Choosing an After-School Activity Based on Your Child’s Grade Level

Children today have many choices for activities. As a parent, you’ll want to guide and encourage your child to make appropriate choices in finding activities that are fun, challenging, and beneficial. Helping your child choose an after-school activity should be based, to a large extent, on what is appropriate for his or her grade level.


Activities for pre-school and kindergarten student should be simple and creative. Drawing, coloring, and simple crafts are idea for this age. Don’t try to schedule too many activities in a single time period, but have other options in the event the child’s attention starts to wander.

First Grade

Introduce your child to non-competitive sports. Gymnastics, dance, martial arts might be appropriate depending on your child’s interests. Limit scheduling of activities to no more than one or two days a week. Put the emphasis on participation, sharing and cooperation and not on competitiveness or winning.

Second Grade

Involve your child in activities they are interested in. Help your child choose by offering a wide range of experiences. Children can begin to participate in more complicated activities such as musical instruments or other activities that require lessons or practice.

Third Grade

Children can start to participate in team activities or competitive sports. Remember there are activities that promote teamwork and camaraderie that are not just sports. Scouting and performing arts are two excellent examples of activities where children work together to accomplish common goals. Allow your child to explore and pursue their individual interests.

Fourth Grade

Older children love to become involved in many different activities. You may see your child spending time playing a sport and practicing a musical instrument in the same week. Continue to encourage children to spend time doing all they things they love, but remind them that school work is important as well.

Fifth Grade and Beyond

Children will naturally develop many different interests and want to immerse themselves in many different things. This should be encouraged, but be careful to avoid the problem of over-scheduling. Encourage a rotation of seasonal activities along with year-round activities. Be sure that children don’t neglect responsibilities of home and school. Encourage participation in the community through volunteering or community service organizations.

Parents should always remember to encourage their children to explore their own interests. If your child shows a lack of interest in one activity, introduce him or her to other activities. Eventually, your child will find the ones they love. Your job is simply to open up opportunities and encourage them along the way.

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