What is a good sport to start your child in?

Janelle - posted on 10/22/2010 ( 65 moms have responded )

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I have a 5 year old little boy and I want to put him in an activity. He loves sports but I don't know what will be a good one to start him off on? We live in NYC and I am a single parent so I just feel like I don't get to do enough things with him. I work PT in retail and that can get hecked with the schedule, so I need some input on what I can do. Any ideas or comments will be greatly appreciated.

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Anna-Marie - posted on 10/25/2010

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Have a look around, ask the school what's on offer in your area & ask other mums in your son's class what they do. I have 2 boys with very different personalities. My older son (7 years) has done gymnastics, athletics, soccer & swimming, (because of sports being seasonal having a few different things they enjoy means they are always doing something during the year). My younger son is turning 5 next week & this year he has been doing swimming lessons & preschool dance class. He loves tap & hip hop so he's going to continue dancing next year.
Most places will let you come & have a trial lesson for free which gives you a chance to see if your child likes it.
I think leave team sports until they are a bit older (6-7) because they are able to handle practices & can cope a bit better interacting with coaches & being part of a team.
Remember that he's only 5 so it will take him a few years to find his passion. If there are a few different things in your area that sound good spend a few months (or a season if it's a sport) trialling them out over the next year or two & by the time he's 7-8 he will know what he wants to keep doing & what he's had enough of.

Amy - posted on 11/08/2010

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My kids are older now, but if I were to do it over again I would put my kids (girls and boys) in tumbling. It teaches them balance and flexibility and "how to fall" which are good things to learn no matter what sport or activity they go into later.

Julie - posted on 11/02/2010

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We started my oldest in swimming at the age of 3 because we wanted him to learn to swim. That morphed into learning about swim teams. He LOVES to swim so we checked it out and signed him up. It has been the best experience. The exercise is great, and someday when he is old and cannot play soccer and basketball he will still be able to swim because of no impact on the joints. It is a very competative sport but if you keep it in perspective it can be great. We later put the younger brother in swimming as well. He doesn't have the passion, but he enjoys it so much. Also it is something they can do year round. After swimming we began soccer and baseball. Both of those sports have been great learning tools for them about teamwork and such!

Cindy - posted on 10/27/2010

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I have 2 boys and they both started karate (martial arts) at the age of 5. This, in my opinion, was the best sport I could have started them with. They have learned respect, self defense, and are very flexable. We live in Ohio and found a karate school that was very reasonably priced. The moto of the school is "families that kick together, stick together". Even alot of parents take classes with their children. They learn a lot of self defence which is great in this world now a days. I have total confidence that my children could save themselves from kidnapping. Good luck, any sport you put your son in will be great for him, I have nothing bad to say about karate, only positives!

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Barbara - posted on 10/23/2012

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We started our son with T ball and karate. The YMCA had swimming classes which introduced our son to water and water safety. He also started tennis at 5. In first grade he stated with basketball, soccer and lacrosse. I am hoping to keep him away from hockey because I like his 2 front teeth.

Tammy - posted on 02/09/2012

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My 3.5 year old daughter has been in soccer once a week, the past 6 months. It seems to be the sport of choice these days for the younger set. It's not as physically demanding as basketball or football and not as expensive equipment-wise as baseball. My daughter loves running and kicking the ball around and it holds her attention, since it's non-stop action. When she will start elementary school, she will be enrolled in track and field, since she loves to run.

Jessica - posted on 11/08/2010

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I started my daughter out in cheerleading, which we have since nixed because she just didnt love it. Plus it was super expensive, but boys usually get to go to cheer schools for free because they want boys on the squad. Something to think about but it is demanding for the moms. My daughter now plays soccer and my son who is 3 just started this past summer. My son is also going to play t-ball and my daughter is getting ready to start volleyball. You just really have to find something that they love to do. Both of my kids can not wait to go to soccer and to the games. They love it!

Christine - posted on 11/08/2010

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T-ball/Baseball is best, in my opinion. Check with the recreation centers in your neighborhood and see what sports programs they offer. Swiimming is great also. The NYC recreation centers offer free classes and family time on particular days. Have fun w/the little one!

Theresa - posted on 11/06/2010

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I have tried many sports with both of my boys. The one we have found that is the best is bmx racing. There are no mandatory practices and the boys have learned and accelled at their own pace without the pressure of the other kids and coaches. It is very family friendly we have made new friends from all over the state and even other countries. And it is now an olympic sport. We have been doing it for 6 months now and could not be happier. I feel it helps to learn that are responsible for their own success. It seems to be working too, I have the #3 8 year old in the state of FL and the #9 12 year old. Good luck! - theresa

Tammy - posted on 11/05/2010

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...definitely recommend swim lessons, or go to your local Y and swim with him. Most places have indoor pools, and it really is a life skill to have them be strong swimmers. Plus, it is a great way to exercise !!

Chris - posted on 11/05/2010

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I don't know if other moms have suggested this, but I would recommend gymastics. It is great for overall exercise, helps with body coordination, is NON-competive (at age 5 it usally is), can be done year round and all he will need is clothes to move freely in. Don't believe for a second that it's a "girl" only sport, my son did gymnastics from age 3 to age 5 and he loved it. We had to stop going because we ended up getting busy with other children's needs (for example: baby #3 was on the way and I was needing a break!) In any case, I vote gymastics for all kids ages 5 and up! Best of luck to you and your son!

Kim - posted on 11/05/2010

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I have a 5 yr old boy that just finished his first season of soccer. Good exercise and good way of venting frustrations. kicking a ball around! : ) I too, work PT in retail. Soccer only had 1 night a week practice for an hour and games on Sat. morning for an hour, my job was soooo flexible so I could go to his games. He loved it!!! I also have an 8 yr old that has been playing soccer since he was 5 and loves it! It's not toooo violent of a sport, to worry about them getting hurt. They don't teach them to "headbutt" the ball til "travel league", my 8 yr old just started doing that this season. At the U6 level it is all "in house". they divide all the kids that sign up into teams and they play each other. At the end of the season, they ALL get trophies! They LOVE that part. It is very inexpensive. Ours is only $50 to sign up and $17 for a uniform. Try it, I bet your Son will love it too!!!!!

Amanda - posted on 11/05/2010

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My little boy is almost 7, and this coming Spring were going to try putting him in either soccer or baseball. They seem to be pretty popular sports for kids his age. We live in Iowa so there isn't a whole lot going on for him haha

Etrezia - posted on 11/04/2010

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Karate!!! My girls both are doing Karate! They love it. And we as parent feel the Karate Club is nou like family.(Good fam not those that you wish away)

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try competitive swimming! :) it's very good for your child's health. it's a key skill which all kids should learn, anyways. it's competitive but not physically violent or rough. it's perfect. some swimming clubs offer programs for kids as young as 5 who can't hardly swim. just be sure to vet the swimclub and it's head coach(es) before you join to be sure they have a good reputation. Google the club and coaches names and you can find all sorts of info, if you are dealing with seedy characters. warning, this can become a slightly expensive sport as kids improve up through the ranks. equipment and suits cost too much. but i suggest you be savvy and look online too see if you are getting the best deal on those items too.

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T Ball and basketball are always good starters. Gymnastics are great if you have it in your area and if it doesn't cost you an arm and leg, but a lot of the areas in the south do not offer a lot of gymnastics for boys, it might be different where you live. But if he has friends with similar interests, he will enjoy whatever you sign him up for especially if mom can come to watch :) little boys love their mothers to watch whatever they do :)

Helen - posted on 11/02/2010

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Hi. I agree with Sherry. Gymnastics is definitely one of the best sports to start in. It is the basis for all sports. Teaches strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, etc. If they're interested in trying martial arts, gymnastics is still a good place to start then switch to martial arts (unless he wants to stick with gym) when he's about 8. Maybe there are trampolining classes somewhere? I don't know any child who wouldn't enjoy trampolining. My son who is now ten played soccer for two years when he 7 and 8, as well as doing gymnastics. When I said he'd have to decide between them one day he was in tears as he wanted to do both. Then he didn't want to sign on for soccer for a 3rd year. So at that age, the kids find it hard to know what they want to do. Just try and find something - probably at a YMCA or similar - where he can try different sports. Ice skating is another idea. Great exercise, fun and it's a skill they have into old age - can be competitve or social.

Haroulla - posted on 11/02/2010

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Hi I have 6 yr old twins who have been doing jujitsu since they were three. It is great for discipline, coordination and self defence. At 5 they started rugby.

Sherry - posted on 11/01/2010

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I think the first thing should be if there is something that he is really into, or would like to try. I know my son was always tumbling around the house and we started him in gymnastics. He loved it as soon as he started. I was talking to the owner of the gym one day and she said that gymnastics is the best sport to start a child in, even if they don't stay with it because they use all of their muscles and stay stretched and limber longer in life and helps them in future sports. My son started at 4 and is now 6, still loves it and he just made the team which is certainly a big commitment. Make sure you consider not only the practices, but the games and competitions too. I hope this helps. Good luck, and remember to have fun with it.

Susan - posted on 11/01/2010

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group tennis lessons is something different and fun for little ones. It keeps them moving and they can socialize with kids around their age.

Marsha - posted on 10/30/2010

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My daughter's 6 and just started playing ayso soccer this August. She LOVES to watch different kinds of sports and asked to play. We live in RURAL PA so trying to find sports activity information was not easily...(emailed Little League themselves and even though they are less than an hour away from here NO ONE ever emailed me back). Swimming, t-ball/baseball, youth/midget football...I guess it really depends on what things he likes to do. Try to find something with flexibility. Our soccer team had a set schedule of practices and games. If you missed one, it wasn't a HUGE deal but everyone was encouraged to make as many as possible.

She cried going to the first 3 weeks of practice, told us she wanted to quit(after begging in the spring to play) but told the coach at the last game that she'll play in the spring.

I think the best thing to do would be to ask him which he'd like (or find out which one fits into your schedule best and ask him if he'd like to do that one).

Monique - posted on 10/30/2010

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have you tried to ask your son what sport he would like to play. you should also try martial arts.

Joyce - posted on 10/30/2010

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depends on your kids personality, my five year old is in soccer and while he likes getting out and running around but he is not too keen on the sport so next season we will try something else.with my daughter we went through 3 sports before she settled on Lacrosse. at this age most sports programs offered by the local parks and recreation dept are one day a week, that also allows you to meet other moms with whom you can network. Now that my daughter plays during the week support from the other team moms has been great. but as one poster said don't take it too seriously right now.

Becky - posted on 10/29/2010

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My son is 7 and has played soccer for 4 years. He loves it and at this age most schedules are easy to work with.

Crystal - posted on 10/29/2010

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soccer! :) We started my son at 3.5, and has since played teeball, golf and done karate! He's 5 now. :)

Elisa - posted on 10/29/2010

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I started all three of my kids with the YMCA soccer and it turned out to be a wonderful beginning sport. All three still love the sport and have tried others as well, but always fall back to soccer. The nice thing about soccer is indoor and outdoor are offered, so it's good for more than one season.

Misti - posted on 10/29/2010

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i have two children, a boy and a girl. I started my children off in soccor and i found that it was great. It isn't to physical and it teaches them to be part of a team and how to use teamwork without all the hard physical contact lol.. My children are now 10(boy) and 8(girl) and they are into everything. Lol I believe sports are very good for children. Good luck,

Jennifer - posted on 10/29/2010

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My son just turned 7 and currently plays soccer and basketball, plus he is in a swimming group. We live in PA. We started karate at 4 and he hated it, but I have friends whose children love it. It's possible it was too early for my son to start sports, but he has no interest in trying it again. We stared soccer at 5 and he loves it. We allow him to chose how often (there are spring, summer, and fall sessions). We encourage him to try other things and tell him what is available in our community. I often look at what is offered at our rec center and other community programs to make sure the sessions fit our schedule. We have found that most programs are on Saturday mornings or afternoons in our area and last 8 - 10 weeks. Then I tell him about it and let him choose what he would like to try. It has worked well for us. My husband and I golf and out son just asked if he can try golf too. We found a spring session at the rec, so that will be next. The only rule we have is only one sport at a time. Family time and school are important and we don't want him overloaded.

One thing I am always careful about before signing him up for anything is that the programs are non-competitive. I think at a young age it is important to foster teamwork and fun more than anything else. For example, in basketball they have games once a week and follow the rules they have learned, but there are no penalties and they do not keep score. Those things will be introduced later.

Elaine - posted on 10/29/2010

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Something they are interested in!! T-Ball worked well for my son to start, but over the years (he is 13 now) I have seen way too many kids forced into a sport they hate either so the parents can re-live vicariously through them or because sports are not their thing and the parents force. Support and a positive environment at this age is the most important. We are all football and golf now, but always something he can put his heart into. He has learned so much socially, emotionally and about focus and time management that he wouldn't have learned without the activities. It can be hard time-wise, but the rewards are 10 fold the aggravation! I have some of my best friends from the bleachers and I actually KNOW my children's friends. For time-maybe BMX? Around here that is flexible. I have a friend from NY and he did BMX, swimming and gymnastics. Good luck!!

Kelly - posted on 10/28/2010

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As an organized sport, I started my daughter in soccer. She also has been on a bowling league since she was 3.

Ilene - posted on 10/28/2010

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Becasue his dad is a football nut, so is my son.His 1rst year was last year and he's improved incredibly. He has JV in the palm of his hands for next year. He is makin his mark bigtime and on the road to the NFL. His school work has improved a lot because if the grades are not up to par, he's not aloud to play and he's soo hungry to win and does. He's the most important and best player on his team and hopefully taking them to the Super Bowl in his league. The Lion's Club owns or is in charge of our football and cheerleading program until 9th grade here in Carroll County, Maryland. Our league is called MMYFCL. The site is http://www.eteamz.com/MMYFCL/index.cfm. I'm sure they could help point you in the right direction if you're interested. Good luck.

Holly - posted on 10/28/2010

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I do agree with the martial arts mom's. In addition to tennis, martial arts can be done when you can't get together with a team (adult life). It also builds self confidence which helps with bullying. Team sports are good for building relationships with other kids. An assortment of social groups like teem sports and scouts, or 4H etc. gives kids a broad social base from which to choose friends. This makes kids less susceptible to bullying.

Patty - posted on 10/28/2010

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I think the best overall sport would be soccer. It's great excercise, at this age they can get some energy out, and everyone gets equal playing time. You should ask him what interests him most, check the cost, (i was a single mom for 10 years, so that can be a huge deciding factor!), then check the schedule...some sports can take a lot of time. Just see what works best for both of you! He can do something different every season until he finds his favorite!

Brenda - posted on 10/28/2010

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My family lives in rural Missouri. Both of my boys play fall & spring soccer and love it. My oldest is 12 and has been playing since age 8 and my youngest began at age 5. We also bowl in a winter legue. I can't bowl worth a darn, but it gives us some great family time and the kids love it. They also play baseball in the summer. I have a friend who has her son (age 6) in karate year round. Her schedule wouldn't allow for her to make the soccer practices & games. This has been a great opportunity for him to stay active and has really helped him with his motor skills.

Holly - posted on 10/27/2010

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I think we should start kids off in more sports that they can play all their lives. (In addition to group team sports) I would start him off in Tennis, he can do that all his life and keep in shape and you can do it with him.

Colleen - posted on 10/27/2010

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is he athletic or just very active - put him in a gymnastics class or tumble class at the gym...it's year round and it will condition him to be healthy and active. You should be able to tell what type of sport would keep his interest - if he kicks or throws things all the time then maybe football or baseball - if he acks like a monkey and jumps off everything and climbs on everything, then gymnastics or tumble may be for him...Tivo some of each sport and let him watch each one and see which one he seems excited about.

Nikki - posted on 10/27/2010

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i would think soccer or baseball. both is good exercise without the injuries like football. i live in philly and there's soccer all year round and i have friends that have sons doing it all year and they love it, baseball more so in the summer but try the local ymca to see what they have so you can both get involved

Marilee - posted on 10/27/2010

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T-ball!!!!! Karate can be good as well and ask if they have a family plan that would benefit you both. You can learn together it would be great.

Leighanne - posted on 10/27/2010

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I always say swimming, because I think it's something important for a child to learn, if your short on time or may have to miss a class it doesn't effect the team like another sport would. Plus I always like to swim with the kids after class so they can show me there new skills. Good Luck!

Janet - posted on 10/27/2010

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i have to say that i agree with the moms that have said martial arts - check your neighborhood, and see if there are some reasonably-priced lessons your son can attend. our local church offers free Taekwondo classes for kids and adults - you only pay $40 when you test for your next belt, and uniform is optional. as a single mom myself, i haven't been able to afford any other sports, so this was a blessing - we don't go to the church, but have been going to TKD for a year now, and it has helped both of us a great deal. just as the others have said, it teaches confidence, respect, self-defense, teamwork; really a great basis for anything else. my son really enjoys it - we go 2 or 3 times a week. you move up at your own pace, so there's no pressure to "win" anything, but it feels good when you make your next level belt. there are competitive martial arts classes as well, but i would suggest at 5 to stay non-competitive.

SARAH - posted on 10/27/2010

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Tae Kwon Do is what I had always wanted my daughter to do! So many good things it teaches! She has done gymnastics & ballet, plus taken soccer & volleyball camps! She started TKD right before she turned 8 & is loving it more then all the other things! The great thing about her school is they offer classes 5 days a week at different times & we can pick & choose which ones fit in our schedule! I also like that the instructors help make sure the kids learn but also have a good attitude there & at home!

Julia - posted on 10/27/2010

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I'm in the UK, but my son started Taekwondo, then I joined in with him. I felt really self conscious and silly to begin with, but we both go for our black belts next spring.
TKD teaches self control, self defence, fitness, and much more. Not only that but we have a laugh too, particularly when I fall over!!
Our club has several different sessions in a week & we can attend those which suit our schedules.

Jennifer - posted on 10/27/2010

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I think T-ball or soccer are great sports to start with when they are little. There is usually one practice a week, and one game on the weekend. If you just want a one day a week committment and have it be on the weekend, bowling would be a good place to start.

Natalie - posted on 10/27/2010

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my two tiddlers go to swimming lessons, apart from being the best all over exercise and helps them develop strong backs, etc it could also one day save their lives xxxx

Jessica - posted on 10/26/2010

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Hi! my son is 6 now and he plays basketball, baseball and just started football! i started him in t-ball and gymnastics at 4 years old and he loved both.

Melissa - posted on 10/26/2010

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Soccer is the cheapest and easiest to start with for most mobile kids. No real gear except for chin guards are required and most kids love running around even if they don't quite grasp the rules. I agree with someone else, though, check out several things in your area that are easy for you to get too...most places will give you a free class to try. If there is a Y in the area, they're usually the cheapest for sports and give scholarships if you need it. Soccer is good because everyone can feel like they're involved. Tball has a lot of standing around but is good for hand/eye. The martial arts are good if your child wants to do it....if it's not their idea, then it'll be a waste of your time and money. But they can be really expensive.

Janine - posted on 10/26/2010

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I have just started mty 5 year old son in karate and he loves it!! Next spring - I want to put him in t-ball. I thought he was a little young and not ready this past spring.

Angie - posted on 10/26/2010

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Check with the recreation department and find out what sports are available then sit down with your son and decide what sport he wants to learn more about. My son's first sport was soccer - because his friends were playing. He's 17 and is an all state goalkeeper. He also runs cross country, plays basketball, plays on a club soccer team; I think he got the love of sports with soccer. An added plus is that he's so busy with school and sports, he doesn't have time or energy to get into trouble.

Jamie - posted on 10/26/2010

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I did soccer for my daugter. she loved it and it wore her out. it was none stop during practice with was perfect for her vs. soft ball were she sat around most of the time

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