Beyond the Classroom: The Benefits of Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular involvement can help your child acquire skills necessary for development. Co-curricular activities promote growth outside of the classroom and can be a fun, enriching way for your child to become involved in school and within the community at large. Encourage your child to try new things, even if it might seem daunting at first or even if they aren’t sure they will like it. Involvement can help your child acclimate to school and social settings, while helping them develop passions, hobbies and skills that will carry them throughout life. Listed below are activity ideas for your child and skills they can help develop.


Skills: Team working, collaboration, dedication, perseverance and athletic ability

Activity ideas: Basketball, soccer, hockey, ice skating, competitive dance, tennis, volleyball, skiing, sailing, swimming, martial arts, spin classes, gymnastics, horse-back riding

Low-cost option: Be sure to check out the activities offered by your community recreation centre. Often they will have a list of free/low-cost drop-in classes offered weekly.


Skills: Whether your child is interested in dance, theatre or the visual arts, art classes teach an abundance of skills. Beyond technical ability, art fosters creativity, curiosity, healthy expression and an open mind.

Activity ideas: Dance, theatre, visual arts, pottery, sculpting, singing, playing an instrument, joining a music band, creative writing, cooking, photography

Low-cost option: Check out the offerings at your local museum – they might offer free art classes for children. Symphonic orchestras sometimes run free music workshops for kids, where they can try new instruments or even receive musical feedback from professionals. Consider buying an instrument second hand or perhaps borrowing/renting one from your child’s school, if they have a music program.


Skills: Selflessness, connection to the community, generosity, open mind

Activity ideas: Volunteering at a local food shelter, animal shelter, nursing home, local organization


Skills: Knowledge of science/math, ability to work in a team towards common goal, perseverance

Activity ideas: Robotics club, partaking in science fair, STEM clubs, Mathletes, computer classes


Skills: Knowledge of a new language and culture, curiosity

Activity ideas: Any language club (French club, Spanish club, Italian club, etc.), language classes

Low-cost option: Consider hiring a student who is fluent in or studying the particular language your child is interested in. Often students will offer private lessons at lower rates. Some schools might even offer free tutoring programs led by student volunteers. You could also see if a friend, neighbour or community member might be willing to tutor your child for free/at a low cost. Additionally, finding a couple of friends to join your child might also lower the cost of lessons.

Nature Education

Skills: Independence, problem solving, leadership, appreciation of nature, responsibility, discovery

Activity ideas: Scouts, Girl Guides, summer camps, nature expeditions, gardening, environment club 

Low-cost option: Membership fees for civil groups like Girl Guides and the Scouts can be waived for families under a certain income, making it an affordable option.

Clubs that focus on a particular skill

Activity ideas: Chess club, Lego club, sewing club, trivia club, reading/writing club 

Low-cost option: Check out the activities offered at your local library – During the summer, a lot of libraries will organize book clubs, writing clubs as well as free events.

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Kids and Social Media – A Brief Guide for Parents

In today’s modern world, it is not uncommon for young children to have Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. Therefore, having a conversation with your child about proper online behaviour is more important than ever. Below are a few key pointers your child should understand when engaging with social media.

  • Privacy settings can be changed to protect your child’s personal information.
  • Your child could filter the ‘friends’ they accept on social media (For instance, choosing to only add close friends/family.)
  • Ensure that your child does not reveal any personal information (such as their address or phone number) online.
  • Emphasize the importance of thinking twice before posting. Nothing is ever really deleted on social media – a copy of your child’s photo or post will always exist somewhere, with their name attached to it. Therefore, ensure that your child knows what is appropriate to post on social media.
  • For younger kids especially, it might be advisable to check on their online activity by asking for their login information. You could also download certain apps designed to monitor their activity for you. (A list of recommended apps can be found in this article).
  • If your child’s social media usage is hindering their academic performance, sleep, social life, mental or physical wellbeing, limiting screen time might be a viable option. For instance, parents could try implementing a no cell-phone/computer policy at the dinner table or before bedtime. Parents could also use an app to set a phone curfew and restrict cell phone usage until after homework is done, for example.

Most importantly, speak with your child. Establish boundaries. Voice your concerns. Talk to them about appropriate online behaviour. The goal is to make sure they are staying safe online, while having fun.


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