All work and no play

Once upon a time, kids’ afternoons centered on things like making mud pies, riding bikes or playing catch in the front yard. Nowadays, a growing number of children and teens spend their after-school time being shuffled from one activity to another.

After school activities provide kids with a way to stay active, make new friends and explore their interests. Activities ranging from sports to art and music to volunteering programmes play a crucial and positive role in their lives.

In addition, organised and structured out-of-school activities are enormously important to the children providing them several benefits:

1. Norm for the majority of kids

With so many different things to choose from, more kids than ever are taking part in activities outside of school. Nearly six in 10 kids aged from six to 17 participate in at least one activity on a regular basis.

2. Club and specialised lessons don’t fall far behind

Even though sports have the highest participation rates, they see a decent amount of competition from other activities. Roughly 29% of students aged between six and 17 are members of a special interest club or take lessons to perfect their skill in areas such as dance, music or learning a foreign language.

3. Boys are more likely to play sports

Although there are plenty of girls who enjoy playing sports like softball, volleyball and basketball at the high school level, they are outnumbered by their male classmates. When you break it down, 44% of male high school seniors participate in sports compared to 36% of females.

4. While girls dominate in other areas

When it comes to certain kinds of extracurricular activities, there are some that attract greater numbers of female students. For example, in terms of music and the performing arts, 28% of girls are involved in these activities versus 18% of boys. Female students are also more likely to dedicate time to working on the school newspaper, yearbook or student council.

5. Time investment

On average, youths aged five to 18 devote about five hours each week to extracurricular activities.

6. Kids who are more active may do better in school

After school programmes can have an impact on academic achievement. Numerous research studies have attempted to prove whether kids who join in extracurricular activities perform better academically.

7. And they are more likely to have fewer absences

There is also a significant amount of debate over whether things like sports or clubs influence attendance rates. The majority of students had no unexcused absences while only a few of non-participants had never missed school.

8. Participation can contribute to a positive self-image

The after school setting presents an opportunity to address the growing problem of obesity among children and youth. It is proved that after school programmes can contribute to healthy lifestyles and increased knowledge about exercise and nutrition.

The teen years can be a dangerous time in terms of building confidence, but extracurricular activities may instill a deeper sense of worth.

It is clear that friendship is not formed by the amount of time you spend with someone, but by the experiences you share together. One of the most exciting experiences for students in Dubai is Escape Games. Not only are they a fun experience, but also an icebreaker that helps you bond with everyone in the room as you work together to achieve a common goal: escaping in time.

With thanks to Lina El Saheb, Managing Partner, HintHunt.

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