Fun Ways to Keep Kids Engaged in Lieu of After-School Activities

By Jennifer McKee


Whether the kids are back in the physical or virtual classroom, extra-curricular activities have, at least for now, become a thing of the past. Here are a few creative ways to replace those activities.



Learn About A New Culture
Marionettes have long been part of the Czech and Slovak cultures, dating back to the 18th century. In fact, this puppetry was recently added to the UNESCO List of World Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Currently, the Czech Republic is home to nine professional puppet theaters, 100 independent groups and 300 amateur companies. This spirit now thrives in the United States, thanks to the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, created by immigrants from Prague, which stages traditional and untraditional puppetry performances. Watch its innovative shows on the theater’s Facebook page, where livestreams and past performances can be found.

Photo above courtesy Jonathan Slaff



Run Away to the Circus
Does your child like to defy gravity, spin plates or just generally clown around? It may be time to bring the big top under your rooftop with classes and instruction from Circus Harmony.

The St. Louis-based troupe not only teaches students circus skills, but also basic science concepts. Class options are many: choose an individual or series of classes, for individual families and even entire classrooms. Explore the options at

Photo courtesy Circus Harmony



The Streaming Scene
From martial arts to polar exploration to Beethoven’s piano sonatas, the content is rich and varied at Great Courses Plus. You can literally watch thousands of streaming videos on hundreds of subjects on any device—Roku, Kindle, Apple TV, Android and iPhones, etc. It’s an app that makes learning fun.

Join for a free 14-day trial without paying anything; you’ll only be billed if you decide to continue with the program. But beware, this content is addictive—new titles are added every week.



Boredom Blitz
Reward a long day of schooling with some afternoon fun in the form of B3 Blitz, an indoor/outdoor game for friends and family. Test your skills and aim a beanbag or ping pong ball at various-sized buckets of different point values. Try from close up, far away, in quick succession—there’s no limit how you can adapt the game.

Best yet, with its quick assembly and convenient carrying case, B3 Blitz is easily portable and can go anywhere you do.


Photo courtesy B3



For the Young at Art
TOMY’s Doodle Bear turns 25 this year! To celebrate, the toymaker has launched a special new design with a silver base print, metallic touches, a special logo on its paw and an embroidered “25” heart.

This sweet 14-inch bear comes with three washable markers, so create your most fantastic designs and when you’re done, throw it in the wash and start all over again! For even more hours of fun, download the Doodle Bear App Studio and import your bear to animate and share with friends and family.

Photo courtesy TOMY



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