How Stuff Works suggests a variety of after-school program ideas for kids, including community service programs, exercise and sports programs, exploring the community and science programs. Most successful after-school programs balance structured activities with unstructured time to allow kids to unwind after a long day at school.
After-school programs that focus on community service help children become more connected to their hometowns through volunteering. Community service can range from volunteering at food banks to helping out at animal shelters. Schools often team with local non-profits to start a community service after-school program.
After-school programs that allow kids to explore their communities often arrange for a variety of field trips to local museums and other attractions. These programs can also take kids exploring in the outdoors. After-school programs affiliated with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H organizations often take advantage of these kinds of resources.
Sports and exercise programs are very popular as after-school options. Students can join teams at every skill level, or the after-school program can arrange for less-structured pick-up games of various sorts. These programs help kids stay fit and sometimes include instruction regarding healthy eating.
Kids who love science are often excited about after-school programs, such as those developed by NASA or the Mad Science programs. Some of these programs allow kids to learn about biology, rocketry and other scientific fields.