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Healthy extracurricular activities kids and teens should explore

Turn off the screen and sign up your kids for healthier activities

kids playing games outside. / Shutterstock

It’s all about Fortnite, Roblox, and YouTube when it comes to what kids do with their free time. But certain activities aren’t the best for their minds and bodies, are they? We want our kids to have hobbies that challenge them and help them be smarter than we ever will be. That means getting them involved in healthier extracurricular activities than gaming or staring at a screen, and we can help with that.

Kids on skates.
Sergey Novikov / Shutterstock

Why kids need extracurricular activities

Can’t kids just sit and play video games all evening? Tetris is known to improve memory and could help reduce anxiety, so it can’t be all bad. While it would be fine to spend a little time gaming, kids need other adventures to stimulate different parts of their brains and get their bodies moving. Kids and teens need to find out what they like, so they have healthy hobbies as adults.

There’s no right age to start

Whether your child is 7 or 17, they could sign up for an activity. There are classes for newborns, toddlers, and grade-school age, and we know there are endless activities for high schoolers. Whenever your child shows an interest in something, that’s the right time to get them involved.

Kids don’t need to do all the things

But it doesn’t mean your child should be in nonstop activities all year, every year. You like vacations and time off, and so will your children. Like you get burned out from time to time, a child put into too many activities will, as well. Have open communication with your kids on how they like what they are in, if they want to do more, and if they want to do less.

A couple of teenagers stretching before being active.
Lopolo / Shutterstock

Physical activities

Anything that gets a child to move around — and tires them out — is a parent’s best friend.

Play ball

Sports are always the go-to activity to sign kids up for. No matter what time of year or what sport your family loves, there’s one for your child to play.

Have the best dance moves

Pick from tap, ballet, hip-hop, or ballroom for your child to have more self-confidence and better balance than you do. And when the next TikTok dance trend pops up, your child will be better prepared to teach it to you.

Any form of martial arts

Be it karate or tae kwon do, any form of martial arts will work the body while clearing the mind. Even if you have a child who isn’t “sporty,” they may take to the discipline of martial arts.

Other great physical activities

  • Skating
  • Rock climbing
  • Swimming
  • Gymnastics
  • Skateboarding
Five kids reading on a bench outside.
Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Activities that only need time

If you don’t have a ton of money to shell out for sporting equipment or team fees, there are plenty of options that only require your child’s time.


Volunteering isn’t only for adults to do at their child’s school dance. Get your kids involved in volunteering as young as possible to teach them compassion and community, and that you don’t have to be rich with money to help others.  Check with your local library, community center, school, or retirement community to see what volunteer opportunities are available.

Tutor another child

Children who excel in certain subjects would be the perfect candidate to tutor a child in need. Showing another kid how to work through their classwork will teach your child patience and empathy. And maybe show them a bit of what it’s like when you have to teach them something.

Other no-spend activities

  • Learn a new language (use your local library card for free lessons online)
  • Sewing
  • Cooking/baking (use YouTube and what’s in the house)
Girl having fun doing a science experiment.
Nestor Rizhniak / Shutterstock

Other fun ways your child could spend their free time

Learn an instrument

We mean more than how to play Marry Had a Little Lamb on the recorder in grade school. Learning how to play the guitar or drums is a beautiful way for your child to gain confidence as they build their skills.


All schools have musicals and plays, and there is usually a local community theatre house that puts on shows. Being in the play or working behind the scenes, the drama and theater scene is always an amazing creative outlet for children.

Other interesting activities

  • Clubs at school (chess, math, art, and more)
  • Book clubs
  • Painting
  • STEM/STEAM clubs (usually free at the library or school)
  • LGBTQIA+ groups
  • Coding/robotics

There are so many opportunities for your kid or teen to find something that interests them outside of school, gaming, and watching TV. Children involved in extracurricular activities will do better in school, have a greater sense of community, connect with peers, and develop skills they will use into adulthood. And who knows, maybe Mom or Dad will find a new passion while helping their child find theirs.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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