Why after school activities are important - Benefits for Kids and You

These days there are so many options for things your kids can get involved in - sports leagues, classes, clubs, and camps, to name just a few. But how important are these after school activities? And why?

After school activities are important because they offer crucial developmental opportunities for children and teenagers. These activities have huge social, physical and mental benefits, and they have the added benefit of extending your childcare!

Why After School Activities Are So Important for Kids (And for You!)

It’s not only your kids who benefit from their after school activities; they can be great for you as a parent, too! Let’s dive into all the different reasons that after school activities are a great idea for the whole family.

Play is crucial for development

For young kids, after school activities that are focused on fun and play are a significant part of their emotional and mental growth!

 Why After School Activities Are so Important For Kids (And You!). Mother and daughter having a fun time at the playground.

Research into the developmental importance of play has shown that, far from being an ‘extra’ add on to a child’s education, play has a huge role in forming a child’s emotional maturity and mental skills. So if you’re looking for more ways to introduce play into your family life, pick up a copy of The Adventure Challenge: Family Edition for ideas!

Opportunities for exercise

After school activities also are an amazing way for your kids’ physical development, too.

Two girls warming up for their karate classes at an outdoor park

From sports to dancing, from cubs and scouts to skills-based classes like karate or gymnastics, there are so many after school activities that will help your child build their strength and coordination and maintain healthy fitness.

Better night’s sleep

This has an added benefit for you, too! When kids are engaged in after school activities that challenge and stretch them instead of spending hours staring at a screen, they’ll end up more tired in the evening, which then leads to better sleep. This is not only a good thing for their growth and learning, getting deep sleep is key to both, it is also a way to make bedtime a little easier. Who knows? Maybe even a bit earlier, too.

Boosting confidence

A compelling reason to help your kids get into after school activities as they get older is the effect it can have on their confidence and self-esteem. By developing a skill outside of the academic world, kids can feel good at something, and proud of their progress. After school activities like Scouts, or classes where skills are developed, will often recognize and celebrate your child’s progress and achievements. This is a great way to build up their self-esteem and help them to have confidence that they can grow and improve. Life is about far more than grades, so it can be really helpful to give your kids a wider spectrum of experience to prove themselves and feel competent and confident.

Social skills and teamwork

Putting your kids into new social situations will help them to grow their social skills and communication.

 Why After School Activities Are so Important For Kids (And You!). Four kids playing a ball game together in a gymnasium.

Many after school activities have collaborative aspects, and these are so beneficial for improving a variety of skills, from emotional intelligence to working with others to using manners.

Positive adult influences

Another important social development aspect of getting kids involved in after school activities is that it exposes them to more healthy adult influences and role models, and it allows them to receive support and encouragement from figures other than family members and teachers. Coaches, leaders, directors, and instructors have the potential to build relationships and speak words that will impact them deeply as they begin to discover who they are and what they’re good at.

Extending your childcare

Not all after school activities will allow you to drop your kid off, but when that is the case, it can be a huge help to have the extra hour or two before the kids are home for the evening. For working parents, after school activities can be a life saver! But every parent could use a little more time in your day.

Discovering interests and passions

After school activities can be a great way for kids to discover what they are passionate about.

 Why After School Activities Are so Important For Kids (And You!). Girl wearing a purple sweater playing the piano.

If your child has expressed interest in a certain activity or subject in school, see if you can find something extra-curricular for them to explore that curiosity. Certain life-long passions like music, art, or sports can be found and developed through after school activities. How amazing is that?

College applications and job resume

It might feel pretty far off right now, but the days when your kids are thinking about getting a part-time job or applying to a college course will be here before you know it. After school activities are a great asset for them to talk about on their resumes or in their applications, so why not start now? 

Nurturing curiosity 

Not all after school activities have to be long-running commitments like an instrument or a class. You can follow your kids’ interests and questions into one-off activities that nurture their curiosity about the world.

Little boy and his teacher reading a book in the library.

Whether that’s spending forty-five minutes at an exhibit or simply heading to the bookstore or the library to show them how to find a book on the subject they're wondering about, being proactive with after school activities can be an incredible way to expand your kids’ horizons and help them be interested in the world around them.

After school activities at home

As you can see, there are so many reasons why these extracurricular activities are so important for your kids’ growth and wellbeing. Social skills, confidence, sleep, fitness, and mental health can all benefit hugely from activities outside the classroom. If you can find a few after school activities that your child really enjoys, you’re setting them up for success in school and in later life!

For ideas on activities you can set up for your kids at home, check out our blog! And for inspiration for the kind of fun activities you can do as a family all together, don’t miss out on The Adventure Challenge: Family Edition.

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