After-School Cool

The value of a good after-school program cannot be overstated. These programs help foster improved classroom performance, behavior, health, and even nutrition, while parents are at work. We’ve taken a look at a few after-school programs in our area that care for children in fun and engaging ways.

Bricks 4 Kidz

If you’ve got a Lego lover, Bricks 4 Kidz might be his happy place. Trained instructors will lead kids through lessons about gears, torque, friction, robotics, stop-motion movie making, and more. Locations: Woodinville, Redmond, and Kent.


Your child’s school might have a relationship with the YMCA, an organization that helps youth engage in active play and develop physical, educational, emotional, and social skills. The YMCA’s certified staff might also offer help with homework. Locations: Bothell, Bellevue, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, and Newcastle.

Chess 4 Life

For more than 10 years, Chess 4 Life has been bringing after-school chess clubs to local schools. Certified chess coaches will come to your school and tailor a curriculum to meet the needs and experience level of students. Locations: Bellevue, Bothell, Issaquah, and Redmond.

Boys and Girls Club 

With a plethora of locations throughout the Eastside, the Boys and Girls Club is committed to providing after-school programs for children from 21/2 to 18. Activities include athletic and academic programs, as well as a Bellevue-based teen center for the older kids, and even a bus to transport teens to the center in the Lake Hills neighborhood. Locations: Bellevue, Redmond, Sammamish, Kirkland, Mercer Island, and Renton.

Kirkland After-School Program

Serving many Kirkland-based elementary schools, this program offers transportation to the center, where martial arts classes; dance and cheer classes; sports activities; and, of course, help with homework is offered. 

Studio East

Studio East offers quarterly, eight-week theater classes for preschool through high school students in the fall, winter, and spring, with training in acting, dancing, or singing. Location: Kirkland


Grasshopper gives your child life tools, like training in business and leadership, written or verbal communication, and foreign language. Grasshopper classes are typically six to eight weeks and meet once a week
for up to 1 ½ hours. Locations: Woodinville, Kenmore, Kirkland, and Bothell. 

Hwang’s Taekwondo School

Students first will follow a structured reading time and supervised homework session, then Hwang’s Taekwondo students will burn off some extra energy with exercise to help them learn balance, coordination, flexibility, and endurance. Transportation is provided from many Lake Washington elementary schools. Locations: Redmond.

Kids Co. 

This program is all about giving the student the ability to choose how to spend her time. Kids are given self-directed, free-play time, or they may choose from an array of group activities, such as cooking, arts and crafts, drama, sports, science, or even group homework sessions. Location: Mercer Island.

Mercer Island Martial Arts

The staff at Mercer Island Martial Arts starts every day with a meditation and focus lesson to allow students the chance to refocus their minds and change gears before studying martial arts. There’s also time for reading or homework, and a snack. Location: Mercer Island.

Positive Ally After-School Academy

According to Positive Ally, “Children absorb just 70 percent of what is taught to them in their classes at school.” To help with the extra 30 percent, Positive Ally uses individualized 30-day study plans with academic reinforcement to augment what students are learning in school. Locations: Issaquah and Redmond. 

Sammamish School

Learn Mandarin, Singapore math, Olympiad math, robotics, table tennis, art, and hip-hop dance at The Chinese Sammamish School. Location: Sammamish.

Si View Metro Parks

Let your child spend his after-school hours developing lasting friendships while participating in activities, such as arts and crafts; games; field trips; and, of course, plenty of homework time. Location: North Bend.


This program allows students to choose the activities that mean the most to them. Whether it is library time for bookworms, or a fresh canvas for a budding artist, every child can follow her passion while waiting to be picked up. Location: Bothell

is the managing editor of 425 magazine. Email her.
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