Building on strengths

9 Ways to Help Your Child Explore Strengths and Passions

By Amanda Morin

155Found this helpful

Focusing on strengths is just as important as recognizing any 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.

155Found this helpful
Close up of a young girls determined face as she tackles a climbing wall
1 of 9

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.

Close up of a young boy playing a violin
2 of 9


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 functional skills like movement control.

Close up of a group of teens having a lively discussion
3 of 9


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 may also aid in developing clearer communication skills and ways to organize thoughts.

Group of children on a spotlight stage practicing their parts
4 of 9


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.

A group of school girls taking an audio tour of a modern art show at an art museum
5 of 9


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.

Close up of girls stretching and warming up in a ballet class
6 of 9


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.

Close up of a young child building an ornate setting with legos
7 of 9

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 practice flexible thinking as they adjust plans that don’t work. Best of all, they get to build and play with robots!

Close up of a young boy serving a tennis ball on a court
8 of 9


Does your child have a lot of energy and good visual-spatial skills? Tennis helps 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.

Father helping his young daughter prepare for a horseback ride
9 of 9

Horseback Riding

Does your child have a love of animals? Horseback riding is not only fun, but it can be therapeutic. Riding improves muscle tone, posture, gait and coordination. Kids who have a tough time keeping their emotions and impulses in check may also gain patience and an improved mood.

Start the slideshow again

7 Ways to Help Teens and Tweens Gain Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is an important quality for tweens and teens with learning and attention issues to develop. Self-awareness can help your child come to grips with his issues and understand how they affect him in school and elsewhere.

Books for Tweens and Teens on Learning and Attention Issues

Books about kids with learning and attention issues can keep your child from feeling alone. Check out these great reads for children ages 9–12 and all the way up to teens preparing for college.

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Mark Griffin

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

Did you find this helpful?

What’s New on Understood