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  • Writer's pictureDr. V.S. Gayathri

The Importance of Extracurricular Activities!

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

"I make most of my friends through my extracurricular activities." - Kiernan Shipka

We all have been involved in different extracurricular activities apart from academic studies. These could be our hobbies, something that we have been passionate about, something we want to learn. Mostly extracurricular classes are fun, enjoyable and a good learning experience for kids. And, yes you get to make so many new friends apart from your school mates.

You will be surprised to know that Indian students engage more in extra classes, co-curricular activities than peers according to a study at the Cambridge University. Almost two-third of Indian students take extra tuition for key subjects after school, 72% participate in co-curricular activities and 74% say they play sports regularly in school. The study also revealed that Indian parents have a keen interest in their children's education. Only 11% of Indian students said they don’t take part in any extracurricular clubs or activities.

Now let us understand why extracurricular activities (both outdoors and indoors) are beneficial for kids.

1. Learning new skills: Extracurricular activities can help to bring out one’s hidden talent and passion. Learning new skills can also promote in better job opportunities and exploring new niches like a gateway to new career options. This also helps in identifying one’s self worth.

2. Boosting social skills: The nature of extracurricular classes helps to enhance social and interpersonal skills because there is a lot of external interaction. Most of the classes are conducted in groups hence helps in conversation and discussion. Making new friends, communicating and breaking social and geographical barriers (in case of online courses) are also the plus points.

3. Boosting academic performance: In a study, it was found out that an equal interest in both academic and non-academic courses helps in improving the grades of the students. Extra-curricular activities after school help in developing a positive attitude of students. In one study by the Texas A&M University, important academic outcomes like reading, math achievement and course grades were all found to be positively influenced by children who engage in extracurricular activities.

4. Enhancing self-confidence: Extracurricular activities helps to boost confidence and self-esteem, and ward off stress and negativity. It teaches many virtues like time management, team work and others which helps them to become more controlled and confident.

5. Improving thinking abilities: These classes or courses helps them to learn problem-solving and analytical skills. Group activities like different sports and other group centric classes helps in inculcating qualities like teamwork, leadership, time management, creativity and others.

As per the survey, the most followed extra-curricular class was for debating (36%) followed by science club (28%), art (25%), book club (22%). Also, 74% play sports regularly, with badminton (37%), football (30%) and cricket (30%) as top choices.

Let us now take a look at some of the unconventional extracurricular activities that kids can engage in and how they can help them.

1. Debating and Public Speaking: As mentioned, debating has been ranked one of the most popular extracurricular courses. These clubs help to improve oratory skills, boost self-confidence and interpersonal skills.,

2. LEGO Club: LEGO has always been an activity to promote creativity, innovation and analytical skills. LEGO clubs bring creative minds together where they can exchange ideas, build and innovate. It is a great extracurricular activity for young minds.

3. Astronomy Club: With the increasing interest in space and science and also due to accessibility to information and technology, these clubs have become very popular. Many schools are also promoting such clubs to gauge the interest of students as there can be a wide range of topics that can be covered.

4. Culinary Club: Cooking clubs have gained popularity off late irrespective of gender. It is a great way to involve kids of different age groups and again enhance their creativity.

5. Coding and Animation: Coding has always been a popular choice for extracurricular activities with the advancement of technology and information. This could be a great choice for someone who loves to explore the digital world and showcase creativity. Animation can help them explore other fields as well.

The extracurricular market is projected to reach $5.8 billion in India in 2021 and set to rise in the coming years, reveals a study by IIM-Kozhikode students. It also projects the internet using population to reach about 80% of 1.4 billion Indians by 2025 and estimated to lead to 9.23% growth in the extracurricular market.

So whichever extracurricular activities you chose, it should be in sync with your child’s interest and may be with a future roadmap in mind. There are so many such classes and courses that you can explore now.

Do you know if any such unconventional courses that you would like to explore for your child?


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