There are seemingly endless options for after-school activities that your children can get involved in, from soccer to swimming to piano lessons. But what do your children really get out of these activities? Here are some reasons why your kids should participate in extracurricular activities, beyond the standard ‘it looks good on a resume.’
Extracurricular activities can foster an open mind
Extracurriculars will give your children a chance to explore environments they may not encounter in school or at home. This may expose them to new ideas, interests, and opportunities, which is a great way to encourage their curiosity. Goodsschools.com specifically suggests volunteering and community service opportunities for students to “broaden their perspective of the world.”
The benefits of extracurricular activities include building relationships and connections for their future
After-school activities provide an opportunity for children and teens to spend time in a non-academic environment with people in their age group. This will allow them to build positive relationships in a fun and safe space with others who share a common interest. Some extracurricular activities for teens may even open the door later on to an employment opportunity, if they form positive connections and relationships with the organization.
Kids can strengthen interpersonal and work skills outside their familiar ‘zones’
Extracurricular activities for children not only allow them to experience new and fun things, they also help them build important life skills. For example, the relationships they build during these activities will teach them how to work with new people and how to work in a team. Eduflow also mentions time management, self-esteem, and organization as skills fostered in extracurricular activities that will be beneficial to kids in school and later in life in the workforce.
Outside-school activities teach kids to stay committed
Another important part of extracurricular activities for children and teens is the ability to keep a long-term commitment. If your 12-year-old is on a field hockey or rugby team, they will quickly learn that the rest of the team is depending on them to be there for practices and games throughout the season. As More 4 Kids says, “They commit themselves to that activity for a period of time. If they don’t hold up to their end of the deal, no doubt they’ll hear about it from their peers and perhaps even teachers.” An activity that requires this type of commitment will provide kids with a great learning experience to be responsible for the activities they have signed up for.
Need ideas for extracurricular activities? Here is a list to start you off!
If you need something new and exciting for your children to participate in, try looking into programs at your local recreation centre. You may be able to find an introductory program to a unique sport or activity you never would have encountered otherwise. Here are some ideas of activities to get you started:
- Rock climbing
- Rhythmic gymnastics
- Robotics club
- Irish dancing (or other cultural dancing)
- Cello lessons
- Water polo
- Volunteering at a local animal shelter
Extracurricular activities are a great way to bring balance to your child’s academic life and teach them many important skills during their formative years. Just make sure to not overdo it; one or two extracurriculars is plenty!