memento for when they get older and also a way to remind you of all the little things you tend to forget as they grow up.

Pick one day a week for art projects. It doesn’t matter which day it is and it doesn’t matter what art they create, the point is to teach them how to let their creative juices flow. These art projects could be making ‘Glitterfied Relaxation Jars’, Suminagashi  (this marbled paper art is fun to create no matter how old you are!), sculpting something out of clay, making your own play dough and then turning it into some kind of temporary sculpture (remember to photograph it before it gets remodeled!), creating chalk murals on the driveway, finger painting, creating a collage or building something out of recycled and repurposed household items.

For older kids you need slightly more ‘grown up’ activities than art projects, although it doesn’t hurt to see if they’d like to try creating something. If they don’t go for it, though, you can start doing kid friendly yoga together, take a trip to the batting cages, create a mini gold course at home and then play it until you’re an expert, get them to research their family tree, give them the responsibility of planning dinner for one night of the week and get them to make it (don’t abandon them in the kitchen though, its liable to get messy and you may end up with everything being burned and inedible!), let them learn sign language and then get them to teach it to you or attend a local high school or college sporting event. The possibilities are countless!

As much as possible try to keep the kids outdoors and away from the television or computer because the point is to keep them entertained, not turn them into zombies! Depending on where your children’s interests lie, search for after school programs and groups that they can join. This is not just a way to get them out of the house but also gives them a chance to make friends outside of their school. These programs and groups could be about sports, music, drama, martial arts, scouts, language, arts and crafts or reading.

When planning after school activities keep both your own and your kids' schedules in mind. You don’t want to get sidetracked helping with an art project when you have an important deadline for work, and you don’t want to get your kids involved in an activity that takes too much time and focus away from their school work. Find a balance, talk to your kids about what activities they’d be interested in and, above all, keep it flexible and fun!

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