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Get Organized: Family-Friendly Sports Leagues

12/15/2014 02:08 EST | Updated 12/15/2014 02:59 EST
Christopher Futcher via Getty Images

There are many reasons to get your kids involved in sports from a young age. It can help with their social skills, boost their self-esteem, give them an understanding of rules and discipline, teach them about teamwork and best of all, help them stay fit and burn off that seemingly endless supply of energy. But sports teams can be intimidating for both youngsters and their parents, especially if it’s a full-contact sport where competition is fierce. If you’re looking to ease your kids in gently, consider signing them up for one of these family-friendly sports leagues — or better yet, sign up with them!

Get Organized: Family-Friendly Sports Leagues

Dodgeball

While the idea of having an opposing team throw speeding balls at your child doesn’t sound too appealing off the bat, dodgeball is actually the perfect sport for the whole family because it doesn’t involve much organization, the rules are easy to follow (Rule #1: Dodge the Balls), and it’s loads of fun for kids and adults alike. Sports involving throwing and catching are especially good for kids between the ages two and five because it helps them develop motor skills.

Running

As adults we’re well aware of the benefits of a daily run, but can you get kids involved at an early age too? Good news is you can since kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers, can participate in running activities and clubs. According to the Road Runners Club of America, kids aged five and under should only run up to 1.5 km and will likely lose interest unless you involve some sort of game. However, kids over six can safely run a 5K, provided you let them go at their own pace and walk when they need to. Teenagers are welcome to participate in a 10k or half marathon, but full marathons should only be run by adults over 18.

Soccer

Soccer can be a very competitive sport, but most cities offer a ton of leagues that cater to any age or skill level, even very young kids. To find a soccer league that will work for your family, look for one that is centred on having fun. For younger children, the focus should be on learning basic soccer skills, and making new friends, not listening to long lectures from coaches or competing in heated matches. Many recreational soccer leagues will have several levels that can work for all ages of your family.

Racquet sports

Wouldn’t it be great to be the parent of the next Venus Williams? Then perhaps it’s time to get your kid involved in one of the many kids tennis clubs in your area. Tennis, pickleball, badminton, squash and racquetball are all games that most kids can pick up as early as three years old. Plus by doing so at a young age, it’ll help them develop excellent hand-eye coordination and athletic skills.

Tee -ball, softball, and baseball

America’s favourite sport caters to all ages with its variety of games: Tee-ball for the very young, softball for the older kids and baseball for the super athletic. Little league softball and baseball teams are a great way to get your kids introduced to sports, teach them hand-eye coordination, athletic skills like running and catching as well as the principles of sportsmanship. Teams are available across Canada for kids who are four and up.