Valuable and character-building after school activities

With the new school year around the corner, it’s likely that lots of parents are searching for some engaging activities for their child or children to get involved in; new hobbies that will not only be great fun, but also teach them life skills which can be carried into adulthood.

There are a great many options available and it can be difficult, if not time-consuming, for busy parents to evaluate the benefits of one against another. To give you a bit of a helping hand, here are our suggestions for some brilliant and incredibly valuable term-time activities for your kids:

Anyone for tennis?

It can be a struggle to persuade children to get outdoors and do some physical exercise, especially with the attractions of the Xbox or television close to hand. If some serious persuasion is required, then why not tempt your little darlings with a chance to develop their sporting prowess at one of the country’s top facilities?

The world-famous Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club runs a junior programme which comprises term time Mini-Tennis courses for those aged five plus and Mini-Academy KIDZ courses aimed at those aged seven and over – both of which are open to non-members. Members can enjoy exclusive classes on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, plus the opportunity to compete in tournaments. Where better to cultivate that competitive streak? Who knows, you could have a tennis wunderkind on your hands; Centre Court, here they come!

Getting crafty

To teach dexterity and patience while encouraging creativity, nothing beats an arts and craft activity – and there are so many to choose from. Sew Pretty, located in SW19, runs a lovely after school sewing club for children aged 7-14. Budding May Martins and Patrick Grants can learn several essential sewing techniques and take on a variety of projects, from making pencil cases to sewing tutus (what little girl wouldn’t adore that?). The one and a half hour sessions start in September and run up until the Christmas holidays.

If your child is more Turner than tailor, then head around the corner to Mini Artists in SW18. This specialist art studio proudly – to paraphrase – ‘mashes and hides the broccoli in the art soup’ to help children develop vital skills almost without knowing it. Focusing on self-confidence, problem-solving and team work, children can enjoy a range of different classes, split by age. They’ll also learn some fine motor skills plus the fundamental principles of art.


If selflessness is a characteristic that you would like your children to develop, then volunteering might be an option worth considering. The act of doing something good for no physical reward can really help youngsters become grounded, empathetic and appreciative individuals.

Volunteering promotes self-confidence and social skills through making new friends, and has been proven to increase happiness levels – so great for any children that are a little shy. Additionally, it can teach skills that can be used later on when your child enters the world of work, increasing their job prospects significantly. The Prince’s Trust website lists lots of volunteering opportunities for young people all over the country, while local appeals for help can be found on vInspired’s site. Alternatively, the whole family can take up the challenge.

Dance the afternoon away

We can’t possibly talk about educational and fun after school clubs without mentioning our own kids’ dance classes. Yes, it’s shameless self-promotion, but our structured programme deserves to be shouted about. It doesn’t only teach a plethora of dance styles, but also promotes an awareness of health and fitness, builds confidence, instils good manners and develops communication skills. The classes are great fun and set in the most luxurious environment – making kids feel truly special.

Four to 16 year olds will adore our syllabus, which covers Latin, ballroom, freestyle and hip-hop. Accredited by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing examination board, young dancers can work towards attaining bronze, silver and eventually intermediate gold status. They may additionally have the chance to take an assessment or perform a show dance in front of Karen herself. These accolades are recognised around the world and look extremely impressive on any child’s record of achievement.

Even better, your child could have the opportunity to qualify for the British National Dance Championship, which is held in Blackpool’s fabled Empress Ballroom.

Plus it’s great fun – did we say that?

More than a dance studio