School starts, and life begins to feel really hectic again. It’s your job to make sure the kids get a healthy breakfast, have all their school supplies packed and arrive on time before the first bell.
Then, 3 p.m. arrives and the final bell rings. Time for a little relief, right?
Dozens of businesses and organizations — from ice cream shops to the YMCA — cater to the after-school crowd. They offer a fun intermission — or perhaps just a little recharge — for parents and kids alike before they get on with the business of homework, chores and getting dinner ready for the family.
Here’s a look at a few ways to break up your day, get some quality time with your kids and hit the reset button before the evening hours set in. In this case, the focus is on mostly healthy activities that help integrate activity, creativity and nutrition into your lives.
Few cities have a creative spirit as active and inspiring as Austin. Take advantage of all that raw talent, and start exploring your child’s interests in music, painting and literature.
– Austin Creative Art Center offers after-school programs that teach kids about art materials, history and appreciation through inspiring art projects. Classes start at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. They’re located near the Belmont neighborhood near 30th and North Lamar.
– Don’t forget science can be artful, especially for youngsters. Mad Science offers programs that show kids the magic of science through demonstrations and hands on activities, such as building model rockets and periscopes. Locations vary depending on what school your child attends.
– Make movies, music and build something! Growin’ Together has classes everyday that focus on different creative outlets for kids ages 5 to 12. Classes run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pick one day a week — or go for all five. Kids get a snack and all the materials they need included in the cost, which is adjustable for low-income families. It’s located near the Zilker neighborhood just south of downtown at 1701 Toomey Rd.
Add a little fun to the traditional after-school snack. Some parents like to engage their kids in new produce and flavors by letting them try a new fruit or meal plan. Dozens of websites offer ideas on things to prepare with your kids.
— The Cook, Learn, Grow program by Lori’s Culinary Co. gives kids a chance to learn about food and nutrition while putting together some tasty concoctions. They have locations throughout the city.
— The Food Network has no shortage of ideas that you can whip up with your children — providing both a snack and a learning opportunity.
— Wholesome Generation offers classes in food preparation and nutritious choices as an alternative after-school activity. Visit their website to inquire about enrollment.
Fitness and Nature
Austin is brimming with places to hike. Most of them have a lot of shade. And a little hike is one of the best ways to bond with your child and discover new things in nature. Many neighborhoods have high-quality trails nearby — so you could plan this activity close to home or at a friend’s house.
– Consider a stroll around Central Park, tucked conveniently behind the Central Market grocery store on 38th Street and North Lamar. Follow the walk up with a healthy snack and pick up some groceries all in one stop. It’s close by for folks living in Rosedale, Belmont and Hyde Park.
– Another option is introducing your child to an after-school sport to keep them active. The City of Austin has a flag football program for children under age 12. Registration ends Sept. 5, and practices start Sept. 29. Teams are located in all parts of the city.