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After School Program Ideas

Keep your little ones entertained with these before-and afterschool program ideas—from A to Z


As is the case with many of today’s dual-working families, you might find yourself in need of before- and afterschool arrangements for your children. Lucky for you, New Jersey is packed with programs that will keep young hands, minds, and bodies active and engaged. 

Stumped for ideas? We’ve got 26 of them right here. Each of these A-to-Z ideas offers a built-in benefit for your child. Choose one (or more) that best fits her interests. If your child learns new skills, gets exercise, or develops a budding talent, it’s a win-win situation all around.

Act up a storm in a drama class or theater group. This can be a confidence-booster and/or a creative outlet.

Break out the test tubes and explore chemistry, physics, biology, and more in a science club.

Create tasty treats and learn about nutrition in a cooking class. These are life skills kids can practice at home.

Dive in and take swimming lessons, or join a swim team and compete.

Earn badges for learning new skills in camping, first aid, and other disciplines in a Scouting program.

Flip and tumble in a gymnastics class or cheerleading program.

Groove to the music in a tap, ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, or Irish dance class.

Help the family pet learn better behavior in a dog obedience class.

Investigate software and the Internet in a computer class.

Join a youth team to play sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis, or hockey, or explore the world of running track.

Kick up a good time while learning discipline in a martial arts program.

Learn to decorate pottery in a ceramics painting studio.

Make Miss Manners proud with social skills learned in an etiquette class.

Navigate using hand and foot holds in a rock-climbing gym.

Observe nature and learn about the environment in an outdoor program.

Play an instrument or develop a singing voice with music or vocal lessons.

Question plot, motivation, and character development in a book club discussion.

Roll strikes and spares at a bowling alley on a youth league.

Saddle up and ride horses in a kids’ equestrian program.

Tee off and spend afternoons developing a better swing with golf lessons.

Use artistic skills to draw cartoons, paint, or sculpt in an art class.

View the world around you through a lens while taking pictures in a photography club or class.

Work out and get fit in an exercise program or yoga class.

eXplore the value of X and work on other basic mathematics skills in an enrichment program.

Yackety-yak in a non-native language by enrolling in a foreign-language enrichment class.

Zip gracefully across the rink during ice-skating lessons. 


Barbara A. Tyler is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about all things from A to Z.

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