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Having an activity outside of school can be a great experience for kids. There are so many options to choose from depending on where you live. In rural or very urban areas, activities can be more limited. Sports are not the only option to choose from. Here are 10 kid activities and what they can learn from each of the activities.
Some of the benefits of these activities are obvious, but some might surprise you. If you have the means and availability, it would be great to let your kids try as many of these options as possible. I am a firm believer that letting your kids try different activities (if you can) is good for them. It lets them discover strengths and weaknesses. Even if they aren’t good at something, they will be challenged and can learn life skills. It’s a great way to make friends also!
When I was younger, my parents let me try as many different kid activities, outside of school, as I wanted. Some I stayed with for a while and some I just tried once. Here are some activities I remember trying: soccer, ballet, softball, horseback riding, gymnastics, swimming, modeling, Awana, bowling, tennis, performing arts, cooking, girl scouts, singing, piano and more. It was a great experience because I never felt stuck hating something because my parents were forcing me to go. Now that I am an adult, I feel like I can relate with others more because even though I don’t have a lot of experience with any of those activities I am at least slightly familiar.
Karate and Tae Kwon Do are the two most readily available options in this area. Some other possible options are Kung Fu, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, Hapkido, and more. What kids can learn:
- Listening skills
- Setting goals
- Conflict resolution
Soccer is a very popular sport for kids for many reasons. It is one of the most active sports, so is great for creating a healthier lifestyle. AYSO is a very large organization that has been around since 1964 and currently has programs in nearly 900 communities all over the US and some internationally. What kids can learn:
- Decision making
Baseball is a much slower sport than soccer but has other very important skills to be learned. This is one of the most popular sports among kids in the US. Little League has been around since 1939 and is the world’s largest organized youth sports program. What kids can learn:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Dealing with pressure
Basketball is another great sport for physical activity like soccer. The NBA and USA Basketball have teamed up to provide guidelines designed to promote a positive and healthy youth basketball experience. What kids can learn:
- Hand-eye coordination
Gymnastics is not just an activity for girls. Boys can have just as many benefits from it. This is an activity that might not be available everywhere but is a great option. Besides appropriate clothing, it doesn’t require the parents to purchase added equipment because the facility will have everything. It challenges kids to push themselves past their comfort zone and success does
- Work ethic
Dance also is not just for girls. There are many different dance styles to choose from such as: Ballet, Hip-Hop, Tap, Jazz and more. My 4-year-old son got to try a Hip-Hop class and loved it! Many cities have parks and recreation departments that offer classes and dance is a popular area. Many dance classes will offer opportunities for a recital so kids can perform in front of others and show what they have learned. What kids can learn:
Art classes can be offered through Parks and Rec programs, after-school programs and private art studios. Some of the many different types of art classes kids can take are drawing, painting, ceramics, photography, sculpting and more. Art classes are a great way to channel creativity. What kids can learn:
- Problem solving
- Self confidence
- Develop new perspectives
If your child has an opportunity to try anything related to music at some point, they should try it. This could be learning a musical instrument, singing or more. Some schools have a music program and kids can learn to play the recorder and eventually an instrument. It may not be easy for most but it’s a great skill to have. What kids can learn:
- Dedication and hard work
- Memory skills
Taking swimming lessons is almost a rite of passage. It’s a safety skill that everyone should learn at some point in their life. You never know when you will need it. Some kids take to it quickly and eventually go on to compete in swim meets. What kids can learn:
The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have great programs that teach a multitude of skills. Boy Scouts is not just about making crafts and Girl Scouts is not just about selling cookies. Both of these organizations teach valuable tangible and intangible skills. You can earn various badges while learning practical skills. These programs can require a bigger time commitment, but well worth it. Here is what kids can learn:
- Community service
- Safety skills
If you are bringing a younger sibling to lessons or practices for an older child here are some great recommendations for what to pack in your diaper bag.