After-school programs are safe, enriching environments where children are encouraged to work on their homework or study for upcoming tests. When students are finished with their work, host a series of games that will keep everyone busy until it is time to go home for the day.
You probably have children of differing ages, grades and classes. They all come to your center or program with different amounts of homework, workbook pages, reading assignments and tests to study for. They will be ready for games at varying times. Have a set of individual games ready for students who finish their homework. They can also serve as incentives for finishing quickly and efficiently.
As small groups of children finish their work, you may find it difficult to entertain the finished ones, while keeping them quiet and not distracting to the students still working. Game stations can help with this. Computer games, video games and quiet board games work well for individuals or small groups of students. When a child finishes his work, he can be dismissed to another section of the room, where he can choose educational video games, card games or checkers and chess. These games don’t require chatting much with other players.
Inevitably, everyone will be done with their work at some point. When everyone finishes, you can gather all the students for a group game. Choose an enriching activity that keeps their minds working, without overstressing them. Spelling bees or math competitions might be more than they bargained for right now. Choose guessing games, such as pictionary or charades, or puzzles, such as hangman.
Make Use of Space
If you are using a large room, such as a recreation center, for your after-school program, harness that space to get kids moving. They’ve been bunched up all day in a desk. Let them stretch. Use masking tape to create a game board on the floor of your space. Give kids signs to let them know what piece or color they are. Teach them checkers or chess on a large scale. You can also have walking relay races across the room.
Use large items that everyone can see. Chalkboards and dry erase boards are reusable items you can keep score on. You can also purchase large pads of paper from a teacher supply store. Purchase oversized balls for challenging games of pass the ball. Being large, they are less likely to be whipped at bookshelves and other classroom items.