Knowhow-Now Article

Instead of sitting in front of a television or computer, or worse yet, hanging out at the mall, kids can use their time after classes let out to learn new skills. As a parent, your job is to make sure they have fun while they do it. Many school boards have cut back on extra-curricular activities and many families can't afford the cost of private instruction, but you don't have to spend big bucks to keep the kids busy. In this article, we'll discuss some entertaining and economical afterschool activities.

Since many schools are cutting back on sports programs, try to incorporate physical games into your child's afterschool activities. Playing jump rope is a fun game that will get their hearts pumping and improve their agility. Jump rope relay is a game that your kids can play with their friends. You'll need two skipping ropes and markers that can be used as bases. You can use anything that you have handy, such as rocks, tin cans or even recycling bins. Have the kids line up in two teams at a starting line. When the starter says "go," kids should begin jumping rope as they move toward the base. When a child gets to the base, instruct them to tag the base, skip back to the starting line, and tag the next racer. The team to finish the race first wins. It's a simple game, but it's a lot of fun!

Kids crafts, activity books and coloring pages are always fail proof activities, especially for younger children. To keep the older kids on schedule, have them make calendar bookmarks. You'll need an old calendar, a glue stick, some cardboard or construction paper, a hole punch, and some bright ribbon or string. Cut the calendar into weekly segments and use a glue stick to stick the pieces to strips of colorful paper. Use the hole punch to make a hole on one end and loop a length of ribbon or string through it. Using a fine tip marker, the kids can write their favorite activities in the boxes that correspond to the day they do them. For example, Monday - gym class, Tuesday - piano lessons and so on. They can decorate their bookmarks with pictures and stickers too.

Kids usually have the munchies when they get home from school, so teach them to eat healthy by getting them busy in the kitchen. Nachos are a fun-to-make, kid-friendly snack; you can even make them for dinner! Brown some ground beef, drain the fat, and add some mild taco sauce or salsa. For a vegetarian version, substitute black beans for the ground beef. On a pizza pan, layer some baked, whole grain tortilla chips with the meat and some grated cheese. Put it in the oven until the cheese melts. Serve the nachos with some low fat sour cream, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, re-fried beans and diced red or green peppers. Preparing this simple, yummy snack will teach kids the importance of incorporating the four food groups into their diet, show them how to follow a recipe, and introduce them to measurements. As a bonus, the kids will be eating a serving of fresh veggies without even knowing it!

If you're not available to supervise your child's projects after classes let out, then make up a list of things to do for their caregiver and provide a bag of supplies. If you opt for an after school club, make sure it involves physical activities that will benefit your child. Afterschool activities can play an important role in a child's development, so make sure they have fun and use the time wisely.

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