Extra Curricular Activities

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

In the classrooms, corridors, activity rooms, and playgrounds of many schools, it is not uncommon to hear questions like “Why am I doing this activity?” and “What is the importance of co-curricular activities?”. You might have asked these questions or thought about it. Your parents might have asked these questions. Even teachers must have thought too.

What are the Co-Curricular Activities?

Co-curricular activities are those activities which are undertaken along with academic studies. Typically, co-curricular activities are carried out outside the normal classrooms but they supplement academic curriculum and help in learning by doing. These activities help students to develop problem-solving, reasoning, critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and collaborative abilities.

Co-curricular activities in school might be compulsory such as music, art, or drama classes that take place during the day. Others could be voluntary such as participating in a school sports team, school debating teams, or student newsletters editorial team. In either case, participation helps students in emotional development, social skill development, and overall personality development. This is why the importance of co-curricular activities is immense.

Importance of Co-Curricular Activities

In the 21st Century, the world is changing fast. The conventional education curriculum, which was developed in the early 20th Century, has to pave the way to a new kind of education and learning. Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel have premised that “the world has changed so fundamentally in the last few decades that the roles of learning and education in day-to-day living have also changed forever”.

Howard Gardner has outlined five specific mental abilities which will help one to be successful and happy. The five mental abilities or Minds as written by Howard Gardner are – The Disciplinary Mind (expertise in various subjects), The Synthesizing Mind (ability to integrate concepts from different disciplines to solve a problem), The Creating Mind (ability to think creatively to solve problems), The Respectful Mind (appreciation of the diversity in individuals), and The Ethical Mind (fulfilling one’s duties and responsibilities in the society as a citizen).

These concepts emphasize that in the 21st Century, education and learning must surpass the four walls of a classroom. The core aim of education and learning should be to foster holistic development. The importance of co-curricular activities cannot be overlooked in fostering .

Holistic development essentially means intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development which can be achieved only through proper education. Education plays a fundamental role in holistic development.

Co-curricular activities help in the holistic development of students and assist in developing critical skills and abilities to be successful and happy in the 21st Century life and workplaces. Therefore, the importance of co-curricular activities is immense during school and college education.

12 essential skills and values that you can develop through co-curricular activities

When theoretical curriculum and co-curricular activities are integrated together, then your chance of learning more and exploring more about your strengths, interests, and abilities becomes higher. Therein lies the importance of co-curricular activities which are supplementary to the theoretical curriculum.

It is true that much of your intellectual development happens, to a great extent, in the classroom itself. But, various other aspects of your personality such as emotional development and social skill development happen through co-curricular activities to a large extent. The key role and importance of co-curricular activities cannot be denied in holistic development.

The 12 essential skills and values that you can develop through co-curricular activities are:

  1. Logical and analytical thinking – analyzing reasons behind events and situations
  2. Critical thinking – examining concepts, ideas, problems, and issues
  3. Creative thinking – thinking of newer ways to solve problems; visualization; thinking of new ideas
  4. Problem-solving skills – solving problems utilizing various concepts, solutions, etc.
  5. Leadership skills – taking initiatives and responsibilities; influencing others in working for a good purpose; setting goals; motivating others to work towards goals; taking accountability
  6. Social skills – collaboration; teamwork; building good relationships with others
  7. Emotional skills – understanding your strengths and weaknesses; controlling your emotions; empathy for others
  8. Communication skill – the power of expression; listening to others; public speaking
  9. Technology skills – using various computer software and apps for getting things done
  10. Social values – respecting differences among individuals; respecting others values and culture
  11. Ethical values – maintaining ethics in public life; good moral values
  12. Recreational values – understanding the importance of leisure and recreation; participating in leisure and recreational activities
Importance of Co-Curricular Activities for Students 1

Figure: Essential Abilities, Skills, and Values developed through co-curricular activities

Co-curricular activities list

  1. Sports – cricket, football, volleyball, badminton, tennis, basketball, table tennis, swimming, diving, hockey, skating, archery, rowing, kayaking, cycling, etc.
  2. Indoor games – chess, carrom, scrabble, etc.
  3. Physical exercise
  4. Fitness training
  5. Athletics
  6. Boxing
  7. Martial art – karate, jujutsu, taekwondo
  8. Yoga
  9. Meditation
  10. Modelling – scientific modelling
  11. Art and craft
  12. Clay modelling
  13. Sculpture making
  14. Ikebana – flower arranging
  15. Origami – creating art forms by folding papers
  16. Vocal Music (classical)
  17. Vocal Music (contemporary)
  18. Instrumental Music – harmonium, tabla, sarod, tanpura, piano, guitar, drums, percussion, violin, cello, synthesizer, etc.
  19. Folk songs
  20. Classical Dance
  21. Contemporary Dance
  22. Folk dance
  23. Drama and theatre – story writing, scriptwriting, acting, direction, production
  24. Commercial art – advertising campaign; public relations campaign
  25. Debate
  26. Elocution contest
  27. Creative writing – poetry writing competition
  28. Essay writing competition
  29. Story writing competition
  30. Poetry recital
  31. Student newspaper writing, editing, and publishing
  32. Wall magazine writing, editing, and publishing
  33. Photography
  34. Videography
  35. Painting
  36. Drawing and Painting competition
  37. Tailoring
  38. Carpentry
  39. Toy-making
  40. Soap making
  41. Candle making
  42. Embroidery
  43. Knitting
  44. Gardening
  45. Weaving
  46. Celebration of cultural festivals
  47. Organization of awareness program – personal hygiene awareness, cleanliness drives, AIDS awareness, tree planting drive
  48. Celebration of days – world environment day, Women’s day
  49. Participation and management of student clubs, societies, etc. – debating society, writers’ club, music club, book reading club, etc.
  50. Camping and related activities – camping in wilderness, nature walk, hiking, etc.

New age co-curricular activities list in school

  1. Computer coding competition
  2. Ethical hacking competition
  3. Computer Gaming competition
  4. Online magazine/ newsletter writing, editing, and publishing
  5. Media design – design of various media such as film, video, web interfaces
  6. Blog writing
  7. Graphic Designing
  8. Web Designing
  9. Digital art
  10. Career education – an exploration of different career options and educational pathways after school
  11. Job shadowing – spending a day or more with a professional at work to understand the nature of work, responsibilities, etc.
  12. A day at work – spending a day at a company or at a factory to see how commercial and industrial activities happen

Co-curricular activities in school and outdoor – list of athletics and sports

  1. Aerobics
  2. Archery
  3. Athletics – sprinting, long-distance running, hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, discus throw, etc.
  4. Badminton
  5. Baseball
  6. Basketball
  7. Bicycle
  8. Billiards
  9. Boxing
  10. Chess
  11. Climbing (Rock climbing)
  12. Cricket
  13. Cycling
  14. Diving
  15. Equestrian
  16. Fencing
  17. Football
  18. Gymnastics
  19. Handball
  20. Hockey
  21. Judo
  22. Kabaddi
  23. Karate
  24. Kho kho
  25. Kayaking
  26. Martial Art
  27. Mountain Biking
  28. Polo
  29. Rowing
  30. Rugby
  31. Shooting
  32. Snooker
  33. Squash
  34. Swimming
  35. Table Tennis
  36. Tennis
  37. Volleyball
  38. Water polo
  39. Weight Lifting
  40. Wrestling

Benefits of co-curricular activities

Co-curricular activities are vital because even though they are not a part of the core curriculum, they play a very crucial role in giving the young boys and girls the ability to shape up their lives. The school activities have to be designed purposefully to give an apt mix of student’s participation in academics and also to create a chance for all-round development. The importance of co-curricular activities cannot be ignored.

To understand the importance of co-curricular activities, let us see how these activities benefit students:

Importance of Co-Curricular Activities for Students 2

Enhances overall personality

Co-curricular activities in school help to enhance the overall personality of the students. These prepare them to take challenges heads up and enable them to think critically. Experiences and skills acquired through these co-curricular activities make students proactive and prepared for their future endeavors. Therefore, the importance of co-curricular activities cannot be denied in overall personality development.

Strengthen Self Confidence

The goal of co-curricular activities is to give better fitness to students and inculcate a sense of sportsmanship, competitive spirit, leadership, meticulousness, cooperation and team spirit. Thus, many institutions are appreciating the importance of co-curricular activities and integrating a number of co-curricular activities in their syllabus and making it mandatory for the students to choose their interest in co-curricular activities from a list of options. The hidden motive behind all this is to develop self-confidence and trust in others.

Develop Specialised Skills

Co-curricular activities in school help hone the talents of young minds and give them an opportunity to develop their specialized skills. Competitions that are organized can create a competitive environment and help them work towards continuous improvement in their skills.

Therefore, a number of schools are now understanding the importance of co-curricular activities right from the early stages of school so that students can benefit in the future as well.

Improve Academic Performance

Studies have shown that students pursuing their hobbies achieved better results in their studies. Their academic performance goes way up as they learn to balance their co-curricular activities with their academic pursuits. They also better understand how to manage their time efficiently and also increase their interest in the school. It is essential to understand the importance of co-curricular activities in improving academic performance.

Greater Opportunities

In this competitive era, records of participation in co-curricular activities can act as game changers during admissions into various courses. Students pursuing any co-curricular activities of their choice are given preference over those who are not involved in any such activities. Therefore, the importance of co-curricular activities is immense in their future pursuits.

Exposure to New Activities

Students are introduced to a whole new horizon of activities that give them better insights and let them choose what they enjoy and what they wish to learn. It broadens new horizons for them. These activities stimulate playing, painting, acting, dancing, singing, speaking, and many other skills in students. Thus, co-curricular activities broaden the scope of students in learning and exploring new activities. Thus, the importance of co-curricular activities is a lot in this aspect.

Builds Sense of Responsibilities

When students in their early life are given some responsibility or a task to handle like an application of first aid or managing the class painting board, etc. their efficiency to handle such situations becomes much better. This fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability.

Enhance Physical and Mental Health

Co-curricular activities require students to stay active at school by participating. As students have no option to skip these activities such as athletics, gymnastics, yoga, indoor games, and meditation, etc. because they are part of their curriculum. This makes the importance of co-curricular activities very high.
Co-curricular activities are helpful for students as they enhance physical fitness as well as mental health of a student and also help in relieving students from academic stress.

Therefore, As students should be given more and more opportunities to explore their interests and abilities, the importance of co-curricular activities cannot be denied. In order to instill the ‘all-rounder’ factor in students, co-curricular activities in school are being integrated in the academic curriculum in schools across several countries in the world. The importance of co-curricular activities in the integrative school curriculum is being appreciated.

The rewards of co-curricular activities in schools have been researched pretty well and it is now ascertained that students who participate in these activities show better academic results, stronger relationships in schools and are more likely to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Moreover, students also feel a sense of belonging to the school and have higher self-esteem by participating in structured activities likemusic, dance, performing arts, etc. In addition to this, students become more motivated to perform better in their academics. This makes the students feel happier, healthier and involved. This establishes the importance of co-curricular activities clearly.