Engaging in extracurricular activities, primarily physical ones, greatly contributes to holistic child development. According to CDC, children aged between six and 17 should ideally engage in at least an hour of vigorous physical activity daily to enhance heart health, muscle, and bone strength while also reducing health risks. Intriguingly, CDC reports that only about 25% of children meet this recommendation. However, active children frequently demonstrate better academic performance, attendance, memory, concentration, and positive behavior.
Apart from more traditional pursuits like soccer, swimming, basketball, and baseball, there are other beneficial sporting activities for children that are not that fashionable, but also offer an array of benefits.
One such sporting activity for children is Ballroom Dancing, rejuvenated by popular television shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing With the Stars. It stimulates physical fitness, rhythm, timing, and even self-confidence. Ballroom dancing enables children to channel their creativity and aids in overcoming common childhood shyness. It promotes effective partnership and teamwork, nurturing key life skills.
Similarly, Yoga offers diverse benefits from improved balance and concentration to enhanced motor skills and cardiovascular health. It introduces a wellness paradigm that can significantly contribute to the emotional and mental health of children when suitably tailored for different age groups. Practicing meditation and mindful techniques deepens self-relations, instills self-soothing strategies, promotes self-awareness, and helps maintain focus in day-to-day activities.
Fencing, an unconventional yet beneficial sport, offers a unique opportunity for children to stay active and entertained. It is a high-energy sport that enhances timing, coordination, and agility. Likened to ‘physical chess’, fencing enhances cognitive development and encourages resilience, self-reliance, and emotional management. The sport sharpens interpersonal skills, instills respect, and underlines the importance of handling equipment responsibly.
Lastly, Badminton, which engages all major muscle groups, is suitable for children too. The sport, with its dynamic nature, allows children to expend energy effectively. The fast-paced game improves brain function, coordination, and decision-making abilities. As an Olympic sport, a sporting career in badminton could be a viable future prospect.
Engaging in extracurricular activities, especially physical ones, is really important for the overall growth and development of children. These activities extend far beyond traditional sports and offer children a myriad of health benefits and a chance to explore their passions beyond the usual. It’s imperative to remember that the objective should not be about fostering the next generation of Olympians, but about nurturing healthier, active, and disciplined children who will stay fit and enjoy physical exercise as an integral part of their lives.