What Are the Best Sports for Small Children?
When you think of the best sports for small children, organized team sports are not typically what you should be thinking of for your youngster to enjoy.
When you think of the sports you want to introduce your young child to, think about the development and skills required for that activity. Sports offer a wide variety of life lessons, but toddlers should begin to enjoy what these activities offer in a positive sense. You’ll find physical, social, and cognitive benefits to the sports you introduce children to when they’re young.
What are some benefits of small children playing sports?
Being active is an important part of longevity in life, but some of the other benefits of these sports include:
- Development of muscles and bones
- Improve motor skills
- Better balance and coordination
- Cardiovascular health
- Overall physical fitness
- Cognitive advantages
- Better self-confidence
- Social skills
- Teamwork and sportsmanship
How do you choose the best sports for toddlers?
Toddlers are typically children ages 2-5. In this age group, you’re not looking for performance, perfection, or a complete understanding of the rules. With this in mind, you can find some great activities that your child can enjoy. Answer these questions when choosing a sport:
- Is it safe for toddlers?
- Are the activities involved in the sport doable for toddlers?
- Is the sport beginner-friendly?
- Will it provide benefits that are suitable for the toddlers’ needs?
Running is great for toddlers
One of the best sports for small children is running. Toddlers naturally love to run. You’ve seen little kids run around your house with a carefree and fun spirit. This doesn’t have to become a competitive sport but can be something they naturally love to do and enjoy. This should be something fun but active for your child.
Three things to remember when incorporating running into your toddler’s routine are:
- Make it fun – use games that will encourage them to run without making running the only part o the activity
- Practice safety – stretch before and after running, wear proper attire
- Don’t overdo it – Children under nine years old shouldn’t run more than 1.5 miles during any activity
Riding bicycles can be a lot of fun
Smaller children can enjoy the benefits of riding a bike with training wheels until they’re old enough to take them off and ride a two-wheeler. It’s like a rite of passage for kids to learn to ride bikes, and most kids enjoy their bikes, especially in safe neighborhoods. This activity provides your child with a sense of freedom.
When teaching kids to ride bikes, you need to remember:
- Children learn at different paces – some small children won’t learn to ride a bike for several years
- The right size matters – make sure the bike, helmet, and seat height are all right for your child
- Let them tell you when they are ready – many kids understand when they’re ready to take off the training wheels and shouldn’t be pushed
- Make it fun – don’t get frustrated or stressed, your toddler is learning something new
Gymnastics can be great for small children
One of the best sports for small children is gymnastics. This activity can install a sense of self-confidence in them because they are very flexible. When you start children in gymnastics at an early age, they learn more body control and balance than they otherwise would.
Start with some basic movements and stretches, but if you want to get the most out of gymnastics, you’ll want to take your child to a gym that teaches and practices this physical activity.
Swimming is a lot of fun for the whole family
Swimming is an important activity for all kids to learn. Being comfortable around water opens up several possibilities, and it all starts with learning to swim. If you’re not comfortable teaching your child to swim, take them to a pool with proper instruction and let them learn from professionals. This will help them gain confidence around water and have a sport that can be something they enjoy for many years.
Lots of small children enjoy playing soccer
One of the most common and best sports for small children is soccer. While most games end up with a mess of kids surrounding the ball, it’s fun to watch and a lot of fun for them to play. This game has all the right sporting benefits for your child.