Tiffany Brown shares a useful guide to options for after-school activities for kiwi kids.
In populated cities and towns in New Zealand, finding things for kids to do once school is finished for the day won’t be the problem, but rather, limiting the number of possibilities could be a challenge, especially for active kids who want to try their hand at everything on offer.
And smaller communities also tend to be well served with options for children’s extra-curricular pursuits, including sports, cultural and special interestactivities, as well as tuition or after-school care.
To find out what’s on offer in your area, start by looking at the options offered by your child’s school. Activities offered at the same location where they spend the school day are the most practical. Next, ask other parents, teachers, or local online community forums to find out what’s available.
Individual sports codes usually have representative bodies, many of which have dedicated websites or Facebook pages with useful directories detailing the opportunities for kids to engage with that particular sport.
Local noticeboards, newspapers, magazines, area directories, grapevines, social media pages, and even town centre information sites are also good sources of local activities.
Keep in mind many of these activities are often run by adult volunteers with a keen interest in sharing that particular pursuit with others.
If you can spare time or resources to help out, your support will be exceptionally welcome.
At right is a selection of after-school activities that may be available in your area.
Swimming, diving, surf lifesaving, water polo, sailing and other water craft sports can be enjoyed during the warmer months, or right throughout the year in indoor facilities.
Golf, netball, rugby, league, touch, football, softball, volleyball, hockey, lacrosse, handball, and basketball are all team sports regularly enjoyed by Kiwi kids in an after-school capacity.
Tennis, table tennis, squash and badminton all give children a chance to improve their individual coordination skills while working in groups.
Athletics, orienteering, cycling, equestrian, fencing, marching, gymnastics, archery, trampolining, parkour,climbing, skate-boarding, winter sports and a wide range of martial arts are now available throughout the country.
From classical ballet through to modern cheerleading, dance includes a wide range of different classes and groups designed to help kids improve their skills while working towards a final term or yearly show or competition.
Broadly, cultural activities can encompass a range of different activities including art, crafts, kapa haka, cultural or traditional dance, St John Youth, Young Mariners, Scouts, and Girl Guides.
Orchestras, choirs, bands and musical groups of all kinds are perfect to extend a musical child’s interest and provide more opportunities for them to grow their musical knowledge.
Performance classes and groups focus on teaching and learning drama, theatre and elements of stage or film production.
Chess, LEGO, Minecraft, games, puzzles, debating, computers, science, robotics, coding, and book clubs are group activities designed to encourage children’s enjoyment of specific pursuits, as well as providing opportunities for them to network with others who share their interests.
Kids who are being challenged by a particular subject at school can make great progress with private or group tuition on an extracurricular basis. Often a smaller environment to focus on the problem subject combined with the benefit of additional time and patience from a dedicated tutor can help your child work through whatever’s holding them back during class time.
AFTER-SCHOOL CARE (ASC)
A growing category of before- and after-school care providers now offer support for families who struggle with gaps between the start or end of the school day and caregivers’ working hours. Care options may include transport, meals or snacks, homework time, and opportunities for kids to play together or join in various activities and crafts.