Our region offers rich after-school activities for kids
School offers engagement and social interaction for your child. If they have to head home to a quiet house with television as their only company, it can be a bummer for them when the bell rings at 3 p.m. Even if they’re happy to get out of their desks and off the school grounds, children still crave the fun and excitement of the school environment. Plus, the work day usually doesn’t end at 3 p.m., leaving many parents scrambling to find some fun for their kiddo after classes are over.
Most families face this dilemma in the afternoon hours, and that’s why our region has an amazing calendar of after school activities for students. Check out these educational, enriching after school programs for school-aged students in the Boulder and Northern Colorado area. From rock climbing to dance to music, there’s something for every little mind in our diverse community.
YMCA of Northern Colorado
The YMCA of Northern Colorado provides after school programs within the Mapleton YMCA in Boulder, the Arapahoe YMCA in Lafayette, and the Longmont YMCA. These in-house programs feature clubs, swim time, swim lessons, sports and, at the Arapahoe YMCA, ice skating! In the Boulder Valley and Saint Vrain Valley School Districts, the YMCA even provides transportation from schools to the centers. “During after school care, students enjoy homework help, active play, STEM projects, SEL lessons, cooking and nutrition activities and team building fun,” says Julia Capnerhurst, executive director of school age programs and day camp for the YMCA of Northern Colorado. The YMCA also provides after school programming on-site at schools throughout Thompson and Weld RE-5J school districts. One in three children in these programs are on CCAP state assistance or YMCA financial assistance. “That ensures that our programs are equitable and in reach for all families, no matter their income and financial situation,” says Capnerhurst. “It helps kids bridge the achievement gap by giving them a positive, supportive, uplifting place to go while their parents or guardians are working or looking for work.” For more information, visit ymcanoco.org/toddler-to-teen.
ABC Kids Climbing
ABC Kids Climbing offers after school rock climbing programs for children ages 4 to 19, including introductory classes and 10- to 12-week comprehensive programs. “After school activities are a great way for kids to have fun, make new friends, and continue learning and challenging themselves in a very natural way – through play,” says Chris Hampson, director of recreation programs at ABC Kids Climbing. “Climbing helps kids learn body awareness, build strength, and develop healthy exercise habits. Our programs are designed to grow with the kids as they increase in age and ability, and there are always new challenges.” For more information, visit abckidsboulder.com.
Colorado Conservatory of Dance
Classes at the Colorado Conservatory of Dance (CCD) are available to ages 1 and up, with a focus on accessible, inclusive dance education. “We actively create a body-safe environment where dancers can love their own physical form and engage with themselves as artists in a vulnerable and authentic way,” says Julia Wilkinson Manley, artistic director at CCD. Classes include ballet technique, somatics, jazz, modern, contemporary, pas de deux and more. CCD also has a program called Dance Expressions, which uses a specifically designed, adaptive curriculum to provide children of all abilities with a therapeutic and fun dance experience. Their Accelerate! program is specifically designed to teach new dancers ages 9+ the critical fundamentals of ballet and/or jazz, so that after a year of training, they are able to integrate into the CCD’s intermediate program. For more information, visit ccdance.org.
Music lessons are another great way to spend the after-school hours. Local Boulder music shop HB Woodsongs offers private music lessons both in-person in their studios as well as virtually, depending on the teacher. “HB Woodsongs provides resources for students to succeed in school music programs, including instrument rentals, private music lessons for all ages, and books and supplies,” says Shawn Cupolo, co-owner of HB Woodsongs. “Private music lessons can help students who are in school band or orchestra classes thrive, by supplementing their musical knowledge and technique, as well as building their confidence. One-on-one music lessons can provide more individualized attention that students might not be able to get in larger music classes.” For more information visit hbwoodsongs.com.
Production Company Dance Centre
Production Company Dance Centre offers year-round registration for Longmont dance classes in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, children’s creative movement, and acro/tumbling for children 2 and up. “Our dance studio is a place where lifelong friendships are formed, work ethic and dedication are developed, and special memories are made,” says Stephanie Odenbach, PCDC Artistic Director. “PCDC is unique in that it is the only local YPAD certified dance studio. YPAD stands for Youth Protection Advocates In Dance and it is an educational training to protect and develop healthy, happy dancers. PCDC staff is background checked, CPR/First Aid certified, and trained in injury prevention, risk management in the dance environment, social media safety, developmentally appropriate artistry, and conflict resolution.” For more information, visit productioncompanydance.com.
Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids
Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids offers a series of after school classes twice a year, once in the fall and once in the winter. Students meet one day each week for 8 to 10 weeks and end with a final presentation for family and friends. Classes for students from kindergarten to 4th grade include Creative Play and Movement, Musical Revues, Acting, and Character Play. The topics become more sophisticated for 4th through 9th graders, with classes like Scene and Script Study, Improvisation, and Audition Preparation. “These classes provide a way for students to connect with themselves and others,” says executive director Barry Freniere. “They emphasize the creative process and nurture imagination, which can be translated to other artistic and life endeavors. The ensemble or group nature of these classes foster team-building and communication skills in a safe, inclusive learning environment where self-expression, collaboration, and growth are promoted.” For more information visit theaterforkids.net.
By Emma Castleberry for Raised in the Rockies
Photos courtesy of Production Company Dance Centre, ABC Kids Climbing, YMCA of Northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids