Best After School Programs in Orange County

July 3, 2015 5:28 AM

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)

Almost every parent faces the challenge of how to keep the kids occupied in the hours between school letting out and dinner. Here is a sampling of some of the options available in The OC.”
(credit: YMCA of Orange County)

(credit: YMCA of Orange County)

YMCA of Orange County
Various Locations

Serving children ages 5-12, the YMCA Afterschool Program is offered at right on campus at over 50 elementary school campuses in Orange County. Designed to provide a safe, structured and fun enviornment for children, the YMCA Afterschool program meets parents needs by also offering safety, homework help, recreation and enrichment for children. A list of activities offered includes sports classes and leagues, photography and cooking, science, art, fitness, gardening and much more. Among the program’s goals is “the development of the inner-strength and character of young people”.”

(credit: Starr Ranch Academy)

(credit: Starr Ranch Academy)

Starr Ranch Academy
100 Bell Canyon Rd
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679
(949) 858-0309

Located on 4,000 acres in Trabuco Canyon, Starr Ranch Sanctuary offers after school activities with biologists where children ages 8-12 are invited to learn how the sanctuary’s biologists conduct research on their wildlife and habitats. Past topics have included: reptiles & amphibians and cougars, bobcats & coyotes. Each session ends with a special nature walk with biologists too adding more information for kids to soak up. 

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Aquazot Swim Club
Anteater Recreation Center Sports Fields
680 California Ave
Irvine, CA 92616
(714) 470-3763

Orange County is a breeding ground for world class swimmers—climate and geography make knowing how to swim practically a requirement for residency. With locations in Irvine and San Juan Capistrano, Aquazot Swim Club offers kids year round training and coaching as well as the opportunity to compete on their swim teams. Coaches here are all members of the American Swim Coaches Association and provide each child the opportunity to improve their swimming skills. What’s great about this program is that teaching groups are divided by age group as well as experience, so each child is placed in an environment that is comfortable. 

(credit: Shutterstock)

(credit: Shutterstock)

American Martial Arts Academy
La Mancha Shopping Center
1027 N Harbor Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-3898

If your child wants to learn the craft of martial arts, there is no better afterschool program offered than Fullerton’s American Martial Arts Academy. Offered for more than 11 years, parents and teachers love the program as it provides a safe, structured and exciting environment for kids after they’re let out of class. Although the class is in Fullerton, the Academy services children of all ages from schools in other OC areas like La Habra, Brea, Placentia, Yorba Linda and elsewhere. Kids will learn the skills it takes to become a karate master here as opposed to sitting in daycare or being babysat. Classes here are constructed to improve self-esteem, physical abilities as well as confidence and kids are even picked up by safe and professional drivers directly from school.

(credit: Brain Builders Educational Programs/Yelp)

(credit: Brain Builders Educational Programs/Yelp)

Brain Builders Educational Programs
27601 Forbes Rd
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
(714) 360-1101

Serving Orange County since 2002, Brain Builders serves over 40 schools, including public, private, charter and others. Offering fun and educational enrichment programs for children, activities here are designed to make your child think! From chess and engineering to building, your child will be excited to attend as they’ll be expanding their understanding of the world around them.

Elizabeth Peterson traded her BMV for a minivan, and writes about it at

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