Fun After School Program Ideas
Sometimes the school day is too busy for a school-wide get-together or some extra fun and that is where after school program ideas can come in. Not all after school programs are clubs or student council meetings, they can also be a way for families to connect with their kids' school life and promote school positivity as well as some life skills. But, how do you go about planning after school programs and what are some types of after school programs? It can be as intimidating as planning a school assembly, except with the extra hurdle of how you get the kids and families to want to come to it..
Let's get started!
First, let's talk about some of the after school program ideas that are already established and then talk about the benefits of hosting one. If you're worried that the students are too young or too grown-up for fun-oriented after school programs, don't fret! There are many types that cater to common interests among any age group. That is important, catering to interest to get students in the door.
After all, what's the point of all this work if no one shows up? On one hand, it's easy to say that students should want to come or families should recognize the importance of fun after school programs. But, that's not the reality of the situation. Just as you, as a teacher, have to inspire your students to want to learn, developing fun after school program ideas also need to carry the same inspiration. Remember how you were as a kid, the last thing you wanted to do was go back to school by choice. Inspire the students to attend, engage, and learn with these fun after school program ideas.
Types of After School Programs
The best way to get started on a list of after school program ideas are to consider what you want to achieve. Are you looking to promote a positive atmosphere between classmates? Get students excited about coming to school and disassociate it from work? Just looking to have some fun and bring the families in on the good time? That last one is also a way for parents to see the school as something other than parent-teacher conferences.
A student-parent relationship, as well as a school-community relationship, is best for everyone. It builds an understanding and rapport to where school administrators, teachers, parents, and students begin to look at each other as people investing in the next generation rather than different parties wrestling for control of the students. Fun after school program ideas is somewhere between an olive branch and relationship building. It's worth investing in as it makes everyone's lives easier and the community more invested in itself.
All of these are good and realistic goals that can be achieved through after school programs. Here are three basic types of after school programs with examples.
If you're noticing a disjointed student body or worry about clicks forming, hostility between student groups, or just want to promote positive connections between students then the after school program ideas should center around games. Team-building and learning to work within a group pass on the ability to diffuse a common struggle through working together. These kinds of games easily translate to everyday situations without feeling like the students are studying or learning...but, they are.
Games are something students of all ages play and so you need not worry about if they're in kindergarten or about to graduate high school. The only thing that may change is the style of the game. For example, you may not want the senior student body to be bored in a trivia game based on children's television or books.
A good example of how games can be tailored for your students need and age groups is The Unique Game Show. Explore the link and see what pops out at you. If you're looking for something that brings in the teachers and families, help promote some camaraderie between the three groups then The Ultimate Human Board Game is a great option.
No matter your choice of after school program ideas shown here, you're certain to have fun!
Some things can't be taught in a classroom and are best learned through experience. Some after school program ideas cater to having students learn about life through doing fun activities rather than the hard way out in the world. A student learning about personal power and self-motivation, the repercussions of bullying, and living a healthy life isn't really read in a textbook. That's where these types of after school programs fit in.
The way to impart these life skills is through something students are interested in. That way they can figure out the lesson while having fun, much like learning teamwork through sports or games. Most age groups are interested in dancing and so if struggling to find after school programs for a wide age range, the Zonda Kids Dance program would do the trick. This program takes the popularity of hip-hop dancing and used it to teach many of the lessons discussed above.
As mentioned earlier, living a healthy lifestyle can only be communicated so much in gym or health class. So, if that is the goal of some of the after school program ideas you're contemplating then The bFit Show could work for you. This show uses comedy and magic to communicate the importance of eating well and fitness to better students lives.
For the Giggles
We all need a break and some after school programs don't have a point except to just have some fun. This really helps students to rethink their time at school, no longer associating it with an endless supply of work and exams. It's also an opportunity to get teachers and parents in the fun and help the students see them as people rather than just authority figures.
If this is closer to your list of after school program ideas, consider the Laugh Factory or The Funny Magic Show. Both of these shows bring a good dose of crazy fun that blends comedy with ridiculous magic tricks.
Every advantage we can provide to a student whether in the classroom or after is another opportunity to better the next generation of adults. There are studied and specific benefits to after school programs that reinforce the lesson plan while providing a fun break from the textbooks, such as:
Increasing the Motivation to Learn
After school programs have been shown to instigate a willingness to learn because they are typically organized in small groups. Even the list of after school activities above, while many involving a whole grade, still have smaller participation groups. That individual attention and focus on each student being involved in the enrichment make a world of difference in the classroom while also bonding students more through the activities.
Many on the list of after school activities help students discover more about themselves through participation. Where their courage and insecurities are housed, better equipping them to overcome them while engaged in the event. Not only that but, the after school programs above encourage thoughtfulness, friendliness between peers, responsibility, self-discipline, and humor. Growing up isn't just learning about the world and the sciences, it's also learning about yourself. After school enrichment activities certainly, help with that.
Opportunity to Experience
In the classroom you read and study about things, there isn't too much to physically engage students. With the after school enrichment activities discussed above the kids get their hands dirty while learning, it's not a passive show. For example, with learning about bullying students get to see and experience how it feels which helps them to mind their behavior later. Sometimes the only way to learn is to do and to experience, and if it can be done in the safety of a school then all the better. Not every lesson needs to be learned the hard way.
There are plenty more benefits to after school programs but, these 3 should be enough to show that these activities enrich your students along side their lessons.
After School Programs Benefits
Looking through the diverse after school program ideas you can see the varied benefits of having them. Bringing some fun to school and helping to separate where kids go every day from work, helping to draw parents, teachers, and students together through life-affirming events, and using silliness to impart life skills.
Not all learning is done in the classroom or in a mid-day school assembly. You can get the kids to stay after school by offering them something fun and engaging, then push your wisdom. If that is the goal and if not, don't be afraid to just have some fun when the day is done. Especially if it's the end of the year and exams are done. We'd all need a break and a good laugh.
See you after class!