With the 121st Summer Olympics nearing (Hello, Rio), we can’t help but think if our little ones – and yours! – just might be athletes in the 2030 Games. This inspires us, especially given the major benefits of playing sports while you’re young. According to UNICEF that list includes: social-skill development, emotional expression, and self-confidence. All this, plus a reduced potential for obesity*. Knowing that play and team sports are key to growth, the bigger question is: Which sport at which age?
It’s all about how the body develops. In sports, we’re talking about gross motor skills (e.g. running, jumping). That’s why we always check out the CDC Developmental Milestone Checklists to get the real deal, as below:
2 years: Stands on tiptoe.
Put your beginner pointe skills to work at Ballet with Giorgia. The classical ballet atmosphere is an apt introduction to the positions of the dance form that originated in the Italian Renaissance.
4 years: Catches a bounced ball most of the time.
Practice the perfect cross-court pass in Basketball (Dodge YMCA). Through age-appropriate drills and exercises, future Final Four champs can hone their skills in a community environment. Then stay on the courts and try your new bounced-ball aim with a racket in hand at Tennis class.
5 years: Can do a somersault.
Show off your mat skills at Gymstars. Want even more? Take that somersault underwater and it’s called a flip-turn! Practice your new feat at Beginner Swim, where small group lessons allow for focused skill building.
In short: Start young. Research shows that early childhood is the most critical period for brain development and that experiences in the first years of life have more lasting impact on mental health and development than any others. That’s why The Kids Passport was founded to let moms and dads in on the whole wide world of kids’ classes nearby.
Footnote: *American Academy of Pediatrics’ Active Healthy Living report