Category: Club Planning Help

Ceramics Club

ceramicsFor creative youngsters Ceramics Club is sure to be a hit! I have found that girls and boys alike tend to enjoy the hands-on aspect of this club!

Club Planning Pro-Tip: With a club like Ceramics Club, things can get pretty pricey. This is where getting creative comes in handy! If you are hosting a 4-6 week club, plan to have one to two big projects and fill in other hands-on projects that offer a similar type of sensory experiences!

Club main project:

WEEK 1: Purchase Clay and have children sculpt their own figurines, bowls, cups, etc. Allow to dry.

You can also visit a local craft store or Oriental Trading Company online and find ceramic figurines for each child to paint.

WEEK 2: Have each child paint their figurine.

WEEK 3: Host an art gallery for each child to display their work and invite family members and other club participants to check it out!

Filler week activity ideas:

Play with modeling clay, floam, or playdoh.

Make homemade play dough or salt dough.

Teach fun history facts about ancient pottery.

Lego Quest – The Ultimate Lego Club!

legosHave you heard of lego quest? If not I highly suggest you check out this blog: http://legoquestkids.blogspot.com/

Do you have access to legos in your after school program? If so, that’s all you need to host the ultimate lego club! I love the way it challenges children to be creative and really think outside the box when making their creations! I have to admit, I did hear a few moans and groans to start off (They preferred coming up with their own projects at first!) … But once they got into the challenges, it was a hit!!

I do like to offer incentives for attendance, and kept track of points for all people who attended and attempted to create the project of the week!

FREE PRINTABLE: Lego Club Points Tracker

 

Game Show Club

Do you remember Family Feud, Jeopardy or Double Dare?

Ok, in the world of advanced video gaming systems, game shows may seem a little outdated, but kids will always enjoy engaging in fun group games. Game Show club can offer a new opportunity for friendly competition. In order to instill a spirit of healthy competition make sure to remind children about sportsmanship and teamwork. If you’d like, you can keep a supply of small prizes to handout at each week for good sportsmanship, as well as for winning games. Here are ideas for a four week club. Continue reading “Game Show Club”

Adding to Harry Potter Club: Make your own butterbeer!

Have you heard of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida? This amusement park brings the experiences of the Harry Potter Book series to life! I asked a friend of mine who was able to visit about it and he absolutely loved it! Most importantly I wanted to know — what does the butterbeer taste like??  I wanted to find out if I could reproduce it.

Thanks to a little inspiration from friends and work colleagues, here is a recipe to “make your own butter beer.”

  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup cream soda
  • butterscotch syrup

Directions: Put a scoop of ice cream in a cup. Add cream soda. Drizzle with butterscotch syrup. Enjoy!

This would be a fun special event if you happen to host a Harry Potter Club or reading club. Continue reading “Adding to Harry Potter Club: Make your own butterbeer!”

After School Clubs for Tweens

You know the kids I mean. These are kids who have been at the program the longest. They’ve seen every craft, heard every attention getter, and played every game. Not only has it become repetitive to them but sometimes they feel they are too old for these activities. Often times they may feel like they don’t belong anymore. Boredom and apathy lead to discipline problems. So how do you reach out to these students? They’re not quite pre-teens but they are also not little kids anymore either. They are tweens (at my school this is the 5th and 6th grade group). Here are some tips and strategies for planning After School Activities and Clubs that will be entertaining and interesting to Tweens.

Continue reading “After School Clubs for Tweens”

Homework Club/Help in After School Programs: How to make this time productive

Many after school programs offer a Homework Club or hour. Some are required to do so and some do it to add to their beneficial daily programming. Whatever the reasons it can be quite a challenge to have a successful homework program in an after school setting. Here are some tips to hosting a successful homework time

1)  Construct a Parent/Staff/Student Homework Agreement: Expectations should be clearly outlined on this agreement. Be sure to have the Parent/Child sign it and keep it in a safe place. Important questions/points to consider and include on this agreement are:

  • Are children who are signed up required to attend Homework time?
  • Discipline Policy and Procedures are clearly outlined and parents are aware of it. (see #4 sub-heading below for more on this)
  • How long will Homework time last?
  • How many Staff will be supervising Homework time?
  • Center responsibilities – are they responsible for making sure homework is completed or corrected? Will the center be providing materials such as pencils, rulers, lined paper, dictionaries, etc. If so, list what will be provided

2)  Provide a Daily Sign In/Out Log: Keep track of student attendance in HW Time and place it in the Parent area at the end of the day for their review

3)  Post Homework Time Rules: Make it clear what is expected of the children while they are in HW Club

4)  Provide a suitable Homework environment: Ideally a room with tables and dedicated only to Homework time. If you have a large number of students or mixed ages you may want to make a seating chart. Try to minimize distractions as much as possible. Set up a corner where children can sign in and out and check out pencils, paper, dictionaries, rulers, erasers, and calculators (optional.) It is best not to have an electronic sharpener in the room as it can become quite a distraction. Try to have Staff make sure pencils are sharpened beforehand and if necessary hand out handheld sharpeners, which are much more budget friendly anyway.

5)  Instill a Discipline Policy: The goal is to provide an atmosphere that is conducive for everyone to complete their Homework. Set up Homework Club Discipline Guidelines and be consistent about enforcing them. Example~ 3 Step policy if children are being disruptive 1) Verbal Warning 2) Move their Seat 3) Dismissal from Homework Time.

6)  Provide Rewards & Incentives: Reward positive behavior during Homework Time. Try to to recognize not only their good behavior but also how well they are staying focused on their Homework and completing it. You can use a Smiley Sticker Chart, and have a Homework Party after a certain number of stickers are earned.  You can also put up a WOW Board, showing off children’s stellar work.

7)  Have Break Time Before Homework Time: Try to have a 15 to 20 minute window between the time school gets out to when Homework time begins. During this break the children can relax, have a snack and then re-focus on their work without feeling burned out.

Best of Luck having a successful Homework Time at your program. As with any new idea with children, you may want to adapt or change a few things here and there to fit the needs of your program.

Taste of Mexico Club

My inspiration behind leading a Taste of Mexico Club came about a few years back. I was traveling in Mexico seeing the local sights and decided to take a class. Since I love all things culinary I took a class called, “A Taste of Mexico.,” hosted by a chef at a local restaurant. We learned to make salsa Mexicana, guacamole, tamales, and tacos. Once we were all finished we got to consume our delicious Mexican delights. The chef then surprised us all with awards as honorary chefs. Even as a fully grown adult I was giddy as a small child when I received my award. I wanted to share my experiences with the children I work with, and thus Taste of Mexico Club evolved!

Week 1-Hands on cooking experience: Make and Taste guacamole

The ages of children in my club were 6-11, so I had to make a few preparations beforehand such as chopping the cilantro, onions, and tomatoes and placing them in separately labeled zip lock baggies. For the avocadoes I simply cut them in half and let the children take turns scooping out the avocadoes with plastic forks into a large bowl. Once all the avocadoes were scooped into the bowl I had each child take a turn at mashing the avocadoes (I used a potato masher for this, which worked out fabulously!) Next, I assigned each student a duty to add a remaining ingredient: salt, pepper, lime, cilantro, onion, and tomatoes. Once everything was all mixed together everyone got to taste their creation. I then gave everyone an award for being a “Certified Guacamole Maker.” I also gave them the guacamole recipe to take home. One of the children loved the guacamole so much she went home and told her Dad about it. That next weekend they made it together and Dad put it out for sports party he was hosting and said, “My daughter made the best guacamole ever!”

Guacamole Recipe

Serves 15-20 kids

  • 6 avocadoes
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • ½ -1 bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • The juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1 Serrano Chile, seeded & chopped (optional)

Week 2- Piñatas Part 1

To start our week I announced that we were going to make piñatas, but first we started by learning a few facts about the history of the piñata. Each child was given a medium sized balloon. We used newspaper strips & liquid starch to completely cover our balloons. (Liquid starch is hard to find these days – I scoured Target and Ralphs to no avail. My most consistent source for liquid starch is Pavilions.) Try to encourage the children to wipe away excess starch from their strips with their fingers, as the strips can easily tear if too wet. It also will not cover the balloon as well. Once complete allow the piñatas to completely dry. I like to keep them in bowls and constantly turn them when one side dries. I also try to keep a vigilant eye on them and patch any holes I see. Also, make sure the club leader makes a piñata as well to be used at the fiesta the last week.

Balloon Piñatas

  • Balloons (1 per child)
  • Newspaper strips
  • Liquid starch
  • Plastic Bowls

Week 3- Piñatas Part 2

Today we painted our piñatas. I put out green, white, yellow and green tempera paints and pencils for them to draw their design. Once completed we put them in a safe place to allow them to dry and save them for taking home Week 4.

Week 4- Fiesta Time

We had a fiesta dancing to the Mexican Hat Dance and Macarena and served quesadillas for snack. (These can easily be heated in the microwave 3-4 at a time.) I filled the leader made balloon piñata with small toys and attached a jump rope. Creating the handle can be the hardest part, but duck tape is your friend, utilize it well, otherwise not all children will get a turn at whacking the piñata. Prepare for this ahead of time by giving guidelines to the children. Ours were: 1) Each child gets 2 tries 2) Even if prizes fall out don’t grab them until the leader says go 3) Only pick up 3 prizes and then sit at the table, once everyone has 3 in their bag (and a leader has checked) then you have one more “free for all” at the prizes. Our rules worked out well but you may want to change them depending on your group dynamic. At the end of the club each child got to take home their piñata to use at their own party!

Looking for more club ideas? Check the club themes page for some more exciting themed-units!

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