Athletic, artistic and instructive after-school activities help develop your child's learning.
Allowing your child to take risks by trying new things builds their self-esteem.
Depending on your child’s interests and your family’s circumstances, after school activities vary enormously. They include things like learning another language, playing sport, craft activities, joining a scout troop, or playing an instrument.
Being involved in these activities has many potential benefits. It can help your child with their learning in school, give your child another group of friends and help their confidence and acceptance. However, there needs to be a balance between your child’s learning at school, the number of after school activities they are involved in, and having time to play and be themselves. This will be different for every child and every family.
Doing something new
By encouraging your child to explore something they haven’t tried before, there's always the possibility of failure. But without risk there's little opportunity for success. By letting your child safely experiment and resisting the urge to intervene you'll build your child’s self-esteem better by balancing your need to protect them with their need to tackle new tasks.
Having choices and taking risks means that sometimes your child will make mistakes. This is a valuable lesson for your child and will help them learn about their limits, the world around them and give them the chance to discover what happens when things go wrong.
Check your local council, community centre, newspaper or school to see what activities are happening close to you.
Some activities to consider
- Little Athletics – children between the ages of five and 15 years can register. Parents, grandparents and friends can also be involved by helping with various events.
- Outside School Hours Care – all structured activities are built around an educational rationale that means your child is doing activities that are developmentally appropriate for their age and in line with the very latest research. As well as structured activities there is plenty of time to have fun and play with friends. Children have access to loads of equipment for sports, arts and crafts, drama, science, cooking, toys, games and dress ups.
- Karate or tae kwon do – these activities require intense mental and physical involvement but they also give your child an opportunity to learn about their bodies, coordination skills and controlled movements, whilst having a lot of fun..
- Scouting – scouting is a great activity for boys and girls. Scouting includes many of the elements that can help your child to focus, such as physical stimulation, highly structured activities that make use of various learning styles, consistent peer interaction, close adult supervision, competition and, most of all, fun.
- Team sports – nearly any team sport – baseball, basketball, football and soccer - can be a good activity for your child. Be sure to choose something your child is really interested in because learning the rules, taking turns, cooperating with other kids as well as learning new skills, are all part of being a member of a team.
- Learning a language – learning a language can help your child in all their learning, especially in reading and writing English.
- Model building, carving, woodworking, or mechanical activities – most children love to solve problems or puzzles. Building models or making things out of wood or metal (with adult supervision) will help your child learn how to turn their ideas into reality. Successfully completing a project and having something solid and visible to show for it can be extremely rewarding to your child.
- Swimming – learning to swim can be great fun, especially if you have a heated or indoor pool nearby.
- Art classes or music – art and music can help your child express themselves. Just remember that it's not about how well they draw, sing, or play an instrument; the most important thing is to have fun.