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  • Writer's pictureThis Maple Life

Parents Looking for Extracurricular Activities for Kids: Try Your Local Community Centre!

Updated: Jan 22

When I became a mom in Canada, I made sure to explore a wide range of activities for my child. We ventured into fancy music classes for toddlers, dance academies, gymnastics, and more. However, I mostly brought my child to our local community centre for swim lessons. As time went on, I began to encounter some challenges. My daughter was eager to try out various sports and activities, but the time commitment associated with many of these extracurriculars became a source of frustration. While these commitments are perfect for serious athletes, it can be quite challenging when you have a lively 3-year-old and you're simply trying to help them discover their interests and burn off some energy.


After the arrival of my second child, a spirited boy, I quickly discovered his boundless energy at just one year old. He was on a mission to climb every piece of furniture, dash around the house, and engage in every form of energetic exploration imaginable. By the time he turned two, it became evident that our house and our daily trips to the playground couldn't contain his vivacity. That's when I decided it was time to enroll him in various activities to help channel his energy. As I embarked on the journey to enroll him in swim lessons at our local community centre, I stumbled upon a good surprise – they offered an array of activities tailor-made for kids. Discover if this extracurricular activities are for your kids too.

What's even better? These programs came with manageable 1 or 2-month commitments and an astonishingly low cost.

Before we dive into the wealth of programs your local community centre offers, let's talk about how easy it is to get your kids signed up.


basketball court, empty, lights
Clayton Community Centre Gym

How to Register at Your Local Community Centre

  1. Online Registration: Most community centres have user-friendly websites where you can browse and register for programs. You'll need to create an account, input your child's details, and select the activities they want to join.

  2. In-Person Registration: If you prefer a face-to-face approach, you can visit the community centre in person. They usually have helpful staff ready to assist you with the registration process.

  3. Phone Registration: Some centres also offer phone registration, which can be convenient if you have questions or need assistance while signing up.

Tip: Some community centres have instructional videos that are quite helpful if you are unfamiliar with their website. Here is an example of Township of Langley's Youtube Channel that includes videos on how to register, how to sign up for classes and more.  


Extracurricular Activities for Kids: Program Variety

Now, let's talk about the fantastic array of programs available for your kids. While there are plenty to choose from, we'll give you a glimpse of some of them. For a comprehensive list, you'll want to head to the website of your local community centre:

  • Sports: Community centres offer a diverse selection of sports options, including swimming, soccer, ballet, basketball, and much more, making it easy to find the perfect fit for young athletes eager to explore various sports.

  • Creative Arts: There are art and music classes that cater to different age groups. These programs often provide the materials and instruments, making it even more convenient for parents.

  • Preschool Adventures: Many community centres offer engaging preschool programs that prepare your little one for school while fostering social skills and early learning. Additionally, some centers offer an introductory preschool class, commonly known as 'Ready, Set, Preschool,' specifically tailored for younger children (typically aged 24 to 36 months) to participate alongside their parents.

  • Playtime Fun: Drop-in play sessions are perfect for those days when you just want your child to have fun without any commitment. These sessions are a great way to let your child interact with others and explore their imagination.


What to Expect

When you enroll your child in a community centre program, you can expect:

  • Qualified Instructors: Experienced instructors who are passionate about teaching and fostering a love for the activity in your child.

  • Safe Environment: A secure and inclusive space where your child can learn, grow, and make friends.

  • Flexible Schedules: Many programs run in sessions lasting one or two months, allowing your child to try different activities without a long-term commitment.

Important: It's important to mention that these programs (with the exception of swimming) are primarily designed for kids to explore a variety of interests, socialize, play, and, above all, have fun. If your child already has a deep passion for a particular sport, it might be more suitable to consider enrolling them in a specialized program that offers a more focused and high-quality experience in that specific area of interest.


Extra Tips

Now, here are some additional tips to make the most of your community centre experience:

  • Register Early: Programs can fill up quickly, so keep an eye on registration dates (you'll find them clearly labelled on their website) and be ready to sign up as soon as they open to secure a spot for your child. Usually, their program for the season comes out a couple of weeks before registration opens, so make sure to check that out and have your favourite classes written down so you can quickly register them when registration opens!

  • Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to reach out to the community centre staff if you have questions about the programs or need assistance with registration. They're always happy to help.


Conclusion

In conclusion, for parents seeking enriching extracurricular activities for their kids in Greater Vancouver, the local community centre serves as a treasure trove of opportunities.


It's affordable, flexible, and offers a diverse range of programs, all while prioritizing your child's safety and enjoyment.


So, don't wait! Get ready to embark on an exciting journey of discovery with your child and your local community centre. Register early, explore the options, and watch your kids thrive!



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