Educator Resources

Sawyer Guide to Activities

Whether you’re just starting a children’s activity business or are already a seasoned pro, activities are the bread and butter of your business. Activities can be known as classes, workshops, events and they’re the building block of a potential business. Learn what types of activities you can offer, whether you teach teen baking class, baby yoga, surf lessons, math tutoring or anything in between. 

Find your best-fit activity style or experiment with offering a combination of the ideas below. To understand what activities look like, we’ll be exploring what activities could look like at the pretend Museum of Magical Art — a whimsical business that isn’t quite real yet. 

Activity Basics

An activity is something that is taught  or performed — whether that be a camp, event, class, one-off lesson, or anything in between. Activities typically involve  a curriculum or lesson plan, an instructor or teacher, and space where students can learn — whether that be a physical classroom in-person, outdoors, or in a virtual space like Zoom. More granularly, an activity should always have a who, what, when, and where. This information can be anything from relevant images, class titles, descriptions, age ranges, locations, and scheduling specifics like the date and time it is scheduled for. 

There are many different types of activities, in fact, almost any lesson-based moment in education could be thought of as an activity. Before scheduling activities, you may want to consider categorizing the activities you want to offer, make sure to consider class sizes, subject matter, and the space you have readily available to teach in. Taking those aforementioned factors into consideration may impact the way you structure your activities and classes, resulting in a better experience for teachers and customers alike.

Semesters or recurring activities

A semester-long activity is recurring in nature and typically runs for  multiple weeks or months. Semester programming typically falls within a season schedule such as fall, winter, spring, summer terms. This type of activity may require an extended commitment from families and provides consistency for children who are enrolled. When you offer a semester, students can participate over a period of time allowing them to get to know their peers, instructor, and subject matter in an in-depth way. Semester-length activities offer students the ability to dive deep into a curriculum and emerge with a foundational knowledge of a specific subject matter.

Some businesses may consider offering semester activities that will permit students to ‘drop-in’ or ‘trial’ a specific session. There is no right or wrong answer when deciding whether or  not to allow drop-in activities. If you have the space available  and the curriculum is approachable throughout the duration of the semester, offering drop-ins can help fill up spots and generate more revenue for a business.

For example, imagine if the Museum of Magical Art offers a semester-long “History of Art: Impressionism” activity every Monday at 4:00pm for six months. A student could enroll for the entire semester and leave with a solid understanding of Impressionism history! If this activity also offered drop-ins, students might only get a piece of the curriculum from a single lesson but trying one session could entice them to want to learn more and result in a new semester enrollment.

Get inspired by online classes and activities

Events and drop-ins

An event is a one-off speciality activity not unlike a drop-in. A single instance activity - also known as a drop-in - is an activity that can be purchased on a session by session basis without requiring an extended commitment. When you offer a drop-in activity, a student can participate casually often allowing flexibility to try one activity type or session at a time. Some businesses may promote drop-ins as a way to test new programming, create trials, or give flexibility for families to enroll with  less notice for those last minute scenarios.

For example, imagine if the Museum of Magical Arts offers a drop-in “Painting a Starry Night” activity every Tuesday for three weeks. With drop-ins,  students could be enrolled in one, two, or three drop-in activity sessions.

Typically events are scheduled independently of other offerings and most often recur monthly or seasonally. Some businesses schedule events to increase space utilization during slower times and to attract a wider audience. Since events usually happen less frequently, a good rule of thumb is to plan them in advance and give customers plenty of time to book.

For example, imagine if the Museum of Magical Arts offers “Magical Movie Night” once a month. A student could enroll in one event or multiple months in a row.

Learn how to turn events into a solid sales strategy.

Camps

A camp can take many forms, but when educators schedule a camp activity they usually refer to an extended sleepaway or daily program that offers supervised recreational and sporting activities for children. Camps usually take place in the summer and during school holidays. At a sleepaway camp, students stay in accommodations like cabins or tents with peers and counselors. At a day camp, students attend activities in a social setting and return home in the evenings. While some camp businesses may offer both a sleepaway and daily enrollment option, most camps specialize in one style.To offer the most flexibility, camps may be offered on multiple days per week with daily, weekly, monthly, or full camp purchase options available.

For example, imagine if the Museum of Magical Arts offers “City Ceramics” weekly camp during June and July. A student could enroll in 1-8 weeks of this class.

Learn how to master camp marketing here.

Appointments and private lessons

Appointments are the perfect solution for offering one-on-one instruction based activities. These can take many forms from tutoring and private coaching sessions to individual play times and music lessons. The individual nature of private lessons helps the teacher cater a lesson directly to a child's ability level. Students enrolled in private lessons are able to move at their own pace instead of being tethered to the pace of the class as a whole.

Private lessons and appointments are a great way for businesses to add more revenue-generating hours to their workday. Instructors can offer private lessons tailored to their availability and parents can book appointment slots on their own terms.

For example, imagine if the Museum of Magical Arts offered “Private Lessons: Sculpture 101” with an esteemed artist every day. A student could be enrolled in private lessons on their own terms and according to their schedule.

Parties and additional products

Parties are the perfect activity to offer if you want to add a special personalized touch to your offerings. Some businesses schedule parties to expand their offerings on weekends and afternoons which have the highest booking potential. Because parties are activities that are often customized to make a family’s dream become reality, this allows for potential add-on options and premium pricing. Parties can also be used to attract new customers that may not attend regular scheduled programming but are looking for a venue for their child’s birthday - remember, every guest is also a potential new customer and a great marketing opportunity for businesses.  

For example, imagine if the Museum of Magical Arts offered an “Art Birthday Party” package for families. A parent could book this party for their child and make wonderful memories for years to come.

Learn more about the benefits of parties

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