Tag: clubs

Camping Club

Kids of all ages really enjoy hands on experiences and adventures. What could be more adventurous than camping? Starting an After School Camping Club with your kids can be fun, easy and educational too!

Ages recommended: 5-12

Week 1: Design First Aid Kits-

Materials needed:

Cotton balls, band aids, 1 pair of non-latex gloves per child, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, q-tips, gauze, permament markers, & washed out plastic margarine tubs.

Directions:

Explain to the children the importance of carrying a first aid kit while Camping. Have each child decorate their own first aid kit and stuff them with all the first aid supplies.

Week 2: Make Trail Mix

Teach the children about what trail mix is and why it is a popular snack for camping. Trail Mix is a combination of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and sometimes 1 or two sweet items. It is often used as a healthy well-balanced snack for camping and hiking because it’s lightweight, nonperishable, & nutritious. It gives a quick energy boost of carbohydrates such as dried fruit or granola, and sustained (takes longer to burn off) energy from nuts. **Be careful with nuts here, many children have severe allergies to tree nuts or peanuts, be sure to make sure your children do not have nut allergies or that your school is a nut free zone.

Let the children have fun mixing & matching the various components of their trail mix. Have a vote, and choose the most popular from each category:

Dried fruits: pineapples, cranberries, raisins, apricots, apples, strawberries or blueberries, or bananas

Grain: Wheat, Corn or Rice Chex, Multi-grain cheerios, or Granola

Nuts: Peanuts, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Cashews

Sweet: chocolate chips, yogurt chips, chocolate covered raisins, M&M’s

Week 3: Make a Camping Scene Craft and Campfire Story Writing

Craft time!!! Try making this  fun camping scene craft from Oriental Trading Company. Announce the “Campout!” for next week and allow kids to write campfire stories if they wish!

Week 4: Campout!

Make a pretend campfire rolled up brown construction paper logs & tissue paper flames. Ask in advance to see if any staff or parent if they have a tent they would be willing to let you borrow. If this is not possible, you can use sheets to cover tables to make a “tent.” Ideally try to find a grassy patch to host your campout, otherwise indoors is ok as well. Have the children bring flashlights, sleeping bags, and first aid kits and munch on the trail mix that they made. Invite the children to share the campfire stories they have written with the group. Play a few fun camping games such as “I Spy” or “Going on a Camping Trip” or sing a song the Bear Hunt Song.

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

School Club Ideas in current economic climate: Art, Music, and Sports Club Ideas

In the current economic climate many schools are being forced to cut out extracurricular programs from the school day such as art, music and to a lesser extent P.E. or Sports. This is devastating for our children as they are missing out on very valuable educational opportunities and access to gaining lifetime skills and appreciation for the Arts and physical fitness. Now granted, I don’t think we could ever expect to replace School Arts, Music or Physical Education programs in an after school setting. I remember going to visit the symphony with my 4th grade Music Teacher as one of my all time favorite memories from my elementary school years. I do think, however by offering after school programs, with an emphasis in Art, Music, and Physical Education that we can help to maintain that “spark” in children and open their eyes to what kinds of experiences are available to them!

Here are some ideas below about how to incorporate Art, Music & physical education in the after school setting. If you need more ideas about how to plan your club take a look at my article on planning your first after school club.

Music Club Ideas

1)   Hand bell Club- You can purchase a set of hand bells for kids that are color coded for the different notes they play. I found a set at Lakeshore Learning. The set came with color coded cards to play different songs such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” You can start by teaching children about musical notes, note values, and scales and move on teaching how to play songs with the hand bells. As a special event at the end of the club event parents and friends to a Hand bell recital.

2)   Karaoke Club- If you have a karaoke machine, or even just a boom box and microphone you can host a karaoke club.  The children can practice, and you can hold a concert for them at the end of the club session.

3)   Music Appreciation Club-Teach children to appreciate music. This can be accomplished in many ways. You can teach the kids to identify some classical music and then play a game of “Name that Tune.” They can listen to various styles of music and paint or draw about how it makes them feel. You can teach them about rhythm and have them clap or dance to different beats. Also, if you have access to a musical instrument set you can teach them to identify various instruments by sight and sound, and have children take turns playing the instruments.

Art Club Ideas

Teach children about various artists biographies and allow them to create art based on their styles. Make sure to allow for some time for children to create artwork base on their own artistic styles. At the end of the club hold an art gallery to showcase the children’s artwork.

Examples of artists you can showcase:

  • Charles Schulz- kids can create their own comic strips inspired by “Peanuts”
  • Georgia O’Keefe- flower paintings
  • George Seurat-Kids can create pictures using pointillism or images that look completely whole but looking more closely are created with series of dots instead of connected lines.

Sports Club Ideas

Some Sports Club would benefit from having a great Coach. Talk with your parents/staff to see if anyone may be interested in coaching a sports club once a week or even once a month. If they are not available for a long term commitment perhaps you can have them come for the last (special event) session to perform a Demo or be a Guest Speaker.

1)   Jogging Club- You can teach the importance of stretching and warming up. As a special event you can hold a jog-a-thon, and let the children help choose a great cause to earn funds for.

2)   Basketball Club

3)   Football Club

4)  “Yoga for Kids” Club- Many DVD’s or cards are available that teach fun yoga moves to kids

5)   Dance Club

Harry Potter Club

The Harry Potter series has become very popular with my older students aged 9-12. It is great to see them get excited about reading. Here is a fun way to get kids involved in an after school club inspired by Harry Potter

Week 1- Make your own wizard wand

Materials needed:

  • 9 x 12 white, brown, tan, and grey construction paper
  • Glue gun (adult use only)
  • Brown and black tempera paint
  • Gold and silver felt pens
  • Scotch Tape

Directions:

1)  Have the children choose their wand color. Next have the children roll wands hot dog style, so that one end is wider than the other, and use scotch tape to hold it together.

2) Next a staff person will glue their edges shut, and children can choose to paint their wands with brown or black paint.

3) Allow wands to dry a few minutes and add hot glue “veins.” Once these are dry the children can use gold or silver felt pens to color their “veins.” Once completed encourage the children to name their wands and write a short story about the details of their wand.

Week 2- Hogwarts House Ties

Materials Needed: hole punch, yarn, markers, scissors, and template from Activity Village.

Directions:

Hogwarts has four houses: Gryffindor (red and gold), Hufflepuff (yellow and black), Ravenclaw (blue and bronze), and Slytherin (green and silver). Have the children choose the house they most identify with and create their own House ties.

Week 3: Bertie Bott’s Jellybean Taste Off

Jelly Belly used to carry the Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans, as you saw in the Harry Potter movies. These have been discontinued. You can however still get a similar product called “Beanboozled” with flavors such as canned dog food, rotten eggs, pencil shavings, and skunk spray. Have a challenge to see which jelly beans kids will eat and give awards for everyone who tried the “Every Flavored Beans”

Week 4: Have a Harry Potter Read-a-thon and Pajama Day

Encourage everyone to bring their favorite Harry Potter book; if possible have a few available for kids who don’t own the books. Serve popcorn and have kids brings their pj’s, blankets, & pillows and have a read-a-thon!



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

 

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!

Hawaiian Club Review

I had the pleasure of hosting one of my all time favorite clubs this past month ~ Hawaiian Club. I lived in Hawaii for several years in my childhood and recently visited the island of Kauai for this first time and absolutely loved it. It rained every day and then the sun would come out that same day. There were wild roosters walking around everywhere and the trade winds were wonderfully relaxing. I was in heaven! Upon my return, I was inspired to plan a Hawaiian Club ~ I was feeling so passionate I just had to share my experiences in Hawaii with the children in my program.

Week 1 – Hawaiian Name Art

This week was all about discovering Hawaii. The group consisted of children ages 6-12. I played some quiet Hawaiian music in the background, while I taught the children some facts about Hawaii as well as a few phrases. I taught them how to say thank you, “mahalo.” I also taught them that “Aloha” means hello and goodbye. I also found a resource online where you could find out what your name would be in Hawaiian. For instance, my name Marie would be “Malie.” After I unveiled each of the children’s Hawaiian Names we made Name Art using our newfound names. I provided the children with examples of Name Art and also challenged them to think of their own ideas. Their work was very imaginative and they enjoyed the project very much.

M=palm trees & goldfish, A=dolphins & sunset, L=flowers, waves, & clown fish, I=bamboo, E=seahorse, shells, turtle, & rainbow

Hawaiian Name Art:

  • 3×3 Construction Paper squares
  • 5×12 strip of black construction (longer  if needed)
  • Pencils and Markers
  • Name Art Samples

Week 2- Candy Sushi (Musubi)

This week we made candy sushi or musubi in this case. I was a bit pressed for time this week and while I had plans to make my rice krispie treat base from scratch I was not able to do so. Instead I used prepared rice krispie treat squares and wrapped fruit roll ups around them so it roughly resembled a spam musubi. In all actuality this worked out great because the rectangular shape of the bar was very suited for our project. The children were delighted with this activity and used a lot of creativity making their candy sushi. I also provided them with Hawaii’s Endangered Animals coloring sheets and talked to them about what it means when an animal is endangered and what can be done to protect them. This was a successful club session. I was proud of my keikis!

Candy Sushi “Musubi”

Rice Krispie Squares
Fruit roll-ups (preferably the kind with cut-outs because it gives the kids more choices for topping ans designing their sushi rolls)
Fruit by the Foot
Gushers

Week 3- Tropical Necklaces and Learning the Huki-lau

This week we made Tropical Necklaces ordered from Oriental Trading Company. I also taught the children how to dance the huki-lau dance and invited the children to perform the following week for the other children/parents at the program. Today I received my first parent response on providing this club opportunity for their child. I was overjoyed and flattered at their response.

Week 4- Huki-kau Dance Performace and Luau

I felt like a nervous stage mom today as it was our performance and luau. The children danced their huki-lau dance (with a little help from me with the hand motions) and then we had our luau. The kids got to taste some Hawaiian style foods that I found at the local grocery store. Our menu included: Hawaiian rolls, macaroni salad, chicken teriyaki, pot stickers and Pineapple Guava juice. I wasn’t sure how they would like the food; in fact I was expecting there would be a lot of leftovers. I was wrong! They loved it and ate everything. I was very happy that the club was so well received and would certainly not be opposed to leading it again some time. Aloha!

Have you had any awesome club experiences? I’d love to hear your comments!

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

Planning your first After School Club

Congratulations!! You have taken the first step and decided you would like to implement After School Clubs at your After School Program. Now where do you begin?

1) If time permits, schedule a Staff Clubs Planning Workshop. You can use information from my post “What are After School Clubs?” to help explain the benefits of after school clubs to your staff.

2) Give each Staff Member a piece of paper and ask them to write down several of their favorite hobbies or things the children in their center may be interested in. Their list may look like the one below:

-Singing

-Harry Potter

-Hello Kitty

-Dancing

-Cooking

3) Once they have completed that task it is time for some creative brainstorming to develop their first theme. From their list have them choose one idea that is their favorite and place it in the center of the page. Now challenge them to think of games, activities, crafts & special events for that activity. I have included an example below using the theme “Harry Potter.” If possible have Resource Books, catalogs & internet available for this process.

4) Voila – Each person should now have a rough draft of the theme for their first Club. Make sure to have some type of lesson plan template available for them to plan their club idea more in depth. (Lesson Plans are very important to include in case the Club Leader is absent, another Staff Member can easily take over for that session.) Categories you may want to include on this form include: Club Name/Theme, Club Leader’s name, Location, Materials needed, Description, Age group, Ideal club size. Be sure to let your Staff know this was just en exercise and if they are not feeling their idea to go ahead and abandon it and try again. The most important tip on leading a successful club is to have the Club Leader be passionate about their club theme and the idea of sharing it with the children.

5) Finally, remind Staff to stay excited, positive, and enthusiastic about planning their first Club. Kids may not seem too excited at first, but that is only because they have never experienced After School Clubs before. After a short time, Staff, Parents & Children will come to see Clubs as a successful and fulfilling element to your after school program.

I hope this article was helpful. Please feel free to comment or share how you got After School Clubs started at your school!

If you have a great club or activity idea and would like to a guest writer or contributor at afterschoolclubideas.com contact me at:afterschoolclubideas@gmail.com

Happy Planning!

 

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