9 activities to help your child explore strengths and passions

ByAmanda Morin

9 activities to help your child explore strengths and passions. A child paints in a classroom.

Focusing on strengths is just as important as recognizing weaknesses. Encouraging your child to explore strengths and passions (and take healthy risks) can be a real self-esteem booster. Here are some activities to try.

Hiking, biking, and climbing

Is your child curious and full of energy? Biking, hiking, and climbing allow your child to be athletic without the pressure of being part of a team. If your child prefers being alone, likes to learn by exploring the world, and is frequently on the move, the great outdoors might be ideal.


Does your child love to sing and make music? Music uses many different parts of the brain at once to process rhythm, emotion, and movement. All of the elements of music — including tempo, pitch, and beat — are key pieces of learning to read, too. And there are many kinds of music to explore. Some may offer your child a chance to be part of a group (such as band). Others, such as drumming, help build like movement control.

If your child struggles with movement and coordination, learn about different musical instruments and the motor skills they require.


Does your child know a lot of information and enjoy sharing it with other people? Debate might be worth a shot. Debate club could help your child build friendships with people who have common interests. It can also help your child develop clearer communication skills and ways to organize thoughts.


Some kids enjoy storytelling and love being the center of attention. Drama club can be a good outlet for creative kids. It provides a way for them to learn how plot, characters, and setting work together to make a story powerful. For kids who aren’t comfortable in the limelight, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes roles, like set design or costumes. All of these jobs can be a way to be part of a team.


Does your child like to draw, paint, or sculpt? Art classes can be a good way to let kids explore the beauty they see in the world. Drawing and painting can also build motor skills as well as teach shapes, spatial relationships, size, and other mathematical concepts.


Does your child love to move and groove? Dance gives kids a social way to learn rhythm, coordination, motor skills, and following directions. Kids also practice visual-spatial skills, which can be helpful when it comes to reading and math.

LEGO robotics

Does your child like to build and explore the relationship between cause and effect? LEGO robotics is a great activity for logical thinkers. Kids learn how to come up with a plan. Then they must organize and carry out the plan. Not only do they learn to follow directions in a sequence, they must also practice flexible thinking as they adjust plans that don’t work. Best of all, they get to build and play with robots!


Does your child have a lot of energy and good visual-spatial skills? Tennis helps kids practice hand-eye coordination and movement planning. Tennis is primarily a one-on-one sport. That makes it good for kids who aren’t as comfortable in large social groups, but who need to work on social skills. Your child will learn to follow rules, develop good sportsmanship, set personal goals, and be accountable for making progress.

Horseback riding

Does your child love animals? Horseback riding is not only fun, but it can also be therapeutic. It can help kids who have a tough time keeping their emotions in check build patience and impulse control. Riding also improves muscle tone, posture, gait, and coordination.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Mark J. Griffin, PhD was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.