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The Most Creative After-School Activities for Kids Ages 6-12

Ready to never hear the phrase “I’m bored” ever again?

Finding fun activities for your kids to do after school can be tough. Not only is it time-consuming, but it can also be overwhelming. But you’d love to find activities that light up your little one’s creativity and cognitive abilities rather than having them sit and play video games for hours.

Check out this roundup of the most creative after-school activities for ages 6-12. There’s something here for elementary students all through middle school. P.S. You’re going to want to bookmark this page.

1. Marble Run

Ah, the wonders of DIY easy activities for kids. Something as simple as rolling marbles down a makeshift track can bring kids so much joy. But it’s not just about the entertainment factor. This critical thinking activity also sparks imagination and problem-solving skills in children. As they design their maze-like structures using nothing but tape and recycled toilet paper rolls, they learn about gravity and momentum–a little physics homework help. Plus, doing this activity with other kids or siblings and learning to work together will build your little one’s social skills and emotional development.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper towel or toilet paper rolls
  • Painter’s tape
  • Marbles or small rolling balls
  • Scissors
  • Basket

Learn more on TinkerLab

2. Marshmallow Toothpick Building

This seemingly simple activity is a fantastic way to unleash your child’s creativity and keep them entertained for hours. Can we pause and appreciate the versatility of marshmallows? These squishy little treats are like edible building blocks just waiting to be transformed into architectural masterpieces. Whether your child wants to construct a towering skyscraper or a wobbly bridge that defies the laws of physics, marshmallows are up for the challenge. Let your kids of all ages have fun being marshmallow architects!

Materials Needed:

  • Marshmallows
  • Toothpicks

Learn more on Play Teach Repeat

3. Galaxy Jars

Looking for a stellar activity to keep your little ones entertained when there’s no afterschool program? Look no further than this DIY galaxy jar! This hands-on project is not only a fun way to unleash creativity, but it also teaches your kids about the wonders of the universe. Plus, you’ll have an excuse to break out the glitter without worrying too much about it getting absolutely everywhere (well, maybe just a little). Your kids are sure to have an out-of-this-world crafting adventure with this unique idea.

Materials Needed:

  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Tempera paint (at least 2 colors)
  • Cotton balls
  • Glitter
  • Water

Learn more on Mom Dot

4. Popsicle Stick Bird Feeder

Having your kids create popsicle stick bird feeders is not only a fun activity, but it’s also a treat for your local feathered friends. And the fun doesn’t stop after the craft–your kids will want to sit and watch the birds flock to their feeder for hours. 

Materials Needed:

  • Jumbo craft sticks or popsicle sticks
  • Hot glue gun or wood glue
  • Twine
  • Bird seed

Learn more on Made With Happy

5. Pom Pom Cannons

Get ready for fluffy projectiles flying across the room–at least they won’t break anything! This after-school activity is not only ridiculously fun but also a great way to keep those little ones entertained and unleash their inner inventors. From building their cannons to launching their fluffy ammo, every aspect is a learning moment.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper cups or toilet paper rolls
  • 12” balloons
  • Pom poms
  • Duct tape
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors

Learn more on Little Bins for Little Hands

6. Paper Plate Kite

Who knew you could make a kite from a paper plate? Keep your kids entertained and busy after school for hours while you have them create their own flying kites. The best part of this activity is having your kids decorate it and watching their faces light up when they see their masterpiece soar through the sky.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper plates
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Kite string
  • Yarn or other string
  • Scrap fabric
  • Craft sticks

Learn more on The Country Chic Cottage

7. Squirt Gun Painting

Forget the traditional paint brushes your kids have to use in art class or creative private lessons, and get ready for some splashy colorful chaos. This activity is like painting meets a water fight, and you best believe the results are guaranteed to be as unique as a Picasso.

Materials Needed:

  • Squirt guns
  • Watercolor paper
  • Liquid watercolor paint
  • Easel

Learn more on Fireflies & Mud Pies

8. Ice Cream in a Bag

This creative activity is a win-win situation. Not only do your little ones get to have fun, but they also get to enjoy a delicious homemade treat afterward. This is sure to pique a child’s interest. Gather your little chefs and get ready for an icy activity filled with giggles and sweetness.

Materials Needed:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tsp sugar

Learn more on Growing a Jeweled Rose

9. Stained Glass Sidewalk Chalk

An after-school activity can be simple yet still entertain your kids for hours. All you need is two materials (that you probably already have at home): painter’s tape and sidewalk chalk. Have your kids go nuts taping their triangle formations and filling in the areas with different colors. The final design is sure to be a masterpiece–one the entire neighborhood will stop and stare at.

Materials Needed:

  • Painters tape
  • Sidewalk chalk

Learn more on Your Modern Family

10. Giant Floor Maze

It’s like a regular maze, but super-sized and perfect for little ones with big imaginations. Your kid will navigate through twists, turns, and dead ends trying to find their way out. Not only will they think it’s fun, but they’ll develop problem-solving and necessary life skills as they strategize their way out of your homemade labyrinth. You can even step the learning up a notch and build math skills by involving your kids in measuring the maze out with you. This will fully check your box for finding perfect enrichment activities.

Materials Needed:

  • Colored tape or painter’s tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Maze template (A quick Google search)
  • Toy car

Learn more on Craftivity Designs

11. Giant Nail Salon

Bring the glitz and glamor of a nail salon right into your living room. Not only is this activity incredibly entertaining, but it also helps develop fine motor skills as they carefully paint each nail. Plus, it’s a great way to encourage creativity and self-expression!

Materials Needed:

  • Cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Black sharpie
  • Ice cube tray
  • Washable kids paint
  • Small paint brushes

Learn more on Happy Toddler Playtime

12. Sensory Box Guessing Game

Have your kids embark on a tactical exploration journey with this DIY sensory box. It’s a simple, yet fun after-school activity for the little ones. Essentially, you just pop two holes in a cardboard box and place a mystery item inside. Kids will go nuts trying to guess what the items are–be sure to think outside the box when picking your items (it makes it more fun)!

Materials Needed:

  • Cardboard box (medium size)
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper
  • Sticky tape

Learn more on Hands on as we grow

13. Bubble Wrap Stomp Art

Unleash your kid’s inner Van Gogh with every hop! This physical activity is an absolute sensory stimulator for kids – the squishy sensation under their feet combined with the gratifying sound of bubble wrap being popped is enough to make any child giggle. And the masterpiece when done? Truly one of a kind. *Adds to fridge*

Materials Needed:

  • Tempera paint
  • Easel paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Paper plate
  • Bubble wrap

Learn more on Mess for Less

14. Snack Necklaces

What’s one of the first things kids do when they come home from school? Raid the pantry for an after-school snack. This unique activity fulfills their snack cravings while sparking their creativity and building their hand-eye coordination. Grab some string, gather up tasty treats, and let your little ones show off their new snack jewelry.

Materials Needed:

  • Large eye plastic sewing needles
  • String or yarn
  • Appetizer dish
  • Various snacks

Learn more on Happy Toddler Playtime

15. Balloon Tennis

Rainy after-school day? Have your kids whack around some balloons with fly swatters while they simultaneously refine their gross motor skills. No need to sign them up for a martial arts class to get their energy out. You can even add a little competition to the mix: Whoever drops their balloon first loses a point. Blow up those balloons and let the games begin!

Materials Needed:

  • Balloons
  • Fly swatters

Learn more on Tiny Bins for Little Hands

Ready, Set, Play!

No after-school programs, school clubs, or extracurricular activities going on? Not a problem. From arts and crafts to yummy snack necklaces and bubble wrap art, there’s a variety of activities for every young mind to do after school. The key is to have these fun ideas planned out ahead of time. Be sure to save this list somewhere you can always come back to.