How to Get my Child Involved in After School Activities

How to Get my Child Involved in After School Activities

Benefits of hobbies

We can all remember a treasured hobby or activity that we loved as a child, whether it was dance class on a Saturday morning, collecting model trains to show off to granddad or sketching monsters and aliens in a notebook after school. Hobbies are a great way to take part in an activity with a goal and a purpose that is separate from school, and are particularly good at bringing shy children out of their shells and helping those that struggle with academic work accomplish a sense of achievement.

Enrolling your child in an after school activity can help develop cognitive skills such as problem solving and self-discipline, as well as encourage imagination, critical thinking and provide a means of expressing emotions. Individual activities such as painting, reading or collecting can help concentration and open up discussion within the family, whereas group activities such as joining a football team or dance group encourages team work and group bonding, also providing role models away from school and the family.

Healthy competition can inspire self-belief as well as a sense of purpose and provides plenty of opportunity to excel and feel proud and worthwhile within the community. Meeting new kids of different ages can offer different perspectives for your child to consider and can also help build confidence that they may not have achieved in a school environment. Most obviously, it can alleviate boredom to make your life easier and to help keep your child focused and motivated as they grow out of toys and games.

How to find and encourage interests

  1. Ask questions about what your child likes/dislikes and introduce them to a wide variety of activities to gauge which ones they seem to enjoy.
  2. Support and encourage activities they seem to enjoy and see where they lead. If your child likes to bake then suggest baking new recipes together regularly. If your child enjoys collecting stamps then keep an eye out for local exhibitions to take them to. If your child is interested in jewellery making then subscribe to a relevant monthly magazine.
  3. Take the hobby seriously and be ready to spend some money. Most classes and groups aren’t free but will enrich the hobby to help your child gain the most from it. Set a budget and be willing to compromise.
  4. Encourage your child to keep progressing so that the activity doesn’t become stale. Enter them in local competitions or introduce them to a friend/family member with a similar interest.
  5. Appreciate smaller successes within the hobby. Your child may not have won the competition, but they did shake their opponent’s hand afterwards and thanked their teacher, and this should definitely be rewarded.
  6. Remember that the hobby is to benefit your child and should be something they want to do, rather than a chore. Accept that some hobbies do come to a natural end and kids sometimes outgrow activities. Try to support them with a new interest, rather than investing in a hobby they no longer enjoy.

Fun suggestions

ArtisticActive/SportsCreative Academic
PaintingIce skatingStory writingHistory
NeedleworkRoller bladingPoetryAstronomy
PhotographyCyclingSketchingDinosaurs
SketchingFootballBloggingCollecting
PotteryGardeningPlaying an instrumentChess
CraftsBasketballSingingPuzzles
ColouringSwimmingWriting a play/screenplayJigsaws
Making modelsNetballCooking/bakingGeography
Designing (cars/clothes/etc.)RoundersFlower arrangingCollecting rocks
Chalk drawingsGolfMagic tricksTransport
Soap carvingGymnasticsPuppetsFamily history
OrigamiDancingActingElectronics
CalligraphyRugbyFilm makingNature + animal spotting
Jewellery makingTable tennisMocktailsReading
Candle makingBowlingWriting a newspaperComic books
SculptureBoxingStory telling 
WoodworkMartial artsCard making 
SculptureBoxingStory telling 
WoodworkMartial artsCard making 
 BadmintonBeadwork 
 Darts  
 Horse riding  
 Juggling  
 Cheerleading  
 Surfing  
 Hockey  

For further inspiration, take a look at our selection of magazines that cater to a variety of hobbies and interests. If you have any suggestions that we haven’t mentioned on here then let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter.