The average public school curriculum does not cover full development of a child’s skills. Parents can compensate for what the academic experience lacks through extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities offer the opportunity to make new friends, learn teamwork and build problem-solving skills.
If your child is too young for kindergarten or your area does not offer it full time, extracurricular programs offer an opportunity to keep kids busy, engaged, and learning.
If you’re new to your neighborhood, one of the best ways to make new friends is by enrolling your child in an educational or physical activity program where the parents are also involved. One great program for young kids is Gymboree; however, if you are looking for an educational experience, you might prefer a bilingual Mommy and Me class.
Foreign Language Learning
Young children have a distinct advantage over older kids in that their neurological connections are forming. The ability to learn and retain a foreign language at this age is significantly enhanced. An immersive learning experience, i.e., games, playtime, music, dance, storytelling, etc. offer positive experiences that make bilingual learning fun and help the child to learn faster.
Your local crafts store, i.e., Michael’s or AC Moore, offer different craft classes throughout the year. Some are free to attend since you must buy their supplies to participate. Your child can learn cake decorating, stamp art, pottery, scrapbooking, painting, soap making, etc.
Young kids don’t have team sports opportunities but there are karate classes for kindergarten aged children. For the kid who tends to get picked on, karate class can be a confidence builder.
Tap or ballet classes are popular with young girls, but boys are also welcome. Dance class helps kids with balance, rhythm, culture, and coordination. The class usually concludes with a performance for parents, giving them an opportunity to receive praise for their success.
If you own a pool, a swimming safety class is a must for young kids. Safe-T-Swim is located everywhere and offers classes for babies and toddlers to learn basic skills to float and keep their heads above water. While there are no guarantees, having these skills can improve their chances of surviving should they fall in the water.
When you’re investigating programs in your area, referrals from people you know is always the best way to find a new activity, but an internet search will usually pull up local businesses and reviews. People tend to post complaints more readily than positive experiences, so be on the lookout for locations with a large number of reviews so the opinion is less skewed.
Once you find a new place, the staff should welcome you to investigate it to check for safety and cleanliness. Hopefully, you will find friendly staff and get a clear explanation of their program and policies.
Extracurricular programs tend to develop a child’s hobbies and interests, some lasting a lifetime. They all offer an chance for your child to interact with other kids and it keeps them off their phones and computers!