After a long day at school, your kids may not want to do anything but watch tv or play video games, which is detrimental to their development. Children should be engaged in various crafts or games that promote their mental and physical health. Try these 28 enchanting after-school activities to keep your elementary-aged kids off the screen and actively learning!
1. Create a Catapult
Put your thinking caps on as you challenge your elementary students to create the best catapult from Popsicle sticks and rubber bands! Children of all ages will love this activity as they can use afterward for other games.
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2. Spaghetti Towers
Low on supplies? Get your children engaged in the time after school by having them towers with only spaghetti and marshmallows! If you don't have spaghetti or marshmallows, use straws and tape. Children will learn all about the best practices for building and can compete to build the enormous tower!
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3. Build a Ball Drop Maze
Building a ball drop is an excellent way to use recycled materials and promote critical thinking in schools. Your elementary students won't know they are learning while creating this fun contraption.
Learn More: Google
4. Marshmallow and Pretzel Building
One excellent activity for elementary students is building houses from pretzels and marshmallows. Students can use their imagination and make them however they think is best. Then, when they're finished, they have a snack!
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5. Magnetic Slime
Making slime is an activity that ALL students love. Change it up from the regular slime and make it magnetic! Students will be impressed by the new properties of their gooey toy, making it perfect for an interactive, engaging after-school activity.
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6. Minute To Win It Games
Try minute-to-win games if you want a fun way to get your children up and moving! There are hundreds of exciting games to choose from but make it into a race where they have to complete all the tasks before the other team!
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7. Can You Fit Through An Index Card?
Can you fit it through an index card? Most children will say no. They can cut circles or shapes and try to squeeze through, making it seem almost impossible! However, you can show them the magic of cutting and expanding the size of the paper. Your students will think this is magic and want to show all their friends.
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8. Build a Hovercraft
Building a hovercraft is one hands-on activity your students will love to complete after school! All you need is a balloon, rubber band, straw, a CD, and tape! The process is only half the fun; they can play games and race their hoverboards all afternoons!
Learn More: PBS Kids
9. Make a Lava Lamp
Lava lamps are a great easy after-school activity suitable for any age. Plus, they can be used for mindfulness and calming down. All you need is some vegetable oil, colors, glitter, and anything else you'd like to see float around; then, you can close the jar, seal it, and watch the lava flow.
Learn More: Parent Vault
10. Egg Drop Challenge
The egg drop is a great activity for upper elementary students during their after-school program. Provide them with an egg, a cup, a bag, a string, and something to cushion the egg with. Then ask them to create their design so that when you drop the egg, it won't break!
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11. The String Lifter
String lifter is a tremendous collaborative indoor activity for all elementary-aged students! There is no I in a team, and they must learn to work together in this fun after-school activity. Teachers recommend this activity for creating a classroom community and learning to work together.
Learn More: Google
12. Pop Up Cards
Pop-up cards are an excellent craft for students that are more on the artsy side! Have your students choose a person they would like to give a card to, and they can design their pop-up!
Learn More: Tinker Lab
13. Make A Balloon Car
Balloon cars are a fun children's activity promoting higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills. Challenge your fifth or sixth graders to make the fast car and have them race them once they are done.
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14. String Puppets
String puppets are a great art activity for any age. Plus, it's simple and requires only a few different materials. Once finished, encourage your students to put on a puppet show for their friends and teachers!
Learn More: PBS Kids
15. Human Knot
The human knot is an after-school challenge that's perfect for older students. Have each student cross their arms and hold hands. Then, they need to untangle themselves, promoting problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
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16. Frog Detective
Frog detective is a classic activity for kids that can be played indoors or outdoors! Students will have to use their critical thinking skills to determine the poison frog's identity based on nonverbal cues and reactions from their peers.
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17. Who's The Leader?
One fun activity for kids is Who's The Leader? This collaborative game promotes teamwork and community in which students must follow the leader and use their critical thinking and analytical skills to guess who the leader is while the whole class follows!
Learn More: Kids Play And Create
18. Red Light, Green Light
Red Light, Green Light is an excellent gross motor outdoor activity that gets children running all over the place, lowering their energy levels. This high-energy activity teaches students to follow directions while moving simultaneously.
Learn More: Playworks
19. The Hand Game
The Hand Game is a spectacular afternoon activity for teachers that can be used with all ages! Students will have to practice their focus and attention skills to participate, which will challenge them to do better each time!
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20. Finger Crocheting
Finger Crocheting is an excellent fine motor activity that will calm your students down after school. Elementary-aged children will be amazed that you can create your blankets, hats, and animals with yarn and your fingers! This interactive lesson with your students is perfect for a time after school.
Learn More: The Craft Train
21. Foil Art
Foil art is a fantastic art project that any student will love, especially if they are in 1st & 2nd grade. All you need is aluminum foil and some paint, and then your kids will create their very own masterpiece!
Learn More: Toddler Approved
Suminagashi is an excellent activity for kids today trying to learn about different art or cultures. Students can use pieces of paper and dip them to create beautiful works of art.
Learn More: Inner Child Fun
23. Make A Kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscopes are a super fun art project that all elementary-aged children will love! This fantastic art project will have students blown away by the different things they see.
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24. Rubber Band Art
Rubber band art is an excellent activity for after-school time with minimal supplies. All you need are pieces of paper, and rubber bands, and your students will be left with a magnificent piece of art!
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25. Popsicle Stick Weaving
Popsicle weaving is a great fine motor activity for kids in their after-school program. With just a few materials, students can learn about different art pieces and the cultures that create them.
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26. Popsicle Stick Harmonicas
One fantastic activity that all elementary students will love is creating their musical instrument! The easiest one to make is the popsicle stick harmonica, but you can take their learning even further by how to change the sound and other critical thinking questions.
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27. Leaf Rubbing
Leaf rubbing is a great after-school activity during autumn. Teachers can take their elementary students on a walk to collect attractive leaves and create a beautiful collage with their leaf rubbings!
Learn More: KC Edventures
28. Salt Painting
Salt painting is a unique creative activity that can be used in school projects later in the school year. There is a wide range of applications, and children have lots of ideas for art, making it the perfect independent activity for elementary students.
Learn More: Artful Parent