When school is in session, kids are kept are busy reading and learning most of the day. So, when the bell rings, they come home with plenty of pent-up energy and a desire to let loose and have some fun. So how can you help them burn off all those wiggles and giggles before bedtime?
Check out this list of fun, inexpensive (or free!) after-school activities:
1. Build an obstacle course
Use household items like couch pillows or books to create an obstacle course, and a fun story to go along with it — for example, the kids have to balance on the books and not touch the “lava” (a.k.a. carpet). Weather permitting, you can also do the obstacle course outside. Have stations with tasks to accomplish, like hula hooping for 60 seconds or doing 50 jumping jacks.
This dad created the ultimate obstacle course for his daughter:
2. Have a limbo contest
It is so easy to DIY a limbo bar with just a little preparation and a visit to the hardware store. This is a great option because it works for big kids and little kids alike! Check out the tutorial from In the Playroom here.
3. Cook dinner
Kids love to help in the kitchen, but parents so rarely let them because they fear the mess or potential burns. But there are many kid-friendly recipes that are fun to prepare and delicious to make, such as mini lasagnas. Get the recipe here from Catching Fireflies.
4. Volunteer together
Teaching young children the value of kindness and civic duty is so important. You could take your kids to rake the leaves in the yard of a elderly neighbor, walk dogs together at your local animal shelter, or even just pick up trash at the playground (wear gloves, of course!).
5. Throw a foam party
What’s better than bubbles? Foam! With this awesome sensory activity, your kids will be entertained for hours. See tutorial at Fun at Home with Kids.
6. Dance it out
Kids love to dance, and it’s an awesome way to get active and release pent-up energy. If you don’t have the budget or time to attend dance class, you can use free YouTube videos to teach simple dance moves to kids of all ages. Here is a great option from KBM Talent.
7. Make homework fun
Sometimes older kiddos will have a little homework to do. Make homework fun by rewarding your kids with “tickets” every time they accomplish an assignment. Each ticket can be exchanged for five minutes of screen time once they are done with their school assignments.
8. Go to the library
The library is a haven for kids of all ages! From computers to books to crayons to toys, you really can’t go wrong at the library. Plus, you can pick up the latest Gillian Flynn book while you are at it.
9. Put on a play
Kids love to perform! Tap into their inner actor/screenwriter/artist by writing a short play together and then performing it on for friends and family. You will keep them busy for weeks with rehearsal and stage prep — not to mention, it will help teach them creativity and public-speaking skills.
10. Make a galaxy jar
Um, this one is so pretty, you may even want to steal it for a girls night activity! Either way, it’s a must-try. Check out these instructions from MomDot or watch this YouTube video from HelloMaphie.