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Let your child experience a broad range of activities depending on their interests. From sports and music to art and craft, extramurals offer healthy, holistic development.

Extramurals or extracurricular activities are just that: activities that take place outside of the curriculum and are not part of the usual school day. These may include sports or clubs run by the school, or extra classes or activities after school hours. Importantly, extramurals offer an opportunity to extend children and promote holistic development. They teach children about friendly competition and good sportsmanship. And, extramurals build social interaction, problem-solving, and other skills that will stand children in good stead for the workplace. They can also provide physical exercise, a healthy approach to life, and confidence.

Although extramurals facilitate healthy growth, there still needs to be a balance between these activities, schoolwork and free play. Too many after-school commitments can leave them without any time to simply be children. Before signing children up, speak to them about which activities they want to try. And, ensure that they’re willing to commit for at least the term, but make sure they aren’t taking on too much.

Academic enrichment

While some children are naturally self-motivated to work independently, others may need support. Extra lessons are one way to do this. A fun approach to a subject, which is different to their school teacher’s, may make all the difference.

Maths

Fun programmes that look at different ways of introducing children to maths are available. Some use brain-stimulating exercises, while others use the Japanese abacus and mental arithmetic.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

Science and technology

Science is being brought to life by interactive exhibits at science museums and during hands-on holiday programmes where children can get involved in experiments and engineering projects. Joining a robotics club, or taking up IT lessons, allows children to delve into coding, animation, design or Lego robotics, which incorporates robotics with building blocks. Remote control planes offer another opportunity for understanding technology. Look around for a local model airplane club for your child to join.
Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers

READ MORE: The Joy of Puzzles

Languages

Learning an additional language benefits children in many ways, from improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills to developing cognitive and executive functioning skills. Children pick up another language more easily when they’re younger. However, they can learn a new language at any point. Spanish, Italian and Mandarin are all widely spoken international languages – children can learn one of these while exploring the foods and traditions of cultures that speak these languages.
Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers

Creative

Whatever the medium, creative expression can engender emotional growth in your child. It is a personal process that reveals their individuality, no matter their ability.

Visual arts

Exploring creativity and expressing individuality are just two reasons for children to delve into the arts. Art classes offered include canvas work, multimedia work, sketching, watercolour painting, papier-mâché, sculpting, messy play, recycled art and paper craft. For something craftier, choose from pottery, fabric painting, mosaic, knitting and needlework, woodwork, soap-making, tie-dyeing, metal stamping, quilling, stained-glass making and more. Or children can explore the techniques behind photography or videography; look for studios or colleges offering courses.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

Performing arts and movement

Through these disciplines, children are given the opportunity to express their emotions in a safe space, and channel their feelings. Ultimately,this will grow children’s emotional and physical confidence and teach them to communicate their ideas, often to an audience. Focus can be on performance workshops, musical theatre training, acting workshops, modelling or classes in ballet, contemporary dance, tap, hip-hop, jazz, yoga and Pilates. Children may prefer to express themselves through music by learning to play an instrument or joining a rock music programme. They could even learn circus skills or take a course in magic.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenager

Developmental

Extramurals can also aid character development, improve social skills and stimulate minds and bodies.

Meditation

An increasing number of children are displaying signs of elevated stress, restlessness and anxiety. Through learning meditation techniques children can find peace and balance, cope better with stress and live healthier lives.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

Social clubs

Whether it’s a book, youth, language, or nature club, children learn to engage with people from all walks of life, improve social skills and build self-esteem. Volunteering at non-profit organisations or taking part in community service will also nurture empathetic and altruistic behaviour. Social clubs have the added benefit of teaching children about maintaining healthy relationships with people other than their friends.
Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers

Etiquette and manners

Manners, in these sessions, are taught through role playing, positive reinforcement and peer encouragement. Finishing schools teach young women poise and principles of etiquette, and cover personal care, nutrition, exercise, wardrobe planning and more.
Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers

Entrepreneurial skills

Nurturing entrepreneurial and leadership skills in your children will help them later in life. Understanding how money works, and how to make it work for you, is an invaluable life lesson. Look out for business-savvy workshops that will ignite an entrepreneurial spirit and teach children to be financially responsible.
Age groups: prep schoolers, teenagers

Life skills

Children won’t live with you forever, and when they venture out on their own, it’s good to know that they have the skills to take care of themselves.

Cooking and baking workshops

Classes can cover everything from decorating cupcakes to learning to cook family meals, through which children will inadvertently learn about nutrition. Children who enjoy the challenge can look out for cooking challenges, such as a mini MasterChef-style cook-off. Boys and girls are also more likely to eat the healthy stuff if they make it themselves, so look for classes that teach healthy cooking.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

CPR and first aid training

This typically covers infant and child CPR and what to do in case of burns, fever, seizures, head injuries, broken bones and dehydration. Children from 10 years old have shown to be invested in learning how to act in an emergency. Learning these skills is certainly useful in emergency situations, but having this training on your CV can also be beneficial.
Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers

Outdoor skills

Programmes that cover these are Brownies and Cubs for younger children, progressing to Scouts and Girl Guides. These teach survival in nature while cultivating a love for the outdoors, through activities such as hiking and camping, as well as teaching the importance of community service. Other programmes may include environmental awareness – “becoming eco rangers”, marine conservation, and experiential recycling and upcycling workshops. Learning about plants or planting a food garden is another fun way to encourage a healthy relationship with nature. Ask local gardening centres if they have workshops, sign children up with a gardening club, or see if their school offers one.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

Sport

Exercise increases a child’s strength, endurance and physical ability, while decreasing the risk of lifestyle diseases.

Action sports

More extreme sports include surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking, roller or inline skating, figure skating or rock climbing. Some of these may be dangerous if done irresponsibly but, with proper training, children can enjoy fun adrenaline-filled activities. Parkour, or free running, is increasing in popularity, but should be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor. Trampolining, another new activity, includes sessions, training and clubs for children of all ages at trampoline parks, which means that young children can get involved in the action too.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

Combat arts

Traditional combat activities include fencing, archery, stick fighting, karate, judo, capoeira and other martial arts. These offer physical and mental exercise, and can sometimes be used as a form of meditation.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

Horse riding

This can involve learning the basics, going for outrides and attending pony camps. Once confident, you can branch out into show jumping, dressage, cross-country jumping, polo and vaulting. Equine therapy can also be beneficial for children with special needs, but horse riding helps all children to learn more about living with, and having respect for, animals. Look for schools that pay attention to teaching safety.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers, teenagers and special needs

Sports leagues and academies

Your child may excel at hockey and want extra practice hours. Maybe they want to join an indoor cricket team outside of school, to meet new people or try a sport that isn’t offered at the school, or during the term. Sports leagues and places such as golf academies cater for this.
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers

Water sports

Learning to swim is essential, and many programmes are available for this, but competitive water sports can aid development in other ways too. Canoeing or sailing provide exercise and friendly competition. Diving, supping, snorkelling and fly-fishing can be taken as sports, but also allow children to experience nature, while building on very specific skills. Age groups: prep schoolers, teenager,