10 After School Activities for Kids Needing Action

Share this Page:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

It’s 4 pm and you finally close the laptop as your child’s virtual school day ends. Or, maybe your child physically went to school today, but had limited time at the playground [1]. And it shows. They need action!

Physical activity helps a child stay regulated (process and adjust to their environment) and promotes the maturation of their nervous system. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is even more important to make children’s physical wellbeing a priority to combat the potential negative effects to their physical, social, and psychological health [2]. Physical activity in children is even associated with higher academic performance [3]!

These top 10 afterschool activities are perfect for getting the wiggles out of your kids, no matter what materials or space you have!

1. Obstacle Course
Give your child a minimum of 3 to 4 steps. Get creative with what you have at home (both indoors and outdoors) when coming up with tasks at each “station”. A few ideas to start with: throw balls into a laundry basket, do 10 jumping jacks, jump in and out of a hoola hoop, crawl under chairs. Try getting your child to complete as much of the course as independently as they can. Challenge them to remember each step in the sequence (and in the right order) to help develop their memory and other cognitive skills!

2. Simon Says
A classic! “Simon says do a handstand”. “Stand on 1 leg”. A simple game of Simon Says can help promote body awareness as your child engages in different movements. They’ll also have to use their auditory comprehension skills to follow the directions and listen for whether or not “Simon” said!

3. Ball Bounce
Bouncing on a large exercise ball against a wall can give your child just the amount of physical input their body needs. To add some cognitive demands, ask your child to sing their ABC’s while bounding, or go back and forth naming different animals for each letter of the alphabet without repeating.

4. Animal Walk Relay
Make a “path” around the house using tape, flags, or colorful dots. Have your child get from point A to point B by pretending to be the animal you name. Bear walk, bunny hop, crab walk, frog jumps – this one’s sure to work their muscle strength and coordination!  

5. Go for a Ride
Kids can take a ride on their bike, scooter, skateboard, or whatever they choose! For an added language benefit, play “I Spy” while riding to help improve your child’s vocabulary by understanding and using descriptive words.

6. Towel Tug
Lay a towel on the floor and weigh it down with objects. Or, have a sibling sit on it! Have your child pull the towel across the room. Keep them motivated by asking them to make a prediction of how many times they think they can do this!

 7. Scorpion Game

Parents – here’s a new sensory motor game that also gives you time to interact with your kids! You pretend to be a scorpion, holding a pool noodle as your stinger and keeping your eyes closed. Your child is the squirrel that has to try and “rescue” stuffed animals from the ground by picking one up and running it back to the other side of the room. If your child gets “stung” and you tap them with the noodle, they must do an exercise you choose (jumping jacks, star jumps, or sit ups, for example).  
8. Dog Catcher
Make two bases across from each other, connected by a path of pillows. You are the dog catcher and your child is the puppy. He or she must rescue their stolen “bones” (balls) or animal friends (stuffed animals) by taking the pillow path to your base and back when you pretend to go to sleep. If your child wakes you up or accidentally steps on the floor, the dog catcher (you) have to try and tag the puppy!

 9. Lava Floor
Pretend the floor is lava! You and your child can make a path in the living room to get from the couch to the door without touching the floor. Use pillows, bean bags, and other objects you find to help your child practice their balance, coordination, and creativity!

 10. Jump Up!

A great way to give your child’s body some vestibular input (balance and awareness of their body’s position in space)? Jumping! Kids can jump on a trampoline or on a mattress you put on the floor.

Some children may have trouble with balance, coordination, strength, are constantly moving, or become easily distracted. If you have concerns in these areas of your child’s development, an evaluation by a physical therapist or occupational therapist can help. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions. We are here to help!

[1] U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Considerations for schools.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html

[2] Sprang, Ginny & Silman, Miriam. (2013). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Parents and Youth After Health-Related Disasters. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. 7. 10.1017/dmp.2013.22.

[3] Chaddock-Heyman, L., Hillman, C. H., Cohen, N. J., & Kramer, A. F. (2014). III. The importance of physical activity and aerobic fitness for cognitive control and memory in children. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 79(4), 25-50. https://doi.org/10.1111/mono.12129

Therapyworks Erin Michelle

Are you interested in services for your child? Founded by Michelle Worth and Erin Vollmer, TherapyWorks provides in-home speech, occupational and physical therapies in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois and teletherapy nationwide.

Related Posts

Here’s the Plan: Using Social Stories to Improve Your Child’s Understanding and Behavior

Did you know that children learn more quickly during their first few years than any other time in their lives? …

Here’s the Plan: Using Social Stories to Improve Your Child’s Understanding and Behavior Read More »

How to Grow Your Child’s Cognitive Skills through Gardening

Spring into action! Plant a garden with your child and watch their test scores, behavior, and language skills bloom. We’ve …

How to Grow Your Child’s Cognitive Skills through Gardening Read More »

Why Parents Should Skip the Sippy Cup and Start with Straws

When it’s time to say “bye-bye” to bottles, parents may think that giving their child a sippy cup with a …

Why Parents Should Skip the Sippy Cup and Start with Straws Read More »

Enhancing Your Child’s Social Emotional Development Through Play

“He had it first”, “Take turns”, “Share your toys!” You’re having coffee with another mom at a playdate as you …

Enhancing Your Child’s Social Emotional Development Through Play Read More »

What is Occupational Therapy and What can I Expect from it?

You may have never thought of children as having “jobs”, but they really do! Getting dressed, eating a variety of …

What is Occupational Therapy and What can I Expect from it? Read More »

Follow Us

COVID-19 Protocol

We hope you and your family are continuing to stay safe and healthy! We have outlined our protocols for in-person sessions during COVID-19. As you know, the health and safety of our clients and therapists remain our highest priority. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work together through these unprecedented times.


Hand Washing:
Upon arrival at your home, your therapist will wash their hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer. We ask that you and your child also wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon your therapist’s arrival.
 
Facemasks:
We are asking our therapists to wear masks upon entering your home and throughout your child’s session. That said, we understand that some children have adverse reactions to seeing adults in masks and will leave it up to you and your therapist to decide your comfort level while still taking safety precautions.
 
We ask that parents and caregivers also follow the guidelines and wear masks when sitting in on sessions. We will not enforce that policy, but we do kindly ask for compliance.
 
As for your child, we realize that masks may not be appropriate for every child so we will not enforce the rule that children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.  However, if your therapist insists that your child wear a mask, then that will be a requirement directly between the two of you. We respect our therapists’ individual comfort levels with safety precautions and ask that you respect them as well.

 

Protocol Acknowledgment and Health Certification:

Before your child’s first in-person session, we are asking clients to submit an acknowledgment of these protocols and a health certification, which you can find here. Thank you again for your cooperation and for helping all of us stay healthy!