Extracurricular activities are so beneficial to kids in many ways. It promotes socialization with other kids, boosts kids' self-esteem, challenges them learn something new and excel in it, and can have physical benefits as well.
There are so many different activities that kids can participate in that aren't just the usual sports like basketball and soccer (although those are great choices too!). Here's a list that some mom's came up with because their kids participated and they loved doing them.
When I was a kid I started doing dance classes at 3 years old, so I knew once I had my daughter I wanted her to join dance. This past winter she turned 2.5 years old and the dance studio I went to as a kid was enrolling new students. I signed her up immediately.
She has always LOVED music and dancing since she was a baby so I knew she was going to love it. She was in two dances, ballet and jazz and had her first recital at 3 years old. Being in class with other kids her age was so fun for her and they all participated in the dance so well, especially for being so young!
Now that it's fall again, dance will be starting back up soon and she asks me every day if it's time to go back to dance again. I'm looking forward to seeing her dance in many more recitals, as long as she still loves it.
Rupali from MomKidLife says:
We wanted our son to learn at least one instrument. He started with violin in school & didn't enjoy it. So he left it mid way. Then we started piano for him and he loved it. So we bought a piano for him. He is still continuing his piano. He has passed his grade 1 exam and will give grade 2 exam soon.
Chelsea from TheBestOf_Blog says:
Music is an excellent activity for kids to start and can be started as young as infancy! Look for Kindermusik classes in your area for kids up to age 6. I work at a music school that has Kindermusik classes for kids 0-6 years. Kids as young as 5 years old can start private music lessons, and typically start with piano. It's important to make sure you have them practice daily to stay encouraged and eager to learn.
Rachael from Mama Of Minis says:
One of the best extracurricular activities for toddlers to be in is gymnastics. A parent and child gymnastics class is the perfect way for your little one to get all of their energy out. It involves a large ground of large motor skills and includes things like walking, running, climbing, swinging, balancing and more. It is a great way to spend extra time together and allows little ones to explore and learn more about what their bodies can do.
My three year old loves to learn skills in gymnastics and bring them home and show them off. We've had her in it since she was 1.5 years old and find that on gymnastics days she always uses up her extra energy and sleeps great at night! We love leading her through stations and seeing her face light up when she gets to her favorites or completes something new. Such a fun experience for both parent and child!
Michelle from Moyer Memoirs says:
I have been teaching baton twirling as an extra-curricular activity for 26 years and all of my daughters have grown up with twirling in their lives. We have attended competitions across the US and into Canada, marched in long, hot parades, learned countless routines, and put in unimaginable hours of practice.
Baton twirling develops hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, flexibility and many more beneficial skills. There is no quicker way to learn to adjust coordinated body movements than when a silver metal object is thrown into the air and you have to catch it properly so that you don’t get hit!
Many people view twirling as a hobby, but it is actually highly competitive and the stamina it takes for a high-level routine and the hours of practice it takes to perfect each skill takes it to the level of a sport. Routines incorporate not only baton twirling, but gymnastics, dance, rhythm, marching, and personality.
It is an ambidextrous sport using both hands for twirls, tosses and finger work, so being proficient at using both sides of the body aids in overall development.
There are also many social benefits from baton twirling since in addition to solo twirling, it can also be a group activity. There are coordinated tosses among twirlers that have to be developed together through cooperation. Twirlers learn good sportsmanship as they compete against each other as soloists and team members and learn how to deal with winning and losing.
The pressures of perfecting each skill develop trial and error skills as well as the ability to cope with time when the twirl did not go as planned. Drops are a part of twirling, so dealing with them is a part of it.
Life lessons are commonly learned during a twirler’s development and bringing that shiny stick home to begin your child’s first baton twirling session is a great opportunity for that child to grow and learn from these wonderful opportunities.
Rupali from MomKidLife says:
My son loves tennis class. It's a good form of exercise, keeps you fit, and increases your stamina. He has been doing his tennis class for quiet some years now and enjoys them. He gets to play with kids of similar age group & befriend them.
Momma Rose from Boy Mom Rolling in Dirt says:
Art can be a great way to mellow down at the end of an exciting day at school or to perk up and blow off some energy after sitting still all day. Painting, drawing, coloring, sculpting, or any artistic method you want can be a great way to express yourself.
Art can even be a way to work with children in subjects they're struggling with. Try getting creative with colors by bring them into counting. You could recreate historical masterpieces in new and exciting ways. Or draw out, paint, or sculpt chemical compounds. Use art supplies in new and innovative ways to be educational while having fun!
I used paint and a little wooden car from a craft store to work with my 4-year-old on color mixing. We mixed colors to find which ones make other colors while painting his car. Then we used the car to review the mixed colors for a few days afterwards until he had it figured out.
There's so many different ways to be artistically creative that you can do something every day.
Learning to cook is an excellent choice for kids to participate in. Not only is it something fun for them to learn how to do, it's a skill they will use for life. Teaching your kids young how to cook will only help them later on in life. If you're good at cooking and baking, have them help you while you're cooking meals or making sweets. Let them do the measuring, mixing, and pouring.
If you're not much of a cook yourself, look into cooking classes. There are classes for adults and also cooking classes specifically just for kids so look in your area to see what might be offered. There's also virtual classes they can do from home.
Michaels offers classes for many different arts and crafts, but they also have cake decorating classes where you can learn how to use piping tips and frosting your own cakes or cupcakes.
Cross Country Running
Lauren from Lauren Barrett Writes says:
Running has always been a passion of mine. I started running competitively my freshman year of high school and continued running on the cross country and track team in college. Because I had such a great experience with the sport myself, I started coaching cross country at the same school where I teach. I have been coaching for 10 years now. There are three major reasons why I love running so much.
1. When I look back on the years that I ran, I mostly recall the time spent with my teammates and building that bond. Running is a sport that anyone can pick up at anytime, so running teams at the high school level and under rarely cut anyone from the team as long as you are working hard. In addition, the whole team can practice together. Boys, girls, upper and lower classmen are all together. And because the season takes place in the fall, practice starts in the summer before the school year. That means it is a great way to have a solid group of friends for the start of school.
2. From Day 1 of practice, we tell our athletes that the great thing about running is that you can finish near last place in the race, but if you beat your own personal record (PR), that is a win and a celebration in our book. There is constant room for improvement in running.
3. Lastly, I love running because it is so good for your social, emotional, and physical well-being.
Social: Any runner can tell you the great conversations he/she had on a long run with a friend. Also, as an adult who no longer is on a team, I can join the many run clubs in my area. We meet up, run, and stay afterwards to talk, eat, or have a beer.
Emotional: Getting outside and going on a run is great for your mental health. It clears your mind, helps you think through problems in a calm manner, and sparks new ideas.
Physical: Running is good for your heart and muscles.
Already my son is attending practice with me as I coach. He loves to hang out with the older kids and show off his "fast feet." Whether he decided to run competitively or just for fun, running can something we can bond over and help us catch up and clear our minds.
Naija UK Mum says:
If you are looking for an extra-curriculum activity that will get your child off the couch and active, look no further than running. With three young children, I am constantly on the lookout for extracurricular activities that my children will enjoy. I also want one that will keep them active and help them improve their physical and mental health. My eldest child is a member of a running club that she enjoys, and her sister is planning to join her soon. We go for early morning runs as a family on a regular basis and have grown to enjoy it because it keeps us healthy and helps us bond.
Running is a sport that has been shown to improve both mental and physical health. It is suitable for people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. There is no such thing as an "ideal" runner; everyone has different goals and motivations for running. The best thing about running as an extracurricular activity is that it does not require any special equipment to participate, so any child can join a running club without worrying about the cost of new equipment or uniforms. It also allows children to practice time management skills by committing to a regular running routine. Finally, it helps children boost their creativity because running increases dopamine, the chemical most associated with creativity
As you can see there are many different extracurricular activities for kids of all ages to participate in. They all have their own benefits on physical and mental health and allows for kids to socialize while doing something fun. Look for activities your school or town offers and get your kids involved.