Arts, Sports, Drama and More: How Extracurricular Activities Develop Life Skills
Knowledge is not restricted to books, and not all life lessons can be learnt at school. Most parents focus on their child’s academic performance and treat bookish knowledge as a base for skill development. While academic education is the primary source of learning for a child, it’s important to remember that every child has a unique personality which can be nurtured in a positive way through sports and extracurricular activities. We’re all aware of the physical health benefits of sports for kids but there’s so much more to outdoor activities than physical well-being. And why limit a child’s exposure to 80% academics and 20% athletics when extracurricular activities offer a pool of skills for him/her to develop? From arts and drama to music and language, an involvement in these activities can help children develop amazing skills for life.
While we termed Jack as a dull boy for focusing on work and not play, the proverb highlights Jack’s negligence towards activities that rejuvenate his mind which can learn only so much from work - academics in this case. Extracurricular activities are a major source of serotonin for most kids. It is not uncommon for children to find thrill and excitement in engaging with the outside world, and their involvement in extracurricular activities helps their mind develop focus. Having a good balance between academics and extracurricular activities is a major step towards the betterment of a child’s future, and apart from offering variety and maintaining a healthy balance, outdoor activities widen the scope of career opportunities for children.
Important Benefits of Extracurricular Activities for Children
There are endless opportunities for children to learn outside the framework of standard education. Following are the benefits of extracurricular activities that boost all-round development of children:
1. Instill Life Lessons
Activities pursued along with education teach children lessons that they remember for a lifetime. These pursuits help children understand and eventually develop their personalities. Hours spent playing a sport or learning an instrument are often looked back as enjoyable. Further, such activities instill personality traits and key skills in children that will help them across all walks of life. For example, learning an instrument helps build focus and enhances creativity. Sports help children value teamwork, respect and above all, accepting defeat with grace.
2. Boost Academic Performance
A study conducted to understand the impact of extracurricular activities on friends and academics explains how various academic skills like math, reading and course grades are positively influenced by children who actively engage in extracurricular activities. Be it problem-solving, critical thinking or memory enhancement, extracurricular activities help boost skills that directly impact a child’s academic performance.
3. Understand Time Management
Juggling between school and activities outside school are a great way to teach children how to manage their time. When a child enjoys an activity, he/she starts looking forward to attending that class, playing that sport, or learning that new language, which makes it to the list of priorities in his/her mind. Balancing study with homework and extracurricular activities forms a foundation of skills that teach a child how to manage various tasks at a young age.
4. Develop Social Skills
When a child is in a public forum, his/her interaction with others his/her age help develop a sense of behavior and responsibility. More importantly, these social skills can not always be developed within the four walls of a classroom once a child slips into a comfort zone with his/her classmates. Teamwork, mutual respect and understanding, and trust are key skills children develop outside their academic education. Another advantage of engaging in co-curricular activities is that they teach students how to express themselves – a skill that is essential to every child’s future.
5. Build Confidence
How amazing do you feel once you’ve mastered a sport, or when you play an instrument without going off-track? Pretty good, right? Now imagine that feeling settling in a child when he/she achieves the same! Acing at activities outside academic education helps boost self-confidence. A child who is afraid in the beginning – of failure, embarrassment, or judgement – will eventually grow out of these insecurities which is essential to boost his/her confidence.
Art, music, poetry, dance, language, and martial arts are some excellent extracurricular activities for children to choose from, that not only make good hobbies but can also be explored as career options in the future. Along with mental and physical benefits, co-curricular activities have the following advantages for children:
- Generate curiosity
- Enhance creativity
- Develop social and emotional skills
- Instill good values
- Shape personality
- Enhance people skills
- Build memories that last a lifetime
Teamwork, responsibility, leadership, time management, goal-setting and analytical thinking are key skills that are necessary to survive in today’s world. Irrespective of their field of interest when they grow up, introducing these skills to children at an early age through various extracurricular activities along with academic education will benefit their development in the long run. Pro-tip: focus on their hobbies and let them discover activities that fascinate them, naturally.