At the Peaceful Dragon, we strongly advocate martial arts for children for the numerous character-building traits and lifelong skills that come with them. There are many benefits of martial arts like kung fu that team sports simply don’t provide. In fact, according to research from the National Alliance for Sports, 70% of children leave team sports by the age of 13, for various reasons, including injury, peer pressure, lack of interest, lack of playing time, and more.
Children’s Developmental Programs in Charlotte
At the Peaceful Dragon, our children’s martial arts program can hardly be classified as “recreational.” While it is fun, we have built an educational and developmental program for children that is as fun as most traditional recreational activities. After all, when better to help children grow into well-rounded adults than while their busy having fun doing it?
How do we accomplish this? Well, we don’t just encourage children to try their hardest and practice for improved skills in the realm of Kung Fu forms and self-defense. We use every chance in class to teach your child life lessons about friendship, teamwork, and how to be respectful with words and actions. We also take it a step further with take-home lessons that include topics such as personal safety, personal hygiene, respect, compassion, strategies for dealing with bullies, improving school success, overcoming shyness, and more.
A well-balanced life is part of the philosophy of martial arts, in every aspect and should be encouraged starting at the youngest ages. By no means would we want to imply that kung fu or any other martial arts are the only nontraditional extracurricular activities that are beneficial for children (or adults, for that matter). Quite the opposite, in fact. If you’re looking for other activities for your kids that help develop useful life skills and character traits, we’ve put together a list of a few we recommend.
Ideas for Extracurricular Activities in Charlotte
Archery — Since The Hunger Games, interest in archery has skyrocketed among kids. It helps develop attention span, and by its nature demands focus and concentration, which helps kids do better in school. While it may seem dangerous, safety is emphasized above all, so kids are expected to be seriously responsible.
Cooking lessons — It’s never too early to learn how to prepare meals, and early exposure to cooking leads to a love of healthy food. Learning to cook teaches kids sequential order, following directions, and an appreciation for their food and where it comes from. It also gives children a sense of accomplishment and an attitude of doing good things for others.
Fencing — From pirate movies to Star Wars to even classic fairy tales, sword fighting is timeless. Learning proper fencing is an exercise in hand-eye coordination and teaches quick problem-solving. Since you never know what your opponent will do, you need to be able to adapt quickly, make adjustments, concentrate, and maintain composure under pressure.
Geocaching — Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game with a twist, and one of the big appeals of this nontraditional activity is the family-friendly nature of it. Geocachers use GPS, either on a standalone device or their phone, to locate “buried treasure” (geocachers) which are often hidden in plain sight. Children learn critical thinking, problem-solving, navigation, cooperation, and can build up self-confidence as well.
Guitar or piano lessons — Guitar and piano are not generally included in a school’s band program, yet learning to play one (or both!) have plenty of benefits for children. They teach self-discipline, as both take a lot of hard work and dedication to master. They help improve memory, enhance creativity, improve coordination, sharpen concentration, and definitely boosts their confidence. What kid doesn’t want to be a “rock star” someday?
Ice-skating or gymnastics lessons — There are many parallels between ice skating, gymnastics, and martial arts for children. They have many physical benefits like improving posture, balance, flexibility and coordination while enhancing muscle strength. They also teach goal setting, how to perform well under pressure, how to manage stress, plus how to manage failure and how it feels to be successful. In addition, children involved in ice skating and gymnastics learn good sportsmanship while developing social skills and making bonding friendships that can last a lifetime.
Rock Climbing — Children gain a lot of confidence “learning the ropes,” quite literally. There is very little teamwork involved, but rock climbing teaches problem-solving skills, requires a lot of concentration, and helps build muscles and a sense of accomplishment when reaching the top.
Scouting — The benefits of scouting are as numerous as martial arts for children. Scouting teaches kids respect for themselves, others, and the environment leads to a sense of independence, self-confidence, and a duty to provide service to others. It also allows kids to make and maintain lifelong friendships in addition to the invaluable skills they learn.
As we mentioned, of course here at The Peaceful Dragon we’re going to promote the benefits of martial arts for kids and all the additional benefits of our unique program, but we also want to stress the importance of a well-rounded life for children and adults alike. These are only a few nontraditional recreational activities in Charlotte we recommend; there are more. We encourage everyone to try new things, develop new life skills, and live each day to the fullest. Start with martial arts and branch off from there.