How to not make Jack a dull boy
We’ve all looked back at some point to wish we’d taken our singing classes or dancing classes more seriously, or maybe joined one at the right time. If as adults, we have to now think of learning a new skill or taking up a hobby class, the first thing we fret about is the lack of time. Kids on the other hand have multiple advantages when it comes to developing new skills, hobbies and interests. Most importantly, they have a lot of time in hand – meaning they can easily dedicate years of practice into perfecting a particular skill. While learning math and history is important for your child, extra-curricular activities are just as important to help them grow into well-rounded individuals.
Every child will have an interest in a different skill and unless exposed to a myriad of them, they or we - won’t be in a position to understand or evaluate the likeliness of them excelling or even enjoying a particular activity.
Pick up cues
Whether it is your little one humming to the tunes of a song or trying to copy steps they watch on TV, these are all cues that they’re atleast interested in that particular activity. For some it will be about wanting to open electronic devices like alarm clocks or remote control cars just to understand how they function. Even when some of their actions like painting on the walls may put us off, it is important to identify their interest and help them explore further. Here are some tips to bring out their best in certain activities:
Get your children to take an interest by exposing them to different kinds of music. Most classes these days have a trial session so it’s a good idea to take them to try out multiple instrument learning classes like piano, violin, guitar or singing. Often, the tutors at these classes are also able to give a fair view point on whether it’s a good idea for your child to continue learning. As parents, you can always involve your kids when listening to music. Ask them to hum with you or to focus on a certain instrument in the music piece.
- Art and Craft
Craft projects can be a great way to get your kids interested in all possible art related stuff right from painting, origami to DIY projects. It’s bound to get messy at times but until they get their hands dirty, they’ll never know whether they’d like to keep going at it. You can always be the initiator of such projects. Start with inexpensive projects using paper and colours. There are tonnes of easy to do art and craft projects that you will find online. Your involvement and appreciation will go a long way in getting them to keep experimenting.
Check out some of our art and craft activities that might be of interest:
Rock Art, which is about rock painting and can be re-used endlessly: https://bit.ly/2J4Mmrl
DoodleToi which lets you doodle and draw on magical sheets of paper: https://bit.ly/2sX8BeG
Also explore the CrafToi range on our website which is a huge hit for craft enthusiasts.
- Sports activities
Children often develop a liking towards sport by playing with their parents or even watching a game of sport on television with them. Take time to answer their questions about the rules of playing various games. Talk to them about your favourite sport as a kid and why you think it’s cool for them to try. Most schools have sports teams and competitions which can be a great start for your kids. Encourage them to enroll in activities of their choice.
Here’s an interesting club called “Enjoy a ball” that allows you to let your kids start early sports activities that will eventually help build interest. Do check out all the activities they plan: https://bit.ly/2ksYIhH
Kids tend to develop a liking towards reading through bedtime stories that you read to them. Eventually they’ll pick up to read books by themselves. Reading fairy tales or adventure stories play an important role in developing their imagination and creativity. Books often lead kids to take up other hobbies that they come across in a book. Encourage them to narrate stories to you. This will not only help build confidence in them, but will improve their language and narration skills. One idea is to scatter some books around in your house where they are most likely to spot them. Those with an interest, will pick it up and go through by themselves. Shuffling these books every once in a while is a good idea to keep them hooked without forcing them into it. Here’s an article with things you can do to get kids to like reading followed by a list of must-read books for kids of different age groups: https://toiing.com/blogs/news/an-adventure-in-your-hands
Cultural events, music fests, dramas and plays etc. can do a great job at getting to expose your kids to a large number of experiences. These are often the place where they realize a latent liking for acting, music or something more evolved like photography. Nature clubs and nature trails are must-have experiences for kids, not necessarily to improve a particular skill, but to get them close to nature every once in a while. You can take up small activities like a family picnic at the beach or park, a trip to the zoo or a national park, camping under the sky, star gazing, bird watching etc. which is bound to open up your kids’ senses to a variety of new things which would otherwise be left unexplored. For those who don’t know how to get kids close to nature when you live in a concrete jungle, here’s a group named Heart & Soil that strives to help you do just that! https://www.facebook.com/heartandsoil1/
Relaxed playtime at home is a great way for kids to pick up new hobbies. It could simply be building stuff with building blocks, collecting coins, stamps, pebbles etc. Even playing board games or card games could help identify certain knack your kids might have in playing and winning these games. Here are some games you can explore to spend time doing something fun with your kids-
Often, exposure in itself can be the very spark your kids need to take an interest and follow a hobby. With increasing number of adults taking up unconventional career choices, it’s not too far-fetched to think that these extra-curricular activities or hobbies could also shape into their career interest. As parents, enabling or facilitating them to get to know their innate skills and interests is the best you can do to help them achieve great self-esteem and personal growth.
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