Alternative extracurricular activities

There is a whole world of unique experiences for kids to enjoy.
There is a whole world of unique experiences for kids to enjoy. Photo: Getty Images

For years children have attended after school and weekend sports lessons, creative crafts or participated in sessions that teach various forms of arts as complementary activities. But recently, there’s been a spate of new businesses and entrepreneurs keen on breaking into the extracurricular activity market and have brought with them interesting, modern, unusual yet very influential sets of programs aimed at enriching children’s life outside of school.

Little computer programmers 

The proliferation of apps and the technology that drives them has seen recognition amongst IT industry experts and entrepreneurs about the need to instil basic knowledge about programming languages and become digitally literate.

The UK government has introduced a new curriculum that incorporates “computing programmes of study”, allowing children to learn about algorithms, data structures, hardware and other core computer science concepts.

Although the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) acknowledges the need to empower this generation of students with technology education, it has been criticized for not following through with concrete skills like computer programming.

Fortunately, start-ups like Learnable.com are offering schools resources to teach programming and there are after school clubs that teach kids how to code. There are also tailored classes for special needs children to ensure a broader reach.

If attending these classes poses a problem, there are other avenues through which you can get your child to learn how to code:

Kid enterpreneurs

Given that Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook was barely out of his teens when the social networking site shot to stardom, there is no doubting the benefits business skill building programs like those from Club Kidpreneurs will instil in similar young prodigies.

In a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Creel Price, the founder of Club Kidpreneurs says that, “entrepreneurial skills are not necessarily innate, but they can be taught.”

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Programs from the not-for-profit foundation creates a space to encourage creative thinking and build the business acumen necessary to develop a child’s entrepreneurial spirit.

These programs can be accessed online, after school or in a camp based environment.

In a similar vein, The Academy for Young Entrepreneurs is aiming to develop a program for 10 to 12 year olds that teaches them to “activate and develop their ideas, skills and confidence.”

As the call to teach entrepreneurship skills to school students come from far and wide, it is no surprise that the web is full of online courses and articles that can support children turn that light bulb moment into reality.

Little environment campaigners 

While climate change education is included in the Australian national curriculum, there are other after school activities aimed at imparting skills and experiences ranging from living sustainably to learning how to empower others to do so.

Children from different age groups can learn first-hand how to consciously use less and give back more at practical, informative sessions at special purpose centres like the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living.

Family Nature Clubs operate in several states and aim to educate little ones and their families on the natural habitats of flora and fauna, aiding in the overall understanding of the impact of climate change.

Many schools and Outside of School Hours Care (OSHC) providers also run “environment clubs” that helps kids keep abreast of issues facing our environment.

There are also online clubs that kids can join to learn more about the impact of human activity on communities and how to reduce its bearing.

These little environment campaigners also have the opportunity to inspire others and share knowledge on solving environmental programs through education models like Kids Teaching Kids.

What “alternative” extracurricular activity does your child participate in? And how do you see these programs impacting their future?

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