After School Leisure

Participation in out-of-school structured leisure activities is associated with positive outcomes including improvements in:

  • Academic achievement1
  • Personal development (identity and skill development, development of hobbies & interests, development of initiative)2
  • Interpersonal development (social skills and friendships)2,3
  • Development of beginning work skills (time management, persistence, following directions)4
  • Social and emotional development (managing feelings, controlling impulses, improved self-esteem)3

Problem: Children/youth with disabilities and/or mental health challenges may face environmental barriers and lack the social supports necessary to participate in out-of-school activities.5

The purpose of the materials shared in this portion of the website is to:

  1. Raise awareness of the important health benefits of out-of-school leisure participation for all children/youth based on current research;
  2. Identify children/youth at-risk of limited opportunities to participate in out-of-school structured leisure activities (e.g. those with disabilities, children living in poverty); and
  3. Learn about and implement model programs developed to help children/youth participate in leisure activities in order to develop life-long healthy hobbies and interests.
  • OT Leisure Coaching – Helping children and youth with disabilities develop health hobbies and interests
  • OT Groups for HOPE: Healthy Occupations for Positive Emotions – Occupation-based groups embedded in an after-school program to foster social and emotional learning (SEL) and healthy hobbies and interests.

After School Activities

1 Larson, R. W. (2000). Toward a psychology of positive youth development. American Psychologist, 55, 170-183.
2 Dworkin, J. B., Larson, R., & Hansen, D. (2003). Adolescents' accounts of growth experiences in youth activities. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32, 17-26.
3 Mahoney, J. L., & Stattin, H. (2000). Leisure activities and adolescent antisocial behavior: The role of structure and social context. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 113-127.
4 Bazyk, S. (2005). Exploring the development of meaningful work for children and youth in Western contexts. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, & Rehabilitation, 24, 11-20.
5 Law, M., Finkelman, S., Hurley, P., Rosenbaum, P., King, S., et al. (2004). Participation of children with physical disabilities: Relationships with diagnosis, physical function, and demographic variables. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 11, 156-162.