When it comes to our children’s free time, the dilemma of which extracurricular activities would be most suitable for our children comes to mind. This situation is multiplied by each kid that we have at home bored or watches many videos on YouTube.
The options we have are the typical ones: enroll them in activities such as Sport, Language, Art, Music, etc. But, how can we know which activity is best suited to the tastes and needs of our children? How to prevent them from feeling frustrated by being in something they don’t like?
There are currently options for extracurricular activities online, but they can be very expensive. But don’t worry! To help you on this journey, we’ve created the ultimate guide to extracurricular activities for your kids. Here you’ll find tips for figuring out which courses are best for you and how you can try them out remotely, and, in some cases, for free!
Why are extracurricular activities important?
An extracurricular activity can be something as simple as a study group or assignments in the afternoon, or something which takes a lot concentration and commitment as a team sport or playing an instrument in an orchestra. Regardless of the activity itself, it is proven that participation in some type of extra-class activity has positive effects on the academic performance of our children.
According to a study carried out in primary schools in Switzerland, it was shown that the performance in Mathematics was considerably benefited in the group of children who attended first-third grade of primary school, who were enrolled in some intense extracurricular activity, such as be Physical Education, Music or intense sports like Soccer. And, the more courses or more intensity, the more the academic performance tended to improve.
In studies about Spanish children and adolescents of different ages who are in the first years of secondary school, the results were similar to the previously mentioned. It was also established that, in order to improve academic performance, there was a combination of extracurricular and sports activities.
In simpler words: children who, for example, have Language, Music or take courses on a specific subject, or kids who also practiced a sport, were the ones who had the best school performance. As additional information, personalized tutoring was also one of the best practices in this regard.
There are thousands of similar studies, some focus on school effects, others on cultural effects for our children, such as discovering other children with the same tastes and interests. Within the social effects we find that extracurricular classes are essential for introverted children, who learn to relate better; extroverts, who manage to improve their communication skills with all kinds of people; Children with some type of mental condition or physical disability will also benefit, with physical and mental strengthening, as well as their social inclusion with children and adolescents of their age.
At this point, there is no much to say on the benefits of enrolling our children in extracurricular activities. We should now ask ourselves the following questions: which, how and when?
Extracurricular Activities: In-person or online classes. Which is better?
When you were a child, it was easy for your parents to answer this: there was no internet and any extracurricular activity that you liked wasn’t online. But, in the Internet era, the options have diversified to the point that now we don’t really know what to choose regarding the activity itself and the way in which it will be taught (online or face-to-face?).
Mother Helping her Daughter with Homework
So far, regarding online or face-to-face classes, there are not many studies on which are the most appropriate. Thus, the idea is to resort to our own needs and possibilities to make the decision.
We should determine what type of course we are interested in exploring; according to exerts, the best option is to enroll our children in an academic activity and a physical activity. Consequently, we should combine face-to-face activites (Soccer or gymnastics) and online activities (an English course).
However, not everyone can achieve the ideal scenario, so we must consider the options based on our reality and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have an unstable internet connection? Choose face-to-face classes.
- Don’t have a car or live far away from the academies? Choose online classes.
- Is the budget not a problem? There are academies which combine face-to-face and online classes.
- Do you prefer reducing costs without lowering quality? At Wonderly, we have top-level courses on Programming, Robotics, Game Development, App development, Web Design, English, and Math. And you can try it completely free!
Do your children have a preference? Ask your children what they would like to do. They are the ones who will attend! Their opinion is extremely important.
3 Pros and cons of online and face-to-face extracurricular activities
Pros and cons of face-to-face extracurricular courses
|Our children develop their social skills and discipline better. They improve physical abilities (Sports).||There are more distractions and, depending on the instructor, there will be more or less discipline. Risk of injury (Sports).|
|There are lots of options available, which cover practically all of our children’s preferences.||When there are lots of options, it is more difficult to find the right one. If we enroll our kids in something they don’t like, they might get frustrated.|
|It is good for our children to go outside to learn and explore other places apart from home and school.||If we have any limitations in terms of mobility (damaged car, traffic, bad weather), it will be difficult or impossible to take our children to the course.|
Pros and cons of online extracurricular activities
|Children learn to navigate the digital world safely. They develop essential computer skills for today’s world.||We should pay special attention to our children while they are browsing the internet so as not to compromise their and our safety. Only enroll your children in sites with good references.|
|Although there are fewer online class options, most of them are significant for the intellectual and professional development of our children. Many have free tests and, if they do not like a course, you wouldn’t have spent much money than in a face-to-face class.||The options are more limited. Traditional sport is out of the question. (But let’s not forget that e-Sports exist!)|
|In online extracurricular activities, kids interact with teachers and other kids from all over the world, fostering their social skills, adaptability, learning, and respect for other cultures.||If we do not have an internet connection or if it is unstable, we will be quite limited or directly prevented from using certain online tools. (Make sure the courses allow you to watch the classes on-demand or pre-recorded)|
5 essential extracurricular courses
- Languages – English (best: online): english has become the most spoken language worldwide. About 60% of English speakers aren’t natives. This means they learned English as their second or third language. English is the global language in which your children will connect with the rest of the world. It also allows them to improve how to learn other languages and digital skills which are mainly in English. The best part is that your children can start for free today.
- Sports (best: face-to-face): whatever Sport they choose, the physical activity, discipline and teamwork that any sport requires is essential for human development. Also, Sport is perfect because it can be easily combined with academic activities to achieve comprehensive training. However, not all children like Sports; If your children are not interested in this at all, check out the new e-Sports academies.
- Programming (best: online): programming is similar to English in terms of importance: it lays the foundation for a lot of knowledge that will be extremely useful for navigating the digital world. Even if our children are not going to be developers, it is recommended that they take at least one level of programming so that they understand how the programs they normally use work and will use frequently in the future. Although many face-to-face courses exist, we recommend starting virtually, as it tends to be much more accessible in terms of cost, devices, and language options. Take: a free option for your children to learn programming!
- Music (best: face-to-face): arts in general are the center of human culture. However, music has a plus compared to the rest of the skills, and that is that it allows your children to develop discipline, commitment, teamwork and the importance of this subject. In addition, Music passively teaches logical-mathematical skills that can later be applied in other courses. Although there are online options, we think face-to-face teaching would be best, since it allows the tutor to correct and motivate our children in a more efficient way… and without depending on the quality of the microphone.
- Mathematics (best online): math is probably not the first option that crosses your mind when looking for extracurricular activities for your children. This is largely due to the fact that many of us were taught in a traditional, monotonous and uninteresting way for someone so young. However, some teaching tools give this a twist, using digital games and puzzles to teach concepts and practice Mathematics in a fun and interesting way. Take a look at our Math program here.
How do I know which extracurricular activities are best for my child(ren)?
The most important thing when choosing one or more extracurricular activities for our children is to understand their interests. There’s no use in enrolling them in Music, Soccer, and Programming at the same time if only one of those really likes them. In relation to this, the objective is quality, not quantity; And, by quality, we refer to the comfort with which our children face the challenge of joining each class.
Going back a little further in this article, we recommended for you to ask what activity to choose. Now we will recommend questions to ask your kids directly:
- What would you like to learn?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- Would you like to play (or learn) this sport?
- Do you want to learn how to create a video game?
- Would you like to create a robot?
- Do you want to learn about the world?
With these types of questions, you probably get the idea of what kind of answers we are looking for. In the end, the most important thing is to understand what they like the most. Remember that, in Wonderly, you can do it completely free!
BONUS: If your children don’t give you enough clues with their answers, you can also check their behavior. For example, if you see that he tends to follow the rhythm of the music or if you see that he is methodical with his toys, communicates easily with others, understands videos in another language, etc. All of this can help point you in the right direction.
3 Tips when taking our child to an extracurricular activity for the first time
Regardless of which activity(ies) you and your children ultimately choose, in their first classes will be usually facing a situation that is probably unknown to them. Whether they are in the face-to-face mode, or they are studying at Wonderly, these three tips will help you be 100% prepared for that first day.
1. Research the course/sport/skill/activity they will be doing.
It would seem obvious, but the number of parents and children who go the first day expecting X and finding out that it really is Y, is surprising. A very common example is Music: it’s not just playing an instrument or learning to sing, you go through sheet music and rhythm concepts that are much more complex and academic and it can be frustrating if they do not follow their expectations.
Another example is giving our children the wrong equipment: shoes that aren’t proper for playing soccer, uncomfortable clothes for dance classes, poor or non-existent internet connection for virtual classes, etc.
Learn everything you can about the course and prepare yourself and your children in advance.
2. Meet the tutors/instructors/teachers.
No matter what, knowing who we are leaving our children with is vitally important and it should be a decisive when choosing one course over another. We look for tutors who, not only have the preparation and certifications necessary for teaching, but also are reliable and give good treatment to our children.
You should look for references (from other parents or pages) about the tutor our children will have. For virtual classes, make sure there is a list of their instructors.
It is recommended to attend one class with a certain tutor, and see if our children feel comfortable with this person. At Wonderly, you can try for free first, so you and your kids can have that first meeting.
3. Listen to your children
They are the ones who will attend the classes, so their opinion will always be the most important. Even if you want them to be the best programmers and build the new Microsoft, if they don’t like this, or if they aren’t comfortable with the tutor, or if they just want to do something else, the best thing to do is enroll them in another activity. Otherwise, they might get frustrated and they won’t want to participate in different courses.
Listen to them before they attend the first class, observe how interested and curious they are about it. If you notice that he is attending for obligation rather than for genuine interest, ask him if he would be interested in another activity instead… You may end up discovering that your son does not want to be a professional Soccer player, but a robot Designer!
Of course, the feedback after the first class is also essential to know if you will participate in the second and third class, or if it will be better to not taking that course.
These are the online activities that you can find in Wonderly
At this point, you are probably already an expert in choosing extracurricular activities for your children. As you may have noticed, you can try many of the recommendations we gave you for free on Wonderly. But, what classes are available on our educational platform? Keep reading!
Have you ever wondered why your kids love video games so much? Their creators love to play games just as much as your children, and they pay a lot of attention to the virtual environments they develop. Your child can learn how their heroes manage to create technological wonders like Minecraft or Fornite and create their own in just a few weeks. Start programming the future here.
Robotics went from being a science fiction concept to something possible and real. Thanks to gamified teaching, your child can learn the basics and design their first robot at home.
This is fascinating area for your kid. With this course, your child will learn to read and write codes, in order to create their personal web page and awaken their inner genius, preparing for their future.
The applications are diverse and have a world within them. They are part of our daily life and help us with many things and many tasks. Kids can learn to create their own applications and, thus, they begin to solve the problems of the future.
Video Games development
Enjoy playing video games is part of people’s childhood, doing that by themselves can be enjoyable too. Creating unique worlds by acquiring technological skills and exercising creativity is possible for your child. It’s time to create what you want.
Stay connected with us! Soon we will add new courses to our catalog of online skills and activities for children.
In this guide we have dealt with how to become experts when choosing extracurricular activities for our children. We know that it is essential, in terms of comprehensive training, that our children participate in extracurricular courses, both academic and non-academic. In this way, they can strengthen their cognitive development, social, physical and problem-solving skills while they learn and practice something they like. We also know that there’s no activity that’s better than the other one, but there’s an activity that is better for each child, according to their interests. That is why it is important to listen to them and to know that they’re part of the decision-making process regarding what skill they want to develop. Evaluating the options and measuring what is best for us and our children is the key to success in choosing the perfect extracurricular activity. Would you like a little more help choosing the skill that best suits your children? Try Wonderly for free!