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What Extracurricular Activities Can Do for Kids’ Mental Health

Published on November 17, 2021 | Posted in ,  

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged economies worldwide and taken a significant toll on the way people feel. It’s difficult to precisely quantify society’s collective health in good times or bad, but surely, people are struggling after months of worrying about their health, job status, and more.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, kids faced constrictions in their ordinary socializing, which are vital to their development. The combination of new safety protocols at school or Zoom lessons rather than being in the class itself has also been challenging.

The sacrifices we’ve all made, along with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, have helped keep numbers down and protect communities everywhere. Kids need to tend to their mental health right now, which means having fun in a safe environment.

Let’s look at a few reasons why online coding courses for kids can help improve children’s mental health.

Building a Video Game is a Form of Play

Kids are very drawn to playing video games, and learning how to design and code them can become its own type of game. We teach computer coding for kids in sessions that revolve around how to build a video game, so children have a carrot they are genuinely motivated to chase.

Today’s youth are digital natives because they’ve grown up in a world with touchscreens and smartphones. Kids have always played video games dating back to the days of arcades, but you may be surprised to see how drawn they are to learning to program their own.

RP4K teaches fundamental coding skills, though our teachers always emphasize putting fun first. Indeed, learning to create a video game is such a joy that kids won’t even notice that coding improves math skills, like integers, 3D vectors, and even trigonometry.

Small Classrooms with Young Teachers

Extracurriculars must be organized sessions that run smoothly for kids to find them enjoyable. The last thing they want is to feel like they’re being babysat in an impersonal after-school program where they can’t get their teacher’s attention.

The sessions at RP4K always have a maximum of four students per teacher, so there’s no competition to get support from the instructors. Plus, there’s no minimum per class, so the session will run even if your child is the only student.

RP4K also believes in hiring teachers with subject matter expertise who skew on the young side, believing that teachers need to be knowledgeable and relatable to work effectively with kids. Such an approach has a few benefits.

On a visceral level, young teachers also grew up playing video games in their youth and know first-hand what it’s like to be a child in the world of video games. The greatest computer scientist in the world isn’t an ideal fit to teach kids programming classes if they aren’t adept at working with children.

Plus, young teachers have recent experience with coding in school and the workforce. They can give kids practical advice about what to expect in high school and beyond and how to navigate the job market when the time comes.

Real Coding Languages Only

Some programming lessons use software like Scratch, which is a drag-and-drop program rather than a coding language. At RP4K, we only teach coding languages that professionals use every day to build apps, websites, and video games that millions of people use.

If your child signs up at RK4K, they can learn:

  • Python
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • C++

These coding languages are the underlying basis for things like Netflix, Angry Birds, Minecraft, and more. Without these coding languages, people wouldn’t have digital platforms worth billions of dollars. Aside from the job and economic opportunities that can be gained by learning these languages, coding languages are the heart of a digital society.

Knowing how they work can make children feel more plugged into the world in which they live.

Think Like an Engineer

Mental health is a complex topic of a very personal nature, and there isn’t only one solution for improvement. Keeping your mind stimulated and engaged can only help to make people feel better because it’s good to be busy and productive.

Teaching kids to code helps activate and sharpen their minds, showing them healthy and helpful ways of thinking. In general, learning to code improves your mind by embedding certain habits, like rational thinking, linear thinking, and the willingness to experiment.

The famous American novelist F Scott Fitzgerald said the test of a first-rate intelligence was “the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Learning to think like an engineer helps instill such an ability.

Credit: cottonbro via Pexels

RP4K teaches kids that making mistakes is an inevitable part of reaching the correct answer eventually. The ability to accept mistakes and not beat yourself up over them is a healthy way to think, but also to live, whether you’re taking STEM classes or writing a novel.

How can encouraging such a positive attitude in kids not help with their mental health?

Try and Find Out

We understand that there are many different types of extracurricular programs you could choose for your child. To help see if learning to code online is right for them, we offer a free trial lesson.

Try it out at no cost! We think you’ll love it and enroll in our weekly fall sessions. If your child doesn’t take to it, they’re free to discontinue the program. RP4K has been in operation for over 20 years, and we’ve seen countless kids who didn’t realize they loved computers fall head over heels for coding.

Parents looking to prevent their children from slipping through the cracks and bolster their children’s mental health with extracurriculars need a safe, fun, and productive after-school hobby. Learning how to code in online sessions is extremely safe, and it will give your child practical skills they need later in school and work. But most of all, we provide a fun and encouraging environment where kids can be themselves and have some fun after the school day is over.

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