The benefits of afterschool enrichment are many. According to youth.gov, afterschool enrichment activities can provide safety and support for working families, social and emotional learning for children, and oftentimes academic support or enrichment.
Not all enrichment activities are created equally though, and finding good and affordable programs can prove to be a challenge. Here are five different enrichment options to consider for parents looking for activities for their children.
For the Outdoor Enthusiast
Does your child bring home a collection of artifacts (or even living organisms) after playing outside? Is she up a tree before you know it? If so, you probably have an outdoor enthusiast. Here are a few places to consider exploring for afterschool enrichment:
- Scouts: The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America have lots of activities for kids who love to explore the outdoors.
- Park Programs: Oftentimes, park programs for youth are very affordable and sometimes even free. Check out the website for Indiana State Parks (in.gov/dnr/state-parks), Indy Parks & Recreation (indyparks.org), Carmel Parks & Recreation (carmelclayparks.com) or your nearest park system to see what activities are available.
For the Artist
Does your child love to get messy? Are they constantly using their hands to create things? Is their schoolwork full of doodles? You might just have an artist! Here are a few places to consider for afterschool enrichment:
- An art museum, gallery or art center: Indianapolis Art Center offers classes for all ages, covering art topics that range from painting to printmaking. Newfields also offers classes for kids, as well as art camps during school breaks.
- An art studio: Many local art studios offer classes for kids. For a creative child, it is important to make sure that they will have both guidance and freedom. Be sure to ask how the studio nurture’s a child’s creative spirit.
- A community center or library: These places usually offer very affordable, if not free, arts and crafts classes for the community. Check your favorite library’s website for their offerings, as well as places like the YMCA, Monon Community Center and the Fishers Library Ignite Studio. These are all excellent places to begin looking for quality art instruction.
For the Musician
Does your child hum or sing along to every song in the car? Does he constantly find a beat with his hands or his feet? Is he able to pick up a tune without a lot of instruction? Well then, you might be raising a musician.
- Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra: Our community is home to an excellent orchestra. ISO often hosts educational classes and events for school-aged children. Even attending a concert (or investing in season tickets, if your budget allows) may just prove to be a life-changing event for some families.
- Music classes at a music studio or with a music teacher: There are hundreds of music teachers and studios available. The best and most common way to find an instructor for a school-aged child is by reaching out to your child’s school music teacher. When a child gets to middle or high school, the music teacher will even come to the school during their elective period for private lessons. In addition, there are larger studios in the community that will accommodate a trial lesson, to be certain that the studio and the student fit well together.
For the Techie
Can’t keep your kid off of their device? Are they pulled to the gaming station as if by an invisible force? Have they taken apart old phones or computers to figure out how they were put together? If so, you might just be parenting a techie. Here are some great places to provide enrichment:
- STEM enrichment programs: Places like Snapology or Bricks 4 Kidz for kids who like LEGO, Code Ninjas for kids who like computers and coding, and more await your little techie!
- Library or school programs: There are so many different STEM labs open and running in libraries and community centers. Each one is unique, but they all give kids the opportunity to learn about science and technology with an expert.
For the Actor
Does your child love the spotlight? Do they seem to shine when they are the center of attention? Can they tell a joke that actually makes you laugh? You might just have an actor on your hands. Be certain to following this lead:
- Community or school theatre classes: Reach out to the head of the performing arts department at your local high school. Ask them what community or school theatre auditions might be coming up. Sometimes a high school or college show will need young children in their performances. This is a great opportunity to meet awesome mentors.
After a long, hard day at school, it is most important to make these afterschool enrichment opportunities full of fun. Let your child take the lead. These are personality-building opportunities for your child to grow in a safe space.