10 Best After School Programs in Colorado

After the school day ends, learning doesn’t have to stop. From art to science to gardening to tutoring, Colorado’s after-school programs provide enriching opportunities for young people. These programs challenge young minds in new and innovative ways. Here are just a few of our favorites. 

Kids Club 360, Colorado Springs, CO

This before and after-school program takes places at a number of public schools around town. Each school offers a slightly different program, but in general kids five to 12 will get homework help and opportunities for social interaction that includes dramatic play, a construction zone, game table and an arts and crafts area. Kids have so much fun, they forget that learning is happening too!

Science Matters in America, Littleton, CO

Yes, science can be fun. This after-school program proves that. The focus is science literacy for girls and boys ages five to 14. Students take part in meaningful hands-on projects and activities, all of which have a fun quotient. The program’s emphasis is on STEM topics: science, technology, engineering and math. Students might build a telescope or an electromagnet in any one of the elementary or community schools where this program is offered.

SpaceTimeKids, Parker, CO

Engage! No, not a booster rocket but a child’s mind. That’s what happens for kids in Kindergarten through sixth grade who participate at this after-school spot. Programs take place at a variety of locations and cover a wide-range of science subjects including astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, space exploration, exobiology, planetary, stellar and the physical sciences. The primary goal is fun and that happens with hands-on, minds-on educational activities, exercises and demonstrations.

Sunflower Kids Art Studio, Boulder, CO

Young people will learn to paint in a variety of mediums, draw, sculpt and learn the basics of composition at this colorful, inviting and creative space. Children learn how to create a piece of art from a simple sketch to a finished painting. After-school sessions are in small groups so each child can receive individual instruction. Kids move well past finger painting and discover their own love of the arts and art history.

Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge, CO

This drop-in program is designed to promote healthy physical activity and eating behaviors in children. It follows the CATCH, Coordinated Approach to Child Health, curriculum. Children participate in a 30-minute nutritional lesson that includes a healthy snack, followed by an hour of physical activity and non-elimination games. The aim is to teach young people to make healthy decisions … and have fun. Swimming is a mandatory activity for all participants.

Riverside Educational Center, Grand Junction, CO

Students of all ages, from Kindergarten to high school benefit from the tutoring and enrichment programs provided by the staff at this Center. The key objectives are two-fold, to inspire improved academic achievement and foster positive social and emotional development. Tutoring focuses on help with homework and activities to develop reading, writing and math skills. Enrichment activities highlight art, music, dance, cooking and building and technology.

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Champions, Fort Collins, CO

Fun may be the operative word for kids here, but it’s really just a cover for the creative learning that takes place. Young people get to explore their own interests in areas like creative arts, math and construction, puzzles and games, science and at the on-site library, a bookworm’s paradise. Homework help is provided, as is daily fitness activity and healthy snacks. The tenets of the program cover character development, creative expression, inquiry-based learning and literacy.

Washington Street Community Center, Denver, CO

All ages congregate at this neighborhood hub of activities. The after-school program brings elementary school-aged children together in an environment that promotes emotional, intellectual, physical and social growth in a safe and creative environment. Daily hands-on activities are provided, as well as weekly enrichment opportunities. Monthly family events are held and students participate in regular community service opportunities. An understanding of stewardship, leadership, plus problem solving skills and nourishing healthy relationships are the anticipated end results.

The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado, Durango, CO

Kids will get their hands dirty, plant a garden and learn where their food comes from as participants of the Dirt Club at local elementary schools around town. Growing food for healthy eating, undertaking garden maintenance, learning about soil and worms, making nature-based crafts, plus nature-inspired art, games and activities all get young people outside and in their school garden. For grades first through fourth.

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Girls on the Run, Pagosa Springs, CO

Girl power! That’s what happens at this program designed solely for third and fourth grade girls. The curriculum inspires girls to tap into their own inner strength, building confidence and learning how to define their lives on their own terms. Physical activity is part of the commitment to participate. The goal is to increase fitness and build healthy habits. At the end of the session, all girls take part in a non-competitive 5k run, proving that confidence comes through accomplishment.

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