What Are the Best Sports for Children?

Playing sports has many benefits for children. But what are the most suitable sports for children? Are all of them equally good? And, if they're not good at sports, what other options are there?
What Are the Best Sports for Children?
Eva Maria Rodriguez Diego

Written and verified by the professional writer and specialist in physical education Eva Maria Rodriguez Diego.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Physical activity is essential for children. Although play is a natural form of physical activity, it’s also very beneficial for children to play sports. But not all sports are suitable for every age. Knowing which sports are best for children, and at what age, is very important when deciding what activity they should take part in.

Although the natural tendency for a child is to play, the lack of space, the availability of video games, along with other factors, makes it more comfortable to spend a lot of time at home. This encourages a sedentary lifestyle that not only affects children, but also the whole family.

Benefits of playing sports in childhood

Playing sports has many benefits for children’s physical and mental health, and can greatly help in their psychological, physical, cognitive and social development. For example, playing sports in childhood improves coordination, balance and self-image.

The Best Sports for Children to Play

Playing sports also helps children in their socialization process, improves their teamwork skills, releases tension and stress, and helps them sleep better.

It’s also a good way to prevent illnesses, not only in childhood, but also throughout life. Some other benefits of sports in childhood are:

  • Helping children to develop healthy living habits
  • Showing them the value of effort
  • Helping them to improve themselves
  • Helping them accept their limitations
  • Spurring them on to take on new challenges

In addition to all these benefits, children learn to respect authority and other children when they practice sports. They also learn how to respect themselves and to make others respect them.

And, finally, we mustn’t overlook a benefit that many parents have never thought of: sports improve their children’s academic success.

What are the best sports for children?

Before listing the best sports for children, we need to consider one very important issue. Sports will only benefit children when it’s appropriate for their age.

In other words, sports must be adapted to the child and not the other way around. We’re not only talking about the size of the playing field or the necessary equipment (balls, baskets, goals, etc.). We’re also talking about the rules of the game itself.

With this in mind, some of the best sports for children are as follows:


Judo is a martial art that helps children improve their self-control and decision-making skills. In addition to this, it favors a complete physical development, and helps to improve coordination, balance and reaction speed when faced with different stimuli.

Besides this, in judo, much work is done on the development of self-respect, respect for others (peers and opponents) and respect for the instructor.

Swimming, one of the best sports for children

In addition to working on all the muscle groups, swimming is a sport that favors cardiovascular health and develops strength and endurance. Swimming also improves the body’s flexibility and balance.

Moreover, when children swim, they develop the connection between body and mind. This, in turn, helps them improve their physical and emotional development, as well as their brain health.

Finally, it’s important to emphasize the importance of children learning to swim. It can quite literally be a life-saving skill that will help them feel very safe in many different situations.

The Best Sports for Children to Play


Outdoor and indoor soccer are sports that develop attention span, logic, and peripheral vision. By playing soccer, children also learn to observe and analyze what’s happening around them.

In addition to this, it promotes aerobic resistance, speed, and muscle power. And, finally, soccer encourages companionship and teamwork.

Basketball, another of the best sports for children

Basketball is a sport that helps children to improve their concentration, as well as developing their agility, coordination, and quick reactions. We can also highlight the values of respect and tolerance that are very evident in basketball.

Among its advantages is the fact that basketball can be played both outdoors and indoors. To have a good time playing basketball, you only need a ball and one or two friends. Even one person can practice on their own.


Chess isn’t a very physically active discipline, and we may not consider it to be a sport as such. However, it has many benefits related to the development of thinking skills, strategic vision, and mental agility.

Besides this, chess is a sport that helps to exercise our memory. Learning is carried out through the repetition of movements and moves. Children are also able to remember games and moves, and thus improve their strategy.

Other physical activities for children

Although playing sports has many benefits for children, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that it isn’t always possible. However, there are other ways to encourage physical activity.

The main physical activity that all children should do is walking. They should walk as much as they can, whenever they can. What’s more, walking in the country or hiking is a wonderful physical activity to do as a family and at any time of the year.

Biking, dancing, and any group games that involve movement are also good physical activities for children. These activities can be done at all ages and can be carried out as a family.

Another physical activity that should be encouraged in children is going up and down stairs. This exercise is great not only to strengthen the body, but also to improve cardiovascular capacity. Just forget about the elevator and use the stairs to increase your daily physical activity significantly.

And if children have to spend a lot of time at home and usually spend it on the video console, then you can also consider the options of physical activity and sports games offered by different video game brands, such as Wii Sports for the Nintendo Wii, among others.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.