4 Types of Fun After-School Recreation Programs to Offer

4 Types of Fun After-School Recreation Programs to Offer

Whether you’re running an elementary school, middle school, or high school, after-school programs are a valuable offering for students. Through them, your students can reinforce their academic skills, discover new hobbies and interests, socialize with others, and make the most of their educational experiences.

To support students, it’s best to offer a variety of after-school recreation activities, empowering them to make the choice that best suits their interests and needs. If you’re unsure where to start, don’t worry—this guide will teach you the top types of after-school recreation programs your school should offer and manage for its students. Let’s begin!

1. Fitness and Wellness Programs

The first type of after-school program, and the one your school most likely already offers, is the fitness or wellness program. These programs usually focus on physical health and activity, and they include:

  • Sports. From basketball to tennis to golf, after-school sports activities are popular amongst students of all ages. You can create casual sports programs, where students simply get together to play. Or, you can establish competitive sports teams that strive for constant improvement and raise funds to attend national competitions.
  • Yoga and meditation. For students interested in increasing their physical activity in a more individualized way, yoga programs provide this avenue while still posing a challenge physically. Meditation is also commonly paired with yoga, and it teaches students to become more mindful and improve mental wellness.

Additionally, some students prefer independent physical activities, such as running or lifting weights. For these students, you simply need to provide them with safe facilities so that they get the exercise they need, such as a gym or a running track. You might also host classes teaching them the proper form for these activities to ensure they know how to best exercise without hurting themselves.

2. Arts and Creative Expression Programs

Arts and creative expression programs are another popular after-school category, especially since over 40% of students say they spend too little time demonstrating what they’ve learned in creative ways or trying new ways of doing things.

When brainstorming creative programs to offer students, consider:

  • Visual arts. This category includes painting, drawing, sculpture, and more. It’s a great way for students to build upon what they learn in art class and to try fun new ways of expressing themselves through visual art. If your school has the budget, you can offer specialized art programs, such as stained glass art or Kintsugi.
  • Performing arts. This category usually includes theater, music, and dance, each of which can be broken down into various after-school activities. For example, if you have a teacher who’s willing, there are a variety of different dance classes you might offer, from social dancing to ballet to hip hop.
  • Creative writing. These after-school programs allow students to learn storytelling and develop a greater appreciation for different writing genres in a fun and engaging way.
  • Photography and videography. These creative art forms aren’t usually focused on during art class, making them great options for after-school programs. Aside from teaching students how to take visually appealing photos and videos, you might also purchase editing software to round out their learning.

If you’re not sure how to start these programs, take a look at resources online to find actionable steps. For example, DanceStudio Pro’s guide to dance apps contains insights into the types of tools and software you’ll need to run a successful dance and movement after-school program.

3. Environmental and Nature Programs

All individuals and organizations have a responsibility to create a greener world for future generations. Your school is uniquely positioned to do so, as you can educate students about the importance of environmental friendliness. Empower students to learn more and reinforce this idea by offering after-school programs centered on the environment and nature.

Some after-school programs of this type you might consider hosting include:

  • Gardening. In the United States alone, food waste is estimated at between 30-40% of the food supply. Teach students the value of food and sustainability with a gardening program. Through these activities, students will learn how much effort goes into growing the food they eat and the detriments of wasting it.
  • Wildlife observation. Environmental conservation is important for many reasons, one of which is preserving natural ecosystems and indigenous flora and fauna. Establish a wildlife observation after-school program where students observe local wildlife. You can use this opportunity to educate them about endangered species and the behaviors that oppose conservation efforts, such as littering.

These types of after-school programs may require students to leave school premises, making it essential for you to keep track of attendance. While you can use pen and paper, after-school program management software solutions provide a more streamlined process.

According to CommunityPass, the right after-school recreation program tool will allow parents to register their children for the activity and make any necessary payments ahead of time. You’ll also be able to digitally track attendance to ensure that all your students are accounted for on any field trips.

4. Community Service and Volunteer Programs

Service and volunteering programs teach students how to give back to the community in a fun way. Plus, if your school requires students to fulfill a community service requirement to graduate, providing after-school opportunities to get volunteer hours will make it easier for students to meet them.

You can choose to offer one-time or recurring activities:

  • One-time: These programs are generally one-off events that support community goals. For example, this might look like a community cleanup day or a food or clothing drive. Students will give their time to this project for a day or two, with no expectation of further volunteering.
  • Recurring: Recurring volunteer programs are great for charitable-minded students who want to give back regularly. This can look like weekly volunteering at an animal shelter, helping senior citizens at a local retirement home, or even tutoring.

This after-school program is best suited for older students, namely high schoolers. To ensure that your programs are enriching and valuable for them, be sure to ask for their feedback on the volunteer activities you offer and take their thoughts into consideration when planning out future activities.

There are many different types of after-school recreation programs that your school can offer—the only limits are your budget and if instructors are willing to teach or supervise these activities. Carefully consider your students’ interests to choose the programs you offer and ensure that your students gain valuable experiences from them.


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