5 Ways Child Care Centers Can Have Extracurricular Activities For Free

As with any business decision, the choice to add extracurricular activities to your child care program should be evaluated on the basis of profit (revenue vs. cost.) Of course, there might be other reasons why you would want to add extracurricular activities but you should at the very least know the financial impact that it would have.

If you are considering adding new activities or classes, you need to think about how much it will cost you to get it started and keep it running. The reality is that you will be able to advertise these programs and discuss them during parent tours. You will likely see an increase in enrollments when parents are made aware of extracurricular activities. It is generally a huge selling point.

So, ask yourself, “Will this new class generate more revenue? Will it encourage parents to enroll their children?” If you think that it will, then it is worth giving it a shot.

And here’s the good news: extracurricular activities don’t have to be expensive or require a lot of time!

Now here are some ways that you can start an enrichment activity for little or no money:

  • Start a program based on a hobby of yours (or someone in your staff). Such programs could include cooking, dance and movement, gymnastics, sculpting, painting, gardening or bird watching. You wouldn’t need to buy many (if any) supplies for such activities. You likely have many of the supplies at your home or center already. Most importantly, you won’t need to hire any new employees or pay anyone to come in and run the program.
  • You can actually make money for starting a class at your center. Plenty of outside companies will be glad to come in and run a program for a small fee to parents. Then, they will give you a portion of their earnings. Such programs might include sports, art, music or social science programs. The parents will love that the kids are getting enrichment at preschool and won’t mind being charged a small fee. You will actually earn money for letting someone else run the whole thing! It doesn’t get better than that! A great example of such a program is Soccer Shots.
  • Consider bartering services with another business or parent of the center. For example, if you wanted to start a soccer program you might ask a parent that you know coaches soccer if they would mind loaning balls to the school and possibly help with coaching. In return, you might give them a discount on child care. If you were to barter with a local business, you might not be able to offer discounts but there are other trades you could make. Perhaps you could offer a local restaurant a free ad in your weekly newsletter in exchange for equipment and tools to run your cooking classes.
  • Try partnering with local charities. If, for example, there is a local children’s charity looking for help with simple tasks like sorting clothes or canned foods, you can have your students help with this job. Another great example might be a food kitchen for which the children could prepare baked goods. This is a great way to teach young children to appreciate what they have and parents will be thrilled at the idea of their children starting charity work at such a young age! This type of program would be inexpensive, if not free.
  • Have the older kids help as teaching assistants or instructors. If you have any older classrooms at your center, or if you run an after-school program, you might have the older children help. Of course, there would always be adult supervision but allowing older kids the opportunity to take on leadership roles is a key to their future success. They could simply help around the rooms or they could run their own little activities. For example, they could put on puppet shows for the younger children or engage them in an outdoor game. This, again, would be very cheap if not totally free.

Parents want to know that their kids are getting the most out of their time with you. It is an enormous decision to leave their child with you for so many hours a day and they want to know that they can expect the very best from your staff and teachers. They will be beyond pleased to hear that you have these types of programs at your center.

Many of the programs could be free to you or even end up bringing in money for your preschool. The ones which would cost you can be very inexpensive and you should expect to see a return on your investment by getting more enrollments. The most important thing to understand is that these programs do not have to be elaborate, costly or take up a great deal of time.


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  • I would like to find a day care for my kids. I would like for the day care service to have more than just taking care of them. I want to make sure that everything is working at all times.

  • Great thoughts. I thinks it’s extremely valuable to have extracurricular activities at daycare centers. Doing different activities is a great way to keep children stimulated and constantly learning new things. As the other commenter mentioned, I also think it could really cultivate young kids, and help them find what they like. We need to continue to open their Minds as well as their horizons.

  • I think that it is a good idea for child car centers to have activities to keep the children occupied while they are there. Certain activities can also help to make sure that the kids are creating good social skills as they interact with each other. It can also help the kids to get out some energy so that when they go back home they will not has as much energy.

  • I just love all of these extracurricular activity options you’ve posted. My favorite one is definitely the first one about starting a program based on a hobby. Not only is it a way for the childcare provider to do what he or she wants, but it also helps kids develop new skills. If I needed to look for a childcare service, I would definitely want to pick one that had extra activities like this available as well. It shows that the provider really cares about the kids they take care of!

  • I think it’s a really good idea to have extracurricular activities at daycare centers! I never heard of this happening, but I think it could really cultivate young kids, and help them find what they like. I grew up in a musical family and my parents put me in a Kindermusic program and though I wasn’t the biggest fan at the time, I learned to love music and too this day, it’s my favorite hobby. and helps me feel fulfilled. Watching my nieces and nephews grow, I’ve learned that kids develop interests a lot younger than you would think. Mind as well open their horizons up more.

  • These are some awesome ideas, especially the one about starting the program based on your hobbies. I feel like if the person teaching or caring for the kids really loves what they are doing, that the kids will also be really excited and love to learn. Hopefully I will be able to find a place like this for my kids, thanks!

  • I think it’s a great idea for a day care center to provide some extracurricular activities. Especially if it’s relatively inexpensive for them and us. We have a little boy that we are thinking of signing up for day care. I bet he would love a painting class or program as you mentioned. Do you know if most day cares offer things like this? Thanks for the great post!

  • I think that the picture above pretty much summarizes everything. I’ve noticed that with kids, you can’t keep them doing the same thing over and over day in and day out. They’ll get bored of it and lose interest. Doing different activities would be a great way to keep them entertained as well as helping them learn new things. Plus, it will help them make friends if the activities are with the whole group!

  • I love the idea of having extracurricular activities being part of day care programs. I haven’t thought of teaming up with local charities but that makes sense to me. There are always great programs going on in neighborhoods. I’m positive you could find a parent or young adult willing to volunteer to coach or teach a class as well.

  • Great post about extracurricular activities at daycare centers. Your idea about having the older kids help the younger ones with activities is a great idea! When I was in daycare, I always felt so important when the babysitter would ask for my help with things. This can be a great way to build kids’ confidence and help them make friends.

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