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Extra-curricular activities

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#1 Just Jack

Posted 17 November 2019 - 07:44 AM

I have a 5yr old DS, and I'm thinking of getting him into some extra-curricular activities.

I think he could potentially enjoy all sorts of things, and I'm not sure what to steer him towards. I think I'll see if i can arrange trials of various things and see how he goes.

What kind of extra-curricula activities does your child do, and how did you choose what might be good?

Any words of wisdom?

#2 Ivy Ivy

Posted 17 November 2019 - 07:59 AM

A GP gave a talk to a local school saying, during the 1st year of school, don't do extra-curriculars, the child is already overloaded with new things that year.   She said only do swimming (for safety).  I think that's good advice in general, though every situation differs.  E.g. during my daughter's 1st year at school, I booked her into one extra-curricular just because I couldn't get to the school for pick up time one day a week.

Otherwise, I'd say, we all need more exercise, so a movement thing would be healthy.

#3 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 17 November 2019 - 07:59 AM

There are lots of introductory programs for that age group eg Auskick for AFL, Milo into Cricket, Net Set Catch for Netball (yes it has some boys :) )   They run for a term or so and usually only cost about $60 or so.  You could get him to try out a couple of different things and see what he enjoys.

ETA   - yes to the above also.

Ive read somewhere its better for kids to just do fun programs from 5-7 and not compete officially until after that.  For my kids its been a good guide.  Around 7 they can understand rules better but for some of my friends kids the pressure was a bit much until that age. Or the kids didn't know what they were supposed to be doing.

Edited by WannabeMasterchef, 17 November 2019 - 08:03 AM.

#4 BornToLove

Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:02 AM

A lot of places will offer free trials before you sign up, take advantage if you can especially if your kid hasn’t done group lessons/activities before.

My other advice is to try to stay local if you can and chose providers who offer a range of lesson times. You don’t know at this point what works and doesn’t for your family’s schedule. Sure, driving your child 30+ minutes to a class only offered Wednesdays after school seems manageable short term. But if they like it, you could be stuck doing the drive on Wednesdays for years.

#5 WaitForMe

Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:12 AM

I think it helps if a parent has a bit of an interest in the sport/activity too. Not in a reliving their hayday forced to do it cos dad won a medal in it kinda way, just as a common interest thing. Obviously not required though.

Outside of that, something close with minimal time commitment. At that age, something on the weekend works better than a weeknight where they can be pretty exhausted and emotional after school sometimes.

#6 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:13 AM

My 5yo is doing a language (her request) and nippers (surf life saving) plus swimming. She wants to add an instrument and dance! Maybe once nippers finishes.

#7 Prancer is coming

Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:13 AM

I go with what my child wants to do.  We have done all sorts of things and they generally see something and want to do it, or one of their friends are doing something and they want to do it.  Our preference is around activites that involve physical exercise, but will be guided by them.

I have kids with lots of energy and need stimulation, so have no problem with them doing activities after school.  Each kid is different and I think a blanket ‘no’ to no activities in the first year of school does not suit all.

#8 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:42 AM

Check out if your school is offering activities after hours. Mine has a company doing basketball, tennis, multisports, dancing etc all immediately after school. The person running it goes to the FYOS and collects the young ones so they don't forget. They then take them afterwards to OSH on site if required.

Even in FYOS there's a small amount of homework, a reader, sight words, prep for a show and tell. I find after feeding and decompression time once home, there isn't a huge amount of time after school to fit in stuff so I wouldn't want to be doing more than one after school activity per week ( ours finishes at 3.15pm and with travel time home it's 3.45pm in the door).

#9 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 17 November 2019 - 08:52 AM

We only do swimming ( 1/2 hour lesson) in FYOS. We tend to wait until grade 2 or 3 to add extra activities. My eldest chose basketball which I like because all games are indoors, and a game is just 40 minutes long!

#10 Dianalynch

Posted 17 November 2019 - 09:18 AM

Ds5 does swimming, and Junior blasters cricket on a Saturday morning. He did soccer in winter. One activity plus swimming if you do that is plenty, they get tired. Anything that gets them running around is where I’d start, just see what’s on locally and give it a go.

#11 LiveLife

Posted 17 November 2019 - 09:26 AM

View PostIvy Ivy, on 17 November 2019 - 07:59 AM, said:

A GP gave a talk to a local school saying, during the 1st year of school, don't do extra-curriculars, the child is already overloaded with new things that year.   She said only do swimming (for safety).  I think that's good advice in general, though every situation differs.  E.g. during my daughter's 1st year at school, I booked her into one extra-curricular just because I couldn't get to the school for pick up time one day a week.

Otherwise, I'd say, we all need more exercise, so a movement thing would be healthy.

I totally disagree with this. If your kid has the energy go for it. We had the general view of one music, one swimming, one ball sport and one other from FYOS then build from there. So in FYOS the swimming was interchanged with ball sport depending on the season but by year 2 it was swimming all year round and ball sport all year round interchanging with the seasons. Music was piano in FYOS and second instrument started year 3. Others have varied but included robotics, gymnastics, life saving, cooking and more. We love extra curriculars and the more the merrier here. It’s also made a massive difference to opportunities in late primary and early high school where things such as orchestras and inter school comps are full of the kids who’ve been doing the activity since 5 or 6 years of age.

#12 Jingleflea

Posted 17 November 2019 - 09:32 AM

Martial arts are pretty popular around here.
There's a karate school that teaches at the local primary school halls 2 evenings a week.

#13 gracie1978

Posted 17 November 2019 - 09:36 AM

DS is five and starting school next year.

He currently does swimming and gymnastics on Saturdays.
Piano once day a week and speech one morning a week.

He really wants to go to scouts and ninja class but I've told him he needs to swap out another activity (not swimming).  He's not keen to do that yet as he likes everything.

I've put piano on hold for the first term of next year as we settle into twin baby life and FYOS.
I can't wait to drop speech, it's so expensive and I'm expected to watch and be involved.  None of us like swimming either, but I guess we are just stuck with it till around ten.

I quite like his activities where I get 30 min to myself to make calls, do life admin or scroll EB and FB.

Edited by gracie1978, 17 November 2019 - 09:37 AM.

#14 Ozquoll

Posted 17 November 2019 - 09:47 AM

I too disagree with the 'No extra-curricular activities in FYOS' advice. One friend of mine had a DS who was so energetic she had him in activities six days a week so he didn't drive himself, or the rest of the family, up the wall.

My own FYOS DS is not a high energy kid, and has ASD besides, but he has been doing two sports a week, in a program that runs before school on the school grounds. He is pretty terrible at both sports, TBH, but he enjoys it and it gets him moving. It has been a great way for him to mix with kids from other grades too - he is not just another preppie to them, they know his name and he sometimes plays with some of the older kids he has met through the before-school sport. For me, the convenience is good too, since it is on the school grounds and I don't need to travel to a sporting field somewhere.

Edited by Ozquoll, 17 November 2019 - 09:50 AM.

#15 *Spikey*

Posted 17 November 2019 - 09:52 AM

Consider dance. It's really fun, they cover off all of the motor skills. And at that age, it's not too onerous a task.

#16 lizzzard

Posted 17 November 2019 - 10:15 AM

Something to consider... The view of a parent on whether activities are a good idea or not will be influenced by things like your perception of your child as 'energetic' (and what you think the right 'response to energy is), how much you value being busy/active/rounded etc, whether you have time and money for them etc. A doctor's general advice is probably based on research on cognitive and emotional development. That doesn't mean it is going to be the right course of action for every family but I wouldn't just dismiss it as 'opinion'....

#17 WaitForMe

Posted 17 November 2019 - 10:35 AM

Its funny, I think of my kids as energetic but its about being away from structure and free to just play and explore.

Things are a bit different now as I work 4 days a week but a typical non-activity weekday for us in FYOS is a half hour playing on the school playground (they don't kick us out immediately), getting home about 4:15, then they have a snack and chatter away, usually walking and talking and eating for half an hour, then they might be in the back yard on the trampoline or just random stuff. Sometimes its indoors doing craft. It can easily be 5:30 or so before they are asking if they can go on an ipad/tv. Then 6/6:15 its dinner, and the bedtime routine begins.

#18 Fourteenyears

Posted 17 November 2019 - 11:02 AM


A doctor's general advice is probably based on research on cognitive and emotional development. That doesn't mean it is going to be the right course of action for every family but I wouldn't just dismiss it as 'opinion'....

I’d be extremely surprised if it was particularly evidence based. I imagine it was more along the lines of ‘don’t overload your kid’ being fairly commonsense advice.  

The weirdest things become gospel and get distributed even by some GPs.  Even the ‘swimming lesson’ thing sounds more like dogma than anything evidence based.   Nothing wrong with giving a FYOS kid mini-soccer rather than swimming and picking up swimming later if that suits everyone.

It puts me in mind of whatshisname’s advice on holding boys back, which some people cling to so hard they can’t actually appraise individual kid’s needs.

Obviously, a lot depends on the kid.  But there are also lots of lifestyle factors involved too.  

How far are they travelling to and from school?     Because a kid with a 30 minute commute each way automatically has 50 minutes every day less to play with than kids who live five minutes from the school.

How far away is the activity - because travel time counts there too.

How ready were they for school.  If they had already been attending preschool or somesuch, FYOS might not actually be that much adjustment from them.

How many days do they attend before and after school care?  Therapy?  Because a kid who doesn’t attend these has more time and possibly energy available for alternative after school activities.

How do you feel about homework?  It’s fine if you would prefer your kid to be running around / creating to doing some of the ridiculous rubbish schools send home as homework.

What energises your kid?   Some kids need lots of time to potter and create, some kids seem to need to run around a lot.  A lot of kids need weeks where they have both.

I think it makes sense for most kids for their parents not to heavily schedule every moment of their lives or even most moments.   But I think there is a huge difference between only allowing a one hour swimming lesson each week, and completely overscheduling a kid.

Edited by Fourteenyears, 17 November 2019 - 11:45 AM.

#19 countrychic29

Posted 17 November 2019 - 11:36 AM

I think you need to judge based on your child.

We started FYOS this year, with only swimming one night.
Then DD did a trial of a martial art and loved it so much she now does that twice sometimes 3 times a week as well as swimming- it’s exhausting for me, but she gets so much from it and copes fine with the load- we just make a point of having at least one weekend day with no plans where DD will often spend from dawn til dusk drawing and playing LEGO

My 4yr on the other desperately wants to do the martial art but is just too tired so I can’t see her doing that sort of load for a few years

#20 luke's mummu

Posted 17 November 2019 - 12:11 PM

I’d also ask around the school what sports/ activities other kids in his class do. Good to make some closer friendships.

#21 seayork2002

Posted 17 November 2019 - 12:41 PM

At that age my son did swimming and joey scouts.

At 12 he now does scouts

Unless he had a burning desire to do anything more this is enough for us to handle so no more

#22 luckyducky

Posted 17 November 2019 - 01:25 PM

I would say swimming is the most important for FYOS kids.  There are many different activities that you kids can do, just depends on their interests really and how much time and/or money you wish to invest.  Also good to consider how many children in your family and whether you can slot it all i without losing your marbles......

We have "tried:"

Dancing (the concerts did my head in)
Drama (again, concerts !  )
Singing lessons (around Yr 6 level)
Swimming (3 years until squad level)
basketball (7 years +)
Karate (7+ ... sooooo expensive)
Gymnastics (5+ years)
Cricket (novelty wore of quickly ....)
Tennis (5+ )
Scouts (year 2)
Athletics (lots of waiting around, all day gone !)
Netball (from around grade 4 onwards)
Footy (Auskick is great from 5 years)
Futsal (from around grade 2 onwards)
Soccer (from grade 1)
Music co-curricular (Piano, Saxaphone - from grade 4)
Rowing (high school)
Volleyball (high school)

Now this is for 5 kids spanning over many years, so it seems like allot, and note that they didn't continue with the bulk of them.
They gravitated towards footy/basketball and rowing) I highly recommend team sports like basketball / netball / footy etc from around grade 2.  It is so wonderful for their friendships and team skills.   I suggest you see what your kids enjoy, have a few trial sessions etc. But as PP's have said, prep is such a big year and Its good to just start with maybe one after school activity and see how it goes before committing.  

Good luck :)

#23 Ellie bean

Posted 17 November 2019 - 01:32 PM

My kids (now 6 and 7) have tried a number of things and haven’t stuck with any (except swimming which is non negotiable for us). The rule is if we pay for a term or whatever, they do the term, then they can quit if they like- they have quit everything! Ds honestly prefers to play lego at home. They are very active kids though, always running round, on the trampoline etc so that makes it easier. I think they’re a bit like me and don’t much like organised stuff. I’m fine with that but I do want to push them more to engage in a sport in the next few years as I know how good that is for teens.

#24 annodam

Posted 17 November 2019 - 01:50 PM

My kids only ever had 2 activities each throughout School.  Any more than that would’ve been not only expensive but getting them to training sessions plus games was very time consuming.  Not all sports clubs are local either, add in Homework on top of that & life gets very busy, they need down time as well.

My eldest did a lot of Rep Sport, so there was a lot of trialing, training & travel involved but she kept at it, she’s 18 now.
A lot of her peers got burnt out by mid-High School age when their social lives became more active or they got PT jobs & dropped out.  These were the kids who in PS tried a million & 1 sports only to turn around & go nup, no more...

#25 jayskette

Posted 17 November 2019 - 02:01 PM

1. sports try out days
2. instrumental proms
3. school holiday variety camps
3 best ways to foster and find interests

Edited by jayskette, 17 November 2019 - 02:02 PM.

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