Now that school is back in session, parents are scrambling to find ways to keep their students entertained once the afternoon school bell has chimed for the day. While it might seem easiest to allow your son or daughter to watch television or play video games for hours at a time, this solution is not most conducive to your child’s overall health.
Instead, we suggest pursuing an after school activity (or group of activities) that combine your student’s hobbies and interests in a different way. Most juvenile crime is committed during after school hours. Even if you don’t believe it’s possible for your own child to engage in risky or illegal behavior, there is still ample published research to support the benefits of participating in an after school program.
Our team at DriveTheNation.com is here to help and has compiled a list of after school activities and ideas for students of all ages:
Join a Team
The majority of the most successful athletes first got their start by participating in an after school league or program. Whether your child has an interest in swimming, volleyball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, baseball or dance, there is surely an after school program that aligns with his or her interests. While the costs of such programs may be a concern for many families, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a variety of scholarships available, in addition to low-cost and free options as well. Organized sports benefit the whole child, both physically and mentally, and also help students develop valuable life lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship.
Learn an Instrument
Not every child is gifted with athleticism, but that doesn’t mean his or her after school options are limited. Has your son considered joining a choir, band, orchestra or acting troupe? By doing so, he or she will undoubtedly grow in more ways than one. Experts say that students who partake in musically-focused extracurricular activities become more self-assured, develop practical problem-solving skills and understand the benefits of community and working together. Not only will he or she have the opportunity to learn how to read and play music, but your student will also develop valuable interpersonal skills and friendships that could likely last a lifetime.
Attend a Youth Group
There are many ways for your son or daughter to get involved in a church, temple or neighborhood community center youth group. Regardless of one’s spiritual beliefs, there are a number of youth programs available in nearly every area of the country. Boys and Girls Club, for example, is a popular organization that has served more than 4.1 million young people in 4,000 different locations in the USA. The Club provides a safe place for students to learn and grow — all while having fun.
Students of all ages can find value in giving back to the community. However, depending on the age of your son or daughter and the area in which you live, there may be after school programs available that would allow your student to participate on a daily basis. Community service projects, for example, can help your high school student earn community service hours for college credit. More importantly, these projects fill a need and benefit the local neighborhood. By engaging in activities that serve a bigger purpose, your child has the opportunity to learn the value in giving back and how philanthropic efforts can positively impact the community as a whole.
Do you have an after school activity in mind that you would like to see on our list? We invite you to let us know in the comment section below!