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Extracurricular Activities for Teenagers

by Erica Loop, studioD

While you might think of the school day as the only place for teens to learn, but extracurricular activities can provide other opportunities for developing key skills. According to the Kids Health website, extracurricular activities can help teens to explore potential career interests, meet like-minded peers and provide an alternative to potentially risky or unhealthy activities such as drinking alcohol. If your teen has any interest in participating, a variety of these activities usually are available for kids.


According to economist Bill Lawhorn of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic activities are popular extracurricular choices for many teens. League or varsity athletics might require a serious time commitment. By the high school level sports such as football, basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis and track become highly competitive, typically requiring several practices a week and a high skill level. Teens who don't have a deep interest in a particular sport, or don't find themselves concerned with continuing the sport in college or beyond, should consider intramural sports. Intramural sports provide teens with the opportunity to get physically active in a more relaxed and less competitive environment. Instead of playing against other schools, intramural teams are in-school athletics.

Performing Arts

If your teen has a dramatic flare, can't stop singing or loves to dance, the performing arts might be an ideal fit. Teens can participate in extracurricular performing arts activities in and outside of school. For example, your teen can try out for the school play or he can choose to take classes at a community theater. According to the National Assembly of State Art Agencies teen participation in arts activities can affect adolescent development and even result in higher SAT scores. Given the benefits, encouraging your teen to take part in performing arts is a positive way to help him to grow as a person and as a learner.

Academic Clubs

Teens who excel, or have a serious interest, in a particular subject area at school might enjoy the added practice time that an academic club can provide. These types of extracurricular activities can provide a supplement to classroom learning, give the student additional information on the subject at hand and help students with similar interests to connect. Activities that academic clubs sponsor might include themed field trips, study sessions or educational competitions such as science fairs or interschool math competitions.

Service Organizations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that in 2012, roughly 27 percent of teens older than age 16 volunteered in some form or another. Teens can help their communities, undeserved populations or the environment through extracurricular activities that involve service organization volunteering. These organizations vary in nature, including international, national, local and school types. For example, Habitat for Humanity is an international organization that helps to build houses for those in need. More school-related service extracurricular activities might include activities such as the high school environmental club.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Ezra Shaw/Digital Vision/Getty Images