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After-School Problem-Solvers for Every Personality Type

Kids coming home hangry and frustrated after school? We can help with that.

Sarah Burns

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When that last school bell rings, kids are sent out into a world built for grown-ups, and sometimes the transition from school to home can feel a little rocky. Maybe they're too hangry to live, or super stressed about homework. Maybe they’re totally mute when you ask how their day went — or maybe they’re so hyper, you can’t keep up with the conversation, let alone their pent-up energy.

Making some strategic changes to your after-school routine can help smooth the transition from school to home for everybody involved. That's why we curated this list of solutions for every after-school mood, to help the whole family reset and recharge — and enjoy a relaxed evening together.

If Your Child Is Hangry

Lunchtime and the final bell are sometimes hours apart, which can lead to low blood sugar, rumbly tummies, and a serious case of being an actual troll. Turn after-school-time into snack-time with fun food items that can help build a healthy relationship with food.

Let’s Fix Lunch!

Make a little room on your own plate by giving your independent kid or teen the means to make a meal for themselves! Let’s Fix Lunch! is a fantastic intro to food prep. The recipes are a snap to put together, and focus on healthy, wholesome ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about anyone rolling up to the dinner table too full from their after-school snack.

W&P Star Wars Cookie Cutters

If your picky-eater Ewok comes home from school angrier than a Wookiee that just lost a game of holochess, a regular snack just won’t do. These Star Wars cookie cutters make it easy to create a balanced meal of the light and the dark sides with cookies, sandwiches, or even pancakes. Use the fork, Luke!

Funwares Nachosaurus Snack & Dip Bowl Set

Tame after-school appetites with a sauropod snack that totally rex hunger. Fill Nachosaurus with your favorite chips, pretzels, or veggies, and double-dip the guac using this rock bowl that’s sectioned off from its other half to avoid any dip-contamination.

What You Need If Your Child Is Moody

They’re all smiles when you send them off in the morning, but by the time you pick them up, they’re cranky, sassy, or refuse to even respond. If having a snack on hand isn’t enough to shake off the after school funk, try one of these.

Time For You Sand Timer

Adults have the benefit of a commute home from work to decompress before heading home, but kids typically have a noisy bus ride, or are picked up by a parent. They go from one social interaction to the next all day long, and while they’re happy to see you, they’re probably not ready to field 20 questions about their day. Use this timer as a gentle reminder to yourself to let them have a few minutes when they walk in the door; a couple flips of the timer could help you both be more mindful.

iScream Tie Dye Pastel Earbud Compact

It’s scientifically proven that happy songs have the ability to make us feel happier. Colors can have a similar effect, the way a sunny yellow is associated with happiness, and blues have a calming effect. Try combining their fave tunes with a candy-sweet swirl of the prettiest pastels, and you’re left with a happy brain hack sure to put a smile on their face! 

Streamline Stress Buster Desktop Punching Bag

Sometimes you just need to let out a little aggression — it’s all a part of developing the healthy coping mechanisms we use our entire lives. So let them let it all out. The Stress Buster Desktop Punching Bag can take how they really feel about that dumb pop quiz, or not making the team this semester. 

What You Need If Your Child Is Overstimulated

Are your kids bouncing off the walls the moment they walk in the door, and skip from one topic to the next so fast, you lost them like, three or four topics ago? Do they immediately try to launch into a project at the same time they’re holding (and probably dropping) several unfinished projects? Help them pump the brakes with a pastime designed to help them s l o w  d o w n .

Make Your Own Mondrian

Modern art meets meditation with 37 tiles to arrange to your heart’s content. Bold colors and blocky shapes make for a soothing but engaging puzzle of balance, form, and design — and because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there's really no wrong way to piece them together. The Make Your Own Mondrian set is an engaging quiet activity that can help focus minds, and spark creative inspiration.

Areaware Snake Block

Twisty, turny, and oh-so-tactile, Areaware Snake Blocks are smooth wooden blocks connected by a strong cord, and they’re the perfect size for taking on the go. Fold it up into a rectangle, stretch it out like a snake, and experiment with all the different geometric shapes you can make in between. Keeps fingers and minds busy, minus the bouncing off the walls.

Etch-A-Sketch Classic

Zoning out in front of a screen isn’t always the preferred way to chill out, but you might want to make an exception for this throwback favorite. From the fascinating drawing mechanics, to the endless doodling possibilities, Etch-A-Sketching provides a quick, mess-free creative outlet, and helps focus restless energy.

Open The Joy Origami Kit

Calm chaotic energy by perfecting petal, squash, and crimp folds. Open The Joy invites origami novices into a fascinating world of paper folding with easy-to-follow illustrated instructions. Includes three sizes of rainbow-hued origami paper to make all kinds of flowers, vehicle, and animal pals!

What You Need If Your Child Needs Homework Help

After-school study time doesn’t have to be dull or stressful. If your child is struggling in certain subjects, try one of these gameified lesson tools to put the fun in your learning fundamentals.

Rhyme Antics Game

Challenge your family to a rap battle royale right in your living room with this hilarious freestyling game that flexes your creativity and improvisation skills. Learn vocabulary, reinforce grammar, and impress granny with your sick flows. 

Darlyng & Co ABC Reaffirmation Cards

Pick a card, any card! Each of the cards in this deck features a letter of the alphabet, with a positive affirmation on one side, and a negative affirmation on the other. Incorporate these cards into your post-preschool routine, and end each school day with a mini alphabet lesson and a confidence boost!

eeBoo Spanish Vocabulary Bingo

Help language students brush up on their vocabulario español with this twist on a classic. The game includes 48 words, including animals, colors, vehicles, clothing, and a handy pronunciation guide. The bingo cards are sturdy, and the vibrantly illustrated corresponding images will make mastering new words feel more like a game than homework.

VTech Smart Watches

Looks like a cool, high-tech watch, acts like a super-smart teaching aide. If numbers have been a struggle to learn, a VTech watch might be just what you need; they encourage independent problem solving with built in games to master simple math concepts, have easy-to-set time-display options, and offer custom alarm features. They’re also available in your favorite PJ Mask and PAW Patrol themed characters — but you can’t go wrong with a version that looks just like the ones grown ups use!

What You Need If Your Child Is Stressed After School

School stress comes in a lot of varieties, but luckily there's a tried-and-tested solution for the symptoms of stress: Consider the senses, and invest in simple, tactile playthings that are calming, but engaging. These are toys that help busy hands, and let racing minds slow down.

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty

Satisfyingly smooshy, Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty comes in a mesmerizing array of dazzling varieties ideal for some soothing tactile and visual stimulation. Squish it around, and watch the colors shimmer, sparkle, and morph like magic. Roll it into a ball and bounce it, or stretch it out, smoosh it flat, and start over again. 

OMG Pop Fidgety Toys

Move over, bubble wrap; pop fidgets provide that same satisfying sensation, without the plastic to throw away. Give your brain a break, and give those bubbles a pop. Flip over and repeat until zen has been achieved. 

Hoodie Memory Foam Pillow

Sometimes the best answer to a stressful day is to just take a little quiet time. If you know someone who needs help taking a personal time-out, try this memory foam pillow with its super-cozy built-in hoodie — it’s like a hug for their head.  

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When that final bell rings, let the fun and games begin! It’s tempting to tune out in front of the tube after a long day at school, but a crash-out session in front of the TV often leads to lethargy for the rest of the evening. Avoid the zone-out with products designed to be engaging, entertaining, and put fun first.

Clixo Rainbow Set

Slay afternoon boredom with bright colors, unique shapes, and endless ways to click them together! Clixo is a durable, flexible building set like you’ve never seen before. The pieces are smooth, and paper-like, but won’t tear, and they “click” together satisfyingly with powerful magnets. Fun to fiddle with, Clixo is a real imagination stretcher that can bring 3D ideas to life in a snap.

Skoogmusic Skoog 2.0 Tactile Musical Interface

It’s music like you’ve never heard it played before: it’s music, cubed! Skoog 2.0 is a unique tactical musical interface designed for musical accessibility. The squishy, rubbery cube looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Play notes by smooshing different areas of the cube, and use an app to change keys, record, and listen to the playback. No musical skill is required to pick it up and start playing, and the more you experiment, the better you sound!

Cards Against Humanity Family Edition

Skip the afternoon doldrums and reconnect with the family with round after round of laughs! It’s a kid-safe edition of the hilarious, edgy party game adults know and love. Incorporate a few rounds into your after school routine, and you’ll set the tone for a fun, relaxed, entertaining evening. Laughing releases endorphins and happy chemicals in our brains which can change our whole perspective — this game is such a mood game-changer, you might be surprised how chatty the kids suddenly are about their day!

Tonies Audioplayer Starter Set

Unlock an afternoon of imagination, and active listening. Toniebox is designed to keep young minds entertained with stories and adventures customizable to their interests — you can even record your own messages! Collect your favorite Tonies for 90 minutes of unique content including stories, and songs. This starter set includes a charging station for up to 7 hours of battery life, and a Tonie figure from Disney’s Frozen.