Last Updated on August 31, 2021 by Thinkster
When it comes to setting goals with your children, you shouldn’t just focus on academia. After all, your children are so much more than their grades.
In addition to academics, extracurricular activities for kids are an integral part of a child’s education. In fact, some of the most rewarding and growth-providing activities are those that are not part of the core academic curriculum!
Extracurricular activities are the additional activities that students participate in outside of the classroom that add to their education. These activities often include things like playing a sport, joining a club, or volunteering in the community. For example, some schools have sports teams, orchestra, and theatre, while others don’t.
Extracurricular activities provide an opportunity for students to get involved in something that they enjoy or something that interests them. They also give students a chance to express their individual interests, skills, and talents through these activities.
When children have a passion for something, it can actually help them do better in school. It can help them show more interest in their studies and improve their grades. They will get better at subjects that they’re passionate about and will find areas of interest that they can later study in college. It also gives them direction early on, leading to a career they will have passion for and be successful in.
Extracurricular activities are important because they help build your child’s knowledge and crucial skills used in academics, future professional settings, and life.
These skills include:
Problem-Solving & Critical Thinking Skills
Extracurricular activities can help build critical thinking skills by putting students in situations they wouldn’t normally be in. They are forced to think outside of the normal classroom problem-solving mindset, and can learn how to strive for different kinds of goals. These activities may often be traditionally academic – such as a debate team, chess club, or writing club – but they can also be artistic, focus on STEAM concepts, or just be fun!
Leadership & Interpersonal Skills
Students can develop leadership skills in extracurriculars by working with others and becoming part of a team. Depending on the activity, it can teach valuable lessons about the importance of teamwork and encourage students to work together by participating and cooperating in group activities. This becomes a highly transferable skill over into the regular classroom.
Students also develop strong communication skills while learning how to interact and pose questions or statements with different groups of people. For example, the way a student talks with a peer on their sports team is very different from how they speak while delivering the closing argument on the debate team. Understanding how to effectively communicate in a particular setting or developing strong public speaking skills can help students in academics now, in college, and in their future professional careers.
Extracurricular activities help develop skills needed in the academic and professional world, like organizing a project or managing time. This is not only because extracurricular activities demand a certain amount of time from them but also because there are set rules for these activities which they must follow.
As a result, they learn to organize and manage their time well and become more disciplined and responsible for their actions. With these skills and habits in mind, they can then apply them to all aspects of their lives when they get older and start working or studying independently.
Empathy Skills and Greater Perspective
Extracurricular activities also teach students about diversity in the community. Volunteering, for example, can help them learn values such as kindness and how to respond thoughtfully in different situations. Your child learns to appreciate the differences and similarities of others, while also developing kindness and compassion.
Extracurricular activities help your child learn important life skills outside of the classroom, such as teamwork and communication while making friends, enjoying themselves and gaining self-confidence.
Extracurricular activities for kids also provide students with “experience” that college admission officers or employers love to see. These activities look good on transcripts when applying to colleges because it shows the student has leadership qualities and dedication to things other than just academics.
Admissions officers are also able to identify skill strengths that your child will likely possess as a result of taking part in certain activities.
Does your child play basketball? They are likely a team player and can cooperate and work well with others.
Is your child on the debate team? They probably have strong communication and time management skills.
Does your child volunteer at a local soup kitchen? They definitely have strong empathy skills and are invested in helping the diverse community that they live in.
Your child should also make sure that the activities that they join demonstrate longevity and passion for the activity. This means that they aren’t just joining a new club or sport each week, then quitting soon after!
College Admission Officers look for long-term involvement and genuine interest in the activity, meaning that your child isn’t just joining to enhance their application.
As a first step, it’s important to talk with your child about various extracurricular activities available to them.
Some of the most common activities include:
Once your child is aware of the many options available, you can then help them locate these opportunities.
Your child can find options for extracurricular activities for kids by talking to people within your community. The more people they can talk to, the better your chances of finding something they will like. Some kids enjoy sports, while others prefer drama or clubs where they can make new friends. Try out all kinds of things until you find the ones that are really interesting and fun to do.
Also, be sure to discuss why it’s so important to take part in extracurricular activities with your child!
Saying, “You need this for your college application” or “to help you build confidence” likely won’t fly with your child or make extracurriculars seem like the positive experience that they are!
Your child should know that extracurricular activities are the social glue that binds us together in our community. They are where we form important lessons about teamwork and leadership, which will help them later in life.
While the above-mentioned extracurricular activities for kids may seem very obvious, something for you to consider is online tutoring. Math and other STEAM concepts are critical in child development, and listing continued online courses on a college application can indicate a student’s dedication to their chosen subject.
We know you’re proud of your driven child, which is why we know you want to give them the best opportunities for success. If they’ve shown an interest in topics such as engineering, programming, architecture, medicine, or they just really love math, consider giving them that extra boost with online math tutoring.
We know your children are going to do great things, and we can’t wait to help them get there!