The question of extra-curricular activities is one which most parents will face once their child starts school. How important are extra-curricular activities? What benefits do they bring? How much should you invest in them?
The beauty of extra-curricular activities is that there’s a wide range to choose from and each will develop a different strength in your child. Allowing your child to stretch themselves outside of the school environment 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. Some ideas for extra-curricular 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. 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.
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 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.
Painting and drawing, dance and acting. These are also extremely popular 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.
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 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.