Whether your kids need to burn off steam or relax after school, we’ve put together a list of the best after-school activities for kids of all ages.
Schools are back in session! And if your Birdies are in school, that can mean more time to yourself during the day – but a lot of kids come home from school with tons of energy they need to burn off and it can make that time between after school and dinner challenging.
That’s why we want to share our favorite afterschool activities for children of all ages and energy levels. And every time we share activities with you, we want to make sure that there are plenty of things the kids can do by themselves, so it’s not taking your entire afternoon either.
So whether your kids want to explore their creative side or expend some energy with physical activities, after-school activities can be a perfect way to help kids wind down towards dinner and bedtime.
Here are our favorite fun after-school activities for kids
Free Coloring Pages
Setting your Birdies up to color is one of the best (and easiest) things to do after school. We love free coloring pages because you can download and print as many as you like – and you don’t have to worry about kids fighting over coloring books or buying coloring books that everyone soon gets bored of.
This is a great activity for kids who need to unwind after school, but if you have older kids or high-energy kids, you can turn this activity into the 3 Marker Challenge! You’ll have your kids close their eyes and pick just three markers out of a bowl. They have to complete the entire picture with just those three colors.
It’s fun to incorporate the 3 Marker Challenge when you can print out the same coloring page for everyone participating – and then have each page colored in so differently depending on the colors that have been chosen.
Here are some of our favorite websites to get free coloring pages:
- Crayola: Back to School Coloring Sheets (with challenge and activity pages as well)
- Super Coloring
- Printable Free Coloring
- Just Color
- Get Coloring Pages (loads of cute pages from our Birdie's favorite TV shows)
3 After-School Activities for Kids in Preschool
Kids in preschool are so fun to do activities with because they love everything! Their school day is generally a lot shorter than older kids so it’s important to find activities that help them continue learning and playing throughout the afternoon.
Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles Sensory Activity
We love sensory play and it makes the perfect afterschool activity for young children. Keep in mind that this activity is best suited for kids who aren’t going to eat the bubbles or rub them in their eyes – but for Birdies who just got home from preschool or kindergarten, what better way to spend the afternoon?
Asia from Fun at Home with Kids has found an easy way to make this activity last for hours! We love her tip to use watercolor paints instead of food coloring to avoid staining. Follow along with her recipe here.
2 Ingredient Moon Sand
Little Learning Club has shared easy-to-make moon sand – with only two inexpensive ingredients. It’s simply 1/4 cup of baby oil for every 2 cups of flour. They recommend making enough to fill a bin, then you can add items that your child loves to play with. Encourage them to make sand castles and mountains that they can then crush or run their toy cars through the sand.
Caroline also shares ways to make moon sand ‘taste safe’ for younger children. If you want their taste-safe version and more tips for keeping your Birdies entertained with moon sand, read this post.
Homemade Dinosaur Fossils
This activity uses a kid classic: salt dough. Made from flour, salt, and water, the only other thing you’ll need for this activity is little dinosaurs! Within minutes you’ll have homemade dinosaur fossils.
Let your Birdie's imaginations run wild with making dinosaur print fossils or imprinting the entire dinosaur into the dough. You can let these airdry or bake them for faster results – and then tomorrow’s after-school activity can be painting them! Follow along with this easy guide to make homemade dinosaur fossils here.
3 After-School Activities for Kids in Kindergarten
Kids in kindergarten generally have a pretty good handle on school at this point – but they usually come home with a lot of bottled-up energy. Our goal was to find activities that get them outside, help them release energy, and continue learning.
Backyard (or Indoors) Scavenger Hunt
A fun and easy way to get the kids outdoors after school is with a backyard scavenger hunt. We all get a bit of cabin fever, so getting outside with a purpose is always a good idea. This is also an activity that can be done indoors when the weather turns colder for the season.
We love this specific scavenger hunt because it encourages your kids to find things and explore what those things are doing – for example, if they find a squirrel, answer the question “What is the squirrel eating or doing?”
Let your kids add their favorite trinkets and toys and see them light up finding them over and over again in these DIY I-Spy bottles! We hadn’t seen anything like this before, but it’s an easy activity to set up and can really help your Birdies with finding and identifying different objects.
Besides adding your Birdie’s favorite trinkets, you can also dye the rice in their favorite colors. Follow along with this easy after-school activity here.
This activity is perfect for kids who come home from school with too much energy – and they just need an activity to help them get it out. No hitting balls in the house, but balloons are another story. All you need is balloons, a fly swatter, and a space big enough for the kids to run around.
The aim of the game? Don’t let the balloons hit the ground! Trust us, whether you have 4 kids playing or just 1, this game is a whole lot of fun for after school.
3 After-School Activities for Kids in Elementary School
Once your kids are in elementary school, it’s a lot easier to set them up with activities that they can do on their own. From making slime to doing science experiments, we always want to keep kids learning in fun and engaging ways after school.
Magical Homemade Unicorn Slime
It’s no secret that kids love slime. Entertain your Birdies after school with this magical unicorn slime – made from kid-safe ingredients (because none of us want kids playing with harmful chemicals.) Depending on how old your elementary school kids are, this activity might be a bit more hands-on for you, but once it’s made, they’ll have a blast.
What you need to make unicorn slime is:
- 6 bottles of Elmer’s School Glue (4 oz each)
- 3 TBSP baking soda, divided
- 6 TBSP contact solution, divided
- Food coloring (blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, red)
- Wooden craft sticks (for stirring)
- Bowls for mixing
Holly from Kid’s Activities Blog has shared simple-to-follow steps, read more here.
Color Changing Flowers Science Experiment
What’s better than an activity that’s so fun the kids won’t even realize they’re learning? Easy to set up, this science experiment will have the kids excited to come home and check on their flowers each day as they get brighter and more colorful.
We found this activity on Learning for Kids and we loved that she shared printable recording sheets to keep the kids interested and learning while the colors continue to get brighter.
Tell Me a Story
The power of a great story should never be underestimated! This is a great activity for when the kids want to hang out with you in the kitchen. You can prepare dinner or meal prep lunch for tomorrow while the kids tell you a story.
Fill a jar with storytelling prompts and when the kids are bored, have them pull out a prompt and tell your story. This is a great way to help your kids with their creativity and speaking skills as well.
For tons of prompts, follow this guide here.
No matter how old your kids are, we hope this guide helps you find some fun and easy after-school activities! And when in doubt, go with our favorite – free downloadable coloring pages.
Don’t forget to shop our brand-new fall collections, we have new joggers and sweaters that will keep the kids cozy all season long. With some of our favorite prints and styles already selling out, we know you’re going to love these!
What are some of your favorite ways to entertain the kids after school? Share your favorite after-school activities with us over on Instagram (@birdiebeanbaby).