50 Sports Activities for Kids - VerbNow

50 Sports Activities for Kids

Group of kids playing with ball during sunset.

A healthy lifestyle is best achieved if good habits are acquired at a young age. Thus, we all know kids need to be active. But with longer school days and the additive temptation of screens, there is competition for their time. What sports activities are good for kids? What if they don’t like being in teams or traditional sports?

Good sports activities for kids take the children’s interests and personality in mind. Some kids love team sports such as basketball and soccer. Others thrive in individual sports such as gymnastics and archery. Then there are lawn games for kids less sport-enthused. 

When it comes to sports activities for kids, it is best to expose young children to a wide variety before they specialize. Ideally, there should be a mix of team and individual sports, along with casual games with family and friends. Thus, we’ve put together 50 excellent sports activity suggestions to suit various personalities and strengths.

Table of Contents

50 Sports Activities for Kids

Archery

Archery has nailed kids’ attention thanks to Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Princess Merida in Brave, and comic heroes such as Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Legolas, and Lara Croft. A lot of children start off with a compound bow. But if a casual backyard or basement alternative is to your taste, there are some fun suction cup toy options out there

The National Field Archery Association on benefits of the sport:

  • Improves focus
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Improves upper body strength
  • Improves social skills and confidence

Badminton

Badminton is a fun racket sport that is more versatile than tennis, which isn’t available in some places. Unlike tennis, badminton can easily be played in a gym, backyard, beach, or even in a church hall. All you need is a net and rackets. Like tennis, it is played either individually or doubles and can be played competitively or more socially.

Benefits of badminton: 

  • Improves limb coordination and physiological functionality
  • Improves muscle strength
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Improves social and psychological development

Balance Stepping Stones

Let us be honest, trying to get preschool children organized to play team sports can feel like trying to herd a bunch of adorable and hyper squirrels. That’s why we love National Geographic’s Balance Stepping Stones. The kids have a blast, and the adults save a bit of sanity. Win!

Baseball

Baseball is called American’s pastime and is beloved by many. Also, its cousins t-ball and rounders make excellent starter team sports for young kids.

Harvard Health on benefits of t-ball:

  • Gets kids moving
  • Builds relationships
  • It’s fun.
  • Gets them outside

Benefits of baseball:

Basketball

A group of teens playing basketball in the park.

Basketball is another excellent team sport. However, just putting up a hoop in the driveway and playing horse with kids is a wonderful way to stay connected and healthy. You can even play in the evenings, thanks to glow-in-the-dark hoops and balls.

Benefits of basketball:

Bottle Bash

Look, school and traditional team sports are not for every kid. Also, even kids who enjoy sports need athletic games to keep them moving during the off-season. Bottle Bash is an ideal casual, and fun activity kids can play with family and friends.

Bouldering

Bouldering is a fantastic outdoor sporting activity that the whole family can enjoy. Mountain Method even has written up a parenting guide to help get you started.

Benefits of bouldering:

Bowling

Bowling is an incredibly accessible sporting activity that is great for kids. Even people who do not have a bowling alley nearby can still join the fun thanks to inflatable kits or these preschool versions The ABCs of Movement put together.

Benefits of bowling:

Boogie/Body Boarding

Boogie boarding, also known as bodyboarding, is a blast and a fantastic outdoor sporting activity for all ages. It is also much more accessible than surfing, which requires a higher skill level. All you need is water, a board, and know how to swim.

Benefits of bodyboarding:

  • Fun exercise
  • Good for cardiovascular fitness
  • Has a calming effect on the mind
  • Strengths the upper body

Bubble Wrap Jump

So you are tired, and the kids need to burn off some energy, consider tossing down some bubble wrap and challenge them to jump on instead of popping it with their fingers. Great way to get young people moving with little stress. Win!

Can Jam

Can Jam is another excellent sporting activity to play on a casual basis with friends and family. The game is easy to transport, making it fun to play in the backyard, at a friend’s, the beach, or even while camping.

Canoe / Kayak

Little boy kayaking on a river during a summer day.

Canoeing and kayaking are brilliant activities that get you out in nature, calm the mind while providing the occasional adrenaline rush, and are accessible to all ages. A fantastic water sport.

Benefits of canoeing and kayaking:

  • Reduces stress
  • Builds up muscles, including the core
  • Improves stamina
  • You meet people and join a community

Capture the Flag

Capture the flat is a versatile game that can be played in a more organized setting or with family and friends. It is generally an easy game that even non-sporty people can participate in while keeping you fit with all that running. We love the glow-in-the-dark kits, making them perfect for sleepovers.

Crossnet Volleyball

Volleyball is an excellent team sport. However, volleyball is not easy for beginners. Without the proper foundation skills, the game morphs into just chasing the ball. This is what makes Crossnet volleyball such a great alternative for casual play. It doesn’t require a high-level skill to have high-level fun.

Cycling

Cycling is an incredibly versatile and accessible sport. It can be done as a leisure activity or competitively and, despite being individual, is incredibly social. Plus, it can be done almost anywhere. This makes the sport an excellent way to explore parts of the world and meet new people, too. 

Benefits of cycling:

Dance

Dance is a catchall term for so many activities: ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern, Irish, Scottish, African, ballroom, and so much more. Some dance forms can be done well into advanced years, such as belly dancing, which is low impact. Kids enjoy it as a fun form of self-expression. It rarely feels like exercise, even as you sweat and the muscles burn.

Benefits of dance:

Fencing

Kids along with adults practicing techniques of fencing in training room.

Fencing is no longer just a pastime you read about in Regency novels. Instead, it is a modern sport that is open to all ages both for recreation and competitively. Kids love it because you get to hold a sword. Actually, that’s why adults love it too.

Benefits of fencing:

Flickin’ Chicken

Flickin’ Chicken might not sound the most sophisticated of sporting activities, but kids find it a hoot. It’s a hilarious way to get kids off their screens and moving, especially at picnics and BBQs when you want them to socialize with family and friends.

Four Square

There are official rules and even world championships for four square. But this game is often popular on the playground and during PE class. But even at home, all it requires is a ball, friends, and a piece of chalk to mark out the playing zone. A social activity that gets the blood pumping. Perfect.

Gardening

Those who do not view gardening as a sporting activity have never attended their grandparents’ garden club; competition is fierce. There is also a good reason that gardening might help you live to a hundred. It keeps you fit, gets you outdoors, and has many health benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Start healthy habits when the kids are young and get them watering, pulling weeds, and digging holes. Soon they’ll want to compete at the local fair or flower show.

Gymnastics

People love watching gymnastics on television, but even at lower levels, the sport can be exhilarating. Most of the criticism of the sport is at elite levels of training. Training at the level of dedication for most other children’s sports, such as basketball and soccer, is where it is both fun and beneficial.

Benefits of gymnastics:

Ice Skating

Ice skating is an elegant yet powerful sport. While most commonly an indoor activity these days, it was and remains an enjoyable outdoor recreational pastime. Kids love it for the spins, speed, and jumps, but there are plenty of other reasons why it’s good for them too.

Benefits of ice skating:

  • Improves posture and balance
  • Enhances flexibility and muscle strength
  • Improves endurance
  • Improves self-esteem

Hiking

Little boy wearing green winter jacket and backpack hiking along scenic mountains.

Hiking is typically viewed as a recreational pursuit, but some participate in it as a competitive sport. Most children are introduced to hiking as an active family pastime that gets them off screens and into nature. If you haven’t yet braved the hiking trails with your kids, there is plenty of advice out there, including in this article.

Benefits of hiking:

  • Fun weight-bearing exercise for all ages
  • Strengthens core
  • Improves mood
  • Increases your balance

Hockey

Hockey is a cool sport that can be played indoors or outdoors, regardless if you are playing field hockey or ice hockey. While there are some notable differences between field and ice, especially in the equipment, many of the benefits remain the same.

Benefits of ice and field hockey:

  • Improves teamwork
  • Teaches long term thinking and strategy
  • Excellent cardiovascular fitness
  • Builds strength

Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a classic physical activity game that even very young children can play. It is an inexpensive activity that doesn’t require as much space as tag or soccer. Hopscotch makes children move, focus, and work on their balance. While it isn’t commonly treated as a sport, there are actually competitions out there. 

Horse Riding

Horse riding is a versatile sport that can also be a worthwhile recreational activity. The breadth of competitions and disciplines make it open to all ages. It is also an incredibly accessible sport for the disabled, be the challenges cognitive or physical. In addition, the activity comes with a four-legged friend. But no, the horse does not do all the work.

Benefits of horse riding:

  • Improves balance, coordination, and flexibility
  • Is an aerobic exercise
  • Good for mental health
  • Teaches empathy and kindness while caring for an animal

Hula Hoop

Weighted hula hooping has been big in the adult world for many years. But a good old fashion hula hoop for children has never left. So if you are stuck for new ideas to do with the kids and their hoops, check out this article.

Jump Ropes

Jump rope isn’t an Olympic sport yet, but many jump rope organizations are trying to make it one. That’s right, jumping rope and Double Dutch have a competitive side and are not just for the playground, backyard, and sidewalks.

Benefits of jump rope:

  • Reduces foot and ankle injuries
  • Increases bone density
  • Increases cardiovascular health
  • Great for your brain

Kickball

Kickball is a sporting activity that is played both recreationally and competitively. There are the official rules from the World Kickball Association, rules for younger players, and then old-school physical education class, which essentially boiled down to “don’t hit the head.”

Benefits of kickball:

  • Increase focus
  • Increase stamina
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Great for socializing

Laser Tag

Kids aiming laser guns during  laser tag game in a dark room.

Laser tag is a sport that can be casual or incredibly serious with intense strategizing. It’s a great game to play with family and friends in the backyard, beach, or at a park. Just get yourself a kit and have fun. But many areas do have clubs for those that want a genuine competitive experience.

Lacrosse & Track Ball

Lacrosse is like field hockey, but with baseball mitts attached to bats. It can be brutal with a high dose of adrenaline. It keeps people incredibly fit, requires skill, and is never boring. However, trackball is a great alternative for those looking for tame and casual backyard fun.  

Benefits of lacrosse:

  • Improves endurance and cardiovascular fitness
  • Improves mental performance
  • Increases strength, agility, and coordination
  • Great for socialization

Martial Arts

Martial arts is a broad category for several practices. Commonly known ones include karate, Kung Fu, Judo, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga, and Aikido. Kids learn self-discipline while learning a physical art form, staying in shape, and often picking up self-defense skills.

Benefits of martial arts:

  • Teaches respect and self-discipline
  • Increases balance and agility
  • Increases strength
  • Improves memory and cognitive function

Mountain Climbing & Rock Climbing

Mountain climbing isn’t just for adults trying to summit Everest. It can be as basic as hiking up a mountain or involve rock climbing skills. There are also specialized rock-climbing gyms that are fun and have a wide range of challenges. It’s now even an Olympic sport. Kids love it.

Benefits of rock and mountain climbing:

  • Increases confidence
  • Increases hand, foot, and eye coordination
  • Increases problem-solving skills
  • Increases flexibility, endurance, and strength

Netball

Netball is a passing game similar to basketball, but dribbling is forbidden, the basket doesn’t have a backboard, and there are seven players on a team. It is a team sport where ball hogging is impossible and is incredibly popular in Europe, South Africa, and Australia.

Benefits to playing netball:

Paintball

Paintball is a sporting activity for older children and adults. It’s brilliant fun and requires strategizing with a team. Some rent their gear; others love it so much they buy their own.  It’s exhilarating, gets the body moving, and for many, a brilliant stress release.

Benefits of paintball:

Soccer (Football)

Boys playing football on the sports field.

Soccer, commonly known as football, is called “the beautiful game.” It is incredibly accessible to play both to a broad range of age and economic groups. The sport requires a team effort, superb fitness, and footwork at a caliber not often seen outside of dance. But at its root is a simplicity that allows even tiny, young children to give it a go.

Benefits of soccer:

  • Great cardiovascular exercise
  • Increases strength and flexibility
  • Improves coordination and motor skills
  • Teaches teamwork and improves socialization

Table Tennis

Table tennis is a wonderful social sport often played in game rooms, basements, and rec centers. It keeps the mind active while creating space for conversation and laughter. A brilliant social tool for families, should you have the space. However, it is also a fiercely competitive sport that even competes in the Olympics.

Benefits of table tennis:

  • Improves reflexes and hand-eye coordination
  • Good for your brain (its nickname is the “brain sport.”)
  • Improves balance
  • Builds strength and agility

Tag

Tag is a practically universal childhood game. Yes, you should make sure all children consent to playing. Yes, if a child is uncomfortable and wants to drop out of the game after it is started, they should. Yes, if tag turns into tackle, an adult should interfere. But frankly, that can be said for any sport. A practically free activity that gets kids moving.

Benefits of tag:

  • Increases agility, coordination, and spatial awareness
  • Teaches fair play, sportsmanship, and boundaries
  • Great cardiovascular workout
  • Increases muscle

Tetherball

Tetherball is a simple game but so fun it doesn’t feel like exercise. All you need is a ball on a string attached to a pole in the backyard or field. The rules are minimal, and it is lots of fun. It is even recommended by WebMD as a playground game adults should do to stay in shape.

Benefits of tetherball:

  • Tones the arms
  • Increases hand-eye coordination
  • Increases movement
  • Good for socializing

Tennis

Tennis is an incredibly popular sport that requires excellent cardiovascular fitness and strength. It challenges the mind and demands fast reflexes. While competitions are only singles or doubles, rather than a team, it is a social sport. It is perfect for recreational use, allowing people to spend time together chatting while whacking balls.

Benefits of tennis:

  • Stimulates the brain
  • Increases cardiovascular fitness
  • Increases agility and coordination
  • Improves gross motor control

Trampoline

Trampoline gymnastics is an Olympic sport. But trampolines have also been used for general fitness, fun, and as a therapy tool for Autistic children. In addition, jumping on a trampoline is exhilarating. Yes, the sport does have a dangerous side (most do), so it needs to be chaperoned and certain safety precautions put in place. But if done well, it can be a positive experience.

Benefits of trampolines:

  • Improves coordination and motor skills
  • Raises self-esteem
  • Improves posture
  • Improves fitness

Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses are awesome. They get kids moving and make them think as they contemplate the next challenge. Obstacle courses can be made out of many things, but if you are looking for easier ways (and why not, life is hard enough), then there are kits you can buy.

Benefits of obstacle courses:

  • Provides a variety of sensory input
  • Improves strength and balance
  • Improves motor skills
  • Uses bilateral coordination

Potato Sack Race

Sometimes the classics are the best, such as a good old potato sack race. It’s simple, hilarious, and gets the heart pumping. A perfect way to keep young people busy during a BBQ or party.  

Skating

Little boy equipped with head gear and pads doing tricks at skate park.

Skating comes in many forms: ice skating, rollerblading (inline skating), roller skating. All of them have a wide variety of disciplines. There is speed skating, ice dancing, ice hockey, roller derby, roller hockey, vert skating, and jam skating. Of course, you can also just strap on a pair of skates and zoom around, having fun.

Benefits of skating:

  • Increases balance and coordination
  • Strengthens legs, glutes, and core
  • Increases endurance
  • Improves mood

Skateboarding

Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport and being dominated by thirteen-year-olds. It’s a versatile sport with minimal equipment: board and safety gear. You can take it with you, wherever you go. While it isn’t a team sport, it is often a social activity where kids encourage and egg each other on. Oh, and it’s a blast.

Benefits of skateboarding:

  • Improves coordination and balance
  • Decreases stress
  • Improves fitness
  • Improves endurance

Slacklining

Slacking keeps young people busy and sets achievable challenges. Kits are easy to source, and there is information to help adults get their children started. Plus, it is an activity that can easily be transported, be it to the beach or camping. We’d say it is a daringly good time.

Benefits of slacklining:

  • Improves posture
  • Improves focus and memory
  • Improves balance
  • Improves joint stability

Squash & Racquetball

Squash and racquetball are both indoor ball sports. The differences between the two are the design of the racket, size of the ball, the court dimensions, and the ceiling is entirely out of bounds in squash. Both games are fast-paced and, while not a team sport, do put you in close proximity to your opponent. A lot of feelings get worked through on these courts.

Benefits of squash & racquetball:

  • Increases agility and coordination
  • Increases cardiovascular fitness
  • Increases strength and flexibility
  • Reduces stress

Swimming

Little girl wearing pink goggles and swimsuit deftly swim underwater in pool.

Swimming is a sporting activity that is suitable for all ages and is both recreational and competitive. The bulk of the cost is a pool, which can be subverted if you live near a body of water such as a lake or the sea. Water can be a fantastic source of fun, too.

Benefits of swimming:

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is a thrilling, fast-paced sport. While the official rules for elite competitors can be lengthy, there are simplified rules for those looking to play it recreationally. Kids love it for the same reason adults do: it’s brilliant fun.

Benefits of Ultimate Frisbee:

Underwater Hockey

Underwater hockey is a unique aquatic sport. Players wear fins, protective gloves, snorkel, and use a tiny hockey stick. Pucks are weighted, and players hold their breath for as long as they can when grappling for position. It’s exciting, and the strategies are very outside the box, given the added dimension water brings.

Benefits of underwater hockey:

  • Increases cardiovascular fitness
  • Increases core muscle strength
  • Increases stamina
  • Teaches teamwork and cooperation
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