The Importance of
Extracurricular Activities for Elementary Students
Backpacks are packed, pencils are sharpened and the new school year is in full swing. But your child’s success and wellbeing at school goes beyond the classroom. Extracurricular activities give your child a well-rounded elementary school experience.
This guide will teach you about the importance of extracurricular activities for kids, and give you ideas for how to pick the best one for your child.
Why Are Extracurriculars So Important?
You might be wondering why it’s important for kids to do even more activities after sitting in a classroom all day. Extracurricular activities expand your child’s world and give them access to skills and social opportunities they might not have otherwise.
1. Explore Interests
One of the main benefits of extracurricular activities is giving your child a chance to explore something they’re interested in that isn’t offered during traditional school hours.
Perhaps your child is very interested in playing an instrument, but their school doesn't offer band or music classes. Extracurricular activities let your child try different things that could spark a lifelong hobby, or even a future career.
2. Increase Socialization
Enrolling your child in extracurricular activities allows them to meet kids from different communities. In school, your child is surrounded by the same students every day. Oftentimes, these kids come from the same neighborhood and share many attributes.
When you place your child in an extracurricular activity, you expose them to kids from other communities and backgrounds who might have similar interests to them. This increased exposure to other kids can help your child grow socially and develop more empathy.
3. Teach Time Management
Elementary school children are just starting to get a taste of responsibility at school and home. They already have homework and chores to fill their days, but adding in extracurricular activities can help them learn more about time management.
With these added activities, they now have to think more carefully about how they want to spend their free time. They have to think twice about choosing TV over homework and make other time-centric decisions that could come in handy later in life.
What to Look for in Extracurricular Activities
All extracurricular activities are not created equal, and not all are suitable for every child. Here are some tips on choosing the best activities for your child this year.
1. Visit the Activity Center First
Elementary-aged kids still need plenty of care and attention. It’s a good idea to check out the place where the activity is offered before enrolling your child.
You’ll want to make sure they offer high-quality care, including a low adult-to-child ratio. This ratio will vary depending on the activity, but be sure there are enough people on staff to properly care for your child.
2. Consider Hidden Fees
Be sure to keep your budget in mind when choosing an extracurricular activity. Many of them come with hidden fees you may not have considered, such as uniforms, equipment and travel expenses. Ask the program director about cost before enrolling your child.
3. Look for Free Activities
Not every extracurricular activity has to break the bank. Look to your library or community center for free activities for kids.
You can also host your own activities after school for your child. Up the social element by inviting other kids from school to join for a weekly get-together. You can use your own talents to teach the kids a new skill such as baking, painting or writing poems.
The Importance of Extracurricular Activities
Now that you understand the importance of extracurriculars for your elementary schoolers, you can start planning a productive and happy school year for them.
Looking for the best activities in Indiana? Check out this list from Indy With Kids packed with activity ideas from swimming to bowling. Want more ideas for what to do at home? Check out our guide on activities for school-age children.