Children and adolescents have a lot to gain from playing sports, but have you ever wondered which sports are the best sports to get your child involved in early? Some of the sports are more obvious than others, but every kid is different and you never truly know what they’ll grow to like.
The best sports present a number of benefits to your child’s mental, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual health. It immediately increases the amount of physical activity they receive each week and exposes them to regular exercise, which is extremely important to your child’s health.
Not only that, but children that participate in the best sports for kids often experience greater academic potential, form closer bonds with their peers and community, learn how to overcome adversity and face challenges, and open the door to a possible career, if they’re serious about it.
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What Are the Best Sports for Kids to Play?
The best sports for kids to play are often sports that don’t pose a great injury risk to the child – don’t worry, youth sports often carry unique rules and regulations to protect your child. Aside from safety, the best sports for kids are often those that are easy to learn and easy to enjoy.
Since children have such a short attention span, you want to find a sport that keeps them engaged and entertained – a sport they’re going to look forward to playing regularly. In fact, you might have to try several sports before finding the one that your child enjoys or likes the most.
If you’re looking to get your child involved in the best sports early on in their life, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’re going to take a look at 15 of the best sports for children and why you might want to consider them for your child. We wish your child all the best luck!
When most people hear the term ‘wrestling,’ they immediately imagine the WWE with its drama, theatrics, and stunt-level performances. While that is technically considered professional wrestling, it’s far from what the actual sport of wrestling entails – so don’t get the two confused.
The actual sport of wrestling is much less violent and far more technical. It’s an individual sport in terms of performance, but youth wrestlers are part of a larger team that teaches them teamwork and camaraderie. It’s a good way to stay in shape, but is also good self defense.
14. Flag Football or Touch Football
A lot of parents might cringe a little when they think about their child playing football, but don’t worry – it’s not the type of football you see on Sunday. Most kids don’t start tackle football until the age of 12, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other – safer – variations of football available.
Two of those variations are touch football and flag football – neither of which involve tackling or anything violent. It introduces them to the basic rules of football and acts as a great stepping stone to tackle football. You can also consider ultimate frisbee, which is similar to football.
Hockey is another ‘violent’ sport that might scare a lot of parents, but youth hockey takes certain measures to prevent injury risk and violence. The thought of their child skating on ice also might scare parents, but there are a number of variations and alternatives available.
For example, a lot of children start playing hockey on rollerblades before they transition to the ice. In fact, most children start playing floor hockey, where they play on-foot (in their shoes). These are all excellent ways to gradually introduce your child to the wonderful game of hockey.
12. Boxing or Martial Arts
This is another sport that might scare a lot of parents due to the reputation boxing and MMA have, but it’s a completely different environment and atmosphere with youth. While kids generally won’t see an amateur fight until they’re a teenager, they can start training early.
In fact, boxing or MMA training can begin as early as five years old. There won’t be any fighting involved, rather focusing on the technique, principles, rules, and different fighting styles. They’ll learn self defense, stay active, and be exposed to new friends along the way – which is good!
How many times in the past year have you taken your child bowling? It has become a regular hobby for millions of children all around the world and often one of the first things they ask to do on a rainy day. With that said, it makes perfect sense to get your child involved competitively.
Youth bowling leagues are a great way to get your child out of the house, get them engaged in something that’s bigger than themselves, and further improve upon their bowling skills. They’ll meet a lot of great people and have fun doing it – especially those that aren’t very active.
Volleyball is a sport that’s often forgotten about when considering the best sports for kids – but don’t let that fool you. It’s an extremely popular sport that doesn’t require a lot of running, but still gives your child a regular workout. Volleyball is much more popular among girls than boys.
One of the most attractive things about volleyball is the lack of equipment needed – which will put a smile on any parent’s face. There’s also a low risk of injury, which is always a plus. Either way, playing volleyball early on will teach your child a lot about teamwork and working together.
Most children learn how to ride a bike between the ages of two and eight – with the average being around five years old. It’s something your child will either absolutely love or completely hate. For those that love riding their bike, it might be a good idea to get them more involved.
The most exciting thing about cycling is all the different disciplines your child can evolve into. Whether it’s indoor cycling, outdoor cycling, BMX, or simply cycling for recreation. It’s a great workout, it’s a great way to relieve some stress, and it’s a great way to explore new areas.
8. Running (Track and Field or Cross Country)
While most kids learn how to ride a bike around the age of five, they start learning how to run much sooner – usually around the age of two. It becomes a big part of their life as they start jogging and running everywhere – from the living room, to the kitchen, back to the living room.
If your child takes up an extreme interest in running, you should definitely consider getting them involved in some type of running activity – track and field, cross country, or a youth running club. The more they practice, the more opportunities they’ll receive in high school and even college.
Golf is an individual sport that most kids have tried at least once by the age of 10, but some kids start playing as early as five or six years old. It’s one of the easiest sports on your body and your risk of injury is extremely low, but it’s still a great workout that involves a lot of walking.
The only real disadvantage of getting your child started in golf is the cost – golf bags cost a lot, golf clubs are expensive, the cost of golf balls adds up, and golf course fees can hurt your wallet. It’s all worth it when you consider the amount of fun your child will have on the course.
Tennis is another individual sport that can be taught rather easily, but it won’t come with the heavy expense that golf does. It’ll still have some costs – tennis racket, tennis balls, tennis shoes, and court fees if you don’t have access to a free one), but it’s nothing compared to golf.
Many families live within walking distance of a public tennis court and it surprisingly doesn’t cost a lot to make a DIY tennis court at your home – even if it’s just half of a court. It’s a great way to exercise, it gets your kid outside, and it might transition into a love for badminton or racquetball.
5. Gymnastics, Dance, or Cheer
We’re going to lump gymnastics, dance, and cheer into the same category because they’re all strikingly similar to one another – albeit unique in their own ways. It makes sense that they’re considered some of the best sports for kids – after all, they love to jump around and do flips.
While these three sports are heavily dominated by girls, that doesn’t mean they’re not welcome to boys. If your son is showing an interest in gymnastics, cheer, or dance, let him explore his interest because it could be the start of something special. It might even transition to the ice.
Find me a kid that doesn’t want to spend hours inside the pool – I’ll wait. Swimming is something most kids already look forward to on a hot, sunny day, but they’d be ecstatic to learn that they can take that fun indoors and learn how to swim competitively. It’s fun, but it’s also exercise.
While not all schools have a swim team – mainly because most schools don’t have funding for a pool – there are a wide range of local swimming clubs that your child can join. Some of those clubs start as young as five years old. Let’s see how much your child really loves to swim!
Basketball is one of the most common sports for children, which is why it’s no surprise that it’s high on our list of best sports to get your kid involved in early on. Just look at any home with kids and you’ll likely find a basketball hoop in the driveway – and it likely gets used frequently.
There are a lot of ways to get your kid involved in basketball. Youth basketball camps are great for younger children or those that want to freshen up on their skills, while youth leagues and tournaments are more tailored towards competitive players that are part of a much larger team.
2. Baseball, Softball, or Tee-Ball
Baseball is one of the most popular sports for children with a number of variations available for all ages. Most children start with tee-ball, which introduces them to the sport and makes hitting the ball easier without the presence of a pitcher. Parents are also heavily involved in this.
When they transition to Little League, they’ll start with coaches pitching to them and then move up to opponents pitching to them. Eventually, they’ll work their way up and who knows – they might be featured in the Little League World Series, whether it’s with baseball or softball.
Next to baseball and softball, soccer is one of the most popular sports to get your child involved in early on. There’s not a lot of contact, but it requires an extreme amount of athleticism and stamina. It’s a great way to keep your child active and tire them out so they aren’t wild at home.
Most youth soccer programs start as early as five years old and many local teams stick together for years – even through middle school and high school. Some of the best friends your child ever meets will be from their soccer days and they’ll carry those relationships forever.
Which of the Best Sports Will Your Kid Take Up?
There are so many sports out there tailored to meet the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of your child, but that doesn’t mean all sports are the best sports for your child. It might take some time, trial, and error, but your kid will find something they enjoy eventually.
Even if it’s not something they stick with for the rest of their lives, getting your kid involved in sports early on is extremely beneficial to their health and wellness journey. It’ll help them grow and develop into an incredible young adult – likely playing a major role in their early childhood.
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From personal experience, the best sports for me growing up were soccer, hockey, and track and field. I learned a lot about teamwork, communication, hard work, not giving up, and learning to have fun, even in the face of defeat. Of course, it also helped me stay in-shape and healthy.
25 Reasons to Put Your Kids in Sports
It doesn’t matter if your child is four years old or 16 years old, there are countless reasons why you should consider putting your kids in sports – the earlier, the better. They’ll not only learn a wide range of valuable lessons and skills, but they’ll meet some of their best friends as well.
With so many different sports to choose from – including baseball, soccer, basketball, football, gymnastics, volleyball, softball, track and field, swimming karate, tennis, golf, and much more – there’s a sport tailored to satisfy just about any child, no matter what their personal interests are.
And don’t worry, kids in sports are usually protected by rules and guidelines designed to reduce injury and enhance the overall experience. The coaching staff understands the responsibilities that come with leading a kid’s sports team and take their role as a mentor extremely seriously.
Why Should You Put Your Kids in Sports?
I know what a lot of you are asking – why should I put my kids in sports? What are the benefits? What do kids in sports have to gain? Some of the reasons are obvious and others aren’t, but it’s clear that kids in sports are exposed to a variety of things that have a positive effect on their life.
Of course, the benefits don’t stop with the child – parents also have a lot to gain from putting their kids in sports. It might create a little bit of chaos, especially getting them to and from practice and/or games, but it’s worth it in the end when you see them smiling and having fun.
With that said, we can understand the hesitation some parents experience when putting their kids in sports. For those that are on the fence and need a little extra motivation or inspiration, we’re going to detail 25 of the most prominent and promising reasons to put your kids in sports.
25. Parents Get to Show Their Love and Support
For parents, there’s nothing more important and beautiful than showing your love and support for your child – and getting them involved in a sport that they enjoy is one of the best ways to do so. My father used to be at every single one of my games growing up, and it always put a big smile on my face every time I saw him sitting on the bleachers.
24. Kids in Sports Have a Greater Sense of Belonging
It’s extremely important that children have a sense of belonging and inclusion growing up, something they can easily experience with team sports. As they grow older, that sense of belonging will help them develop valuable social skills and feel much better about themselves as they progress in life. A little sport can go a long way!
23. Less Likely to Engage in Risky Behaviors
Recent studies have proven that getting your kids in sports early on will result in them being less likely to engage in risky behaviors as they get older – including criminal activity, using drugs, consuming alcohol, unprotected sex, violence, and more. If you want your child to grow up in a positive environment, then sports might be your answer!
22. Improves a Child’s Mental Health
Studies have also shown that getting your kids involved in sports at an early age can result in reduced depression symptoms, lower stress and anxiety levels, and better overall mental health. Not only that, but it can help improve mental resilience and enhance mental function – including memory, mood, focus, mental energy, and more.
21. Teaches Them That Patience is a Virtue
Anyone who has ever played sports – at any level – understands that good things often come to those that wait. Patience is a very important trait to have for an athlete because it takes time, energy, and effort to be the best player you can be. Nothing is earned overnight and you’ll have to prove yourself time and time again. For those that are patient, it’s well-worth the wait!
20. They’re Challenged Often and Forced to Compete
Sports have a way of drawing out the competitor in anyone – adult or child. This can be extremely beneficial to children in their younger years. They’ll be challenged often and will have to compete hard if they want to earn the trust of their teammates. This competitiveness will reciprocate itself into other areas of the child’s life, helping them advance in life.
19. Gives Them a Sense of Accomplishment and Achievement
Speaking of advancing in life, getting kids involved in sports will give them a greater sense of accomplishment and achievement – especially when things are going well for them. They’ll get to see the many benefits of trusting the process, giving it your all, and fighting hard to achieve what you’ve always dreamed of achieving.
18. Teaches Them How to Win and Lose
Of course, youth athletes also have to prepare for the inevitable. While everyone wants to win and someone has to win each game, it won’t always be you getting a taste of victory. Youth sports have a way of humbling young athletes and teaching them how to not only win with grace, but to lose with a great attitude.
17. They Learn How to Respect Themselves and Others
Respect plays an integral role in every person’s life, which is why it’s important to teach kids the importance of respect early on in their life. With sports, you must not only respect yourself, but also your teammates, coaching staff, audience, and even the opponents. This is also true in life – you have to learn to respect friends, family, coworkers, and even the person you see walking down the street or in the grocery store.
16. Teaches Them How to Apply Discipline
Every sport has a set of rules, regulations, expectations, standards, etiquette, and codes of behavior. Not following them results in suspensions and lack of playing time, two things no athlete wants to experience. By getting kids involved in sports early, they learn what it means to be disciplined and how to apply discipline in their own life.
15. They Learn How to Deal With Adversity
You never know what’s going to happen in sports, which is part of what makes them so exciting to learn and play. You can have a great game one day, but a terrible game the next. You can play an easy team one game, but the best team the next. Injuries happen, position battles exist, slumps happen, hot streaks happen – this teaches your child how to deal with and overcome adversity.
14. More Success in the Classroom
Studies have shown that getting your child involved in sports at an early age will bode well for them in the classroom – not just on the field or at home. Youth athletes are much more dedicated to their school work, are more attentive in class, achieve higher grades, and understand the importance of maintaining quality grades, especially if they want to play at the next level.
13. Improves Their Social Well-Being
Two of the most important traits a youth athlete should have are the ability to listen and ability to communicate. In order to excel in the world of sports, kids need to have strong social skills. Don’t worry, these skills can be learned through practice and team-building exercises. As they grow older, these improved skills will go a long way in helping them achieve goals.
12. They’ll Meet Some of Their Best Friends in Sports
Growing up, a majority of my best friends – many of which I still speak with to this day – were met through sports. We might’ve gone to the same school and had classes together, but it was sports that truly brought us together. This is because sports have a way of exposing children to social interactions with others and the camaraderie often leads to quality bonding.
11. Learn Valuable Time Management Skills
Another skill that children learn through playing sports is time management. It helps them get in the habit of being on time for practice and games – failing to do so results in extra conditioning or loss of playing time. Not only that, but they have to juggle their efforts in sports with their efforts at home (chores) and school (homework).
10. Teaches Them Sportsmanship
Sportsmanship is the quality of being fair and ethical, two things that can be easy to shy away from when playing sports – especially in the face of defeat. We talked earlier about learning how to win and lose, but sportsmanship further teaches a child how to act and behave at all times. Showing respect and being gracious towards others in the sport is a quality trait to have.
9. Sports Keep Children Entertained
There’s no debating the fact that children have a lot of energy. Trying to dilute that energy at home can be exhausting for the parents, especially if they aren’t accompanied by siblings. Getting children involved in sports can help release some of that energy and keep the child entertained on a weekly basis. This goes a long way for the parents!
8. Improves and Enhances Self-Esteem
Achieving milestones and making memories in sports can have a resounding effect on a child’s self-esteem. They’ll not only grow more confident in their abilities on the field, but also in the classroom and life, in general. If you want your child to grow up with a sense of pride in themselves and teammates, then sports is an excellent way of doing so.
7. Teaches Them to Set Goals and Achieve Them
Many children have a difficult time learning how to set reachable goals and then achieve them. Some might be good at setting goals, but struggle with the execution. Others might be very good at execution, but struggle to set the right goals. Whether your child gets involved in an individual or team sport, they’ll learn how to set and achieve the right goals.
6. Improves Their Determination and Commitment
In order to receive playing time in sports, coaches need to know that their young athletes are committed and dedicated to the team. If they’re not, then they won’t contribute to the overall effort of the group and will do more harm than good in the grand scheme of things. Your child will quickly learn the importance of putting the time, energy, and effort in.
5. Learn the Importance of Teamwork
Getting your child involved in a team sport will help teach them the importance of teamwork, communication, team-building exercises, selflessness, and working together. In fact, this is true in most individual sports – though your ‘team’ is usually working behind the scenes. No athlete can achieve greatness on their own, no matter what level they’re playing at.
4. Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Physical activity is essential to living a happy, healthy, and rewarding life. By getting your child involved in sports, they’re engaging in regular physical activity on a weekly basis. This will not only keep them in shape, but will bode well for their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and behavioral health. As a parent, you’ll notice the results immediately!
3. Prepares Them for High School Sports
The earlier you get your child started in sports, the better chance they have of developing the right habits that could help them excel in the coming years. As they make their way through youth leagues, academies, camps, modified sports, and junior varsity sports, they’ll feel more confident in themselves and can take that confidence into the varsity (high school) level.
2. Opens the Door to College Scholarships
Playing sports in high school is a true accomplishment for any young athlete – it could be the start of their future career. If they play well enough at the high school level, they’ll start to see college recruiters show an interest in them. This could lead to a scholarship, which means your child will have the opportunity to play sports, while receiving a quality secondary education.
1. They Might Go Pro Someday
The final reason why you should consider getting your kids in sports early on is because it might be what they were destined for. While they’ll have to be in the top 1% of their sport, there’s a chance they turn professional one day – making millions of dollars and living a life they always dreamed of. Of course, it all starts in the little leagues!
There’s a Lot to Love About Kids in Sports
Growing up, sports always played an important role in my childhood. I started playing soccer at the age of four and continued playing up until college. I was also on the track and field squad throughout middle school and high school, and even played basketball for a couple of years.
I can say with great confidence that sports helped me become the man I am today – I don’t know where I would be without sports. Even though I never went on to play professionally, they helped teach me a lot of different lessons and skills that I continue to benefit from to this day.
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If you’re considering putting your kids in sports, then I say go for it – there’s a lot to gain for both the child and the parents. Of course, it’s important that you find a sport that your child enjoys. The last thing you want to do is force it on them because it’ll take all the benefits out of it.
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