Published by vnahealthdeve May 16, 2022

As your children get older, they are exposed to excellent opportunities to pursue a variety of indoor and outdoor hobbies and participate in extracurricular activities along with other kids. For example, they might join a sport at school or spend time honing their creative skills – like working on arts and crafts projects – with their buddies at home. The amount of hobbies for kids is amazing.

These extracurricular activities can keep children engaged both mentally and physically, resulting in several benefits, such as:

  • Developing self-esteem and resilience.
  • Learning social skills like how to communicate with their peers, how to work together, and how to take responsibility.
  • Improving mental health due to friendships built during this time.
  • Create memories that last a lifetime.

It has been observed that children who don’t get to participate in kids’ hobbies could be at a higher risk for developing health issues like obesity, anxiety, depression, and even high blood pressure.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two years have been marked by overwhelming isolation for many families. Now more than ever, vulnerable young kids and teenagers need a space where they can engage in a fun hobby or two with their friends and let their creative sparks fly.

How a Creative Hobby or Extracurricular Can Shape Your Children

Around the young age of 5, kids start to develop the discipline required to join in after-school activities. Schools and community organizations offer several opportunities for them to get involved with sports, science-related hobbies, creative activities, and interest groups. Some of the most common activities are:

  • Team and individual sports (soccer, baseball, volleyball, tennis, martial arts, etc.)
  • Academic competitions
  • Student organizations and after-school clubs (student council, photography, foreign language, film, art history, jewelry making, learning survival skills, etc.)
  • Clubs associated with cultural backgrounds
  • Performing arts (musical instrument, dance classes, drama club, etc.)

It’s not uncommon for a child to join multiple groups to cater to their wide range of interests. Regardless of what fun hobbies and activities your child joins in, they can learn many life skills from their participation.

They Become Motivated to Exercise

Not all activities require kids to be physically active, but most of them do in some way. For example, team or individual sports, dance, martial arts, and clubs focused on nature-related hobbies all require a certain level of physical fitness and hand-eye coordination. Studies show that children who exercise regularly are at lower risk for many conditions – obesity, metabolic syndrome, low bone density, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, and more.

Aerobic exercise seems to be the most beneficial, improving children’s sleep quality, mental health, and fine motor skills. Ideally, kids should aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate activity every day.

They Develop Better Social Skills

When children from different backgrounds and families come together to work on something, they not only develop necessary social skills regarding cooperation, leadership, and peer interaction, but they also expand their world views in a fun way. Clubs associated with certain faiths or cultural backgrounds can give your children a community of peers, especially if they have a hard time “fitting in” with most kids.

They Have Higher Self-Confidence

The sheer variety of interesting hobbies and activities available these days can help kids find their passion and learn new skills at a very young age. This leads to a stronger sense of self in children, which improves their self-esteem.

In fact, by showing their commitment to a certain discipline or breadth of wide-ranging interests, an engaging hobby can also help your teen succeed when it comes to college admission or applying for a job.

They Have Better Psychological & Psychosocial Health

When a kid has healthy self-esteem and a sense of belonging, it directly affects their psychological and mental health. One study found that young adults who regularly participated in extracurricular activities showed lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher levels of satisfaction with life.

They Are Better at Building Positive Habits

Take soccer or another sport for example: when your child joins the team, they need to attend practice every day, reach the practice on time, probably wake up earlier for some sessions, work with their teammates to follow a strategy, keep practicing certain moves again and again until the coach decides that’s enough, and so on.

All these tiny actions build up and teach kids the value of persistence, time management, structure, community involvement, and more. They are learning memory skills, motor skills, cognitive skills, communication skills, and a basic understanding of what it takes to succeed at most things in life. These benefits are not only for kids who play on a team either; your kid will develop these habits whether they are learning to play cello or build a robot.

Another benefit of participating in extracurricular activities is that it almost always leads to better academic performance. Research supports the fact that when a student is engaged in sports, organizations, clubs, volunteering, and other great hobby-related pursuits, it pays off in terms of their grades.

The effort put forth in these activities alongside their friends and peers helps kids develop stronger behavior standards and mindsets that are essential for success.

Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing Hobbies for Kids

While deciding whether or not your child should get involved in an activity, please make sure that the environment includes proper safety measures and close supervision. The type of activity you choose should be based on your child’s aptitude and schedule.

For example, don’t schedule them for arts and crafts hobbies or indoor hobbies like a reading club if they are more interested in exploring the world and participating in outdoor activities. Likewise, don’t force them to play a sport when they’d rather be in a club where they can express their creative ideas and let their imagination run wild.

Don’t over-schedule either; it can lead to stress for both you and your children. Remember, creating fun in a holistic way is the idea here.

Finding the right hobby ideas is just as important as participating in them. Never force your child to join something that doesn’t interest them at all because it will ultimately lead to frustration, boredom, and lower self-esteem.

Talk to VNA Health Care Today

Providing every child with the opportunity to experience life-enriching activities outside of home and school is critical to their healthy development. To that end, VNA Health Care provides the following healthcare services to all students, whether they have insurance or not:

  • Physical examinations and immunizations
  • Routine health screenings
  • Acute illness and chronic illness care (sore throats, ear infections, diabetes, asthma, seizures, etc.)
  • Injury care (sprained muscles, broken bones, etc.)
  • Mental health support for stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders
  • Education regarding prevention of alcohol and drug use
  • And much more

Many schools and organizations require a pediatrician or a healthcare provider to sign sports physical forms to ensure the safety and well-being of your child. If you need to schedule a physical or a wellness checkup for your child, we can help. Visit any of the VNA Health Care centers located near you for a same-day checkup.

If you have a busy schedule, you can set up an appointment in the evening or on the weekend as well. Call us at (630) 892-4355 in case of any questions. You can also book an appointment online!