Expand your child's horizons

Afterschool activities have positive impact on child's development

Expand your child's horizons

Choosing from the endless array of after-school activities in the Hudson Valley is enough to drive any already-harried parent insane. The good news is that most extra-curricular activities will have a positive impact on your child’s development.

Expanding son's horizons with pottery

As a parent of a soccer-loving, energetic five-year-old, who sleeps in his uniform, I had an epiphany about how to expand my son’s horizons. We were going to try pottery. My boy leered at me with skepticism, but he was a willing victim and I had a good feeling.

Three minutes with soft, cold, red molding clay that left a layer of sticky dust on his little hands was all it took. And when he came up with the idea of making an elaborate garage for his Hot Wheels collection, I knew we were in for the long haul. As an added bonus, my son got to hang with older kids in a noncompetitive environment.

READ MORE: Help your child learn while playing games!

Pottery helped develop fine motor skills and concentration

Pottery class helps develop fine motor skills and concentration, and it brought my active child to a place of complete calm and focus. Potter Brinton Baker of Stone Window Gallery in Accord says, “taking a piece of clay with no form and creating a shape allows your brain to work in a different way while giving kids the confidence to create something that will last.”

Next time you choose an after-school activity, think unconventionally. Then try to narrow down the choices to one or two. Your child won’t be overwhelmed and you won’t be driving all over the county.

If an after-school activity isn't right, move on

Finally, acknowledge when an activity isn’t right and move on. This is supposed to be fun! Uncovering talents and dislikes is important for your child’s development. As for pottery class, we’ll be signing up for another session in the fall…just as long as it doesn’t conflict with soccer season.

Aileen Weintraub is a seasoned freelance writer and editor who has authored over fifty books for young adults and children, including "KISS: I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night."  She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.