The Best Sports to Keep Kids Ages 6 and Under Active

Young boy kicking a soccer ball

Sports play a key part in everyone’s physical and emotional health. Participating in sports helps all of us get out and move, which can also help to improve our strength, self-esteem, self-discipline, and critical thinking skills. For kids, it’s even more important because it can create a healthy foundation for a lifetime of exercise and healthy living. 

It can be hard to find the best sport for your child. Sometimes they are wiggly and full of energy. They often want to run and jump all over, but can be a little clumsy with their growing bodies. So, which child sports are the best to put your little one in? Here are six of the best sports for kids who are ages six and under. 

1. Swimming

Swimming is great for both mental and physical growth in kids, and it is also a life-saving skill they will remember for their entire life.  

Swimming gives kids the ability to use their entire bodies as part of their workout. From the tips of their fingers to the bottom of their toes, swimming at a young age can strengthen every muscle group in those little bodies. 

Swimming, like many other sports on this list, provides a chance for your growing child to get comfortable in his or her body and gain spatial awareness as well. This lets them know where their body is as they move it, which hopefully will make for fewer bonks and bruises as they explore the world. 

Swimming also tackles some important internal conflicts for kids. A lot of children are afraid of water, and learning how to swim gives them an early start in life in letting them know that their fears don’t have to control them. They are able to learn before they even go to school that even though something is scary or frightening when they first start, it can still be conquered. This is an important life lesson they can take with them as they start school and more. 

2. Soccer

Another popular kids’ sport is soccer. This classic game is played around the world because the basics can be taught to kids at an early age. Soccer focuses on teamwork, endurance, flexibility, and dexterity. While it can be simple to learn the basics of soccer, it can take a lifetime of growth and development to master proficiency.

3. Running

There’s a difference between running around the couch or up and down flights of stairs as opposed to actually spending time on the track to run set distances. Giving your child a set place and time to run and focus his or her energy can help to improve focus when he or she isn’t on the track. 

Running sets some very visible limits and boundaries around where that running energy can be spent. It also helps to reduce some of those wiggles and excessive movement when kids are going to school or just hanging out at home. Another big benefit of running is that it’s not an expensive sport to do. A pair of decent shoes is all it really takes to get your child started. 

4. Biking

Every kid wants to have the ability to ride a big kid bike with no training wheels, but it’s more than just a form of transportation, it’s also a great sport for them to be interested in. It might start out with innocent trips around your driveway or on the sidewalk in front of your home, but biking can help your child gain strength, coordination, balance, and a sense of freedom to travel and explore. 

5. Gymnastics

Small ones love to bounce and climb, and gymnastics is where they can do all that and more, and in a safe environment. Gymnastics gives your child a chance to learn and grow, and that holds true whether you sign him or her up for a strict program focused on competitive gymnastics or a program that is a bit more low key and relaxed. Through gymnastics, kids work on spatial awareness while being strong and fearless. 

6. Judo or Karate

Some parents think that a child who learns martial arts will be more inclined to fight and be physical with others. However, that is far from the case. One of the best sports for 5-year-olds and older is judo, karate, or any other martial arts program. 

While your child will learn defense, he or she will also learn restraint and control of that force. A child in a martial arts program will learn that physicality should be the last response to conflict instead of the first. It helps kids learn discipline and respect, and can improve their motor skills. 

Involve Your Children in Sports Today

One of the biggest things every child needs is an outlet for their energy. Young kids are a ball of energy, and without some sort of focus or direction for that energy, they become wound up and can get in trouble. Enrolling your child in a sport will help him or her to release that energy in a healthy way while also helping to improve both mentally and physically. 

SwimJim can help kids as young as a few months old to feel comfortable in the water. And, we think that swimming is good not only for your kids but for you as well. Contact us to find out how our programs can help your entire family.