Unconventional Athletics: 4 Fun Ways for Kids to Stay Active
Sports are an important part of keeping kids and teens healthy and active. From T-ball to Friday night football, their lives are full of options when it comes to athletics.
Many kids tend toward a conventional activity — soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, the list goes on — really anything offered as an extracurricular at school. But for those who don’t love the idea of stereotypical sports, central Arkansas is full of unconventional activities to get your son or daughter moving.
So if catching, kicking and throwing aren’t your kids strong suits, don’t worry. It’s time to get moving in a new way.
Here are four activities to try in central Arkansas.
1. Indoor Rock Climbing
Little Rock Climbing Center
Cost: $125 per session for teams; day passes $12-$15; equipment rentals $4-$8.
Kids can start rock climbing at as young as 5 years old at the Little Rock Climbing Center. It’s a great activity the whole family can try for a fun evening together, or those who are more serious about climbing can join a team during the school year. Youth recreational and competitive teams are open to ages 12-17 but take the summers off.
2. Juvenile D’Rinkrats Roller Derby
Joyland Skate Center in Cabot
Cost: $20 per month plus equipment costs.
This roller derby team has a goal to do more than just keep kids moving — they want to build strong women. The group is for girls ages 8-17 and practices once a week, with the schedule varying depending on the time of year.
The team is always open for new members, and according to Assistant Coach Christy “Wicked” Hendricks, they teach skating basics and technique to makes sure the girls are prepared before sending them into a match. The basic premise of roller derby is for a player, called the “jammer,” to break through a “pack” of players and lap around the rink as many times as they can.
3. Bonzai BMX Biking
Burns Park in North Little Rock
Cost: Required USA BMX membership is $60 per year plus entry fees for races.
BMX biking takes a fun outdoor activity to the next level with races and training clinics from professional racers offered by this organization. Practices are held on Tuesday nights from 6-8 p.m. while race registration is on Friday nights from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and and Saturday afternoons 2-3 p.m. There are no age restrictions on joining Bonzai BMX — Track Operator Carol Rodgers said they have had participants as young as 2 years old and as old as 65. Participants must wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and a helmet.
4. CrossFit Kids
Omnis CrossFit on Colonel Glenn Road
Cost: $150-$200 per camp session.
This high-intensity workout isn’t just for adults — at Omnis CrossFit in Little Rock, kids as young as 5 years old can participate in CrossFit Kids camp once a year. Exercises are modified and tailored for kids ages 5-12. At age 14, kids can join regular adult classes as long as an instructor thinks they are ready.
Cost: About $15 per one hour class; can vary.
At Sherwood CrossFit, there are various camps and weekly classes happening year round for kids ages 5-14; kids 15 and older can enroll in adult classes. Owner and head coach Leslie Steckbeck says that it’s a great activity for kids to get involved in because it’s a “well rounded, whole body workout.” CrossFit incorporates activities such as running, jumping, pushups, squats and more. Unlike adult CrossFit, kids do not use weights in their workouts.
“It’s all about keeping them moving and they’re getting a good workout at the same time,” Steckbeck said. “We go over how to properly do skills. You’re not really going to get a 5 year old to do a perfect pushup but you start somewhere.”
Coaches also emphasize the importance of nutrition and eating healthy with a snack break and nutrition lesson during some camps.