Whenever I meet children, be it at friends place or at relatives place, I definitely ask one question to them – What do you do other than studies? Many children get taken aback! Why is this uncle asking such questions? But then they enjoy getting into the conversation as it allows them to talk about various extra curricular activities and after school programs. It is heartening to hear that in some schools they actually have formalised after school club or what they call as ASP program.
Based on interactions with several children across cities, I am putting up extra curricular activities list. This list will be helpful for parents who want to know extra curricular activities examples and what should they choose from:
- Sports (football and badminton are on top of the list followed by skating and karate)
- Dance (more girls going for this than boys. A tie between classical and bollywood)
- Music (keyboard is on the top of the list followed by guitar. Some odd students learning drums, table, flute etc.)
- Arts and craft (sometime as optional subject in the school or as after school activity)
- Singing (more girls than boys)
- Personality development (elocution, speech and drama, etiquette etc. Very important, but not many parents aware of the importance of these)
I believe that these activities are very important for holistic development of children. It allows them to use different parts of the brain (yes, right and left, both) and in sports and dance they have physical activities which is good for their fitness and growth.
In a country like India where there is wide variation in the quality of institutes, the cut-off percentage requirement can reach crazy 99% (Delhi University). Therefore, parents want their children to do well in academics. So, most of the after school time gets eaten up in tuitions or co-curricular activities. What I hear from students is that they get into Abacus, Phonics or Grammar classes in addition to tuitions. Many of them also are made to participate in competitions like Olympiads or Spell-bee. But only focus on academics will not be helpful.
My suggestion is that in the early years, children should be exposed to variety of extra curricular activities – in the school or outside the school. This will allow them to understand what they like. Once they have understood about their liking or interest area, then they can pursue that activity and excel in that.
According to me, every child should practice one sport and one fine art or performing art along with acads.
My son who is now in 8th std. does not go for tuitions and has tried his hands at tennis, skating, badminton, elocution, tabla and drums. Of these, he has given up tennis and skating. I hope that he continues with one sport and one art form.
Lets not push children only towards academics. You never know, your child could be the next A R Rehman or P V Sindhu in the making.