Participating in sports has many benefits that professionals and parents have known about for years. Sports can be a great way to provide your child with regular physical activity, routine and a structured environment to cultivate social and collaborative skills.
Children can learn to appreciate the benefits of staying active at an early age when it’s most likely to become habitual. For these reasons, it’s easy to see why parents are eager to enroll their children into organized sports.
Here’s a list of the top five sports for preschoolers:
One commonly recommended sport for young children is soccer. Although they may not be able to understand all the rules, soccer is a simple enough game that you can coach your toddler about the basic rules and movements.
The general objective is to get the ball on the opposite side into your opponent’s goal. Preschoolers can be easily taught how to do drills with soccer balls in a reasonably low impact environment.
Swimming is a highly recommended sport for small children. Because of the water’s resistance, swimming is an extremely low impact sport that has little risk of injury. It can be the perfect sport for your child. Swimming is also relatively straightforward and can be taught to a small child, and some swim schools even offer classes for infants.
It’s not only a great sport to participate in, but it’s also recommended by the APA (American Pediatric Association) that all young children should be taught how to swim to avoid fatal accidents, particularly if you own a pool or live near a large body of water.
Because preschoolers are so young, highly complex and competitive sports may be a bit of a challenge. It’s best in the beginning to choose sports that allow them some room for free play. It’s also important that the activity is fun so as to encourage the child to continue staying active.
Dancing can be incredibly fun and there are plenty of chances to dance around and let loose. Boys and girls alike will benefit from the movement, memorization and rhythm practiced in ballet, jazz, tap and other genres of dance.
Toddlers love to climb and crawl, which makes gymnastics perfect for them. Their bodies are still limber and flexible and can easily perform gymnastic exercises.
Gymnastics also involve more personalized instruction, which is helpful for a young child still learning how to understand and remember rules and regulations.
Preschoolers are still developing their hand and eye coordination skills, making some sports more challenging than others to play.
T-ball is a great choice for toddlers since the ball is propped on a stand as opposed to being thrown by a pitcher. This makes it easier for the child to aim, but it also significantly reduces the risk of injury. The rules in T-ball are simple enough for your child to follow along and can be played with the whole family as well.
Organized sports can be a great way to get you and your toddler more involved in the community. It’s also an excellent way to teach your child about the virtues of physical fitness and teamwork.
It’s never too soon to get started on reaping these benefits, if you choose the right sport. Pay attention to your child's age, ability, and natural preference. It’s okay to let them try a few things out, as long as you remember that the goal is to help your child have fun and grow to love sports.
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- Get Your Kids Active Early – Top 5 Sports for Preschoolers - January 4, 2013