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Non-Traditional Sports For Kids

There are plenty of team-oriented and physically intense sports for the child who isn't into traditional team sports. Here's a healthy sampling and where you can do them.

Not every kid has the desire to be on a traditional sports team. For some kids the formations, plays, and rules don’t come easily; for others the playing spaces themselves feel vast and overwhelming; and some can’t handle the cheering parents and play-enforcing whistles. If you put it all together, you’ve got a dizzying amount of stimulation young brains can’t always process or tune out, leading to frustration and unhappiness for everyone.

 

This doesn’t mean these kids don’t want to be a part of a team–to have that sense of belonging. It also doesn’t mean they don’t like being physically active. Often, the complete opposite is true–they are desperate to be a part of something and to be active while doing it.

 

Rest assured, moms and dads, there are plenty of team-centric options to keep your kid active and provide them with a sense of belonging. Here’s a list of ideas and where you can give them a try.

 

If you know of a unique physical activity that didn’t make it onto this list, please share it in the Main Line Parent Facebook Community or in the comments section below.

 

Car Racing

 

Open to girls and boys as young as five, your tiny driver can speed around the racetrack in their own carefully maintained car. While this comes with an element of danger, these organizations keep safety at the top of their priority list. Each participant is kept in an appropriate category, and no one is allowed to race without the proper safety equipment which includes things like a helmet, a fireproof suit, a neck brace and a five point harness.

 

Montgomery County Quarter Midget Racing Club

920 Township Line Road, Phoenixville

Chester County Raceway

1351 Creek Road, Glenmoore

 

Girls On The Run and STRIDE

 

Don’t shy away just because the word “run” is in there. These programs (STRIDE is for boys), meant for kids in third through eighth grade, introduce kids to the joys of being physically active while building strong characters and strong minds. During the 12-week program, kids meet twice a week (usually after school) with volunteer coaches who lead them through a curriculum. They discuss important topics like preventing gossip and what it means to be a good teammate; they practice positive self-talk, participate in a community service project, and learn how to set personal goals. A small portion of each practice is devoted to games and running. At the end of the program, all the teams come together to walk, run, or cartwheel their way through a 5K.

 

Girls On The Run Chester County

STRIDE – Chester County

Montgomery and Delaware Counties Girls On The Run 

Girls On The Run Philadelphia 

 

Synchronized Ice Skating

 

If you’ve got a creative kiddo in the household, this could be just what they need. Before they can start, however, participants need to be proficient ice skaters. The places listed below have “learn to skate” classes as a way of helping kids progress towards this team sport. Once their skating skills are where they need to be, kids are grouped together by age and ability. From there, they learn a routine involving complex footwork and intricate formations. Some teams simply perform at their home rink for friends and family, while others travel and compete in front of judges.

 

Exton Figure Skating Club 

701 Haywood Drive, Exton

Ice Liners Synchronized Skating Team 

700 Lawrence Drive, West Chester

Philadelphia Skating Club 

220 Holland Avenue, Ardmore

Valley Forge Cadettes Synchronized Skating Team 

87 Brower Avenue, Phoenixville

 

Circus Arts

 

This might sound silly, but I assure you it’s serious business. Starting as young as age three, kids can begin their study of circus arts. Ranging from contortion, to trampoline and even flying trapeze, kids can try different classes to find their true circus calling. They even have a juggling club that’s open to all ages.

 

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts 

6452 Greene St., Philadelphia

 

Indoor Rock Climbing

 

This doesn’t need a lot of explanation. Basically, your kiddo will be harnessed in and belayed (a term for the person holding the rope your child is strapped into) as he or she makes their way either up or over (called bouldering) a series of strategically and progressively challenging foot and hand holds. All climbers have to wear special shoes, and comfortable clothing is a must. It’s a great sport to build strength and strategic thinking skills.

 

Downingtown Rock Gym 

462 Acorn Lane, Downingtown

Philadelphia Rock Gyms

Locations in Oaks, Coatesville, East Falls, Wyncote, and Fishtown 

The Gravity Vault 

175 King of Prussia Road, Radnor

 

Parkour

 

This is another unusual one, but it’s been on the rise over the last several years so maybe, just maybe, it will be your little athlete’s calling. Simply put, parkour is when a person does a series of acrobatic feats, while running and jumping. It usually takes place in an urban setting, but several places have created indoor courses so the sport can be learned safely. It’s another opportunity for your child to be expressive and to challenge themselves as they master different moves.

 

Philadelphia School For Circus Arts 

6452 Green Street, Philadelphia

iCore Fitness

300 Lawrence Drive, West Chester

 

Disc Golf

 

This is a great sport if your child loves to be outside and explore new places. Golfers have a series of discs (formerly known as frisbees) with various distance ratings (yes, like golf clubs) and the idea is to get your disc in the target, or basket, in the least amount of throws possible. Disc golf courses are everywhere. To find one closest to you, use this tool.

 

Archery

 

This sport dates back 5000 years to ancient Egypt. At that time, it was less of a sport and more of a survival tactic, but you get the idea. Today, there are archery leagues for all ages and abilities. Kids can start out simply learning technique, and then move into actual competitions. This sport is satisfying from the start because kids can shoot an arrow within minutes of picking up the bow.

 

Atglan Sportsmans Club 

82 Creek Road, Christiana

Wapiti Archers of PA 

465 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington

Middletown Archery 

127 Barren Road, Media

 

Photograph by Sarah L. Bender

Main Line Assistant Editor

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