Want to keep the kids busy in the afternoons once they go back to school? We panned the after school rivers to find you NYC’s golden options, where kids will learn skills beyond reading, writing and arithmetic – think skateboarding, computer programming or nature exploration – and have a lot of fun all at the same time. Not to mention, after school programs improve students self-esteem, leadership skills and even test scores. Here are nine of the best to sign up for before classes start.

The New Chess Club

They call it extreme brain sport: critical thinking, reasoning, risk and resource management, negotiation and deduction. And how does a kid exercise her brain in such a manner? Playing board games of course! Each 2.5 hour lab is divided into game play, tactic documentation, class review and game design. In addition to being tons of fun, this play and discussion teaches diplomacy, collaboration and good sportsmanship.

What: After School Labs

Where: Brooklyn Game Lab, 353 7th Ave., Park Slope

When: Sept. 2-Oct. 7, one day per week, 3:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

Ages: 7-13

Cost: $440 for 6-week session

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Have you enrolled your kid in an after school class for fall? Tell us all about it.

–Anna Knoebel