After the school day ends, many children in the U.S. participate in activities focused on education, the arts, music, health, sports, physical fitness and relaxation. These supervised, group activities are called afterschool activities, and many children make friends this way. Afterschool activities give children the chance to spend time with their peers, learn from mentors, and learn life skills that can help them feel more confident in their new community. They are a great way to help newcomers feel comfortable in a new country and at school.   Here are some types of afterschool activities that are popular in the U.S.:


Many children in the U.S choose to play sports after school. Soccer, basketball, baseball, running, gymnastics, volleyball and swimming are popular in the U.S. Joining a sports team is a great way for your child to make friends, stay healthy, exercise and develop team skills.


Arts and Music 
Your child’s school or other organizations in the community may offer arts and music programs after school for low or no cost. These programs offer activities like drawing, painting, writing, photography, filmmaking, theater, dance, or singing in a choir. Some music programs offer low cost or free musical instrument rentals and lessons. 


Community Engagement 
Student volunteering and community service is very important in many parts of the U.S. Some states even require a certain number of volunteer hours to be completed for a student to graduate high school. A record of volunteer work and community engagement is also looked upon favorably when applying to a college or university.


Where Can I Find Out More?

Schools, cultural centers, places of worship, libraries, community centers and non-profit organizations are some places that may offer afterschool activities. Ask about afterschool activity opportunities at your child’s school administration. Most are free or low cost and can be arranged so they do not interfere with your child’s routine and responsibilities at home. Always make sure that the program has policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of your child. This includes making sure that all staff have background checks, there are appropriate child to staff ratios, staff have received appropriate training, and for sports activities, someone is available on site who knows first aid and CPR.