Are you constantly on the lookout for activities and games that will excite your young one, get them away from the TV/iPad, and at the same time help them learn?
It’s time for them to indulge in extracurricular activities! Wait, what are extracurricular activities (also known as co curricular activities or after school activities)?
Well, these are any activity done outside of (extra) their academics (curriculum).
I’m sure that you’ll agree that getting them interested in such extracurricular activities can be a challenge.
But it is definitely not as impossible as it seems. It needs to be planned and executed right.
In this article, we will tell you about 12 such amazing co-curricular activities that will help your child grow in a holistic manner.
Expanding your child’s growth, learning and skills outside the school is your responsibility as a parent.
Here is an extracurricular activities list that you could consider –
Select your child’s age group so we can customise the activities for you:
1. Dance: It takes two to tango!
We all love those dance shows where kids perform amazingly. Well, this is yet another extracurricular activity that most children love.
Even introverted children find dance as a great form of expression. This type of co curricular activity builds confidence, coordination and kinesthetic intelligence in children and adults. When children learn a new dance form, they are ready to make mistakes and do not have any apprehensions.
They have no stage fright and wish to perform in front of others. This instills a lot of confidence in them. And such confidence helps them in their day-to-day life as well.
From Bollywood to Ballet to Bharatanatyam, we have a plethora of options in India too. Get your child to attend a dance performance or a trial class before you enroll him or her.
2. Sports: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Want your child to learn to be responsible, empathetic, competitive and strong?
Get your son or daughter to be a part of a sport and watch them grow physically, mentally and emotionally with the help of some physically engaging extracurricular activities.
They learn to make decisions on behalf of the team and look at the big picture. This is a very tough skill to teach a child, but a sport can help them learn this very easily.
Constant exercise and practice improves learning at school too as the mind learns to focus and retain better.
3. Cooking: The Little MasterChef
Let’s face it, cooking is one of the most important life skills. We all want our sons and daughters to be independent and self-reliant.
Cooking a healthy meal for yourself or a loved one is a simple yet extremely important task. Learning to follow the recipe, mixing the right ingredients, experimenting, appreciating new dishes, learning about nutrition and sharing.
These are just a few perks of learning to cook. A child learns a lot more from this amazing art cum science. Cooking together fosters cooperation and communication.
They develop fine motor skills, practically apply math and appreciate food, in the process of making astounding meals. Cooking is a creative outlet and helps every child feel accomplished and proud.
4. Swimming: Time to dive right in
Swimming classes help create awareness, especially about personal safety and fighting back in an emergency situation. It is a basic life-skill.
It also helps children develop personal growth, which helps with self-development and self-confidence.
Parents often shun from getting their children into the pool, stating that they are too young for it. But research has shown that “younger the better” works very well in a sport like swimming.
The movements come naturally to a toddler. So go ahead and get your little ones into a baby pool. They might be a little scared initially, but slowly they will settle down and feel comfortable.
Swimming is also an excellent exercise that will help hone motor and movement skills. Remember to dress them right and give them a floating tube.
5. Gymnastics: Focus, Balance, Amaze!
Gymnastics is a form of organized activity. It helps young children develop mental and physical strength and it is a fun way to remain fit.
This extracurricular activity has something for every child. You can jump, run, flip, roll, swing and use all that built up energy, in every class. Most sports require a certain age, but gymnastics is an exception.
As soon as a toddler starts taking his or her first steps you can get them to join a class. Apart from physical well-being, gymnastics also helps boost a child’s cognitive skills.
6. Martial arts: The art of Self-Defence
Bruce Lee, the legendary martial artist and actor once said, “The only purpose of martial arts is to protect yourself, not to hurt another”.
Getting your child into a karate or martial arts class will induce him or her with a right dose of self-esteem and self-respect. This activity will get them active and improve their focus. They will learn to take hits, face their fears and fight back with everything that they have got.
Martial arts also help their bodies and minds connect and function better. Overall, this extracurricular activity will help them get in shape and feel more accomplished.
7. Entrepreneurship: A mini-tycoon
If your child is go-getter, then this one is a definite ‘yes’ out of all these extracurricular activities. They can do this at home or in the common area in an apartment complex.
It can also be a group activity with a few other friends. Following through from idea to execution offers many chances to learn new skills and every step is a challenge for a child. Remember to only support, not spoon-feed.
A few ideas could be junk jewelry making, lemonade stand in the summer, baby sitting or setting up a reading lounge for kids. Making money should not be the objective of this activity. The money could be their pocket money or a college-fund.
8. Music: Pitch Perfect
In a culturally rich country like India, finding a music teacher is the easiest task. From Carnatic vocal lessons to western music, we can find instructors everywhere.
Children find this activity relaxing and helps build their confidence. Musical instruments are much more inexpensive these days. A string instrument can help children improve their concentration.
Learning to read musical notes helps the brain in multiple ways. It almost works like a foreign language being comprehended right. Learning, making mistakes, remembering and practicing teaches children to be patient and appreciate perfection.
9. Foreign language: Broadening Horizons
With the world turning into a global village it is not enough to know just English and one Indian language.
A foreign language will help a child connect with multiple new people. They can also develop their analytical skills. And with the world moving towards a tech-based future, knowing a language will equip them for better jobs too.
Out of the given extracurricular activities, learning a foreign language can help children understand about various cultures and appreciate them too. It can also help them develop their communication and social skills.
10. Academic-Related: Make learning more fun
Children definitely do not like to sit in school for more than 8 hours. Teachers might make classes fun and interesting, but keeping a child focused is a herculean task.
But there are other fun, academically-inclined classes like Kumon, ScienceAdda, Kaplan kids etc.. They get to practically apply a lot of their learning.
Such classes help children grow confidently and the practical, hands-on exposure helps them understand academic concepts a lot better. They understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind every topic.
11. Pottery: Creating masterpieces with clay
Clay can fascinate a child and keep him or her interested in the activity for hours. It is one of the world’s oldest art forms and it has an extremely calming effect.
Children who attend pottery classes tend to be quiet because they are too busy creating a work of art. Even children who are considered hyperactive can become fascinated by clay and focus on a single pot or vase that they are creating.
The soothing qualities of the art form keep the child engaged while their imagination takes over. Pottery helps a child improve their coordination, focus and creativity.
12. Story-Telling: Tiny tales and lasting memories
Compared to other extracurricular activities, storytelling plays a crucial part of every child’s life since time immemorial. But now, with Social Media and Tech-Gadgets, children aren’t enjoying this lovely art form as much.
Story-telling forms a crucial part of developing a child’s personality. With the right kind of stories, we can instill values in children – from patience to selflessness to empathy, we can teach it all.
Story-telling can make them understand various cultures, improve their listening, speaking and overall language skills and encourages creativity.
We do understand that these extracurricular activities are expensive. Especially, if you have more than one child.
But the benefits make it worth investing time and money in. It is not compulsory to enroll your child in all these activities.
Spend some time with your child, understand his or her interests and skills, and then you could send your child for a trial class. You could also form a small interest group in your locality and get an instructor to visit your apartment/township.
Also, we know that this is an endless list. If you would like to add to this list, or have any thoughts about this post then feel free to drop us a comment below.