The benefits of kids’ clubs and activities and how to know which to choose
Children's Health Brought to you by the team at Fundamentally Children – the independent accrediting organisation for The Children’s Activities Association (CAA).
Investing in kids’ clubs and classes is an excellent way to find that spark that ignites a child’s passion. The experiences children take away from these activities supports their holistic development from a very young age and the benefits of learning new skills and socialising with others reach far and wide.
"These skills impact on their wellbeing across home and school life and into adulthood."
Research last year funded by the Nuffield Foundation(1) found that children taking part in organised sports or other physical activities outside of school displayed enhanced prosocial skills. Through clubs, children can expand their social circle and being part of a group also fosters a sense of pride and a willingness to work together.
The Nuffield Foundation study(1) also showed that children who attend clubs such as Cub Scouts and Brownies, choir, chess, drama or physical activities have higher scores at Key Stage 2 in Maths and English - possibly because being part of a club or activity increases a child’s confidence, both inside and outside the classroom.
Children can be fearful of trying new things; they may be worried about getting something wrong or they may be scared of failure. Encouraging children to try new activities helps them to celebrate success and moving on from ‘failures’ enables them to challenge a negative mindset and embrace a more flexible attitude.
Going to a club alone means that children learn to think for themselves, so they are better equipped to cope when a parent isn’t available to give them the answers.
New abilities can be learned from other skilled adults and peers(2), so being part of a club means that children can try new activities with the right support. These experiences give children a confidence boost, so they are more likely to try new activities in the future.
A survey of 40,000 UK households by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport(3) found that swimming, dance, drama, crafts, and sports are all connected with better positive wellbeing - meaning happier, more relaxed children.
It’s not just all about the kids however!
Parent-centred parenting(4) is based on the idea that parents who are tired, stressed and stretched to their limits are not in the best position to raise happy, contented children. Children’s clubs give parents a break to focus on improving their own health and wellbeing, so they can be positive role models for their child.
Selecting the right activity for their child can be challenging however and parents need and deserve reassurance on importance issues such as Health and Safety, insurance, qualifications, training and even criminal record checks.
Until recently, there has been no standardised quality assurance for children’s activities but now in a UK-first, the not-for-profit CAA offers accreditation and helps members put appropriate legal and health and safety policies in place as well as encouraging them to invest in training and well-designed activity programmes.
This peace of mind along with the significant supporting evidence regarding the benefits of children’s activities will hopefully encourage even greater numbers of parents and children to explore the wealth of fabulous clubs and classes out there – from diving to martial arts and golf to Italian and much, much more!
(1) Tanner, E., Chanfreau, J., Callanan, M., Laing, K., Paylor, J., Skipp, A. and Todd, L. (2016). Can out of school activities close the education gap? (Briefing Paper 4).
(2) Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
(3) Fujiwara, D., Kudrna, L., and Dolan, P. (2014). Quantifying and valuing the wellbeing impacts of culture and sport.
(4) Gummer, A. What is the Parent Centred Parenting Model? (http://www.fundamentallychildren.com/parenting-tools-advice/parent-centred-parenting-model/)
About the CAA
The CAA is an industry-led organisation that provides standardised quality assurance for children’s activities. The checks are already done so parents, carers, schools, nurseries and venues now just need to ask one question ‘Are you a member of the CAA?’
For more on Fundamentally Children as founded by Dr Amanda Gummer visit the website.