Extracurricular Activities – for the Select few?

Studies by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that children should be getting on average of 60 minutes exercise a day.

  • It will help reduce health risks – such as cardiovascular problems,
  • Build stronger bones, healthier joints and muscles
  • Maintain a healthier weight
  • Help aid sleep
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Increase self-esteem and self-worth/image



But is Extra Curricular Activity more accessible to the select few?

(I shall talk in regards all extra curricular activity not just those concerned with exercise)

First of all how do people know about all these groups?

Are schools the main communication point? Sometimes I find that if an activity is held in a certain school, then pupils at that school come to know about it, but it isn’t promoted out to other schools, even though the children from those schools are most welcome to come. Even when said groups are threatening to close due to low numbers attending.

Do schools offer lots of extra curricular activities? During and after school? Does this vary from school to school? At my secondary school we had what were termed as “enrichments” and our school day was 8:20-4pm (and 4:30pm on Wednesdays to cover them) – but there was a test and interview to gain entrance to the school – so this was not accessible to all.


What about the timings of these activities? During school time is ideal and especially if they are free. But if they aren’t then this can affect parents who have to work, or have more than one child and if the activities overlap. Again cost will depend on the wealth of the family, how many children they have, and how many activities the child wants to do.

What about single parents or where one parent works away/late – if the activity goes on late at night they may have to take young children out of bed to pick up older children. And the cost? Not only of the activity but any uniform that goes with it? or new badges belts etc?


What about children who are home educated? How do they find out? Or are their parents more likely to have contacts to find out about these things – are they more advantaged?

Location plays an important part – especially with non-drivers. Again in school activities are ideal, especially if there are issues with transport.

And then there are issues with child to adult ratios with things such as swimming. Swimming lessons can be very important as they may one day save lives, but the National Curriculum only states that children are able to swim 25 metres by the age of 11.


Are certain types of children more likely to fit in than others?

What about disabled children? Are there clubs that cater for those with physical conditions? How do you find out about these? What about other disabilities? How well do the clubs cater for them? Some areas have “Play partners” which help with this.

Our oldest has Asperger’s and never got on with any of the clubs. We finally discovered there was a club specifically for teens on the autistic spectrum and I took him for several weeks to help settle him in. He liked it there. But then the lady running it left, and it was no longer fulfilling his needs – he didn’t know what to expect and didn’t feel that he belonged any more. It was too much change – and he stopped going :O(

Are there any groups that give the disabled one-to-one support like in schools, – or is this expected to come out of their disability living allowance? (which also has to cover all their other (possibly more important) needs.

Examples of Activities include:, Groups – rainbows, brownies, cubs, scouts, cadets, etc, Trampolining, Rock climbing, Dance – ballet, tap, etc, Drama club, Swimming, Lifeguarding, Classes to Learn something – Foreign language, cooking, crafting, computers, sewing etc,, Football, Rugby, Squash, Self-defense – karate, judo etc, Horse riding, Running

The activities don’t always have to be provided by someone else or paid for. Ideas for extracurricular activities with parents include:

A trip to the park.

park A physical game such as tag, volleyball, football, catch, etc, A Walk.

offlookingFamily swim or bike ride.


What do you think?  Do you think it is easy to access Extracurricular Activities? How do you feel your family are restricted and have you found any ways to overcome the difficulties? Do you have a disabled family member and know of any other support people could access?

7 thoughts on “Extracurricular Activities – for the Select few?”

  1. Interesting post! My youngest has a learning disability and I have struggled to find an after school activity, that is welcoming and flexible enough to meet his needs. We are fortunate that our Local area runs a scheme called Play Partners.They search out a suitable activity and then support the child in the setting. At the moment he is going to cubs and its going well thanks to Play Partners! What a shame that the club your son went to could no longer meet his needs, happens all too often I think!

  2. OMG! Soooooooooo many questions…I have to go think now and get back to you! The cost for us is definitely an inhibitor to organised activities for sure but obviously as my wee man is only 2 going to the park is great and using our local gym is good for cheaper alternatives for activities. I hate the fact though that so much is geared towards particular ages because What is age appropriate really? and then you have to book block lessons as so often things come up and you can’t go. For the older kids I am sure it is a different ball game and I’m not sure I am looking forward to that (Okay so I might be one of those mums that sees my son being good at pretty much everything when he gets older 🙂 ). Having worked with children with disabilities well that in itself can be a separate topic as should activities be separate or should main stream activities be able to cater for children with disabilities. Sorry a babble as it’s not that well thought out a reply!

  3. A thought provoking post with some good questions. In reality 60 minutes of exercise I feel is quite a lost for most people most days. Access to this is not the same for everyone and neither is the motivation to achieve it. However having this as a target and managing some exercise each day is important, As you say if you don’t have a school that makes it easy there are plenty of inexpensive alternatives outside of school but there is an education job to make this desirable. I am doing my best to push the message with Country Kids as I really do believe outdoor fun time is so important to children and adults too for that matter! Thanks for linking up and posing such great questions.

  4. Mmm, I do agree with you but sometimes its hard to focus it all. we try and have as much fun as we can and lots of that is outside x

  5. This is a very interesting topic to me – my eldest girl currently does 5 out of school clubs/activities (and could do more!), whereas my girl with autism can only do one. The reason she can do that one is because they are completely understanding; they help her to get on and whilst she doesn’t have 1-1 care for that, they do take good care of her, which is really all she needs – to be talked to and helped in a slightly different way. Funnily enough, that is one that is not linked to school in any way…. My eldest adores Brownies, but I know that if I want my youngest to be able to go, I will have to stay and help at the sessions – more specifically, be there to help her. It’s not an ideal solution, but I’ll do it while I can. It is a minefield, which involves lots of thought…. however, I realise we’re lucky, and we can at least try some things.

    • Are there any groups provided by the NAS that she could go to? Or is she perfectly happy with just the one. Thank you for sharing x


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