Hot on HuffPost Parents:
Tired of Hockey? Try These Non-Traditional Sports for Kids
When it comes to signing up our kids for sports and activities, it's only natural that parents typically gravitate towards exercise options that are most familiar to us. As Canadians, it seems the right of passage starts with learning to skate and progressing to ice hockey. Typical summer sports include soccer, baseball and basketball. With respect to individual sports, tennis, skiing, gymnastics and figure skating top the list.
Besides these popular sports and activities, many options are available to kids that have similar benefits.
There are many different martial arts that kids can start as early as four years old. Karate, Tae Kwan Do and Judo are prime examples. Each of these enables your child to develop balance, coordination, body awareness, flexibility and strength. My oldest daughter took karate for three years between the ages of seven and 10. In order to advance to each successive belt, she had to practice on her own to make sure she remembered all the specific steps. As she is now focused on volleyball, she adopted the same principles of repetition and practice in her pursuit to continually improve her game. My 7-year-old son and younger daughter also participate in Judo. By the end of each class, they are sweating and smiling. They're learning to defend themselves, getting in shape and having fun all at the same time.
Badminton and squash often take a back seat to tennis, as we rarely see them on television and seldom hear about them in the news. In many countries such as Egypt, Mexico, India and China, athletes in these sports are national heroes. These sports develop power, strength and endurance in your legs. Athletes in these sports also have phenomenal hand-eye coordination and aerobic fitness. Although squash is not yet an Olympic sport, there are many scholarship opportunities. As long as the number of participants continues to grow, the 2012 Olympic Summer Games remains a possibility.
These sports and activities are a small sample of the many non-traditional or less popular exercise options available to your kids. Parents of kids who are not interested in the popular sports sometimes assume their kids are not interested in sports at all. Maybe they should look outside the box and expose their kids to other "less popular' sports and activities.
Looking for more on this topic? Check out these posts from ParentDishBlog.ca:
- Cross-Training Tips for Kids in Multiple Sports
- Too Busy for Sports? Backyard Fitness Keeps Kids Healthy
- Should Your Child Play More Than One Sport?