Best Kids’ Sports Games & Activities:
UNICEF Kid Power understands the importance of kids team building when it comes to sports. And when sports activities are drawn up for kids, it usually includes fun kids’ sports games and other various kids’ sports activities for all ages including primary school. Check out our links below for our recommendations for our favorite fun sports activities and kids sports games recommendations:
- Basketball Games for Kids: Every kid dreams of making it to the NBA, and basketball is the most popular kids sport in America.
- Rugby Games for Kids: It’s a rough sport but plenty of tough primary school kids want to play it!
- American Football Games for Kids: The NFL is the most watched sport in America, so it’s no wonder why kids love this sport.
- Tennis Games for Kids: Tennis is a great solo and team sport if you play with a partner. Your kid will be in Wimbledon in no time!
- Running Games for Kids: Running is a great sport for kids to stay in shape. Check out sports games list to make running fun for your kid!
- Soccer Games for Kids: There is a reason why soccer is the most watched sport in the world, including kids.
- Track and Field Games for Kids: This is an Olympics-style sport that many kids start to pick up on later in elementary school.
- Gymnastics Games for Kids: If your kid spends time in the gym, then this is for them!
- Volleyball Games for Kids: Playing volleyball is a fun kids sport activity in the gym, your backyard, or even on the beach!
- Golf Games for Kids: Though golf is more of an adult sport, everyone needs to start somewhere. Our post will help your kid make golf their favorite sport!
- Ping Pong/Table Tennis Games for Kids: Ping pong is a classic sports activity that kids love – in between classes, summer camp, wherever!
- Hockey Games for Kids: The NHL is waiting for your kids to take up hockey, so that they can become big NHL stars!
- Swimming Games for Kids: Swimming in the pool or the ocean is a fun sports activity – your kid can learn drills and have fun too with our list of swimming recommendations.
- Cricket Games for Kids: Cricket is more of a UK and Australian kids sport, but it is becoming a popular American kids’ sport as well.
- Badminton Games for Kids: You’ll need a net for this, but kids love Badminton, as it seems to be one of the most popular summer camp sports out there!
- Indoor Bowling Games for Kids: Bowling is a recreational activity for many families, and what could be better than a Sunday with the family going bowling and playing arcades?
- Lacrosse Games and Drills for Kids: Lacrosse has recently surged in popularity, so don’t be surprised if your kid comes home from school asking to play this sport with his friends.
- Figure Skating & Ice Skating Games for Kids: While ice skating is a fun family activity for Sundays, it can be a very competitive kids’ sports activity.
- Skiing & Snowboarding Games for Kids: When it gets cold outside, your kid will get the adventure bug and will want to experience extreme sports games in the snow.
- Judo Training Drills for Kids: Judo and karate is a serious sports activity that many kids take up for after school activities.
- Karate Games for Kids: Karate can be fun and educational if done correctly – our guide offers 5 great karate games along with safety guidelines.
- Wrestling Drills for Kids: Wrestling is another popular after-school sports activity for kids – make sure they learn how to wrestle properly.
- Ten Pin Bowling Learning Drills for Kids: This popular kids sports game can be learned properly so that your kid can be the best ten pin bowler out there!
- Kayaking Drills & Activities for Kids: Your kid probably came home from sleep-away camp wanting to go kayaking more! Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.
- Surfing Drills & Activities for Kids: If you live on the coast, your kid probably wants to go surfing with the waves – make sure they learn proper techniques.
- Rowing Activities & Drills for Kids: Rowing is a physical sport activity that your kid can definitely learn with proper drills and instruction.
- Cheerleading for Kids: Cheerleading games & tryout exercises for your kid to enjoy!
- Rock Climbing Games & Activities for Kids: Taking your kid rock climbing can be a lot of fun. Read our guide to learn some great rock climbing games and safety measures as well.
- Fishing Games & Activities for Kids: Taking your kid fishing can be fun, especially if you have a few fun and educational fishing games prepared that your kid is sure to love!
Sports Activities for Toddlers
Every parent and teacher is trying to think of the right sports activity or game for toddlers, aged 1-3. This is a tricky age period, as a baby who is just 12 months old is not ready for full sports activities, but can definitely be exposed to a small number of athletic activities to get them primed for sports when they get a bit older:
- Throwing: Most babies possess the ability to toss a soft foam ball if prompted
- Catching: It is important to use a very soft foamy ball for this, since although most toddlers comprehend being able to catch something, they are not yet of age where they can do so successfully
- Tumbling: Having a toddler tumble on a soft mat (by following the lead of the sports teacher) can be fun and somewhat instructive
- Walking/Running: Depending on the level of your toddler, having them walk or run toward a “finish line” can be a great toddler sports activity
Sports Activities for Pre-Schoolers & Kindergartners
Pre-School generally starts at age 3 or 4 until age 5, and is the perfect time to start getting your pre-school kids involved with sports activities. Many of the above sports activities can begin to be played at this age, namely:
- Basketball: Ideally with a hoop that can be lowered to 5 feet, and with a foam ball (even a Nerf hoop in a classroom will suffice for the tots)
- Baseball: Obviously it is ideal to start with a foam ball, and make sure there is enough space around the hitter so that they don’t accidentally wack anyone!
- Gymnastics: Getting kids into the gym and onto a playmat with stuctured activities will be a great starting point
- Swimming: This should be done with caution and lifeguard on hand (experts say age 5 is a good starting point)
Indoor Sports Games & Activities for Kids
Stuck indoors? No problem. There are plenty of fun sports activities for kids that can be played indoors. Whether it’s too hot or cold out, with rain, snow, or even a brutal heat wave, sometimes indoor sports is the best option for kids. Here are the most fun indoor sports activities and games for kids:
Balloon Football. Obviously you don’t want to play football in your family living room, which is why this safer version of football is the perfect indoor sports activity for kids. This game is easy: simply drop a balloon in the middle of a long rectangle table, and have each team try to blow the football toward the other’s side goal. For a funnier, larger than life version of indoor balloon football, check out this must-see video.
Hula Hoop. While most might think that Hula Hoops are a solo activity, you can totally play hula hoop with others as a fun kids indoor sports activity. The most fun team-based activity using a Hula Hoop is racing: Have two kids spinning Hula Hoops and then try to simultaneously move, whether they run, shimmy, or herky-jerky their way to the finish line, and is then declared winner!
Foam Sports: Foam sports are perfect for indoors, since most foam objects won’t break any windows inside your home! Take your kid to your local department store, and be sure to pick up a foam basketball, foam football, or even Nerf foam guns. Make sure you ensure boundaries in your home when letting your kid play indoors with foam sports toys.
Outdoor Sports Games & Activities for Kids
Many of the outdoor sports activities and games for kids have been covered above in our kids’ sports activity section. However, there are certain sports activities which are great for outdoors.
Additionally, outdoor sports activities for kids offer various benefits, including physical and social. The physical benefits of outdoor kids sports such as soccer, skateboarding, hiking, biking, and football include: building muscle, gaining acute flexibility, improving balance and coordination, losing weight, and general endurance.
The social benefits of outdoor sports are extremely obvious and, well, beneficial. Playing sports outdoors with a bunch of kids together can improve general social development, in that kids will learn to interact with each-other naturally but with sports as the main social anchor of the activity. Additionally, social interaction will improve other facets such as leadership, self esteem, and general teamwork through the construct of the sports games themselves.
Best Kids Sports Games & Activities in the Rain:
When it rains outside, that should not mean that your kid should stop playing his sports game or end his sports activities. Kids can still have fun in the rain! Of course, you can always send your kids inside to play a board game, but if you’ve got an active kid who loves sports, then here are the best sports games for kids while its raining outside:
Ping Pong. Would you believe that ping pong is not only fine to play in the rain but even more fun than when it’s dry out?? Playing ping pong in the rain is a really fun activity. Sure, the rain might be a bit distracting, especially if your kid is wearing glasses. However, the ball still travels well, and hits off the paddle quite nicely, even with rain smacking down on it. Additionally, playing in the rain will probably improve hand eye coordination at a higher level so that when the rain stops, your kid will be much better at ping pong!
Football. If the NFL can play in the rain, then why not your kids. To be certain, playing football in the rain is obviously less safe, and should be closely monitored by an adult or referee. However, it is definitely an exhilarating experience to run around in the rain, especially chasing a football thrown in the air. It is recommended to wear cleats so that your shoes maintain good traction on the ground, thereby making it less likely that you will slip.
Swimming. The only trick here is to find an outdoor pool with no roof above it. But if you can, then this is definitely a fun kids sports activity – frolicking around in a pool is fun by itself, but with rain pouring down and causing ripples in the pool can also be exhilarating. Additionally, any kids sports games that usually happen in a pool or much more exciting in the rain: whether its Marco Polo, pool basketball, chicken fights, beach ball monkey in the middle, or just an old school swimming race – all of these kids swimming pool sports games will be a ton of fun!
Indoors. Sometimes, even though the rain can be exciting, might not be worth any risk. If the rain turns from a drizzle into something resembling a downpour, then it is probably best to head indoors for some indoor sports games for your kids to enjoy. Especially if it begins to get windy, or even worse, thunder, at which point you should get indoors immediately!!! But once indoors, you can certainly enjoy a bunch of active kids sports games like playing with Nerf sports toys, hide and seek, or an indoor soft basketball hoop that you can hang on any door.
What are the Most Popular Kids Sports?
We took a look at an ESPN poll from a few years ago which listed the most popular kids sports, and the winner of the most popular kids sport activity is basketball, mainly because both genders play it on a large scale across America. Here are the main takeaways from the article:
Basketball is the most popular sport by far! By the time kids reach the age of 9, both boys and girls begin to play basketball and it becomes the most competitive sport, with kids taking up competition and joining local youth leagues and summer camps. At age 9, an impressive 14% of boys and girls are playing competitive basketball in youth leagues. To be clear, it actually didn’t start that way. At age 8, the most competitive sport was baseball, with 12.5% of kids playing competitive baseball in youth leagues, with basketball at just 11% and soccer at 10%. Basketball’s popularity takes over at age 9, and the by age 10 jumps to 17%, then a staggering of 20% of kids play competitive basketball at age 11, followed by a hair of an increase to 20.1% at age 12, which seems to be the peak. By age 13, competitive basketball among kids begins to drop to 19%, which continued drops each year down to 15% by age 17.
For comparison’s sake, at age 17 we see drops for all sports, with baseball, soccer, football, and volleyball all hovering between 4 and 8% for kids (or teenagers at this point) taking up competitive sports. (It is important to distinguish between kids sports games and competitive sports – this survey only studied competitive sports which means official leagues via schools, camps, and programs, but does not include friendly or local sports games without officiating). What is most interesting in terms of the breakdown of most popular kids sports activities is that soccer maintained the most straight line out of all sports, with the least amount of deviations of popularity or lack thereof over the years. At age 6, soccer is played by 7.5%, then peaks at 10% by age 8, then stays at roughly 10% for 4 consecutive years, and then settles in at 6% by the time kids reach age 17. It should be noted that a reason for the drop-off at age 17 is not a lack of interest by kids in sports activities, but rather moving on from high school and to college, in which sports is less of a focus, and is replaced by classrooms, studies, internships, and general job prep.
This is not to say that interest in sports activities such as soccer or basketball dissipate, as this study does not account for recreational sports. There is little doubt that even after a teenager stops playing competitive sports, they are still active in sports games such as intramural basketball and friendly pickup soccer or football games with local kids or classmates.
Why Kids’ Sports Games & Team Activities Are Important
Now that we’ve presented to you a huge list of kids sports games and activities to make your kid a better athlete, we want to discuss the importance of sports games. Though it might seem like a normal fun activity, (and your kid having fun is important too), there are very important developmental aspects to your kid playing sports games.
There is tons of evidence out there that simply getting kids together for an activity or game is beneficial for their development. By making this activity a sports activity simply makes it more an active and healthy exercise, as it gets kids outdoors, moving around, and interacting with one another.
A research study from Yale University titled “Organized Activities as Developmental Contexts for Children and Adolescents” discusses the benefits of team-based activities: Research shows that participation in organized activities can have a range of positive influence on children and adolescence.
And it’s not enough to just participate – once your kid becomes talented at the (sports) activity or exercise he is participating in, simply makes their development that much better: Achieving competency at these tasks allows an individual to take advantage of personal and environmental resources that promote positive functioning in the present, reduce the risk for developing behavior problems, and increase the likelihood for healthy adjustment for the future.”