These days there are many sports for kids to get started with. So much so, it’s hard to know which is the right one for your children to get involved with. Getting children to participate in sports is a great way to promote their all-round development.

Often, kids are too young to decide for themselves what sport they’d like to play, so you can help them choose. Even better, get them involved in a few sports, and then let them decide which one they like best.

These sports do not need to be an extreme vigorous physical activity but can be the physical activity that is right for them and their skillset. Team sports, individual sports and a combination of both will be an advantage to your child that will promote an active lifestyle and healthy habits.

Organised sports will continue through the lifetimes and provide positive affects that will keep them physically active into adulthood. The chance to compete will help them to set goals that will be beneficial not just in their sporting activities but in their overall work life balance.

So, what are the best sports for kids to play from a young age? Look no further. We have chosen 10 of the best sports for kids and their benefits to make your search a little easier.

kids celebrate winning football competition

Reasons Why Kids Should Be Involved in Youth Sports

Health and Fitness

In this new day and age of smartphones, tablets, countless TV channels and games targeted to children, it can be hard to get your kids physically active

So, the most obvious benefit that children will get from playing a sport or sports, is the physical exercise- and all while having fun and playing outside.

In addition, your child will improve their overall fitness levels, social skills, and self esteem which will aid in them in their development. All of this while maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of illness and disease both now and as they grow up.

Physical Development

Children who play sports develop stronger muscles and bones than children that don’t- and this is proven by research.

Lots of physical activity is needed during a child’s year of development to increase their resilience to injury and their overall growth. Most of an individual’s bone mass is acquired before the age of 18 for a woman, and before the age of 20 for a man.

Mental Development

Children develop an array of skills by playing sports, including teamwork, strategy and communication skills. The production of endorphins in the body is proven to increase by regular exercise- meaning that your child will have an overall improvement in their mood. One of the best things you can do for your child as a parent is getting them involved in any form of physical activity or sport.

Best Sports for Kids ideas

10 Best Sports for Kids to Play

Martial Arts

Martial Arts are increasing in popularity, with Martial Arts being included in the schedule of a number of schools. It’s one of the sports that facilitates the all-round development of children, in terms of emotional, spiritual, mental and physical growth. Some Martial Art sports are even in the Olympic Games program.

There are many Martial Arts that kids can learn, including Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, and many more. They all share two things in common: mental and physical conditioning. 

What are the benefits?

Most associate Martial Arts with merely fighting, or as a method of self-defence. In fact, Martial Arts instil a sense of discipline and teaches focus and self-control which can be brilliant for active kids.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a popular sport in the Olympic program, and it’s quickly gaining popularity amongst kids. Especially because it’s a sport that provides all the dominant movement patterns that are required in other sports. It’s common to find kids practicing both Gymnastics and Martial Arts as the one sport compliments the other in terms of skill, agility and technique.

What are the benefits?

First and foremost, gymnastics promotes flexibility and balance. The sport also demands children to be nimble-footed and agile. In a social aspect, Gymnastics encourages children to be strong and fearless.

Swimming

Swimming is a great sport to try for those who want to compete at a high level against other children. It’s also a sport that can never be forgotten once learnt. Overall, swimming is an essential and life-saving sport.

The development of coaching techniques has seen British swimmers achieve the highest accolades at international level and thus increasing funding into the sport.

What are the benefits?

Swimming helps to develop a child’s ability without having to compete with anyone. It helps to improve heart function, lung capacity and respiration. 

It’s a sport that guarantees well-rounded physical development and plenty of fun for your kids.

The additional benefit of swimming is that it is also a past time that can be enjoyed out of the competition setting.

kids playing football

Football

One of the most popular and best sports for kids to play is football. Football is fast gaining popularity with star footballers creating an adrenaline rush associated with the sport. Kids are training to become champions and it’s a great introduction for both boys and girls to team sports.

The recent and well deserved success of The Lionesses has seen the popularity of football amongst women and girls increase beyond that of the men’s game in terms of new participants.

What are the benefits?

Football facilitates discipline, fairness, teamwork and plenty of physical benefits. Physical benefits include weight control, cardiovascular endurance, coordination, muscle strength, speed and flexibility.

Rugby

The sport was developed in the UK by William Webb Ellis by pure accident but one thing that can be said about rugby is that it is no accident. One of the most disciplined of all sports and will definitely see your child develop a respect for the coaches and referees.

The rise in the funding of rugby clubs has seen them increase to include men and women with women’s rugby becoming one of the most participated sports throughout the UK.

What are the benefits?

A truly physical sport that will help develop muscle growth, strength and a respect for all participants.

Cricket

Cricket is just one of the sports for kids in the UK
Cricket is just one of the sports for kids in the UK

Quintessentially British yet somehow exotic as the rules seem to be from another world to most of us. This has been seen as a reason for the lack of participation over the years but with the inclusion of many different formats such as Twenty Twenty, The Hundred and short ball cricket the physical benefits of this great sport are far reaching as it can attract children of all shapes and sizes.

What are the benefits?

Any participation in organised sport can benefit a child that wants to attempt a physical activity that challenges them both mentally and physically and cricket is one of those sports that achieves this.

Running

Running is an excellent activity for kids to be involved with. It’s one of the best forms of exercise that kids can get with practically no costs involved. The sport has gained immense popularity with Marathons being organized regularly, and of course, running being an Olympic sport.

What’s more, running is extremely beneficial to children’s physical and mental health. Before the marathon is held, take kids to participate in running training, which will allow them to achieve good results in marathon running and win marathon medals or half marathon medals. No kid can resist a glittering medal that not only inspires them to get into running but can also be collected to show off in honour.

What are the benefits?

Running improves cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, endurance, focus and concentration. 

In fact, running reduces the risk of common colds and flu by building up their immunity and developing lung power.

Tennis

Tennis has been put on the international map thanks to players like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and every Wimbledon inspires the next generation to pick up a racket. The sport has gained a lot of popularity worldwide, so naturally, Tennis has also gained popularity amongst kids as well. Children are taking a liking to the sport as it involves a competitive nature and hand/eye co-ordination. 

There has been a sharp rise in the use of Tennis camps in the UK as they have always been popular across Europe and with the rise in availability that means they become much more affordable to more people.

What are the benefits?

Tennis requires children to be quick thinkers and nimble-footed. It also encourages strategic thinking, technique and accuracy.

The sport helps improve cardiovascular fitness and builds muscle strength.

Basketball

Basketball is a great way to get kids physically active with just a ball and a hoop. It’s a great way to get a shy child to play with a team, plus, the sport offers plenty of benefits.

The beauty of basketball is that you can develop your skills without having to join an organised club. Simply buy a hoop and get practising, then once you have reached the relevant skill set that may be the time to join a team.

What are the benefits?

Basketball encourages eye-foot coordination when dribbling the ball, while reflexes and quick thinking is improved with passes. 

The sport’s defence and offence teaches children to control their body. While running around with the ball develops their agility and improves their muscle strength.

Cycling

A Velodrome
A velodrome is a safe arena for kids to learn competitive cycling

Kids are crazy for riding bikes, so why not turn it into a sport? Cycling instils a sense of independence, freedom and pride. With different bicycles available you can now engage in cycling activities with your kids on all terrains and locations.

Britain has seen a sharp rise in it’s participation over the last few years due to the success of our Olympic team and individuals like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas winning the prestigious Tour De France.

What are the benefits?

The first benefit kids get from bicycling is road safety and endurance. Socially, kids learn to be more disciplined, patient and confident. In fact, the physical benefits of bicycling improves reflexes, coordination, balance, leg strength and improves cardiovascular functions.

Baseball

Over 3 million kids participate in the Little League Baseball organization between the ages of 5 and 18 in the USA. Whilst it is a sport from over the pond it’s popularity in the UK  has grown with junior leagues seeing more young people joining teams.

Our youth development programme through The British Baseball Federation is hoping to encourage more youngsters to join a local team.

What are the benefits?

Baseball is another team sport, so your kid will learn about leadership, teamwork and discipline. Baseball improves physical strength, balance and hand-eye coordination in children. The sport is also pretty harmless, with elbows and hamstrings as typical injuries.

Netball

Netball is a non-contact sport that requires fast reaction time and quick decision making. Your kids will improve their cardiovascular endurance by having to sprint up and down the court. Typically, Netball has a reputation for being a sport that’s primarily female dominated. More recently, Netball has seen a growing number of boys getting involved in the fast paced and fun action, so it’s a perfect sport for both girls and boys.

At youth level the sport is quite often mixed and is becoming increasingly more widespread in schools and youth clubs across the country.

What are the benefits?

Netball offers a good cardiovascular workout as the sport requires a lot of running, sprinting and changing of direction. Netball improves overall fitness while increasing the strength and flexibility of the player. Other positive developments include improved reaction time, depth perception and hand-eye coordination.

Hockey

Whilst hockey has been one of those team sports that has passed many kids by in the past it in now fast becoming a popular participation sport in many schools. The promotion by the British Hockey Federation and the recent success on the world stage for both our men’s and women’s teams will inevitably see a rise in availability to everyone who shows an interest.

What are the benefits?

The most obvious benefits are the increased eye-hand coordination along with muscle development and most importantly of all is the team spirit it encourages.

Horse Riding

The beauty of horse riding is that it is a hobby as much as it is a sport. You can take this to a level that suits your child’s ability and determination. Simply taking lessons in walking, trotting and cantering so that you can leave the paddock and go out for a hack is where your first goals will be set.

What are the benefits?

Again as Britain is a key medal winner in equestrian sports this has a fantastic level of funding if your child takes it past the hobby phase and into a competitive arena.

Final Thoughts

The above is just a very short list of the best sports for kids to play, but there are many others such as skateboarding, skiing, and even parkour that are all beneficial to a child’s physical and mental development. Getting your kids involved in sport from an early age offers an array of benefits, so what’s stopping you?

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