Extracurricular activities for kids could promote self-reliance, social skills, and self-esteem in them and aid in learning life skills outside the classroom (1). These informal learning techniques may include athletics, social volunteering, theater clubs, internships, etc. It is common for many people to choose their careers based on these skills in later life. Read on to know interesting extracurricular activities that will keep your kids engaged. However, do not force them to participate in activities they are not interested in.
Benefits Of Extra-Curricular Activities For Children
Extra-curricular activities help boost skills vital for the psychological and socioemotional development of a child. They also help in (2):
- Reducing screen time due to free time management by learning new skills.
- Improving academic performance by boosting brain functions.
- Alleviating boredom, stress, and pressure by providing an opportunity to make new friends with similar interests.
- Learning the value of optimum utilization of tangible and intangible resources, such as time and money.
- Developing resilience, reducing self-doubt, and promoting self-esteem and confidence.
- Fostering a sense of commitment by helping set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals at the personal, academic, and professional levels.
- Developing teamwork and leadership abilities necessary for personality development.
- Promoting an understanding of the concept of different perspectives through group activities.
Participation in extra-curricular activities could also help a child or teenager introspect their interests to pursue a career in the long run.
15 Extra-Curricular Activities For Children
Here is a list of extra-curricular activities that your child can take up based on their interest.
Children can participate in sports, such as basketball, badminton, cricket, swimming, tennis, and martial arts, as per their interest and motivation. They can play in the school team or an extramural team. Sports activities promote mental and physical health and, in the long run, could support problem-solving, critical thinking, self-management, and teamwork skills necessary for personal development.
Children across multiple age groups can take up cooking. Let them begin with basic cooking skills, like kneading and mixing, that promote gross motor skills. Gradually, their learning diversifies, based on culinary methods, cuisine, and creativity. Regular involvement in cooking activities can help your child make healthy and informed decisions about food and eating.
This engaging and entertaining creative activity is suitable for children above seven years of age. Involving your child in this stress-reducing and calming art can boost their creativity, cognitive skills, and promote motor and sensory development. Besides, it provides an opportunity to self-express, and could enhance self-esteem and confidence. Motivate your child to participate in pottery competitions and to display their creativity.
Scouting is an extra-curricular activity that involves children and teens in local community activities such as hiking, backpacking, sports, camping, first aid, and sports. There are some international scouting programs, like SpiralScouts International, where children as young as three years can enroll. A scout group usually has 20-30 individuals and a leader, who involve in several outdoor tasks.
5. Student media
By participating in student media, your child gets a hands-on experience working on school/college/university websites, newspapers, radio, television, podcasts, magazines, and social media services. Exposure to several media types hones their written and verbal communication skills. Besides, working in a professional environment boosts confidence and supports personality development.
Volunteering is a responsible and accountable social interaction activity that children opt out of passion and dedication. Participating in charity and non-charity community services with religious and non-religious organizations, such as hospitals, senior citizen care centers, orphanages, etc. hones self-management and team management skills. It also makes your child an empathetic, compassionate, and confident individual with structured communication and social skills.
7. Book club
Book clubs are small communities of avid readers. You can motivate your child to participate in a children’s book club to meet several reading enthusiasts of their age. Book clubs often organize learning activities that boost children’s vocabulary, reading, and oratory skills. Also, the discussion sessions promote public speaking skills necessary to develop self-esteem and confidence.
8. Foreign language
Foreign language classes are an excellent opportunity to learn a new language and tune your child’s communication skills. This activity can also open the doors to new culture and history, which adds to your child’s general knowledge. Speaking and writing a new language can make a child excited, motivated, and happy, which positively impact their personality development.
Children above seven years of age interested in technology, engineering, and math can consider joining a robotics class. Robotics classes have a structured activity-based learning plan that works on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) principles. Participating in such classes boosts your child’s cognitive development, fosters creativity, and enhances confidence.
10. Instrument playing
Music is relaxing and calming, and it promotes mental health (3). Children above five years of age can learn to play any instrument of their choice in their school/college or from a private tutor. From mouth organ to clarinet or drums, playing a musical instrument promotes brain development, hones cognitive skills, and builds discipline. Motivate your child to join a music class to learn the basics of playing instruments. They may also join their school band as a part of extra-curricular school activity.
Dancing is an exciting extra-curricular activity offered by almost every school. Children can learn more than one dance style and participate in different competitions and events. Motivate your child to learn dance as it boosts physical fitness, sharpens mental skills, develops flexibility and agility, and fosters socio-emotional maturity (4).
This performing arts activity is suitable for children above three years of age. Participation in theater activities could support socio-emotional and cognitive development. It could even help fine-tune your child’s communication skills and boost their personality development. Motivate your child to join their school/college theater group and learn the basics.
Painting is a de-stressing activity that boosts your child’s creative thinking, promotes emotional growth, and hones cognitive skills. If your child likes to paint, motivate them to join a painting class at school/college, or enroll in a professional painting class.
Photography is a way to express oneself. Children above five years of age can learn basic camera functions. Once your child is older than eight years, they can learn advanced photography techniques. If your child likes clicking pictures, then motivate them to take it up as an extra-curricular activity. It could help boost their cognitive skills and also nurture creativity.
15. Environment club
Joining an environment club promotes teamwork, personal management, and communication skills. Most schools/colleges have an environment club responsible for spreading awareness about eco-friendly techniques and methods to alleviate environmental issues. If nature and its conservation interest your child, then an environment club is a perfect choice for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many extracurricular activities should a child be involved in?
Though there is no fixed limit on the number of activities a child can engage in, many children can manage around two to three activities. However, observe whether these activities affect your child’s sleep, homework, or time spent with family and friends. If any of these areas are affected, it may be wise to cut back on one or more extracurricular activities.
2. When should children start extracurricular activities?
More than age, your child’s interest, and personality would be a better determiner of whether they are ready to participate in extracurricular activities. Since some children display maturity and interest in specific hobbies from a young age, they can be encouraged to pursue these activities in an age-appropriate manner.
Extracurricular activities for kids like sports, cooking, pottery, painting, scouting, volunteering, music, and dancing offer learning opportunities for them outside of formal education. Participating in these activities will also help in your child’s physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development. It also makes them more confident, dependable, and responsible individuals with distinct personalities. However, you must not compel your child to participate in any activities. Instead, allow them to try out several activities until they discover their preferred activity.
Infographic: Extracurricular Activities For Children
Besides school, academics, and examinations, children need a hobby or activity to keep them physically and mentally fit. An extracurricular activity can help your child stay active and stress-free and also help them grow into well-rounded individuals. So here are a few fun and easiest ones to explore.
- Extra-curricular activities will help your child improve academically, become a good team player, and develop confidence.
- For children who love arts, instrument playing, painting, and dance are good choices.
- New language learning and the study of robotics are interesting extracurriculars too.
- If they are adventurous, they could try scouting or photography.
2. Extra-curricular Activities; KidsHealth From Nemours
3. Music and health; Harvard Health Publishing
4. Philosophy Underlying the Standards for Dance in Early Childhood