More and more children are going to after-school clubs run independently by volunteers and play workers. This means that if children are to have satisfying and enjoyable activities, the adults running the clubs will need support, in the form of resources and visiting experts.
The charity 4Children (formerly Kids' Club Network), which supports out-of-school clubs and other children's projects, has initiated the Come and Play scheme, which is funded from the National Lottery by Youth Music.
The scheme puts professional musicians and local authority music services in contact with after-school clubs. By the end of this year, Come and Play will be working in 47 authorities with some 7,000 children.
But what happens when no visiting musician is available, or when a project comes to an end? Come and Play has now produced a resource pack to help after-school club leaders to run their own musical activities.
The pack comes in three levels - beginner, intermediate and advanced - with an audio CD and CD-Rom full of ideas and activities for listening to and making music.
Unlike some non-specialist schemes, it makes no assumptions at all - the first activity in the beginners' booklet asks children to feel for their pulse, extending this to the ticking of a clock, the beat of a windscreen wiper, and the drip of a tap. Only then does it move to the audio CD and a sequence of simple rhythmic patterns. It's highly accessible and easy to use and requires only a sense of fun.
* The Come and Play pack is free to clubs and local authorities involved in the project