Clubs, Extracurricular, and After-school Activities in Canada
Youth and kids participate in different extracurricular and after-school activities in Canada, including community groups and clubs, non-sport activities, sports, and other extracurricular activities.
Organized Activities and Clubs
Canadian children engage in different after-school activities such martial arts, gymnastics, dance, and other physical activities. Many children participate in school-related activities such as student councils and photography and yearbook clubs and community groups and clubs such as church groups, scouts, Cubs, Guides, and Brownies. Student councils organize events in support of community initiatives, fund raising activities, social activities, and others. There are different clubs for students to join, including lunch monitors, multicultural clubs, library monitors, peer counselors, and peer helpers. Activities can be divided into academic and non-academic. Academic activities include student newspapers, math challenges, creative writing, and chess clubs. Students also participate in non-academic activities such as volunteer opportunities, competitions, and visual and performing arts. Activities can also be divided into wellness, transition, physical, leisure, and creative art activities. Children get involved in leisure activities such as passive games, puzzles, and board games that facilitate emotional development and decision making. Wellness activities are designed to help students develop practical skills and healthy habits, with topics ranging from road safety to proper nutrition and personal hygiene. Some after-school programs combine recreational, social, and academic activities. There are programs that feature different activities for fitness and learning hour, along with special events, leadership classes, first aid training, camps, and aquatic fitness classes.
Organizations like YMCA
offer programs for young children, including nursery school, preschool, toddler, and infant programs. These programs include indoor and outdoor activities such as dramatic play, blocks, stories, puzzles, and exploring sensory and creative material. Children get engaged in literacy and mathematics activities, sports, and more. Before- and after-school programs are also offered, along with summer overnight and summer day camps and March break and winter break programs.
Summer Clubs and Camps for Children
Many children participate in summer clubs and camps that offer theme days, field trips, arts and crafts, group games, and sports. Activities help improve literacy and language skills through dramatic play, singing, and reading. Children learn math and science through experiments and develop new skills. There are cheer and dance, arts, computer animation, aquatics, and other programs. Children in arts programs explore different techniques, including printing, sculpting, painting, sketching, and others. Adventure programs include activities such as sports, arts and crafts, outdoor survival, environmental science, climbing, and many others. There are also farm camps, discovery camps, hike and bike programs, and film making courses. Outdoor adventure programs involve activities such as mountain biking, archery, paddle boating and canoeing, fire building, nature hikes, and many others. There are 1-week and 2-week programs for children. Integration accessibility programs are also available for children with additional needs.
Summer Camps for College Students
Summer camps are offered for different age groups, including college students and adolescents. Camps for college students focus on team building, leadership development, and personal development. Activities include tours, kayaking, trekking, excursions, skating, canyon walks, and many others.
Participation in after-school and extracurricular activities varies based on factors such as rural vs. urban residence, family income, family structure, and region. Children living in urban areas are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities than children in rural areas. Family income is another indicator, and more children from high-income families participate in sports and non-sport activities than children from low-income families. In general, more children participate in sports activities than community groups, clubs, and non-sport activities. Gender plays a role, however. For example, more female students join community groups and clubs than male students. The good news is that the majority of students in Canada take part in one or more extracurricular activities.
Benefits of Extracurricular Activities
Clubs, community groups, and extracurricular activities allow children to develop social and leadership skills and special interests, meet new friends, and learn more about Canada and Canadian culture. Students learn prioritizing, team building, and time management, which enable them to build social relationship skills. Non-sport activities such as dancing and art classes help develop out-of-the-box thinking. Clubs such as Guides and Cubs develop essential skills through activities such as play-acting, storytelling, sports, games, outdoor activities, weekend camps, and hikes. Children also participate in water activities such as kayaking and canoeing. Young children aged 5 – 7 engage in crafts, games, tree planting, picnics, and nature walks. Some activities are competitive while others focus on group acceptance. Students learn to deal with authority figures and follow instructions. They learn responsibility and develop skills such as independence, interdependence, and task persistence. Extracurricular activities, camps, and clubs help children develop skills such as coordination, balance strength, flexibility, team play, and many others.