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.
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.
- https://www.childmags.com.au/24-extracurricular-activities-for-kids-that-can-aid-them-with-skills-for-life/ (Ideas of extracurricular activities, parent testimonies)
- https://www.care.com/c/stories/3184/choosing-an-after-school-activity-for-your-child/ (More activity ideas, advice on how to pick the right activities for your child)
- https://www.verywellfamily.com/budget-friendly-extracurricular-activities-for-tweens-4107838 (Budget friendly activities)