non-sport extracurricularsI am a mom to five children who are always looking for “stuff” to do. Our time after school is now chock full of places we need to be, but it took a bit of trial and error to figure out which extracurricular activities were for us.

When my boys were younger, they played T-ball and soccer. But we quickly learned that while they are active kids, my boys are not “sports people.” We had the same realization after I had my girls a few years later. After one season of softball I knew team sports were just not in our wheelhouse.

We spent a few years simply not doing any after-school extracurriculars, mostly because I only knew of sports-related activities. If my kids were not into sports, what other activities would be available to them? Well, after a bit of research I found some amazing options for the less sports oriented. Try some of my recommendations, or use them to spark new ideas to enrich your not-sports-savvy kid!


I never thought my children would be so interested in an after-school activity that they’d become passionate about it. But here we are, a fully enthused karate family. My 15-year-old just passed his black belt test after studying the art for eight years, and my 10-year-old will be testing for her blue belt next month. Karate is amazing for so many reasons, but it has given my athletic son a non-sport activity to enjoy. Our dojo, the Academy of Traditional Karate, is among the best for Okinawan karate!


Girl Scouts is something I truly enjoy as an adult leader. My daughters both enjoy scouting for various reasons, but the ability to enjoy time with friends while building skills that motivate them is my top one! Scouting is child led and is built around the interest, abilities, and knowledge of the children who scout. In conjunction with adult-led activities, it is the best activity to be exposed to a variety of interest topics.  Although my boys were not scouts, I know that all types of scouting come with great communities!

Theater arts

I am really lucky to live in Stoneham, home to the Greater Boston Stage Company, which is within walking distance from my children’s school and my home. They offer an amazing summer program, The Young Company, for children to learn about theater, including putting on their very own performance on stage!

Kidstock in Winchester also offers some great programming. They have options for the school year in addition to the summer, making it a great option for children who do not have access to theater enrichment in the school setting. I have seen some of the musicals they showcase, and the children learn so much while putting on a great show!


There are so many options for the musically motivated. Instrument lessons are not like they used to be! Children are not only learning drills and notes — they’re motivated to play songs they hear on the radio. Piano, guitar, and violin lessons are plentiful in our area. Voice lessons can also be found in most cities and towns. My children attend All That Music Academy, which is home to a few teachers who also study at Berklee!

Non-competition sports

We accidentally stumbled on an archery class that our local Boys & Girls Club was hosting last fall. I signed my 10-year-old up, and she loved every second. Although technically a sport, it is not a typical team sport with games and competitions, which I think lines up better with my children’s abilities and interests. Our local recreation club also facilitated a rock climbing session for children, and it is something I would not have thought to offer to my children. So when you need some inspiration for new activities for your children, be sure to check out your local Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and any town recreation programs in your area.

Michelle Mady
Michelle is a lifelong New Englander who lives in Stoneham and works in Charlestown. She is a preschool teacher and Assistant Director at a small private preschool and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education, which has come in useful at both work and home. She has a supportive stay-at-home-dad for a husband and is a mom of five children. She has three boys born in 2005, 2007 and 2008, plus two girls born in 2012 and 2015. Michelle teaches infant and toddler classes for early education teachers and is an adjunct professor for The School Of Mom. She also runs her own business, The Parenting Survival Expert, offering parenting tips and support. In her spare time, she can be found reading a murder mystery novel, sipping far too much coffee, and dreaming of a home in the mountains.