Another child minder (also called Karen!) has asked me for ideas that are suitable for the older children. She also child minds after school; however most of her activities and games are aimed at younger children.
The older children that I looked after liked arts and crafts (especially the girls) Making dolls out of wool was a very popular activity, the boys often referred to wolly dolls as woolly robots.
Quick pom-poms, which maybe a good starting point for you before you make wolly dolls are also very popular with older children.
Treasure Keepsake Box
Another popular activity suitable for all ages, is to decorate an empty shoe box to make a treasure box. Give each child an empty shoe box ( most shoe shops are only too pleased to give these away) P.V.A. glue and a variety of pictures and stickers.
I used to use my old Christmas cards that were saved from previous years to decorate their boxes. The older children may like to assist the younger ones in cutting out pictures.
You can supply glitter too, if you can manage the mess. I used to make these, with the children, in the run-up to Christmas and use them to store all the items they made at various toddler group sessions, they would then take the filled box home on their last day with me before Christmas. This idea could be amended for other occasions such as Easter, or as a holiday keepsake treasure box.
Bird Feeding Station
If you have a window that overlooks a garden it’s a great idea to put up a bird feeder.
I also got the children to make their own bird cakes by adding nuts, dried mixed fruit and suet to melted lard. Put the mixture into empty yogurt cartons, with string attached to the bottoms. When they are cold and set, take them out of the yoghurt pot and hang them upside down from a tree branch for the birds to enjoy . The children can look out for birds and use reference books to identify the different varieties and even work out which food the different breeds prefer.
Salt dough is another activity older children may enjoy. It is simple and cheap to make, place a cup of flour and half a cup of salt in a bowl and slowly stir in up to a cup of of water, the mixture needs to be sticky, but not too wet., kneed together, then roll out and get creative. The dough then needs to dry out, 3 minutes in a microwave on a low setting works well. Then paint, or use glitter to decorate.
I am a great believer in getting children out and about whenever possible, this may not be suitable for after school; but good if you have older ones in the school holidays, as I did.
Something very popular in Autumn time is to take them on a conker and acorn treasure hunt.
I hope, this has given you some ideas.
As always questions/comments are welcome.