Stay-Active Solutions for Kids Who Don’t Like Sports


Warmer weather is on the way, and for many kids that means gearing up for sports. But what if your kids aren’t interested? How can you keep them active? Elaina Lantrip, an advanced practitioner with Renown Pediatrics, gives us some tips.

Kids need exercise to stay healthy, and many children stay active by playing sports. But sports aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. We asked Elaina Lantrip, APRN for Renown Pediatrics, how to keep kids active if they don’t like playing sports.

Activities for Kids Who Don’t Like Sports

What are some reasons kids may not be interested in sports?

Team sports are often the go-to option to get your children more active but there can be a number of reasons your child may not be interested.

First, many sports are open to preschoolers but it’s not until age 6 or 7 that most kids have the attention span, physical skills and can fully grasp the rules. If your child is nervous about their abilities, try practicing at home before quitting the sport. You may find your child becomes more interested as they become more confident in their skills.

Other kids may find team sports too competitive and feel too much pressure to play perfectly for their coach and teammates. If possible, evaluate the coach and league before signing up to find out how competitive they are. Doing so ahead of time may help you find the right fit for your little one.

What do you suggest to keep kids moving when they don’t like sports?

Some kids just don’t enjoy sports or would prefer to do something on their own, and that’s fine too. Kids can still get the 60 minutes of exercise they need each day in other ways.

Free play such as shooting baskets, riding bikes, playing tag or jumping rope can be good options or they may be interested in individual sports such as swimming, horseback riding, dance lessons, roller skating or skateboarding, hiking, golf, tennis, gymnastics, martial arts, yoga, running or cheerleading.

All of these are good options because they keep your child active and moving, but may fit better with what they’re interested in and truly enjoy.


How can you work with your child to find which activity is best for them?

Finding the right fit can be a challenge. It’s important to be patient as it may take several tries at different sports or activities to find the right activity.

Start by explaining to your child they need to take part in some activity. Work with your partner to create a list of options you both agree on and see what interests your child.

Once your child makes their pick, make them stick with it through one season or a full set of lessons to ensure they get a complete idea of what’s involved. One game or one lesson isn’t enough to decide it is or isn’t for them.

What are some easy ways to be active indoors?

Even though staying indoors can be a bit of a bummer, there are plenty of options to help your kids and yourself stay active while enjoying some quality time together.

You can plan a scavenger hunt, build a fort, set up hopscotch in the hallway, throw a dance party and make everyone freeze each time the music stops, create an indoor obstacle course, hula hoop or play tag in the living room.

As your kids get older, playing video games that require movement and mimic sports or physical competitions are good options. Your kids may even join in on a workout DVD or you can have a friendly contest to see who can do the most pushups and sit ups in one minute.