Clubs and Groups for Children and Youth

Groups and clubs designed for children and youth can offer many benefits. They help kids make friends and practice social skills with both adults and peers. They teach children new skills and allow them to pursue a favorite hobby or activity. They foster feelings of competence and pride to boost kids' confidence and self-esteem.

Some children join clubs to serve the community or explore their faith. Others prefer the spirit of competition that comes from youth sports. When looking for a club for your child, consider what your child hopes to get out of the experience and the various types of organizations available. Here is a quick list to give you some direction and help you and your child find the right club or team for them.

1

Volunteering

Children painting wall
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Children learn a lot about themselves and others through volunteering. Even the youngest of children can make a difference. By choosing a project and following it through, children develop a sense of accomplishment. Whether planting flowers or serving in a soup kitchen, children see the results of their hard work and have the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference.

Clubs that focus on volunteer work tout developing leadership skills, problem-solving skills, setting and achieving goals, working in teams, and communication skills. The Kiwanis is a volunteer organization with three levels of clubs for elementary through high school youths:

In addition to the Kiwanis, check with other organizations near you that may work with youth volunteers. Hospitals, food banks, and pet shelters are good places to start.

2

Scouting

Cub Scouts Reciting Scout's Pledge
Tim Wright / Getty Images

Scouting provides a well-rounded program where children earn badges, play games, camp, sing, create crafts, complete service projects, and more. Scouts build friendships and learn new skills.

Many children have opportunities through Scouts that they wouldn't otherwise have. Some top scouting organizations include:

  • Boy Scouts of America, which includes programs for both boys and girls of all ages including Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and STEM Scouts
  • Girl Scouts of the USA, which includes programs for girls of all ages including Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors
  • Frontier Girls, which includes programs for girls of all ages including Penguins, Otters, Dolphins, Butterflies, Eagles, and Owls
  • Quest Clubs by Curiosity Untamed, which uses badges and awards from Frontier Girls but offers leaders the ability to design their own scouting-style program for boys and girls
  • SpiralScouts International, which offers programs for boys and girls including Raindrops, Fireflies, SpiralScouts, and Pathfinder
  • Camp Fire, which offers programs for boys and girls including in-school and after-school programs as well as camps
3

Sports

Soccer
Hero Images

Sports give children a chance to engage in physical activity, make friends, develop skills, learn teamwork, and build self-esteem. Sport clubs and team options are virtually endless, such as:

Many towns and cities have their own recreation programs that run youth sports programs. You can also check with schools, community programs, and gyms that may sponsor teams or point you in the right direction.

4

Religious

Kids praying in church classroom
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Religious clubs give children the opportunity to learn more about their faith, grow in that faith, and make friends that share their spiritual beliefs. Some research shows that religious participation in youth is linked to greater positivity and overall life satisfaction in early adulthood.

The activities vary by the club but usually include social and educational programs. Some religious clubs also do outreach and community service projects. Examples of faith-based clubs for kids include:

Contact your local church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious center for information on youth religious groups in your community.

5

Academic

Kids working on a robot design
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Academic clubs recognize children's academic achievements and give kids the opportunity to work in an academic area in more depth than offered in school.

Groups that focus on math, science, and computers, for example, encourage leadership skills while helping children learn to work as a team. They are a place for kids to meet like-minded friends who share their passion for certain subjects and learning.

Some academic clubs for kids include:

Schools also commonly offer academic clubs kids can join. If your child has a particular academic interest, check with their school to see if a related program is offered.

6

Agricultural

Teacher and students gardening in raised bed
Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

Agricultural clubs give children the opportunity to work in various areas of farming, plant and animal sciences, horticulture, agricultural technologies, and related fields. They provide a place where children can have fun, make friends, and prepare for futures in agricultural fields.

If these programs aren't available in your area, look into creating a community garden with other children, or starting a gardening club or conservation group for kids.

7

Music & Arts

Above view of teacher singing with children during music lesson.
skynesher / Getty Images

Children develop creativity and express themselves through the arts. Singing, dancing, painting, and drama give children the chance to find out who they are—or sometimes pretend to be someone different—and express themselves in beautiful ways.

Contact local music schools and art studios for information on youth groups and programs. Libraries are another great resource for creative camps and programs geared to kids. For the child who loves reading, for example, consider forming a kids' book club where children take turns choosing a favorite book to read and discuss together.

A Word From Verywell

There are so many benefits for children who take part in clubs and teams with kids who share their interests. Youth groups allow children to explore their passions, develop good social skills, and use their time in positive ways. If you cannot find the perfect club for your child nearby, consider starting your own!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do clubs and activities help a child's self-esteem?

    Clubs and activities encourage children of all ages to pursue their interests, build friendships with other kids, and learn new skills. Kids who volunteer learn how good it feels to give back. All of these life skills help to build children's confidence and give them a sense of accomplishment.

  • How do you start an after-school club for children?

    To start an after-school club for children, begin by figuring out how the group is going to run. Make a plan much like you would when starting a small business. How big or small will it be? Will it be free or there be a fee to join? What is the age range of the members? What sort of equipment and supplies will you need?

    Once you've worked out all the details, find a space to hold the club. You can ask the school principal or administrator to use the building after hours. Enlist some other adults to help you run the group and supervise the children. Finally, advertise in the community on social media, mailings, and flyers to find members and get started!

  • How old should a child be to join a club?

    There are music classes, storytime groups, and even pee-wee sports for kids as young as 3, 4, and 5. As long as the child is emotionally and developmentally ready, they can join an age-appropriate club anytime.

  • What clubs can help children develop social skills?

    Virtually any type of youth club or group can help kids develop good social skills. Whether they are learning how to play tee-ball, practice an instrument, or passing out food at a soup kitchen, kids are improving their communication skills (even if they don't know it). Through group activities, kids learn to read social cues, express their opinions, and learn from the experiences of others.

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5 Sources
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  2. Dibben C, Playford C, Mitchell R. Be(ing) prepared: Guide and Scout participation, childhood social position and mental health at age 50-a prospective birth cohort studyJ Epidemiol Community Health. 2017;71(3):275‐281. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-207898

  3. Merkel DL. Youth sport: Positive and negative impact on young athletes. Open Access J Sports Med. 2013;4:151-60. doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S33556

  4. Chen Y, VanderWeele TJ. Associations of religious upbringing with subsequent health and well-being from adolescence to young adulthood: An outcome-wide analysisAm J Epidemiol. 2018;187(11):2355-2364. doi:10.1093/aje/kwy142

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