Karate, Cub Scouts, baseball, and acting classes are just a few of the extracurricular activities that we have undertaken. While most of them ended up not being our cup of tea, we found value in each one. Karate instilled discipline. Cub Scouts taught valuable life skills. Baseball was a great social activity and helped my child learn the value of teamwork. Acting classes have boosted my son’s confidence and given him a creative outlet.
Extracurricular activities provide several benefits for children, and while I’m a big fan of free play and a slower schedule, I have come to believe that one extracurricular activity of a child’s choice is worth the extra time and effort. Here are just a few benefits they provide.
Increased Social and Personal Skills
Children have a great opportunity to extend their social network through sports, arts, and other activities. Here, they meet peers with a common interest and build new friendships. While a classroom setting pairs students with peers of the same age, many extracurricular activities allow children to develop positive relationships with older and younger children as well as adults and even animals!
Having a passion or identity project can be especially important for children who are bullied, feel ostracized at school, or don’t excel academically. Extracurricular activities can keep them afloat with purpose and positive self-esteem.
Children also learn important skills such as leadership, time management, discipline, teamwork, conflict resolution, and problem-solving through extracurricular activities. For older students, activities look good on a college application or resume and may be a stepping stone toward their success.
Better Behavior and Academic Performance
Research has suggested that children who are involved in at least one extracurricular activity have less antisocial behaviors and reduced delinquency compared to those who did not participate. A study by Joseph Mahoney showed that academics also benefited, and children were less likely to drop out if they participated in extracurricular activities.
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