Which Enrichment Activities Are Right for Your Preschool Kid?
Extracurricular activities for preschoolers can encourage their natural curiosity and love of learning. It can also help them develop self-awareness as well as social, language, and motor skills. There are countless classes and programs for your child that are both fun and educational, but which one is right for your child?
Team sports help kids with their social development and problem-solving skills. Being part of a team also gives kids a sense of confidence as they cheer each other on and contribute to the common goal. “Soccer seems to be a good place to start. It gets them used to the idea of team sports.” says Kara Thomas, mom and preschool teacher. Another preschool-friendly team sport is T-ball. Team sports are good if your child loves physical activity and socializing with other kids.
An art class provides the opportunity for kids to create, make messes, and try crafts that their parents may not want to try at home, such as painting, sculpture, and paper mache. Art helps kids develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as it encourages their creativity. Art classes are good for kids who are introverted, creative, and can sit still for longer periods of time.
Music and dance
Preschool kids love to listen and dance to music. There are many programs where kids are encouraged to sing, make their own music, and use their bodies to express themselves through dance. Many dance studios offer beginner classes for the preschool crowd. The study of music and dance helps kids develop their gross-motor and language skills and even improve their math and reading abilities down the line. Music classes are a good fit for any preschooler but kids who are naturally drawn to music and movement in particular should look into music classes, such as Gymboree, that are geared toward preschoolers.
Preschool and playgroups
Traditional preschool exposes children to many types of enrichment such as art, music, games, cooperative play, drama and pretend. While preschool may provide a well-rounded enrichment experience, it may not be a good fit for some families due to schedules or finances. Play groups are another great way to expose your child to many types of enrichment experiences while giving them the social aspect that many preschools provide.
“I think dance or tumbling is a really good first organized activity for kids.” says Angela Leever, mom of three and preschool special education teacher. “You want to make sure you get them into an activity where the instructors are used to working with young children and their expectations are age appropriate.” Gymnastics, swimming, and martial arts are great sports activities for little ones to try because they work on their core strength and confidence. Kids who love to be active and maybe even a little daring, do great in these individual sports.
Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer.