Learning doesn’t have to stop when the school bell rings in fact, a student can discover some of life’s most important lessons outside the classroom. One great way for parents to broaden their children’s education is with after-school activities. From chess clubs to sports teams, student government to summer camp, there are numerous opportunities that can facilitate the development of knowledge and skills. To get the best out of your child, here is a look at some extracurricular activities you might consider:
1. Sports teams
When you consider the many benefits that come from physical activity, it is no wonder so many students participate in team and individual sports. Athletics can help improve a child’s coordination, sleep, social skills, teamwork, and more. Plus, there is no denying that physical health is important at all ages. Research shows that active children are more likely to become active adults, so involving your son or daughter in sports now could have a long-lasting impact.
2. Music lessons
Your child doesn’t have to be a musical prodigy to reap the benefits of singing or playing an instrument. From a learning-and-development standpoint, musical training offers countless rewards. Even if he or she struggles at times, studying music can help a child build confidence, connect different parts of the brain, improve memory, cultivate patience and self-discipline, and, in cases of group training, increase social skills.
3. School clubs
Depending on what is available at your child’s school, there are various clubs or organizations that focus on specific academic and special interests. These groups not only provide a more productive use of free time, but they can also help your student create lasting friendships.
Additionally, your child could develop skills that can be useful throughout his or her life. For example, a student can cultivate language and composition abilities outside his or her English class if they write and edit articles for a student-led newspaper. Serving in the Community Service group can foster leadership skills and emphasize the importance of caring for others.
4. Robotics and related programs
Some students might not realize they have a passion for the sciences until they are given a fun and innovative opportunity to dive into the subject. Robotics and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) groups can help some children discover a lifelong interest. However, even if your child doesn’t continue the course of study, he or she might still acquire skills in teamwork, self-confidence, creativity, and problem-solving just by being involved.
The bottom line with after-school activities is that there are plenty of ways to expand your child’s world and expose him or her to new horizons. For more information on some enriching events to do outside school, take a look at the attached resource. It breaks down which pastimes help in developing each facet of a child’s life, from academic to social to physical health. Read it to find more ways to facilitate your child’s learning and development at home.
Author Bio: Matthew Gould has nearly three decades of experience in elementary and middle school education. Currently, he serves as Head of Norwood School, an independent school for children in grades PK-8 in Bethesda, Maryland. Prior to Norwood, for 10 years, Mr. Gould was the head of Community School in St. Louis, Missouri. He has also been a classroom teacher in several grades. Mr. Gould believes wholeheartedly that children learn best when they are challenged and inspired in a loving and nurturing child-centered school community. He is on the boards of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW) and the Association of Independent Maryland and D.C. Schools (AIMS). He earned a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Earlham College and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago.
Graphic created by Norwood School