Month: February 2010

Creating budget friendly after school clubs

I can still remember when I was a kid my dad bought me a bike. He insisted he could put it together himself and didn’t need to buy the preassembled bike that was more expensive. It took my dad all day to build my bike. In the meantime however, my sister and I had to entertain ourselves. We took the box my bike came in and made a fort. We colored it with markers, cut out windows and played make believe for hours on end. Another of my all time favorite childhood memories involved my mom making me a “Fort Maze” made up of a dozen boxes for me to crawl through. The cost for these materials = nothing. The lifetime memories gained from them = priceless. Children do not need things to cost money in order for them to have fun. Giving them a little nudge to help tap into their creative side and open up their imagination can make all the difference in the world!

It can be challenging to think of planning a club without a lot of money. Some after school programs can have 20-30 kids while others may have 100 or more. Factoring that in as well and you may squelch the idea of planning a club before you even begin. But you can make it happen and here’s how:

  1. Set a budget and stick to it- The Site Director can take a look at their budget and give each Staff Member a budget and make sure they stick to it.
  2. Spread out your financesMany elements of a club may not need money to plan. For instance your center may already have supplies on hand for theme related arts & crafts and games. This way you can save your money for a specific project or special event.
  3. Encourage staff to be excited about their clubExcitement is contagious, if Staff are excited about the club, kids will be too!
  4. Host a special event at the last session of the Club- Once again this does not need to be an expense. Host a dance, take a walking field trip, schedule a guest speaker or have a dress up day! Also announcing this event at the beginning of the first week of the club will build excitement about the club and give kids something to look forward to.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to plan a budget friendly club! Happy Planning! Do you have any money saving club ideas? If so, I would love to read them!

The benefits of after school clubs

Chances are if you have ever attended, worked in, or had your child attend an after-school program you will find  daily activities such as Arts & Crafts, Homework time, inside and outside games, and snack time. These daily activities are designed to provide a safe, stable, and structured environment for children. There are times, however when this daily schedule may become somewhat of a grind leaving center staff and children wanting more. After school clubs are a way to add new life and enthusiasm into the program.

What are after-school clubs?

Clubs are a combination of all the best aspects of an after-school program. They can include games, arts & crafts, learning & special events. Typically they last 4-6 weeks and are planned by After School center staff. They are also designed to fit a certain theme. Your center staff can choose a topic/hobby that they specialize in such as dance or music or you can tap into popular children’s themes.

Example Club Theme & Activities:

Taste of Asia Club

Week 1: Dragon Wands

Week 2: Make Candy Sushi

Week 3: Kung Fu Panda Frames

Week 4: Taste Asian food- Sushi, egg rolls, & Orange Chicken and watch the movie Mulan.

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