Children face very important changes once their school life starts. They have less time on their hands for playing, more responsibilities and a blooming social life. These changes can sometimes be overwhelming but, of course, they are always for the best! As soon as children start going to school, they begin to learn more about themselves, their likes and dislikes. Is at this stage that having some extracurricular classes becomes a key element in a child’s life.
Benefits of doing after-school activities for children
After-school activities are a great opportunity for the little ones to have a more thriving social life. They learn how to socialize with other children who have the same interest as them, something that proves to be great for children’s self-esteem.
Through extracurricular activities children will have the opportunity to experience many new things like learning a new language, practicing a fun sport, or stimulating their creativity, which can turn out to be a positive influence in their future life as they get to choose a career path they enjoy.
Having the opportunity to take some after-school activities helps children learn more about how to be organized and the importance of time management. They begin to prioritize what they have to do and what they want to do, learning how to make time for the most important stuff, including leaving some free time for themselves and the family.
Top activities to practice after school
Children love music and dancing! That’s why dance lessons are always a good idea for the youngest. From contemporary dance to classical ballet, there’s a wide variety of dance lessons that can adapt to each child’s liking. Dance classes are great for energetic kids and they’re good for kids to express themselves. Through dance children learn to be confident, practice their coordination and learn to perform in front of big audiences, plus, it’s perfect to improve their motor skills.
Swimming is one of the most basic life skills a child can learn, and it’s lots of fun! This activity is perfect even for the youngest of the family, it helps keep your child respiratory system healthy and it’s great for the heart. It also helps the little ones develop healthy sleeping patterns, and it’s even helpful to improve eating habits. Plus, swimming reduces the stress of the daily routine.
Learning a foreign language
One of the best tools for brain development during childhood is learning a new language. For younger children, language lessons can represent a chance to have fun while acquiring valuable skills that will be useful in the future.
Learning a new language encourages kids to know more about other cultures, creating awareness of the world their living in. It makes them more empathic and enrichens their general knowledge. Besides, it’s a great way to start preparing the little ones for their future professional life where they’ll need to interact with a global community.
Keeping a healthy mind is as important as keeping a healthy body, that’s why chess is a great after-school activity for children ages 5 and older. Chess boosts their analytical skills, and it’s great to learn to be confident.
One of the huge perks of playing chess is that children will be able to concentrate better and it does wonders for memory improvement. These aspects of chess make it very helpful not only for school but also quite important in adulthood.
Learning to play an instrument
Making music has lots of benefits for children that will become useful once they grow up. Music is relaxing, and playing an instrument helps the little ones be more focused as they relieve stress. Another advantage of this fun activity is that it boosts children’s abstract reasoning skills, these are the same skills needed to study math and science, so, a child that plays an instrument will find these subjects less complicated. Finally, there are two important lessons that come from playing an instrument: confidence and patience. Kids tend to learn to be patient as they start to master an instrument and learn about confidence once they start becoming better at playing.
Martial arts are great for children’s well-being and also for their academic development. This type of sports activities teaches the little one's discipline, boosts their cognitive abilities, and helps them be focused on the task they’re working at the moment.
These skills are useful for their personal life as well. Martial arts are really fun and can help children socialize better by making them feel confident, less stressed, and less anxious. A key benefit of martial arts is the fact that children learn self-control and acquire problem-solving skills, this will help them have a positive attitude that will help them succeed in life.
Arts & Crafts
Whether it’s pottery, painting, or photography, enrolling your little one in extracurricular classes related to arts is always a good idea. These activities are perfect for kids of all ages, and they are very relaxing and stimulating. It’s a good way for kids to learn to express themselves and let their emotions out while creating a masterpiece. These classes are also a good opportunity to meet new people, so children can tune their social skills. Additionally, as they’ll be working with their hands, children can develop their motor skills.
Cooking classes for children have lots of benefits! Not only children can learn very valuable skills that will be useful during their whole life, but they can also socialize with other kids, and have fun while creating their favorite dishes. They will learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits, they will be exercising their creativity by mixing ingredients, and they will be able to gain focus and be more aware of themselves as they learn to handle kitchenware and utensils.
How to pick the right activity for your little one
After looking at all of these options, take into consideration that young children might be overwhelmed if the activity they’re doing is too difficult or consuming, and for older children, participating in an activity that’s too easy or not challenging enough can be boring, making them lose interest.
Toddlers need activities that help them socialize with children of their own age and that helps them develop their motor skills and cognitive abilities. Children that will start school soon might need activities that help them structure their time better and start learning about responsibility, while older children need activities to socialize and that allow them to excel at classes, as well as something relaxing that fits their interests.