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Extracurricular activities for kids – An ultimate guide.

Extracurricular activities for kids

Every parent strives to ensure that they give their child all the love, attention, and support required to excel in life. The same holds true when choosing the right extracurricular activity for kids.

And why not. As the name itself suggests, extracurricular activity helps the kids with that ‘extra’ bit which is necessary for their holistic development. 

Moreover, as book knowledge is just not enough in today’s world, that is why extracurricular activities for kids are becoming increasingly essential in today’s competitive world. Moreover, it allows the children to pursue their true passion and form a self-identity. 

Many researchers claim that engaging a child in an extracurricular activity can create a positive impact on the children. So let us look at the benefits of extracurricular activities for kids.

 

Importance of extracurricular activity for kids

Extracurricular activities can keep the kids engaged mentally as well as physically. It can enhance the child’s learning and overall development. But the benefits don’t end there. Read on to know more about the advantages of extracurricular activities for children.

  • Motivate the kids to a healthy lifestyle-

Extracurricular activities that involve a lot of physical movement are known to have a positive impact on the health of the kids. It encourages fitness, strength, and agility in children who exercise regularly and spend time practicing a particular sport as a hobby.

Apart from these, kids that practice arts and crafts also tend to be better at fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. And, other activities like dancing help in the development of gross motor skills. 

  • Self-identity –

Extracurricular activities allow the kids to express themselves freely by pursuing the passion that they are really interested in. It empowers them to define themselves and accept themselves for who they are.

This helps the child to develop a sense of self leading to improved self-esteem.

  • Social development –

Extracurricular activities provide a platform for children where they interact with new people and form new relationships. They learn to work together and cooperate with others. This promotes collaboration, interaction, teamwork, and better communication. 

When children can share their passion and interest with other kids who share the same interest, then there is no fear of being judged. And this leads to a sense of belonging which is very essential for a kid to thrive in society. 

It is also a sign of self-esteem for children when they can see themselves as an integral part of a team and when their contributions are recognized by the team.

  • Personal growth –

Extracurricular activities for kids is the best way for them to test their limit and push it beyond. It enables the kids to look beyond their current accomplishments and set new goals. It teaches the children to learn from failures if any and analyze what went wrong. 

Thus, rather than getting disheartened, they look for ways to succeed. This is necessary to overcome the challenges that life will throw in the future. 

  • Better academic performance –

Many parents might feel that engaging a child in extracurricular activities might hamper his studies. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. 

This is because extracurricular activities encourage a child to balance his life and learn important life skills which are as under –

  • Time management skills
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Persistence and improved concentration
  • Patience and follow-up.

All these skills are highly necessary for better grades and improved academic performance. 

  • Reduced screen time –

Excessive screen time is one of the most dreadful worries of today’s parents because of the negative effects that it can have on the child. However, if a child is engaged in a meaningful extracurricular activity, it leads to less screen time and ultimately better mental health. 

So, now that we know the importance of extracurricular activities for kids, let us have a look at the factors to consider when selecting an activity.

 

Things to consider while choosing an extracurricular activity for kids 

  • Know the interest of your child –

As this activity is for your child, know his opinion first. If your child is unsure of what he might want to pursue, you can go through the list of extracurricular activities for the kids mentioned below.  And still, if the child is unable to give his opinion, you must figure it out based on the interests and talents that he displays. 

  • Avoid peer pressure –

Do not fall into this trap and join a certain activity based on what other parents are doing.  

  • Avoid the temptation to live through your child –

Do not select an activity for your child based on the passion that you wanted to pursue as a kid. Refer to point a. of this section and make your decision. 

  • Do not overschedule –

Engage your child with one extracurricular activity first. See how it goes. Check whether he can manage the school and the activity without getting overwhelmed. Your child should also get some free time for unstructured play.

Putting more on his plate will only lead to more anxiety and stress for both you and your child. 

The above-mentioned factors will come in handy when you refer to the list of extracurricular activities for kids mentioned below.

 

List of extracurricular activities for kids

So, here are some engaging and enriching extracurricular activities for your kids –

  • Sports 

When it comes to sports, children can opt for any kind of extracurricular activity which includes badminton, swimming, tennis, basketball, cricket, etc. based on their preference. 

When children participate in any kind of sport, they learn about teamwork, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and time management skills. 

  • Arts 

Arts-based extracurricular activities for kids like music, dance, visual arts, theatre, etc will teach the child to be creative and think differently when facing a particular situation. 

It also helps in the development of fine-motor skills, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking skills in children. They also learn to easily put across their feelings and emotions which are otherwise difficult to communicate.

  • School clubs – 

In an attempt to hone the talents of the students and to give them exposure beyond classroom teaching, many schools these days have a range of school clubs. Some of the common school’s clubs include –

  1. Home Science Club
  2. Foreign language Club
  3. Quiz Club
  4. Chess Club
  5. Debate Club
  6. Maths Club
  7. Science Club, etc.

And if you want to know more about such schools in Kolkata and the various extracurricular activities provided by them.

  • Cooking –

Cooking can be pursued by children of various age groups. Even the basics of cooking can enhance the critical and analytical skills in children along with promoting gross motor skills. 

  • Volunteering

In this highly chaotic world, volunteering is one of the most enriching extracurricular activities for kids.

Along with providing a sense of purpose, this hobby allows the sharpening of social skills. It also improves self-esteem in children as it gives them a sense of accomplishment when they work for the betterment of others.

  • Model Building 

Model building is another interesting extracurricular activity for kids that involves creating miniature models. 

Model building helps in the development of cognitive skills like problem-solving and logical thinking. It also fosters the development of spatial ability which is necessary to relate to and understand the location and dimension of various objects.

  • STEM Programs 

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) program is good for children with a logical mindset and who like to play on the computer. 

There are many STEM-based programs available for children to make them well versed in science, maths, technology, and engineering. This is the very reason why STEM focussed children tend to be logical, calculative, and have a strong mindset.

  • Learning foreign language

Learning a foreign language can open a world full of new opportunities for children. And especially in today’s hyper-connected world, it is more of a necessity.

Many studies reveal that multilingual people tend to have better critical thinking capabilities. They also have better memory, focus, and self-control.

Thus, choosing the right activity for your child will become a little easier with the above-mentioned list of extracurricular activities for kids.

 

Faqs related to extracurricular activities for kids

  1. What is the right time to start extracurricular activities for kids?

Generally, it is around the age of 4 or 5 that they are in a position to participate in any kind of organized activity.

 

Another important thing to consider is whether the child is independent enough when it comes to self-care tasks.

      2. How to find the right extracurricular activity for my kid?

Before choosing an extracurricular activity for your child, make sure that your objective is clear. What do you expect your child to gain from this activity?

 

Apart from this, let the interest and the talent of your child guide you through this. 

      3. What are some unique extracurricular activities for kids?

Below mentioned are some of the unique and exciting extracurricular activities for your kids –

  • Archery
  • Fencing
  • Golf
  • First Lego League
  • Chess

        4. What extracurricular activities are offered in school?

The various extracurricular activities offered by the different schools include music, sports, arts, theatre, dance, debate, cooking, academic clubs, nature and community service, etc.

 

        5. How many extracurricular activities should I opt for my child?

This will completely depend on you as a parent and the capacity of the child. Engaging your child in such activities can encourage positive habits in children and improve their overall functioning.

However, overscheduling the kids in a lot of activities can take a toll on their well-being leading to stress and anxiety. Kids do need time for unstructured play as well. 

 

If a kid likes a particular activity and wants to be a part of it then he will make it work. However, if you see that these activities are interfering with his general well-being then you will have to take a call. 

 

And if you see your kid is maxed out or getting aggressive and if you feel that this is linked to the extracurricular activity, then it’s time to put a stop to this activity.

 

Key takeaways –

  • Interest, talent, and personality of the child must be the prime determiners when choosing the right extracurricular activity for kids.
  • The right extracurricular activity can make the child confident, independent, and responsible.
  • Kids who like to interact with people can consider joining a school club or volunteering.
  • Sports, martial arts, and scouting are good for the adventurous ones.
  • Art-loving kids can explore extracurricular activities like painting, drama, music, dancing, cooking, etc. 
  • Intellectually curious children must consider joining academic clubs for a better understanding of the subject. 

Conclusion– 

Being a parent, you have that innate understanding of what is right or wrong for your child. Trust yourself and your gut feeling when it comes to any decision about your child. No one can make a better decision for your minor child than you can.

Extracurricular activities for kids can boost their academic performance along with improve life skills. However, it is necessary to strike a balance before overwhelming your child with a lot of extracurricular activities. 

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