Get in the Game!
Sports aren't for everyone, but studies show that kids who are physically active and involved in youth sports perform better in school. Plus, research has found that kids who exercise regularly have more self-confidence and a greater sense of wellbeing! Organized sports are a great way to introduce your children to important social skills, such as being a team player, listening to directions, accepting feedback, and striving to achieve a goal.
Which sports are best for young kids?
Soccer is all about teamwork, and is one of the easiest sports to gain entry to. It's relatively inexpensive to get started; all your child needs are some cleats, socks, and shin guards. Plus, there are positions for every level of athleticism. Soccer encourages kids to communicate, observe, and listen to one another closely, working together to use their footwork and teamwork to drive the ball into the goal. This sport is less dangerous than others because it is relatively low impact (meaning no tackling or shoving).
Whether you live in a sunny climate or not, swimming is relatively accessible to all. Most local recreation centers have an indoor or outdoor pool, as well as swim classes, recreational teams, and competitive meets. Swimming can be an individual or team sport, but the camaraderie of fellow swimmers cheering your child along can have great long-term benefits. Plus, swimming requires a great attention to technique which helps your child practice dedication and discipline. This is a relatively low-cost sport as the only equipment requirements are a bathing suit, swim cap, and goggles.
The ultimate pick-up game, basketball is a fun sport that can be practiced almost anywhere! It does require some levels of hand and eye coordination, but that can be learned! When kids are young, dispel the myth that your child needs to be tall to play. Get them out on the court and encourage them to hone their foot and hand skills early!
Both boys and girls can benefit from gymnastics training at an early age. Not only does it offer flexibility and strength, it can also help improve skills in other sports, like football and hockey. Gymnastics focuses on strength and agility, but can be a bit pricier than other sports. Most gymnastics facilities require a monthly membership or commitment.
There are a variety of martial arts practices your child can take, from karate to tae kwon do. Students work their way up in skill and practice by earning different colored belts. Martial arts can also be more expensive than other sports, but have great long-term benefits for a child's focus.