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Keeping Little Ones Active After School

One common challenge that working parents face is what to do with their kids after the school day lets out. Even for parents that stay home with their kids, coming up with great activities after the school day is over can be a tough task. Little ones in the preschool or kindergarten often have relatively short attention spans, but can still benefit from lessons, clubs, and other social activities.

Getting Kids Interested in After School Activities

After a long day at school, many preschoolers are in need of a quick nap. Afterwards, though, they should be kept busy. With their minds continually expanding, their interests will also be diversifying during this crucial stage in development. Choosing exciting after school activities that pique your children's interest will both encourage their development and expose them to a wide range of activities—allowing them to pinpoint their favorites.

  • Physical activities. Preschoolers and kindergarteners have a great deal of energy, so activities that tap into their ability to play hard are great—and will make getting them ready for bed that much easier. Swimming, gymnastics, karate, dance, t-ball, soccer, and other sports are wonderful activities to keep children active and instill in them important values, such as teamwork and responsibility. Make sure to keep it lighthearted, though, and never push a strong spirit of competition at so young an age.
  • Creative activities. As preschoolers experience an increase in their motor skills they can quickly learn to enjoy arts and crafts. When children of this age become capable of holding a pencil, paintbrush, or marker, a whole new world of self-expression opens up to them. Many after school clubs and organizations offer group classes that will help your children make new friends and explore creative outlets—just make sure that you reinforce the fact that painting and drawing are only to be done in a designated area so that your house doesn't suffer a makeover at the hands of your preschooler.
  • Social activities. Though kids do need time to themselves, it's important that they are exposed to as many social activities as possible. This will help them develop their social skills and identities.

Though you may love how your daughter looks in her ballerina outfit or how your son looks at bat during t-ball, don't forget that your children's interests are just developing and will most likely change. Allow them to utilize after school activities as a way to pinpoint their interests without pushing them in one direction or another.