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December 31, 2011

After School Club Ideas

This week, I have been hibernating at home with the kids because of winter break. Watching them growing up has been so much fun. DD1 is enjoying reading story books and retelling the plot through puppet play. DD2 enjoys stacking DS's baby food jars on top of each other and playing cooking with the kitchen playset. DS is learning to flip over on the bed and hanging out with us gals at home.

I had planned to visit friends during this break, but my body is craving for sleep and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to keep the kids alive at home until husband comes back from work!

Anyway, I have been thinking of organizing an after school club for DD1 when she goes to first grade next school year, Allah SWT willing. I think it will be a fun program for her classmates and her to hang out after school so that they can interact with each other in a fun and positive way.

Here are some ideas that I got from this web site

Game Show Club - Game Show club can offer a new opportunity for friendly competition. In order to instill a spirit of healthy competition make sure to remind children about sportsmanship and teamwork. If you’d like, you can keep a supply of small prizes to handout at each week for good sportsmanship, as well as for winning games. Here are ideas for a four week club.

Week 1: “Family Feud” style game

1) A few days before starting your club hand out surveys for the game including 15-20 questions for kids to answer i.e. Favorite Color? Favorite Food? Have staff members add together all the answers for each question to come up with a panel of questions.
2) Have the children form small groups and come up with a “Family Name,” You can also have them make signs for their team if you have extra time?
3) Give each team a chance to earn points trying to guess what the top guesses were in for each question. Each survey will contain the top five answers. The team may guess all 5 correct answers. If they guess incorrectly they are buzzed out. After 3 buzzes it is the next team’s turn. The second team gets one guess, if they guess correctly they can steal the points for that round, otherwise the points go to the first team. After this round a new category is introduced.
Example Category-Favorite Color
Guess = Blue
Blue is the # 2 answer for 23 points

Week 2: Have a Game Show DVD Game/Board Game Session.

Play Deal or no Deal or Wheel of Fortune TV Game, DVD Game or Board Game (whichever you can find at Local store). If you have a Computer Center you can set up the computers with games such as Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, or Who wants to be a Millionaire?

Week 3: Create a “Jeopardy” style Game with index cards

Describe Jeopardy as a game where you are given the ANSWER to a trivia question and must figure out what the QUESTION was. Use 3×5 Index cards to write trivia answers on one side and dollar/point amounts on the other sides. (Make sure Staff have created an answer key). Break kids into two teams and have kids take turns choosing dollar amounts and answering questions.
$100 ~ A type of food that is green with tomatoes and cilantro
What is guacamole?
$200~ Ernie’s Best Friend
Who is Bert?

Week 4: “Double Dare” style Challenge

**DISCLAIMER ~ Children may get messy, make sure parents are aware ahead of time (a permission slip would be a good idea)**
I remember watching the game show Double Dare when I was a kid. Some of the physical challenges on the show looked so wacky and fun. While they would likely be a little different, some of the challenges can be recreated and provide fun entertainment for all. Here are a few ideas:
Air-mail: Have contestants make a paper airplane and fly it so it lands on an object (such as a chair) placed 8 feet away.
Objective: See who can make an airplane and land it on the object.
Bubble gum pie challenge: Prepare 2-6 pie tins with an unwrapped piece of a squared piece of bubble inside. Cover with whipped cream. Have contestants line up with their hands behind their backs. At the “go” signal, contestants will try to find the gum and blow a bubble.
Objective: See who can find their gum and blow a bubble first.


Taste of Mexico Club

Week 1-Hands on cooking experience: Make and Taste guacamole

The ages of children in my club were 6-11, so I had to make a few preparations beforehand such as chopping the cilantro, onions, and tomatoes and placing them in separately labeled zip lock baggies. For the avocadoes I simply cut them in half and let the children take turns scooping out the avocadoes with plastic forks into a large bowl. Once all the avocadoes were scooped into the bowl I had each child take a turn at mashing the avocadoes (I used a potato masher for this, which worked out fabulously!) Next, I assigned each student a duty to add a remaining ingredient: salt, pepper, lime, cilantro, onion, and tomatoes. Once everything was all mixed together everyone got to taste their creation. I then gave everyone an award for being a “Certified Guacamole Maker.” I also gave them the guacamole recipe to take home. One of the children loved the guacamole so much she went home and told her Dad about it. That next weekend they made it together and Dad put it out for sports party he was hosting and said, “My daughter made the best guacamole ever!”
Guacamole Recipe
Serves 15-20 kids
  • 6 avocadoes
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • ½ -1 bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • The juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1 Serrano Chile, seeded & chopped (optional)

Week 2- Piñatas Part 1

To start our week I announced that we were going to make piñatas, but first we started by learning a few facts about the history of the piñata. Each child was given a medium sized balloon. We used newspaper strips & liquid starch to completely cover our balloons. (Liquid starch is hard to find these days – I scoured Target and Ralphs to no avail. My most consistent source for liquid starch is Pavilions.) Try to encourage the children to wipe away excess starch from their strips with their fingers, as the strips can easily tear if too wet. It also will not cover the balloon as well. Once complete allow the piñatas to completely dry. I like to keep them in bowls and constantly turn them when one side dries. I also try to keep a vigilant eye on them and patch any holes I see. Also, make sure the club leader makes a piñata as well to be used at the fiesta the last week.
Balloon Piñatas
  • Balloons (1 per child)
  • Newspaper strips
  • Liquid starch
  • Plastic Bowls

Week 3- Piñatas Part 2

Today we painted our piñatas. I put out green, white, yellow and green tempera paints and pencils for them to draw their design. Once completed we put them in a safe place to allow them to dry and save them for taking home Week 4.

Week 4- Fiesta Time

We had a fiesta dancing to the Mexican Hat Dance and Macarena and served quesadillas for snack. (These can easily be heated in the microwave 3-4 at a time.) I filled the leader made balloon piñata with small toys and attached a jump rope. Creating the handle can be the hardest part, but duck tape is your friend, utilize it well, otherwise not all children will get a turn at whacking the piñata. Prepare for this ahead of time by giving guidelines to the children. Ours were: 1) Each child gets 2 tries 2) Even if prizes fall out don’t grab them until the leader says go 3) Only pick up 3 prizes and then sit at the table, once everyone has 3 in their bag (and a leader has checked) then you have one more “free for all” at the prizes. Our rules worked out well but you may want to change them depending on your group dynamic. At the end of the club each child got to take home their piñata to use at their own party!


Hawaii Club

Week 1 – Hawaiian Name Art

This week was all about discovering Hawaii. The group consisted of children ages 6-12. I played some quiet Hawaiian music in the background, while I taught the children some facts about Hawaii as well as a few phrases. I taught them how to say thank you, “mahalo.” I also taught them that “Aloha” means hello and goodbye. I also found a resource online where you could find out what your name would be in Hawaiian. For instance, my name Marie would be “Malie.” After I unveiled each of the children’s Hawaiian Names we made Name Art using our newfound names. I provided the children with examples of Name Art and also challenged them to think of their own ideas. Their work was very imaginative and they enjoyed the project very much.

M=palm trees & goldfish, A=dolphins & sunset, L=flowers, waves, & clown fish, I=bamboo, E=seahorse, shells, turtle, & rainbow
Hawaiian Name Art:
  • 3×3 Construction Paper squares
  • 5×12 strip of black construction (longer  if needed)
  • Pencils and Markers
  • Name Art Samples

Week 2- Candy Sushi (Musubi)

This week we made candy sushi or musubi in this case. I was a bit pressed for time this week and while I had plans to make my rice krispie treat base from scratch I was not able to do so. Instead I used prepared rice krispie treat squares and wrapped fruit roll ups around them so it roughly resembled a spam musubi. In all actuality this worked out great because the rectangular shape of the bar was very suited for our project. The children were delighted with this activity and used a lot of creativity making their candy sushi. I also provided them with Hawaii’s Endangered Animals coloring sheets and talked to them about what it means when an animal is endangered and what can be done to protect them. This was a successful club session. I was proud of my keikis!

Candy Sushi “Musubi”
Rice Krispie Squares
Fruit roll-ups (preferably the kind with cut-outs because it gives the kids more choices for topping ans designing their sushi rolls)
Fruit by the Foot

Week 3- Tropical Necklaces and Learning the Huki-lau

This week we made Tropical Necklaces ordered from Oriental Trading Company. I also taught the children how to dance the huki-lau dance and invited the children to perform the following week for the other children/parents at the program. Today I received my first parent response on providing this club opportunity for their child. I was overjoyed and flattered at their response.

Week 4- Huki-kau Dance Performace and Luau

I felt like a nervous stage mom today as it was our performance and luau. The children danced their huki-lau dance (with a little help from me with the hand motions) and then we had our luau. The kids got to taste some Hawaiian style foods that I found at the local grocery store. Our menu included: Hawaiian rolls, macaroni salad, chicken teriyaki, pot stickers and Pineapple Guava juice. I wasn’t sure how they would like the food; in fact I was expecting there would be a lot of leftovers. I was wrong! They loved it and ate everything. I was very happy that the club was so well received and would certainly not be opposed to leading it again some time. Aloha!


Camping Club

Ages recommended: 5-12

Week 1: Design First Aid Kits-

Materials needed:
Cotton balls, band aids, 1 pair of non-latex gloves per child, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, q-tips, gauze, permament markers, & washed out plastic margarine tubs.
Explain to the children the importance of carrying a first aid kit while Camping. Have each child decorate their own first aid kit and stuff them with all the first aid supplies.

Week 2: Make Trail Mix

Teach the children about what trail mix is and why it is a popular snack for camping. Trail Mix is a combination of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and sometimes 1 or two sweet items. It is often used as a healthy well-balanced snack for camping and hiking because it’s lightweight, nonperishable, & nutritious. It gives a quick energy boost of carbohydrates such as dried fruit or granola, and sustained (takes longer to burn off) energy from nuts. **Be careful with nuts here, many children have severe allergies to tree nuts or peanuts, be sure to make sure your children do not have nut allergies or that your school is a nut free zone.
Let the children have fun mixing & matching the various components of their trail mix. Have a vote, and choose the most popular from each category:
Dried fruits: pineapples, cranberries, raisins, apricots, apples, strawberries or blueberries, or bananas
Grain: Wheat, Corn or Rice Chex, Multi-grain cheerios, or Granola
Nuts: Peanuts, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Cashews
Sweet: chocolate chips, yogurt chips, chocolate covered raisins, M&M’s

Week 3: Make a Camping Scene Craft and Campfire Story Writing

Craft time!!! Try making this  fun camping scene craft from Oriental Trading Company. Announce the “Campout!” for next week and allow kids to write campfire stories if they wish!

Week 4: Campout!

Make a pretend campfire rolled up brown construction paper logs & tissue paper flames. Ask in advance to see if any staff or parent if they have a tent they would be willing to let you borrow. If this is not possible, you can use sheets to cover tables to make a “tent.” Ideally try to find a grassy patch to host your campout, otherwise indoors is ok as well. Have the children bring flashlights, sleeping bags, and first aid kits and munch on the trail mix that they made. Invite the children to share the campfire stories they have written with the group. Play a few fun camping games such as “I Spy” or “Going on a Camping Trip” or sing a song the Bear Hunt Song.


Our Incredible Earth Club

Week 1: Start a Recycling Project and have a Clean up the Campus Day

Take time to explain what recycling is (re-using materials rather than throwing them away in a landfill) and what materials can and cannot be recycled (aluminum, glass, plastic, etc.) Prior to starting your project find a local recycling center that will reimburse you for any recycled materials you bring in and what items they take. Give the children gloves & bags to help clean up the campus. Sort recyclables into the recycling bins you have provided. Another special bonus is that once you have completed your recycling project your group will have earned a little extra spending $money$. You can have the children create a goal for something they would like to obtain for your center such as an outdoor toy or game or have them help choose a charity to donate the funds to. TIP: Large sturdy Rubbermaid containers or trash cans can be used/labeled as your recycling bins.

Week 2: Craft Activity ~ Grocery Bags for Earth Day

Something I have done with the children for the past several years is to have the children participate in making Grocery Bags for Earth Day. The purpose is two-fold. 1) To promote Earth Day Awareness to the local community. 2) To have to children create a usable craft with a message that makes them feel like they are contributing to taking care of the Earth. A few days before Earth Day you can ask a manager at a local grocery store to “borrow” grocery bags. After the children have completed their designs you can return them and ask that they be distributed on Earth Day. TIP: Make sure children do not include any personal information/names on their bags since they will be distributed at a local grocery store.
You can visit for more information about to get an Earth Day grocery bags program started at your school/program.

Week 3: Plant a Vegetable Garden

Even if you don’t have a lot of space planting a vegetable garden is still possible and can be a very rewarding experience for children. It also teaches them to appreciate nature from all stages: seed to vegetable.
Some veggies you can include in small planter boxes include: green onions, radishes, tomatoes (such as small fry or patio), and green beans.
1)  Help the children create colorful labels for your veggies.
2) Use a nutrient rich soil such as Miracle Grow to plant your seeds. Make sure to provide adequate soil and space for the seeds.
3) Assign a watering schedule. It is very easy for kids to over water or under water the plants, assigning a schedule and letting the kids know the importance of sticking to it (to keep plants healthy and growing) is essential.
4) Make sure to place your planters in an area with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Week 4: Solar Pizza Ovens and Our Incredible Earth Awards:

1) This week is all about celebrating the journey the children have made in Incredible Earth Club. You can challenge them to start thinking of ways they can conserve and take care of the Earth in their daily lives. For instance when using paper to draw, using both sides of the paper and not wasting it or placing objects in a recycling bin instead of the trash. Help them to know that even the little things they do can make a difference.
2) You can continue your celebration by warming up a yummy treat in your own homemade solar pizza oven. Cooking foods in it is not recommended but heating up pre-made cookies using the suns rays can feel like eating a freshly baked cookie from the oven!
3) As far as a giveaway or prize for the participants of Our Incredible Earth Club I am inclined to stay away from paper rewards as it doesn’t really keep in theme of the club nor do justice to it. But I have used a fun giveaway made from recycled newspapers that the children just love called ~ SMENCILS! They are scented pencils, and the children really enjoy them.


Penguin Club

Week 1-How to draw a penguin – drawing lesson
Week 2-Yarn Bugs – Make your own puffle and name it!!!
Supplies Needed
  • Yarn in assorted colors (Purple, pink, white, black, blue, yellow, red, green, orange, & white) + 6 in. yarn pieces (1 per child)
  • Cardboard
  • Tag Board or White Foam Sheets
  • Scissors
  • Permanent Markers
  • Egg Carton (cut into individual cups
  • Glue Gun (Adult use only)
  • 5” square of cardboard (1 per child)
  • Tacky Glue
1)  Have the children choose their puffle’s color. Have them tie their yarn around the center of their cardboard square and then  wrap it around the center at least 100 times. Tie the 6” yarn piece around the center of one side of the cardboard. Flip the cardboard over and cut the yarn completely through the middle on the other side (this cut should correspond with the knot placement on the other side.)
2)  Smooth out the puffle and glue the egg cup to the underside.
3)  Use the white foam/tag board to create the puffle’s eyes and glue them to the front.
4)  Now each child has their very own pet puffle to name and play with!
Week 3- Hot Puffle (like Hot Potato) ~ use a black yarn ball for the the black puffle
Week 4-Special Event: Make O-berry Shakes
For more fun Club Penguin activities check out this page at the Club Penguin website:


Cooking Club

Make your own ice cream

This activity is very fun for the kids and after they are finished they will have a fun slushy treat to taste.
  • ½ cup whole milk or half and half
  • ¼  teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon chocolate sauce
  • 6 tablespoons rock salt
  • 1 sandwich size ziploc bag + 1 quart size bag (optional, for double bagging)
  • 1 gallon-size ziploc bag
  • Ice (depending on the size of your group you may need a lot, so purchasing bags of ice is recommended)
Step 1~ Fill gallon size bag half full of ice and add rock salt
Step 2~ Combine the rest of the ingredients in the sandwich bag and have the kids choose their flavor ~ vanilla or chocolate.
Step 3~ Hand the bag to the child and instruct them to shake it vigorously for approximately 5 minutes.
Each child will need to take turns with an adult in preparing their ice cream bag. While they are waiting you can provide them with a Drawing Activity to draw their perfect ice cream sundae!

Chocolate dipped frozen bananas

  • Chocolate chips
  • Bananas
  • Craft Sticks
  • Sprinkles, Fruity Pebbles, mini M&M’s, coconut flakes and additional chocolate chips
Step 1~ Before getting started with the group cut the bananas in half and insert the craft sticks about half way up. Place the bananas in the freezer for 2-3 hours until firm
Step 2~ Have adults melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds and stir and repeat the process until melted. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate.
Step 3~ Set up a dipping/topping station and help each child to dip their banana and top it with toppings of their choice
Step 4~ Let the chocolate cool to room temperature and then place bananas back in the freezer ~ once frozen eat and enjoy!

Yogurt Parfaits

  • Granola
  • Various chopped fruits~ blueberries, peaches, strawberries
  • Vanilla and strawberry yogurt
  • Clear plastic cups & spoons
Step 1~ Explain to the children that parfaits are desserts that come in layers. Have the children choose layers of their choosing.
Step 2~ Set up an assembly line of all the ingredients children may choose to put in their parfait
TIP: While kids are waiting you can put out colored permanent markers and let the children color the outside of their parfait glasses or you can provide some fun, healthy food printables at

Ants on a Log

  • Peanut Butter (or light cream cheese if you have students with nut allergies)
  • Celery, cut into sticks
  • Raisins
Step 1~ Make up plates for kids so they make their own ants on a log. On each plate provide: A plastic spoon full of peanut butter of cream cheese, a handful of raisins, 2 celery sticks
Step 2~ Let the children build their ants on a log and eat them or save them for later.
Step 3~ Read a  fun story about food such as We Eat Food That’s Fresh by Angela Rush-Ayon or Super Sprouts by Laura Concannon.

English Muffin Pizzas

This is a super fun hands on project! Kids will enjoy them even if you do not have a toaster oven to heat them!
  • Ingredients:
  • English Muffins (wheat for a healthier snack)
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Assorted sliced veggies-olives, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions
Step 1~ Set up an assembly of all the ingredients. Before starting ask the children to identify each ingredient, what food group it is in and why its good for you. ( i.e. cheese has calcium, bell peppers have vitamins A & C)
Step 2~ Allow the kids to choice their toppings and put together their pizzas. Use a toaster oven to heat them, or eat them as is!

Teachable Moments in Cooking Club

  • Teach measurements and cooking terms- teaspoons vs. tablespoons, cups vs. ounces
  • Vegetable/fruit identification trivia and bingo
  • Cooking teaches them planning and making choices
  • Working together as a team

Pond Life Club

Recommended Ages: 5-7
Do you remember spending time at the pond when you were young (or something that resembled a pond)? I can recall observing the tadpoles and getting bit by mosquitoes — yikes! But I always had a ball!
Here are several ideas for hosting a Pond Life Club with your kids!

Down by the Banks Game:

A classic game and as such the actual lyrics of the song are up for much debate. How do you sing it? Here is how I have learned it:
Down by the banks of the Hanky Panky
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky
With the eeps, ops, sodapops
Hey Mr. Lily and he went kerplops

1) Have children sit in a circle. Have them place their right hand on TOP of their neighbor’s hand and their left hand BELOW their neighbors hand. Whoever has their hand clapped on the last PLOP! of the song is out for that round.
2) When you reach the last two children the setup changes. They hold each each others hand in a fist, like they are shaking hands and move their hands back and forth. On the last PLOP! whoever has their hand back (towards the chest) is out. Adults, be sure to monitor very closely so the children are fair and not playing too roughly.

Lily Pad Snacks-

Materials needed: Cream cheese, blue food coloring, sliced cucumbers, sliced english muffins, and gummy frogs (optional)

1) Have adults slice the cucumbers so they resemble lilypads (ex. pictured at the right)
2) Allow children to help make the mix the “water” (blue food coloring + cream cheese) and spread it 1 english muffin half.
3) To with 2 cucumber slices and 1 gummy frog.
4) Eat and enjoy!

Leap Frog Game-

This is also a classic game, check out this awesome video on: How to Play Leapfrog
Remember, safety first! Check your field area for hazards before beginning the game.


Fun with Fancy Nancy Club 

Week 1-Make your own Fancy Fabric Hair ribbons

Introduce the group to Fancy Nancy by reading  her  first book entitled, Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

Fancy Fabric Hair ribbons
Materials needed:
  • Fun, yet sturdy fabrics
  • sparkly pony beads
  • hair ties
  • fabric cutter
  • yard stick
1) First have an adult use the fabric cutter and yard stick to cut equal sized strips (~ 1/2 in wide. and 6 in. long)
2) Next, have the children choose fabric strips and tie simple knots to create their hair ties. Every third or fourth tie they can add a bead to make it look more fancy if they so desire. The more strips they choose, the thicker and fuller their hair tie will become.

Week 2- Fancy Decoupage Trinket Boxes

Decoupage is a fancy way of saying the art of decorating with colored paper cut-outs, paint, & glitter. I think children will truly enjoy creating their own decoupage boxes
Expected Project Time: 45 minutes-1 hour
Materials Needed:
  • Small boxes (1 per child)- small takeout boxes or margarine tubs would work well if you are on a $$, or you can purchases small cardboard boxes at a local craft store.
  • White (or Clear) school  glue & water
  • Plastic bowls
  • Paintbrushes
  • Magazines, Color Catalogs, & Newspapers
  • Scissors
  • Glitter Glue
  • Rhinestones
Side of Box
Side of Box
1)  Spread out magazines, catalogs, and newspapers. Encourage children to cut out shapes and objects that interest them.
2)  Mix 1 part glue to 1 1/2  parts water in each plastic bowl to prepare a glue wash. Have children “paint-on” their cutouts in their desired pattern. TIP: Use only interior pages from the magazines, not covers as they will be too thick and won’t stick/lay flat against to boxes. The thinner the pages, the better ~ the more polished outcome there will be!
Top of Box
Top of Box
3) Allow the boxes to dry for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime you can check out for some adorable printables the children can use while they are waiting. Use rhinestones & glitter glue to give their boxes an extra special fancy touch – Voila! Fancy Decoupage trinket boxes to hold all of their fancy objects! TIP: If boxes are still too wet after 10-15 minutes, skip this step and save it for the following day/week when the group next meets.

Week 3: Fancy Nancy Vocabulary Challenge

You can start this session by reading Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words, by Jane O’Connor. Then ,depending on the ages of children in the group you can have 2 different types of challenges or use a combination of both. Have small prizes on hand for everyone who participates in the challenge. Prize Ideas: Boa Pens, Rhinestone Rings, Glittery playdoh.
Ages 9-12: Fancy Word Spelling Bee
Gather a list of fancy words (ex. accesories, boas, parasol, etc.) and challenge children to take turns spelling the words.
Ages 5-9: Fancy Nancy Vocabulary Challenge
Using the list of fancy words you have compiled have the children guess what the definitions of each word are.

Week 4: Special Event: Fancy Nancy Tea Party & Dress Up Day

This week encourage the children to dress up for the tea party and wear pearls, fancy dresses, costume jewelry, tiaras, gloves, boas, etc. One of most festive parts of a tea party is serving dainty and delicate foods, most of them being “mini” versions of their normal selves. You can serve scones and tea sandwiches (sandwiches with filling such as egg salad, chicken salad or cucumber/cream cheese, crusts cut off, cut into 4 triangular shaped pieces), small fruits & veggies and tea of course.
You can also encourage the children to discuss their club experience ~ what did they learn? What was their favorite part of the club?

For more about information about Fancy Nancy, visit