fternoon activities for children

Afternoon activities for children in Germany

Children are keen on afternoon activities offered by schools

After the bell, it’s time to get out of school? That’s not always true, as a survey shows. Many children don’t find afternoon activities stupid at all. According to a study, every second child is interested in afternoon activities.

Parents with school-age children know this well: canceled classes and days off school make the children happy but present parents with the task of quickly finding a childcare alternative. In addition, many working parents have to bridge the afternoon hours between the end of school and their end of the day. We highlight standard after-school childcare options.

1. Afternoon activities offered by the school

Meanwhile, many schools offer afternoon activities and AGs for their students. These usually occur in groups and range from homework supervision to music, theater, art, and sports activities. The children remain in an environment that is familiar to them, pursue their hobbies and at the same time receive professional supervision.

2. After-school care

The after-school program offers another option for afternoon care. This educational facility is usually available to elementary school children. Many after-school care facilities provide lunch and homework supervision for the little ones. However, many school after-school programs close at 4 p.m.

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3. Individual afternoon care

Individual afternoon care provided by a babysitter or nanny is another alternative. The caregiver can pick up your child from school and care for it until you return home in the evening. If you already have an occasional babysitter for the evenings, maybe they could also regularly look after your child(ren) after school. The advantage: the little ones know the babysitter well.

4. Youth centers

Public facilities are also possible for your children to bridge the time until you get off work. Check with your local youth welfare office and make sure that the youth center of your choice offers professional childcare and, if possible, meals for the children.

5. Flexible working hours

If you and your partner can organize your working hours flexibly and arrange them with each other, this is also a solution to the problem of afternoon care. Take turns! For example, one parent could go to the office very early in the morning while the other takes the kids to school. This way, in the afternoon, one parent would be home again when the kids get out of school.

6. Working from home

activities for children in Germany
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Working from home, you have the ideal foundation for afternoon childcare. However, this works better with older children than with the youngest ones, who often demand your attention. It’s best to discuss with your HR department what work-from-home options are available to you and afford a babysitter once in a while or during important meetings.

7. Family & friends as jumpers

Many parents opt for care within their own family, such as grandparents or families in their circle of friends. The children know the caregivers and the grandparents are happy to see their grandchildren. However, they also have their daily schedules, and many of your friends will also be working. An excellent alternative to this is to form a parenting group.

8. Parent association

You can also start a parenting association where parents or neighbors who are friends join together and take turns caring for the children. For example, one parent is responsible for child care on a particular afternoon, another on the next, and so on. Make arrangements as needed and set rules together ahead of time. Maybe babysitter sharing is an alternative you would like to think about with your friends.

Good afternoon care provides your child with a safe environment, meals, and time to play and do homework. In any case, consider your child’s interests, preferences, and needs when looking for appropriate care.

Music as an afternoon activity

music as an afternoon activity for children
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There are various ways to introduce a child to music at a very young age. Decisive is the question of age. 

We want to give you a small overview of the possibilities for the different age groups.

2-4-year-old children

It can be beneficial to introduce a child to music at the age of 2 or 3 through an elementary Musikgarten course – (preliminary stage of early musical education) in a very informal and playful way. The children are engaged in small groups with rhythmic movement and singing games, musical journeys and good experiences, and finally getting to know the different musical instruments without learning them technically. Learning to read music would also be too much for the children.

5-6-year-old children

At the age of 5 to 6 years, the early musical education that follows deals much more specifically with the individual instruments, their sounds, and timbres. It also already sets the course for instrumental lessons and reading music.

From 6 years

Then comes the big question: What’s next. Children can start not every instrument at age 6. Piano, guitar, ukulele, keyboard, recorder, percussion (drums, etc.) are instruments on which five and 6-year-olds can make their first experiences. In the case of string instruments, you can use the Suzuki method to teach a 4-year-old child to play the violin. The question is how useful this is.

Specific wind instruments, such as the saxophone, require a particular body size and finger length to learn. The incisors should already be fully developed, and otherwise, the embouchure with the mouthpiece becomes difficult. Here are some ages for orientation:

From 6: Piano, guitar, ukulele, keyboard, recorder, percussion (drums, etc.).

From 7/8: clarinet, trumpet

From 9 years: Saxophone and other wind instruments

Sports in the afternoon: Which sports suit your child?

Whether your child will later develop into a sports fan or an exercise slacker is often decided early on. That’s why children in kindergarten should already be active in sports. But one thing is most important: Sports should be fun for children! But what should you choose from the multitude of sports, and how can you best encourage or support your child? 

sport activities for children in Germany
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Sports promote many essential skills in your child

If your child joins a sports club – and even the youngest children can do this in parent-child gymnastics – it not only improves their physical performance. At the same time, sports also strengthen your child’s social skills. In the group, they learn to make social contacts, follow the rules, and practice dealing with others of the same age. Team sports emphasize team spirit and fair play, and your child can also learn how to lose. In general, sports strengthen your child’s self-confidence – especially in sports such as judo and karate or in horseback riding and vaulting.

Sports for children: At first, a parent must join in

Even toddlers have great fun doing gymnastics when mom or dad is involved. In parent-child gymnastics, children as young as two can gain meaningful movement experiences and train their body awareness. Make sure that the gymnastics classes are designed appropriately for children. Otherwise, your child may quickly find them boring. For example, little ones love singing games and little stories that incorporate the exercises. The best thing to do is to ask other parents how the classes are run in advance. Parent-child gymnastics is offered by sports clubs or adult education centers and costs €30 per year.

Sport for children as targeted training for development?

When a child is a bit clumsy, parents are faced with which sport is best to make up for these deficits. They are tempted to “persuade” them to play a sport where they can practice the movements that still cause them difficulties. But be careful: Your child may not enjoy this sport because it is more difficult for him than for the other children. Don’t focus on the support aspect, but make sure that your child enjoys the movement and the sport!

If your child is always last in the group, they will quickly lose interest because a sense of achievement is essential. For example, if your child has a limp posture, the pediatrician may advise swimming to improve it. But if your child is afraid of the water, you will better serve them by gymnastics or other sports. Exercise in any form will have a positive effect, although some sports are more appropriate for improving a particular skill than others.

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When it comes to sports for children, too much ambition is harmful

Although you may be disappointed that your son is not into soccer or your daughter does not share your love of ballet, don’t make decisions over your child’s head and always consider your child’s wishes when choosing sports! Also, beware of too much athletic ambition. Please don’t compare your child’s athletic achievements with those of other children, but always measure his progress only against his achievements! If parents are not satisfied with their child’s achievements and try to spur them on to top performance, they will lose the fun of sports, and many a child will no longer want to go to the sports club.

Without the support of parents, sports may not yet work out for the little ones, but you should be careful not to be too involved. You should not become a co-trainer and give your child tactical instructions before a soccer game, for example. You can support your child better if you motivate them again when the “I’m not in the mood today” mood arises or after a lost game and help them regain their self-confidence.