16 Things to Do After School That Kids & Parents Will Love

The after-school hours can be meaningful, restful, and just plain fun. Plan some of these exciting activities for your kids.

Published December 5, 2023
Young mother and daughters having fun time

Your kids aren't the only ones looking for things to do after school. You may be looking for engaging activities or simple things you can do together to make the most of the after-school hours. Once your child is saved by the bell, you can try some of these fun things to make the afternoon exciting. 

Engaging Things to Do at Home After School

You've had a long day, the kids are ready for some afternoon fun, and you're all craving some quality time. These at-home activities are easy to implement and make an ordinary afternoon feel extra special. Plus, they don't take too long so you still have time for dinner prep and homework.

Have a Snack Bar

School works up quite the appetite and kids of every age are eager for afternoon snacks when the bell finally rings. Set up a snack bar to enjoy together and share in meaningful conversation over yogurt parfaits, cheese and crackers, or a homemade trail mix.

Quick Tip

You can also out random fruit, veggies, and other healthy snacks from the fridge or pantry and put them on a cutting board or tray for a kid-friendly charcuterie snack board that feels extra-special. 

Make Paper Bag Puppets

If you have younger kids who like to get creative, spend one afternoon a week building on your paper bag puppet collection. Keep all your supplies in one storage container and break them out when you need a cozy or crafty way to wrap up your afternoon. 

Build a Fort

Playful child sitting in a fort at home

An indoor fort of pillows and blankets is a childhood experience that simply must happen at least once. Why not surprise your kids with snacks and snuggles under the most epic pillow fort ever? They'll come home from school to a memory that's sure to last a lifetime.

Garden Together

From spring blooms to harvest season vegetables, gardening helps kids get their hands dirty in the best way. Whether you have small elementary-aged kids or a mix of tweens and teens, gardening can bring the family together every afternoon. Plan your garden together and start spending some time showering those plants in love as you reconnect with nature after a long school day.

Get Your Puzzle On

A family puzzle invites everyone to sit down, chat, and just spend some time in one another's presence. Make a little progress each day on your puzzle and in your relationship as your kids unwind from school. 

Quick Tip

We like to use a large piece of cardboard underneath our puzzles so they can easily slide under furniture for out-of-sight storage. 

Watch a New (or Old) Show Together

Screen time has its place in all of our lives and your children might enjoy a half-hour block of TV time to watch a beloved show with you. Set out the snacks, snuggle up, and unwind from the day together as you follow the storyline of your favorite show. This might even be a good time to introduce your kid to shows from your childhood.

Get Crafty & Creative

A toddler girl with father playing indoors at home

There's no shortage of creative ideas for kids, and many of them could help your child discover their next favorite hobby. Grab the paint, the construction paper, and all those paper towel tubes you've been saving for a weekly craft afternoon to inspire creativity for the whole family. 

Exciting Things to Do on the Way Home From School

If you're picking your kids up from school (or extracurriculars), you might want to add in a bit of fun some days. Whether you're killing time before an appointment or just want to make the most of a beautiful day, try these activities before you head home for the evening. 

Plan a Family Bike Ride

girl on a bike with her parents in nature

You might have your own wheels or hit up a park with rentals. Either way, a family bike ride is a fun way to get in some quality time and some meaningful movement at the end of a school day.

Picnic Snacks in the Park

If you prefer a park trip that's a bit more relaxing, pack a few snacks and hit the lawn. You can kick back with a book while your kids play between bites of their favorite travel snack. Don't forget your blanket and plenty of water for everyone.

Go to a Trampoline Park

Your kiddos might need to burn off some energy after a long day sitting still and studying. Stop off at the trampoline park so they can jump out all that post-school energy as you sip a coffee or catch up on emails. If you don't have a local trampoline park, look for a bounce house park, a laser tag spot, or an indoor adventure park. 

Volunteer Together

Young boy helps volunteer at the food drive

Doing something good for others is a surefire way to lift spirits after a tough day at school. It's never too early to introduce your child to the value of giving back to the community and volunteering for a cause together doubles as a special way to use your quality time. 

Find a Local Reading Hour

Some kids can't wait for the bell to ring, but others truly can't get enough of learning. If you have an eager learner on your hands, extend their academic hours with a reading hour at your local library or bookstore. This is an easy weekly activity to add to your schedule that lets you sneak in a bit of reading and book browsing for yourself.

Fun Things to Plan for Your Teen After School

You might not be the first person your teen looks forward to seeing after school, but you could be the person to facilitate a fun afternoon with their friends. Add these parent-approved activities to the weekly agenda to give your teenager a chance to socialize outside of school.

Coffee Shop Hang With Friends

You've had a busy day and your teen probably has too. You could both use a bit of caffeine and some casual conversation. Have your teenager invite a couple of friends to tag along and let them have a neighboring table to chat while you finish up some work or catch up on your latest read.

Need to Know

Friends don't have to be a part of the equation. You and your teen might enjoy some meaningful conversation with one another over a specialty coffee. 

Go Shopping

Shopping doesn't mean you have to buy something, but it certainly makes the outing more fun. If you have an older teen, an hour of browsing the mall with friends may brighten their day. You could hit the salon or do some of your own shopping while the teenagers are making memories. 

Quick Tip

To make the most of your budget, you could hit up the local thrift store to find fun secondhand items to use or gift

Host an Afternoon of Gaming

If you have a gaming teen, they might run straight for the power button on their console the second they get home from school. Encourage some socialization as they defeat enemies and complete campaigns by hosting a weekly gaming afternoon for all their friends. 

Start a Small Business

A small business is a wonderful way for your teen to gain some experience and start thinking about their future. Whether it's baking cakes, mowing lawns, or running their own Etsy shop, a small business helps your teen spend some of their free time gaining priceless knowledge. 

Make the After-School Hours Count

You value those post-school hours so much because that's when you get to work in some quality time with your child. Make that time count with a plan to spend some time learning, growing, or just having fun together. You'll never regret the extra time spent with your kiddos and they'll hold on to those memories for a lifetime. 

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16 Things to Do After School That Kids & Parents Will Love