Community centers and the local “Y” are the best bets for family after-school programs. Although there are parks and museums, few offer family activities during the school year. Minnesota’s public schools work hard to plan and arrange after-school programs for children who have aged out of daycare. Not every program invites parent participation. But these centers feature some of the best family-friendly activities after the classroom and workplace close for the day.
Shoreview Community Center
4580 Victoria St. N.
Shoreview, MN 55126
This community center has an exquisite setting with year-round youth and adult programs. Youngsters can enroll in Tae Kwan Do, after-school sports, ice skating, swimming, fitness classes and other activities to keep them engaged. There are just as many activities for adult family members: sports and fitness, adult learning programs and aquatics. The center has childcare facilities for preschoolers and younger school-age children. Fall registration began in early August, but adults and children can still register.
80 Minnesota Ave.
Little Canada, MN 55117
Little Canada is an amazing Twin Cities neighborhood. One good reason to venture into Little Canada is Tech Academy. This academy reinforces core academic learning and teaches the latest technological breakthroughs that have become academic. Your child will get classroom and hands-on training in the science of robotics, computers, video technology, solar engineering and the elements of Java and Python coding. Adults often remark that today’s children and young adults are born with high tech skills. But these skills were learned somewhere, in institutes such as Tech Academy. Your children will share their newly acquired knowledge with you.
150 West 60th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Leonardo’s Basement started in 1997, when students from a Minneapolis elementary school persuaded their parents to help them start a creative after-school program. This after-school movement made history in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. Leonardo’s Basement, named after da Vinci, has workshops that teach creative problem solving through arts, crafts and applied technology. Workshops range from woodworking to computer-aided design (CAD) with Java and Scratch coding. The coding (computer programming) classes are a core workshop curriculum. Emphasis is on practical hands-on training to help creative minds transform the conceptual into something concrete.
YMCA Twin Cities
2125 E. Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55413
The downtown YMCA and its other locations have a free after-school program for members, ages seven to 14-years-old. Called HYPE (Healthy Youth Positively Engaged), the program features classes in sports, fitness, group activities and arts and crafts. Children and young people can learn how to swim. The YMCA also has many enrichment programs for adults. Both parents and children are encouraged to participate in programs and events. Programs at the downtown location are usually from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
1130 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
The downtown Minneapolis location has five after-school programs for girls and youths. These programs have research-based curriculum developed from culturally diverse needs. Youth workers from public schools, community centers and YWCA metro locations help young people develop life skills. These include skills for academic success and personal achievement. The program for girls focuses on math, science, financial literacy, preparation for STEM careers and leadership development. There are fitness programs for adults and children and swimming lessons in a beautiful facility.
Duluth Area Family YMCA
302 W. First St.
Duluth, MN 55802
The Duluth Area Family YMCA has a Marshall after-school program for children in grades four through six. Children receive after-school supervision and participate in learning and enrichment activities to develop academic and personal skills. The location for the program is: The Marshall School, 1215 Rice Lake Road, Duluth, MN 55811. The contact number for more information is: (218) 722-7266, ext. 218. The Duluth YMCA also has other programs in which children, teens and their parents can participate after school.
Linda Cameron has written home design, home improvement and lifestyle articles for The Boston Globe and City Shopper Magazine. She has related interests in the building industry, travel, real estate and financing. She is a contributor to Examiner, House Spot, Techsling and Behance, covering topics on career, people, businesses, education and technology.