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5 Ways to Keep Kids Learning after the School Day Ends

Learning doesn't only have to be in the classroom. Your inquisitive student can quench his or her thirst for knowledge through all kinds of engaging opportunities, including extra- and co-curricular activities. Here are a few after-school programs that are both fun and educationally valuable for kids of all ages and grade levels:

1. Community service organizations

Joining a service-oriented group can be a very rewarding experience for kids. Not only will they feel good about helping others, but their involvement also comes with educational benefits. Volunteering allows students to apply knowledge gained inside the classroom to real-world experiences, build problem-solving skills and enhance self-confidence, all while being exposed to various social issues. It can also be a great way to connect with other people and enhance your child's college and job applications.

2. Robotics club

Robotics clubs are a fun way to engage your child in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. They teach students programming skills, how to apply math and science principles and develop problem-solving skills through project-based learning. Kids often benefit from learning about real-world challenges and then analyzing, designing, prototyping and engineering a solution.

3. Multicultural clubs

Multicultural clubs offer a unique opportunity to connect with a variety of people and to teach students about different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. These clubs not only help to increase exposure and sensitivity to various groups, but they also help students evaluate critical issues related to prejudice, stereotypes, social justice and self-image. Presenting kids with ideas related to social inequities invites the development of critical thinking skills.

4. Book clubs

Book clubs are the perfect platform for students to increase their vocabulary, strengthen analysis skills, improve critical thinking skills and connect with other students with similar interests. For kids who are already voracious readers, a book club can encourage them to expand their horizons and expose them to new ideas by requiring them to read texts they may not normally consider. It can also introduce your child to new literary concepts, such as character foils, conflict, imagery and many others.

5. Foreign language clubs

Foreign language clubs allow students to hone their reading, writing and speech skills in another language. Children who practice speaking with others in another language can increase their comfort with interpersonal communication and public speaking. They can also learn a lot about other countries, cultures and traditions. Learning a foreign language requires the recall of a large amount of vocabulary words and syntax rules, and the use of these recall skills can benefit students in every other academic discipline. Plus, the ability to speak a second language can be a valuable addition to their skillset.

Brenna Tonelli is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a curated marketplace for private tutors. The company also builds mobile learning apps, online tutoring environments, and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies.