October 9, 2013

After-School Activities for Young Children

My brother and I both enjoyed a few different after-school activities when we were in grade school up through high school, which is probably why I am such a supporter of extracurricular activities for children. These activities give children the opportunity to learn something new that’s fun and exciting for them, but they will also exercise, improve confidence and make new friends in the process too.

While I believe that after-school activities for kids are important, I also believe that a child shouldn’t be involved in too many activities. They should also have time to enjoy being a kid and doing the things that kids do, too. As the mother of a 5-year old, I’ve started searching for an appropriate after-school activity for my son to enjoy once a week (I don’t want to overwhelm him, so we’re sticking to once a week right now.).
I figured that I’m not the only mom out there looking for extracurricular activities for their children so I thought I would share my findings with you.
1.      Ballroom Dancing – I would have never thought of ballroom dancing for kids if it wasn’t for the Google search engine. As one who enjoys watching dancers waltz around the dance floor, I think the idea of putting children in a ballroom dancing class sounds like fun. After all, how many children can say they know how to ballroom dance? And, aren’t the dancing dresses and little tuxedos adorable?! Most ballroom dancing classes require students to be 8 before they can begin, so that eliminates my son for now. However, it’s definitely an option I’m willing to re-explore in a couple of years.

2.      Karate – When I was 5, my parents enrolled me in a karate class and I stuck with it until I was 13, which is when I became interested in band, boys and FFA. I made it all the way to the brown belt level and learned a lot of valuable self-defense techniques. It was something fun and unique that I enjoyed doing. I imagine my son will be the same way. However, the local dojos here require kids to be 7 before they are able to enroll.

3.      Gymnastics – My son is a high-energy kid. He needs a way to burn off some of that extra energy, which is why I checked into gymnastics classes for him. Children start as young as 2 in gymnastics so age wasn’t an issue for us. I took my son to the open house they had a few weeks ago and he had a blast jumping on the trampoline, swinging from the bars and tumbling across the mat. In fact, he probably would have stayed there all night if I would have agreed. Therefore, I did sign my son up for gymnastics. He will go once a week (Thursday nights) starting September 5th 

4.      Horseback Riding Lessons – For kids who enjoy being around animals and live near a stable, horseback riding lessons may be the perfect after-school activity for them. My mother did this has a child and when she was in high-school she began competing in the hunter jumper competitions. She said that after school she would head to the stables, clean out the stalls and get her horse ready for practice – which kept her out of trouble while her parents were at work. While your child may not have an interest in competitive riding, how will you know if you don’t give him/her the opportunity to explore that interest? 

5.      Instrumental Lessons – Learning how to play an instrument at an early age has a lot of benefits for children, especially as they get older. Studies have shown that young children are able to learn new things (like how to play an instrument, reading, a new language, etc.) when they are younger, so now is really a good time to get them in instrumental lessons if music is something they truly enjoy!
There are so many after-school activities available for children that it’s impossible for me to list them all. Above are just some of the activities available in my area. You may have even more in the area where you live. My goal is that my son is able to explore a new activity and hopefully enjoy it. If at the end of the year he decides he doesn’t like it, then I won’t enroll him again, but at his age all I want to do is give him is the ability to explore different activities so he can pick one or two to focus on when he’s older. If I can get him interested in something now, then he won’t be bored and getting in trouble later on when he’s a teen – at least that’s the hope!

What are your thoughts? Do you think extracurricular activities are good for children?



1 comment:

  1. There are many benefits to take in self-defense training in martial art or karate. It's increased confidence, and the overall ability to protect oneself. Best karate in Connecticut