9 Steps for Extracurricular Activities to Help Your Child Find New Hobbies

5 min to read
A young male student playing a classical guitar.

This article has been updated and was originally published 6/16/2021.

It’s a common misconception that students in virtual schools don’t have access to extracurricular activities and social opportunities. In reality, students often have time and opportunity for more activities outside of school than those taking in-person classes, and their flexible schedule can make it easier to try new hobbies.

Exploring your child’s interests and passions is critical during their school years as it allows them to discover what activities they enjoy. This can help guide future schooling and career decisions down the line.

One way to nurture your child’s interests is to support them in finding a hobby. Hobbies can benefit children by helping them:

  • Relax
  • Discover new talents 
  • Develop interpersonal skills
  • Form their personal identity 
  • Build self-esteem 
  • Feel a sense of accomplishment 

There are almost limitless hobbies for kids that you can explore, and they can be found both in your online school and outside of school. As a Learning Coach, how do you help discover hobbies for kids, and what’s the best way to approach new extracurriculars? Here are nine tips to help you find them:

9 Steps for Finding a Hobby for Online School Students

1. Make a list of your student’s interests

Sit down with your student to discuss their current interests and make a list. This will give you something to reference when looking for children’s hobbies to explore further. 

Examples of common kids’ interests include:

  • Arts & crafts
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Horticulture & gardening
  • Caring for animals
  • There are many activities your child can explore within each interest category.

2. Introduce students to new things regularly. 

Simply trying new things is the best way for your child to get life experience and discover new interests. Go on field trips to local museums, introduce books on diverse and obscure subjects, and try plenty of fun activities at home or locally. 

Make a habit of looking for new activities together once a month or so. This is a good way to spend quality time while discovering new interests. You may find yourself a new hobby, too!

3. Test hobbies before committing.

Even if you find a hobby that seems like a perfect fit, start slowly.  Exploring different interests doesn’t require purchasing expensive gear for every sport or sophisticated art project. Let them try it for a couple of weeks before making a big commitment, financially or otherwise. Clubs or other school activities are great places for kids to dabble in new hobbies.

A group of young female ballet students practicing at the barre. One is wearing pink and the rest are wearing a black leotard.

4. Give your child the freedom to explore. 

Providing freedom means giving your child adequate space for the hobby and allowing them to dedicate time to it regularly. Finding a hobby takes time, and not all activities will come naturally. Remember, your child doesn’t need to be perfect at their hobby to enjoy it. 

5. Know when to let your child move on.

Some hobbies last into adulthood, while others won’t last long at all—even if your child enjoys them. Younger children often grow out of their interests and move on to something else.

Encourage your child to keep their commitment but allow them to move on when they’re ready. For example, if they’re signed up for a team sport that they would like to stop, discuss why they want to quit. Occasionally, it isn’t the activity itself but things like overscheduling, bullying, or not feeling good enough that prevents them from wanting to continue. See if there is a way to finish out the season first. If they don’t feel they can see the season through, consider a compromise where they give the team an adequate heads up that they’ll be stopping.

While you shouldn’t force your child to continue an activity they no longer want to participate in, it’s important to demonstrate the importance of a commitment. When they’re ready to move on, work together to find a new extracurricular they can enjoy.

6. Follow their lead.

While your first instinct might be to introduce your child to something that you love to do, it might not be something that they love. Keep in mind that your child is their own person. If they tell you that what you are doing is boring or makes them unhappy, take that opportunity to ask them questions and find out what they want to try next. It could be the first step to a lifelong passion or a fruitful career

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Providing freedom means giving your child adequate space for the hobby and allowing them to dedicate time to it regularly. Finding a hobby takes time, and not all activities will come naturally. Remember, your child doesn’t need to be perfect at their hobby to enjoy it. 

A pair of students turn gardening extracurrular activities into a hobby.

How to Pursue a Hobby in Online School

Once you’ve helped your child identify their strengths, it’s time to explore the different clubs and activities in their virtual school. Beyond the core classes of reading, writing, and arithmetic, online schools like Connections Academy offer a wide range of elective classes. 

Clubs are easy to join and help students socialize, while providing the freedom to explore a new hobby without making a huge commitment. Just a few of the clubs available at Connections Academy include: 

  • Art Club 
  • Arts and Crafts Club 
  • Chess Club 
  • Gaming and Technology Club 
  • Science Sleuths 

What is available for your child may vary depending upon your specific school. But no matter which Connections Academy-supported school your student is enrolled in, there are plenty of opportunities for them to socialize with other students and find new kids’ hobbies. 

Sign up for one of our information sessions today to find out what is available for your child and to see if the flexibility of online school is right for your family.

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