Looking for no-prep (& calming) after school activities for all ages?
You’ve come to the right place! No-prep after school activities will calm your afternoon and help frame your after school routine.
We also added some of our favorite tips to give a little more insight into how to help everyone feel successful after a long day.
RELATED: Want to be more active with your child’s learning but confused about the language to use? Check out WONDER; Playing to Learn.
First, have children clean out thier lunchboxes.
Three kids times three lunches.
What’s the outcome?
A LOT of containers to wash after school.
Rather than take on the responsibility of emptying the lunchbox, I gladly pass this task on to the boys. Before the boys get home, I fill up the sink with some water and a little soap.
Here’s what happens next after school:
- The kids arrive home.
- The boys find their lunchboxes and snack container if used.
- They empty everything from snacks to lunch, including an empty water bottle, into the sink.
Doing this first thing helps my children build a routine of being a helper right after school.
It takes the task of me digging through backpacks and reminds them of the effort that goes into working together as a team.
I’ve included some of our favorite school lunch containers below.
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Next, let’s talk about after school snacks.
When I was a teacher, I was STARVING by the end of the day. It was likely an 11:10 “lunch” that didn’t hold me over until 3 PM.
It is also likely that your children come home the same way. So let’s greet them with a snack after they clean out thier lunchboxes.
Next, think about how you feel after a day of parenting or being at work.
Do you jump in a hot shower? Are you ready to run out the door for a quick workout? Perhaps you want just 30 minutes of Real Housewives or read a book without background noise.
You guessed it. Kids need that too.
You know your child best.
It may also be a show. It may be meeting children at the playground to move their bodies. And it may be a no-prep activity that kids can dive into and work through thoughts and emotions.⠀
Whichever you choose, choose it without guilt. Do what helps your child decompress.
Children may be tired and hungry and also need a second to switch gears.
RELATED: No prep and low prep. I’ve got you covered! Check out our activity cards.
Here are three no-prep after school activities to help!
The other day my KIndergartener was playing with Kinetic sand. He looked up at me and told me how the sand helps him calm down as he was working.
WOW. That was a powerful reflection!
Remember to use Beach Sand Kinetic Sand when playing. It has less mess and is easier to clean up.
RELATED: Want to spice up your kinetic sand with some creative ideas? Check out these 20 Kinetic Sand Activities.
Jump in the bath for an after school activity!
I’m always up for a bath and pajamas in the late afternoon.
It gets off some germs and refreshes the second part of the day. With everyone comfy, they are more up for some play at home.
Simple toys we add to the bath are:
- Funnels – hello Dollar Store
- Play food
- Race cars
- Foam blocks
- Duplos – via my good friend, Busy Toddler
Clay or Playdough also makes great no-prep activities!
Last year we discovered air-dried clay.
Make a few creations for yourself and gift a few to grandparents or family friends. You can keep the pottery unpainted or learn all the details of what to do with the clay creations after they dry in this post here.
Playdough can also be kept super simple. I rethink complicated play dough setups and keep things simple.
RELATED: Art is another terrific way to wind down after school. Take a peek at our Art Cart!
For even more low prep ideas, be sure to check out: