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Creating Extra Curricular Activities

There are a variety of ways to expand extracurricular activity opportunities at a private school. A good first step is to identify the kinds of extracurricular activities that are desired, and we provide some popular choices for you to consider. When you know what you want, our tips for get the extracurricular activities up and running can help.

Extracurricular Possibilities

People often choose extracurricular activities to supplement existing academic activities without duplicating them, fill in perceived gaps in the program, or meet a special interest or need among a particular group of students. Here is a categorized list of some of the extracurricular activities that are popular and valuable and can be run locally:

The Arts

  • Drama
  • Musical Ensembles
  • Needlework (cross-stitch, knitting, etc.)


  • Astronomy Club
  • Chess Club
  • Computer Club
  • Ecology club


  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Climbing
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
  • Horseback Riding
  • Skiing (Alpine and/or Cross-country)
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Volleyball

Writing and Communication

  • Broadcasting
  • Debate
  • Foreign Language Clubs
  • School Newspaper
  • Spelling Bee

Social Science and Community

  • Community service
  • Field trips
  • Geography Bowl
  • Student Council/Student Government

There are also national organizations that create environments for competition in a variety of areas. Here is a list of some with a national presence:

Math and Science

American Computer Science League 

National Science Bowl

Science Olympiad


Writing and Communication

Idea of America Writing Contest

Scripps National Spelling Bee

Social Science and Community

National Mock Election

General Knowledge

National Academic Quiz Tournament

Odyssey of the Mind

Making It Happen

Now that you have an idea about types of extracurricular activities, you can begin exploring how to bring them into being. Knowing how many students are interested in each activity will inform the next stage, which is to look at the personnel needed to make the activity happen.


It’s a time-honored practice for teachers to double as coaches, guides, and mentors outside the classroom, in public and private schools.


Parents, too, have often contributed to their children’s education, drawing on their experience and training, whether vocational or avocational. Parents often assist when a school becomes involved with a national competition, such as those mentioned above, but they can also lead other programs, depending on their talents.

Joining Up With a Public School

Many private schools expand their extracurricular activities•sports offerings in particular•by seeking an alliance with a nearby public school. In some states, there is legislation covering this facet of school interaction. You may wish to check with the state Department of Education.

Joining Up With Home Schoolers

There may be home-schooled students in your locale who would welcome the chance to interact with your students and whose parents would help support an extracurricular program with funding or time. This can be a boon if you don’t quite have enough students for the team you want to form, to help the program’s budget, or simply to build community.

Joining Up With Another Private School

Not all private school relationships are (or have to be) rivalries. You may find that a neighboring school lends your students balance, rather than only competition. Or, if there’s a school with students who have disabilities, maybe there’s an opportunity for interaction mixed with community service.

Working With Local Businesses

Field trips to local businesses•from firefighters to bakers•are a possibility for extracurricular activities. Business people may also be willing to participate in a job shadow program, or teach students a skill used in their trade or work.

Working With Local Artists

Local artisans, studio artists, and musicians might enjoy the opportunity to give a class at your school. In this case, the school might simply serve as a facility, with the artists charging their usual fees directly to parents of students who sign up, or some other arrangement might be made.

Working With the Local Library

Libraries are often valuable resources to extend school offerings. Some libraries have bookmobiles, and if your school does not have an extensive collection, you may wish to see if you can arrange a bookmobile visit as an extracurricular activity.

Working With Local Gyms

If your school lacks the facilities you would like for physical education, you may be able to team up with a local gym to provide recreational opportunities for students. Perhaps there are group rates available, or perhaps there is an instructor there whom you could hire as a coach. Now, that you have an idea of the content and the personnel, you can figure out the needs for equipment, tools, and other accoutrements, make a budget, and move on to fundraising, if necessary.

Written By Mary Elizabeth