Young children have tons of extra energy! Once they’ve finished their morning at school, some might still need naptime. After that? They are ready for round two. Planning some after school activities for young children in advance will take a load of stress off your shoulders. Pencil them into your diary, make sure you’ve got any equipment you might need on hand, and enjoy being a step ahead of your busy little person.
If you’re stuck with no ideas of what to do with your small people, why not try some of these ideas.
Fun & Easy Afternoon Activities For Young Children
We’ve chosen some activities that are easy to throw together without lots of extra requirements. These are great fillers for the days in between formal activities such as karate, sport, or dance lessons. While easy to organize, they provide lots of opportunities for developing bilateral integration and coordination.
Put on some upbeat music and dance around the lounge. If you need something with a little more structure to it, try:
- Tag Team Tango: Stand in a circle. One person starts and does a move. The next person copies their move and then does one of their own. This goes all around the circle.
- Build-A-Boogie: Person one comes up with a move. The whole group copies. Person two thinks up another and adds it to the first move. Keep building onto the chain of movement until you have a whole dance!
- Ball-Toss-Ballet: Throw a ball to the dancers, whoever catches it performs a move holding it before throwing it to someone else.
- Musical Statues: Don’t forget the old favorites! Each time the music stops, everybody has to freeze. Anyone still moving sits out for that round until there is one winner. A fun variation is to yell out a body part as the music stops. That can be the only bit touching the ground, for example, left knee and right elbow, or only your tummy.
Take your child outside on a sunny day, or turn your living room upside down if it’s raining. Use whatever you have on hand to make an obstacle course that will keep your child busy for ages. Make sure to incorporate these elements:
Giving your child a chance to balance is a great way to wake up neuromuscular pathways, and refine gross motor skills. These are some easy examples:
- Walk along a line of string (make it wiggly or straight)
- Step from stone to stone
- Walk along a narrow paving edge
- Turn in a circle while balancing on a big rock
Stooping, wriggling, or crawling, children love the thrill of tunneling under something. Create or find something for them to go under, such as:
- A four-legged chair
- Two parallel rows of cushions with a blanket over the top
- A low tree branch
Climbing is not only a good muscle workout, but it also builds confidence by helping little ones to face their fears and overcome them. Let them climb:
- A short, stable A-frame ladder
- A low branch or a log
- A low wall, or rock
Train their memory by making certain points ‘action stations’. Before they start tell them where you want jumps, cartwheels, or spins and see if they remember. You can ask them to walk sideways, or backward between certain points.
Dress Up Story Time
Keep an old suitcase and fill it with pieces of fabric, old clothes, and accessories such as hats, scarves, and belts. Keep a handy supply of hair ties, clothing pegs, and safety pins (for older children) to hold their creations together.
You can guide their dressing up with suggestions such as a mermaid, a fierce pirate, or a flying butterfly.
Once they’re all dressed up, if they have energy left, they can act out their own made-up story for you. Film these and keep them, they will be some of your best memories!
Things To Keep In Mind When Planning After School Activities
Your child’s individual preferences. Are they arty? Musical? Sporty? Understand what fills their ‘happy tank’ and make sure to aim activities at those things. Some children might have the best time lying on the lawn and pointing out what animals they see in the clouds. Others might get bored in a few seconds and would rather move around.
The same goes for their energy levels. If you have an afternoon bouncing bunny, lean towards activities that use up all that extra energy before bedtime. If your child slows down in the afternoon, choose calmer activities that won’t push them past their energy resources.
After School Activities For Young Children in Parkland
Busy mornings at school combined with afternoons full of fun will have many benefits for your child. Boredom and screen time will be kept to a minimum. They’ll also sleep well after days full of fun and games.
With afternoons taken care of, if you’re looking for a preschool that provides a well-rounded education, give Parkland Children’s Academy a call today at (954) 688-5877. We’d love to take you on a tour of our facilities.