There are many affordable afterschool programs that can help kids maintain or improve their academic skills – and do it in a fun and unexpected way. “We try to lift up all different kinds of programs, providing young people with well-rounded learning opportunities,” says Sara Plachta Elliott, Ph.D., executive director of the Youth Development Resource Center. “Academic enrichment doesn’t necessarily have to look like school.”

An adult looks over a students work while the student writes on paper with a pencil.

Parents might think about a theatre arts program that lets kids be expressive while teaching them how to read dialogue or write their own play. A robotics program is a great choice for helping kids brush up on their math skills while using their imagination. Many programs gathered by Discover Your Spark think outside of the rigorous academic box, making learning a blast. 

For children who might need extra help, academic tutoring is an option to consider. When exploring these kinds of opportunities, look for programs with one-on-one attention or a small group setting. This helps children get deeper, more focused attention than they might receive during the regular school year. 


What to Look for

  • Programs that approach learning in a fun way
  • Programs that test at the beginning and end of course to assess progress
  • Libraries with reading programs or book clubs


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