5 Activities for Kids in the New Year
Starting the new year is a wonderful opportunity for kids to expand their learning, fun, and experiences with new activities. However, before you invest in expensive lessons, equipment, or classes, we have a variety of ideas to make 2023 a year of exploration, education, and enjoyment for your children.
Here are 5 suggested activities for kids to explore in the new year:
1. Parks and Recreation
Most communities have a local recreation center or organization that offers a variety of activities for children throughout the year within many academic and extra-curricular disciplines. The classes or sessions typically last just a couple of weeks, so your child can try many activities without making a long-term commitment or feeling bored.
There are many benefits to considering community activities, including
- Meeting and socializing with other kids and parents
- Enrolling in short-term classes or programs to try out a sport, music, science, dance, martial arts, etc.
- Minimal cost and/or fees
- Focus on fun rather than the pressure of competition
- Enhance motor skills, experiential learning, social confidence, and cognitive development
- Reward of engaging with various leaders, instructors, coaches, and mentors
Be sure to consult your local parks and recreation website for options and information.
2. Fine Arts, Culture, and Languages
The last decade has seen such a push for children to be immersed in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) that many school-aged children are unprepared for subjects in the humanities (art, literature, music, writing, linguistics). Exposing your child to activities in fine arts, culture, and languages not only broadens their imagination, capacity for empathy, and academic experience, but it also ensures they have a well-rounded background for their future pursuits.
There are many activities that can introduce your child to and engage them in the humanities—and often these can be done close to home. For example, many communities have art museums with special hours and/or programs for children to learn art appreciation. In addition, your city may offer recitals, theatrical plays, or other programs to expose children to music, drama, and dance performances. Trying out new restaurants is also a way of absorbing culinary culture and differences in language. The more experiences you can offer your children in fine arts, culture, and languages, the more comfort they will feel in becoming respectful global citizens.
3. Become a Library Regular
Public libraries are wonderful places for learning, socializing, and expanding a child’s imagination. Most local libraries host free programs for kids of all ages, such as story time, arts and crafts, sing-alongs, and more. Even if your child isn’t interested in attending any structured or formal activities at the library, becoming a regular visitor offers amazing benefits.
Your children can browse numerous books and other media to spark their interest in reading and open their minds to different subjects and ideas. In addition, checking out library materials is a great way for kids to learn responsibility and understand the foundations of citizenship and community. Plus, a cozy library makes for a great outing no matter the weather, and your family may just meet and befriend some fellow library regulars as well.
4. Free Play
Parents are very well-intentioned in scheduling extra-curricular activities for their children to broaden their knowledge and experience. However, kids’ schedules can become over-extended quite quickly, leading to potential stress, fatigue, and over-stimulation. To establish a balance in your child’s daily and/or weekly schedule of activities, it’s important to allow time for free play.
Free play essentially means allowing your kids the freedom to play whatever and however they wish, as long as they are safe and supervised. Parents frequently have the inclination to impose on a child’s playtime for a few reasons:
- to keep toys from messing up the house
- provide companionship or be a fellow playmate
- to direct playing with certain toys in a “right” way
However, these impositions, no matter how well-intentioned, can stifle a kid’s imagination, problem-solving skills, and sense of pure fun.
Allowing your child to have completely free play with their inside/outside toys, art supplies, puzzles, etc., as a weekly activity is a healthy exercise for their mind and body. If your child is not used to playing freely or independently in this way, you can give them broad suggestions such as playing school, house, shopping, and so on, until they let their imagination roam. Make sure to involve them in the clean-up at an age-appropriate level when they are finished.
5. Life Skills
Parents are often so busy taking care of their family members, career obligations, the household, and numerous other daily tasks that they may overlook activities their children can do at home to develop life skills of their own. Not only do these activities build a sense of independence and competence, but they establish a foundation of practical knowledge for kids as well.
Even the youngest of children can help sort laundry, put toys away, dust bookshelves, unpack groceries, and much more. Though such “chores” may seem boring to parents, they will likely seem new and fun to kids while building their sense of pride in helping the family.
The start of the new year is an excellent opportunity for children to engage in new activities. This allows kids to discover more about themselves and their interests, while encouraging their physical and cognitive growth. At Cognisprings, we support parents looking for educational activities, toys, and gifts that encourage family togetherness as well as independent play. That’s why we provide games, toys, books, and puzzles that are thoughtfully designed to enhance children’s critical thinking, creativity, and curiosity. In addition, our products allow families to connect and learn with each other in a screen-free way that is fun for all ages.