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29Oct 13

How to make after-school activities fun

Learning shouldn’t stop once children come home from school, so it is important to plan after-school activities that entertain and educate!

Since Tom and Mary started school, I have juggled my work timetable so that I can be at home when they arrive. Even though they normally have a good deal of homework to do, I encourage them to unwind after school and have some fun before they settle into their studies.

So what after-school activities work for my kids?

After-school activities: How to make them fun

After-school activities: How to make them fun

Fun and educational

Tom and Mary are both at an age when they have formed special friendships, and they often come home from school with a friend. If the weather is nice, I like to let the kids play outside for half an hour or so. Tom, who is 10 years old, likes to play football in the back garden with his best friend John, while 8-year-old Mary prefers playing hopscotch or with her skipping rope with her friends on the front patio.

Playing group games helps children to learn about rules and fair play, while also teaching them about self-control and how to get on with other people. Excellent lessons for later in life!

When it’s raining or too cold to be outside, I have a wide variety of activities which are guaranteed to provide after-school fun. But a word of warning! If everyone ends up indoors, it is important to restrict screen time, or the amount of time your children spend watching television or playing computer games. After school is a key timeslot for kids, so I try to balance screen time with activities that are fun and educational or healthy.

A good tip is to make screen time an active time. For example, challenge children to see who can do the most push-ups or leg lifts during the commercial breaks. This gives everyone a good laugh as well as prevents children (and mum!) from becoming couch potatoes.

Indoor games

Here are five ideas to keep your children stimulated and entertained after school during inclement weather. The best part about these activities is that I don’t have to be a spectator!

• Doing jigsaw puzzles or playing simple board or card games. Don’t laugh – these types of activities seem to have fallen out of favour now that we have so many electronic gadgets, but they are still quite fun!
• Working on a stamp or coin collection – one of Tom’s favourite pastimes.
• Helping to prepare the evening meal or a healthy dessert – Mary loves this.
Reading. Last year I started reading a book aloud with the kids for a half an hour before dinner.
• Choosing an interactive computer game in which everyone can participate.

What are your tips for fun after-school activities?

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