Is your son or daughter bored with the usual summer sports? With 70% of kids quitting youth sports by the time they are 13 it’s definitely up to us parents to find new ways to keep our kids active. If soccer and baseball just aren’t cutting it anymore here are a few new summer sports and activities to test.
What little kid doesn’t want to feel like a ninja?! Karate (or kung-fu, judo, taekwondo, and so forth) are a great activity for any age, with some programs accepting children as young as three. Practicing martial arts can help your child develop better focus and concentration, so it might be just the thing for a child with an extra-short attention span. They are constantly moving around which helps them stay focused on what they are doing. Karate is also a great idea if your child doesn’t seem to keen on team sports. They’ll still be in a class with other kids and make new friends but it’s not the same team dynamic like what you’d see on a basketball court.
Summertime is the perfect time to give Ultimate Frisbee a try! Ultimate Frisbee is kind of like a mixture between basketball, soccer and football. It involves all the elements of an active sport like throwing, running, catching, and passing so kids will really be moving. The best part? Even at the highest level of competition there are no referees! Ultimate Frisbee is a completely self-referred game and players are responsible for making their own foul and line calls and have to settle disputes on their own. All you need a Frisbee and a field and some friends.
If you live near water (river, lake, ocean, etc) water sports are a definite must-try this summer! A lot of communities have summer boat rental programs where you can rent a kayak for an hour or two and paddle around the local pond or stretch of river. Kayaking with kids requires a little extra planning because you’ll need to plan your trip carefully simply because they aren’t expert paddlers; find calm water, know how long it will take you to paddle, pack some snacks in a water-proof bag, and make sure everyone has a life vest.
You don’t even have to live on the beach to try beach volleyball, as lots of community centers open up a sand volleyball court in the summer time. Have you ever tried jumping and running it sand before? It’s quite a workout! But volleyball is so much fun that you don’t even realize you are exercising. Getting kids active and moving around is always much easier when you disguise it as a game.
Contact your local youth sports league or community center and see what kinds of sports camps are available for your kids this summer. They might be able to able to do something like a 2 week soccer-only camp, a ½ day all-sports camp for 6 weeks, or maybe even a general summer camp where they’ll be exposed to many different sports including things like horseback riding and archery.