Christine A Howard

How To Create Well-Rounded Kids With Extracurricular Activities

When it comes to bringing up your children, you’re always going to have your own view on how things should be. That’s natural, because no two parents will take the exact same approach. It’s okay that you choose exactly how you raise your kids and what works out to be most important for you. However, it may also be worthwhile for you to note that there are things you can do to get the best results. Because when it comes to raising happy, healthy, and well-rounded children, you have to approach things in the right way.  Extracurricular activities are a good way to provide your children with some flexibility in their learning, and still guide them in the right direction.

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kids playing in the woods

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Extracurricular activities can help you with this. We often put a lot of stress on academics, but sometimes it’s these areas that can really make the difference. So let’s take a look at how you or others can make this fun for your kids and encourage them to be well-rounded.

Arts

First of all, you have art. Not every child will be artistic, and that’s okay. But you should definitely look to try and do what you can to bring out their creativity. Because everyone has something hidden away. When you encourage your children to have fun with art, try different kinds of arty activities, and even get out to galleries or take trips together, this can be a great way to open their eyes up to the artistic side of life.

Art Co-ops

Providing your budding artist with a steady supply of ideas as well as art supplies can be challenging.  Try partnering with a group of other families to pool ideas and resources.  Our local homeschool group has a co-op for that very purpose.  Each Wednesday the kids gather for an art class taught by the parents.  The parents each take turns teaching and the resources are shared to lower the costs.  It is also a very nice way to take a more individual activity and make it social.

Paint-your-own-pottery

Additionally, there are quite a few stores popping up that allow families to be creative for a very low price.  Paint-your-own pottery has become all the rage among youngsters these days.  Some of these stores even have glass fusing or pottery classes to get involved in.  These classes make for great homeschool field trip ideas as well.

Writing Classes

If you know that your kids don’t overly enjoy arts, or they haven’t found something that they love, another creative outlet for them to try is writing. A lot of the time, this is thought of as being academic, when really it is creative. If your child loves to read or write, then why not look into local children’s writing classes with authors or writers, or find masterclasses around the country? This can be a great way to nurture their interest.

Extracurricular activities can provide your child some of the best learning. We often put a lot of stress on academics, but sometimes it's these areas that can really make the difference.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble has some great programs for kids to get excited about authors and books.  There are book clubs, story times, and author meet-and-greets that will get your kids excited about books and inspire them to write their own stories.

Minecraft

For your Minecraft fans, there is an amazing feature to foster writing creativity. Within the items section in creative mode your child can find a book and a quill.  These can be used to write their own stories, and these stories can be shared with others in the game.  My son has written many books that pertain to the worlds he creates within Minecraft, giving his world a plot and a story line.  This is a nice option for kids who love the digital world.

Sports

Of course, we do also have sports. And this is great for them to be able to stay active. It’s also something you can have fun with. From sublimated football uniforms to dance tutus, you can go all out and get the uniform and kit to ensure that they really get the most out of their active activity. You may even want to find local clubs and classes that can allow them to take their interest to the next level.

Funding Your Child’s Sports

As you probably are aware, sports can be quite expensive.  If your child is a lover of all things sports, you will need to get creative about how you provide these opportunities.  One way we have been able to afford the expense associated with sports is to ask for these for birthdays and special occasions.  Grandparents are always looking for that perfect gift, and so if they know what equipment needs there are, they can provide them as gifts.  When our children receive birthday money, we have them set aside a certain sum to go toward the sports they love.

Homeschool Sports Opportunities

It can be difficult to find sports opportunities for high school age students when they school at home whether through homeschool or the virtual platform.  The local school districts do not have to offer students not enrolled in their district access to sports.  Since most peewee leagues end after Middle School, this can be a let down for high school students who have a passion for sports.  I encourage you to look for homeschool sports groups.  In our area there is a home school cross country team which actually competes with the local school teams.  There is also a bowling league and Karate classes in our area that are not run by the local school districts.  Get creative and keep your kids active.

Drama

Perhaps your children love to perform? Then why not put on plays, read drama for literature, and even take up acting classes? If you have a local  drama society, this could be a lot of fun for your starry-eyed child.  When my second oldest was younger, he participated with our local theater company and loved it.  Twice a year he would work with a the group to create a new performance for our local community.  

4-H

4-H is a wonderful place to find this outlet for your kids.  Every year the 4-H gathers together kids who love drama for a day of fun.  Here,  the kids from the local 4-H groups can perform plays and single acts and be judged on their craft.  There are play readings, poetry recitals, and of course plays.

Community Theater

As I mentioned my son participated with our local community theater.  Quite often there are parts for all ages in these plays, and sometimes they even have plays just for the kids.  I remember when I was young our local community theater performed “The Sound of Music,” which was so much fun for a number of our local youth.

Career Skills

Finally, you may also want to go one step further with your extracurriculars and opt for things that can benefit their careers or future. From community programs and government clubs to entrepreneurial skills, there’s a lot that you could do with them to ensure that they are building career skills as they get older, and not just focusing on the school-syllabus academics.


The important thing to remember is that your child should direct their extracurricular activities.  While it is the parent’s duty to direct their children and make sure they are performing well in their academics, learning beyond school should be student led.  There are many options to choose from, and some great ones right in this post.

 

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