From offering the child a productive break to being an essential part of college applications, extracurricular activities aren’t “extra” by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they are quite intrinsic to the child’s overall development. Let us look at some of the aspects including how to choose the right activity, in some detail:
What Really are Co-curricular Activities?
As the name suggests, these refer to activities that are not a typical part of the school curriculum and are structured around an activity, goal, or purpose. Often also referred to as extra-academic activities, these spans a wide variety of activities including but not limited to sports, art activities, community service & more.
Importance of Extracurricular Activities For Students
Depending of course on the kind of activity chosen, they can help build a different kinds of skills. Some of the known benefits of extracurricular activities include:
Extracurricular activities help children learn new skills that stay with them for a lifetime. These activities help the child explore a wide range of interests & unearth their passion. Needless to say that diversifying their interests helps broaden their worldview.
High Self Esteem
To follow your passion & excel at it is a perfect recipe for improved confidence & self-esteem. Importantly, they also offer children a distressing mechanism, given the pressures of academic life, and contribute to positive mental health & overall wellbeing.
A big advantage that pursuing extracurricular activities offer is that they help the child learn some critical life skills such as:
- Goal setting
- Time management
- Problem-solving, and more
Pursuing extracurricular activities also offer the child a number of social opportunities. When you tend to bond over shared interests and passions, the bonds thus developed tend to be strong & last a lifetime.
Boosts Academic Performance
Participating in activities that you are passionate about tends to increase your brain function, help you concentrate more, and manage your time better. For example, if the child takes to high endurance sports, it helps build focus as well as stamina which can go a long way in improving academic performance as well. In fact, a number of studies on the relationship between extracurricular activities & academic performance show that students who participate in these activities not only have higher grades but also a more positive outlook toward academics as a whole.
Additionally, it is a fact that when you apply for university admissions, they prefer candidates who have a strong profile that does not only limit themselves to academic brilliance.
Types of Extracurricular Activities
While the type of extracurricular activity that the child chooses has to do with his or her interests & passions, some of the popular extracurricular activities for kids include:
A common extracurricular activity, the child can choose from a wide variety of options including cricket, football, skating, swimming, and more. These days of course besides mainstream sporting activities, there are many other alternate physical activity programs that keep the child active.
Dance, Theatre, music, and more are popular performing arts activities that children enjoy. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in them can look at becoming actors, comedians, professional dancers, and more.
Children who love to draw & paint will benefit from joining an art program that can give their creativity free reign. Besides helping their creative juices flow, children can also look at pursuing it as a career.
Children can take to community service & make a tangible difference in the lives of many while developing empathy as also leadership skills. Community service, in fact, goes a long way in character development.
Clubs such as math clubs or chess clubs or participating in Model UN are some of the areas that allow children deeper understanding of their chosen issues.
How to Choose an Extracurricular Activity
If there is one thumb rule in choosing the right extracurricular activity, it is for the child to follow his or her passion. It is therefore important that as a parent you provide the right exposure & direction that allows the child to pursue an extracurricular activity that is close to the child’s heart. It is imperative that the child picks up an activity that he or she likes as opposed to being driven by parental or peer pressure. It is also important that the child’s schedule not be loaded with too many activities so that they start to seem like a burden. In fact, many experts encourage parents to make sure that the child has enough unstructured time to relax & recharge.