Online extracurricular activities provide a platform to interact with other children in an informal setting.
By Ankit Agarwal
The concept of online education was limited only to a super niche audience until the global pandemic hit and everyone was forced to switch to the online mode. With educational institutions shutting down and dispensing learning through digital media, children were subjected to online teaching with limited social interaction. This led to increased stress, emotional imbalance, and stagnation in the overall lifestyle of a child. According to a study, three out of 10 parents revealed their child was experiencing mental and emotional harm, caused due to school closures and social distancing.
To relive the playful pursuits of their children, parents have now started engaging them in online extracurricular activities. Such activities not only reduce a child’s mental stress but also give them an opportunity to explore their varied interests and express themselves. Online extracurricular activities also provide a platform to interact with other children in an informal setting. In the process, children also get a chance to enhance their key 21st century life skills of critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and communication; which prepares them to tackle the uncertainties of personal, academic, and professional lives like a champ. Extracurricular activities (ECAs) benefit children in multiple ways:
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Better memory and attention span
Being at home and studying all day leads to stress and boredom among children. But when they engage in extracurricular activities, they get a break from the monotonous routine. An hour spent doing their favourite fun activity refreshes their minds and helps them concentrate better in their studies.
Development of intellectual and creative skills
Extracurricular activities enhance critical thinking among children and push them to practically implement classroom learning in real-life actions to arrive at the best solutions. For instance, children need to apply their understanding of colour theory and use the basics learnt during painting sessions to design their distinctive artwork. Initially, they may need some time to process things, but gradually, the decisions can be taken in a fraction of seconds based on the situation’s complexity.
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Improved social skills
Extracurricular activities give children a chance to present their ideas and opinions on social platforms, thus improving their social skills. It’s an excellent way of breaking barriers, as children get an opportunity to interact with other children from different social backgrounds and learn to establish healthy relationships. At the same time, they learn the importance of teamwork and avoid inculcating inappropriate or disturbing behaviours against others, respecting each other’s values.
Increased physical activity
Children have been confined to their home and have limited physical activities. Engaging in activities like dance, yoga, etc, allow them to do some form of physical activity from the safety of their homes. A Harvard study has shown that regular exercise is important for the brain to improve memory, thinking skills.
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Being appreciated and rewarded for participation in their favourite extracurricular activities uplifts the mood and self-esteem of children. It motivates them to actively participate in such activities and put in extra effort to perform better. This also makes them feel more confident about themselves, equipping them to face real-life challenges with better vigour.
Exploring and nurturing their hidden talent
Every child has an ingrown talent that does not necessarily relate to academics. Since extracurricular activities allow children to express themselves freely, they get to do what interests them and identify their talents. When provided with proper support, they can nurture this talent and really own the skill.
Development of a strong personality
When children actively participate in various extracurricular activities such as debates, recitation, extempore and others, their communication skills improve. This results in the development of strong personalities, allowing them to confidently express themselves at any stage in life.
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If you are a parent whose child spends most of his/her time attending school and tuition online, it is highly recommended that you explore some form of online extracurricular activities for them. There are platforms that offer a wide variety of such activities, with fun and interactive live sessions. Till the time the virus continues to haunt us, online ECAs are the best way for children to explore their multidimensional selves, learn new skills, and develop their personalities from the comfort of their homes.
(The writer is co-founder of Crejo.Fun.)
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