The inclusion of extracurricular activities is one which most parents will face once their child starts school. The question, however, is how many extracurricular activities are too many? The answer all depends on your child and what type of activities they are doing. You see there are many benefits of extracurricular activities and different types will offer different benefits but if you introduce too many and burn out may mean that your child is too tired to benefit at all. Based on this it is best to include a mix of about three different types of extracurricular activities spaced out throughout the week.
The beauty is that there’s a wide range to choose from covering everything from Ice skating to learning a second language as well as some unique extracurricular activities too. Encouraging your child to stretch themselves outside of the school environment and to try new things is important for their social skills as well as their physical and mental development.
Whether your child is quiet and academic, shy and retiring, or outgoing and confident, you will find something to suit them if you do your research. Children do well when they’re challenged, as this sixth form in Somerset suggests.
Below are some ideas for extracurricular activities and the benefits they bring:
Guides, Scouts, Brownies and Cubs
The choice is all there for the taking and the beauty of the Guiding and Scouting movements is that they envelop so many different activities. Weekly meetings take place in a local hall so your child will be mixing with local children, some of whom may already attend their school. Activities are varied including crafts, singing, sports and outdoor pursuits such as hiking, camping and water sports.
The fees are very low as the leaders are all volunteers wanting to contribute to their community. You may need to put your child’s name down on a waiting list as many groups are heavily oversubscribed. In some areas, parents put their child’s name down on a waiting list at birth. In other areas, there is no waiting list – it’s best to call and check as soon as you consider the option.
Brownies and scouts are brilliant for confidence building. They encourage your child to learn skills that may normally be deemed a little bit risky, like building campfires, but as they are supervised they are perfectly safe. These type of organised groups are also great for helping you raise a respectful child as they instil rules, salutes and greetings that must be followed.
There are many benefits of sport in school and out. Whether it’s football, netball or gymnastics, sports are some of the most popular extra-curricular activities out there. If your child is small, you will find that many clubs run fun sessions as a way of introducing little ones to the sport in a non-competitive fashion. Call your local clubs to find out what they offer.
Sporting clubs help your child develop their physical strength and agility as well as learn the importance of team dynamics.
These clubs are often to be found via your local library. They include pursuits such as chess, computer programming and coding in addition to learning a second language and creative writing.
For the quiet, academic types they offer a wonderful opportunity for them to work on their passion at the same time as meeting children who are just like them. Academic clubs are also great for helping your child find a love for science, geography or other subjects they may not enjoy in school as they are taught in different ways.
Painting and drawing, dance and acting. These are also extremely popular extracurricular activities and they’re not only for the outgoing kids either! A good acting teacher is skilled in bringing quiet children to the fore in a gentle fashion.
Acting or dancing is a fantastic way for children of all ages to learn how to express themselves. For more insight read this review of Stagecoach Performing Arts class by a parent of two children who both attend.
Overall benefits of extracurricular activities
Overall there are numerous benefits to extracurricular activities with the main ones being confidence building, developing new skills and adapting to various social settings. You will also find that children who take part in a number of extracurricular activities are usually more organised, motivated and determined to succeed.
Try them all out
You can take advantage of the taster sessions which many clubs offer. These are usually free, though you do need to book in advance for most. A taster session is a good way for your child to give something new a try without the pressure of feeling that they’re committing to something forever.
For more inspiration here are three unique extracurricular activities that your child may want to try as well as 5 screen free activities you can explore with your child.
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