What’s better than getting up with the sun on a brisk Saturday morning and heading down to the soccer field to walk across the frost-encrusted grass, spread out your folding camp chair, and watch your darling offspring try to figure out which direction to run toward the correct goal? If you’re like me, a lot of things are better.
I might look like a soccer mom, but seriously, I’d rather stay home and clean my bathrooms than watch a kids’ soccer game. Don’t get me wrong, if my children loved it, I’d pack up my chair and cooler of snacks and be there. Not at all surprisingly (perhaps a bit like their mama), my children didn’t love soccer either and have fallen in love with some slightly less popular sports. It can be a challenge – to find the right team, lesson, coach, or group for your child’s interest if they tend toward the quirky. Lucky for us, Cincinnati has a huge variety of athletic opportunities that you maybe haven’t thought of or didn’t even know existed.
One of the best places to look for out-of-the box sports opportunities is at your local school. Many schools have clubs or teams for the sports I’ve listed below, as well other sports that aren’t included here. If you have younger children, homeschool, or are interested in something not offered through a school, these ideas will get you started. This list is certainly not exhaustive, and we would love to hear what interesting athletic experiences you have uncovered.
- Does too much homework, too many chores, mean kids on the school bus, and brussels sprouts for dinner make your kid want to run away and join the circus? Even if you would never let them do that, maybe a class in the circus arts could relieve some of that pint-sized stress. Cincinnati Circus and Circus Mojo offer classes that cover all the important circus skills like tight rope walking, juggling, hula-hooping, flying trapeze, acrobatics, and aerial skills.
- Are your kids as obsessed with the American Ninja Warrior show as mine are? If so, then they might enjoy parkour. Top Flight Gymnastics, in NKY, offers a class for kids. According to their website, “the main purpose of [parkour] is to teach participants how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and jumping.” What kid wouldn’t love that? North of the river, check out the I Can…Ninja Warrior class.
- I was never big on sports as a kid (still not), but skating parties were my jam. I wish I had known about a team like the Cincinnati Junior Rollergirls back then. “The mission of the Cincinnati Junior Rollergirls is to bring together girls of diverse backgrounds, body types and abilities and help develop their overall fitness and health, self-confidence, teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership skills through the sport of flat track roller derby.”
- Several ranges around town as well as the Cincinnati Recreation Commission offer youth archery lessons. So, maybe it’s a little disturbing how obsessed my kid is with Katniss Everdeen and turning our backyard squirrels into dinner. Nonetheless, archery is a great workout both mentally and physically, requiring focus and patience while developing strength and confidence. Leagues and tournaments give young archers a chance to build friendships and skills.
- The Cincinnati Fencing Club calls fencing a “lifetime sport,” for those from 8 to 80. You get to wear a cool mask and brandish a sword so I call that a win-win. Joking aside, fencing requires strength, agility, focus, and dedication – all the things I want my kids to get out of a sport.
- My kids love rock climbing. I don’t even think they realize that it’s exercise. We go just for fun, but both RockQuest Climbing Center and Climb Time of Blue Ash offer membership rates if your child wants to climb on a regular basis. RockQuest also has a competative climbing team for ages 10-18 and a homeschool program.
- For an adventurous child who is also a good swimmer, paddleboarding offers an exciting challenge. I always picture a sunny beach when I think of this sport, but according to Stand Up Paddleboarding Cincinnati, there are many suitable waterways around town for paddling. In addition to being fun and relaxing, paddling “provides you with a total core and cardiovascular low-impact workout, while offering the benefits of building strength through balance and resistance.”
- I haven’t been able to find a team or group that isn’t associated with a school (other than a homeschool team), but if your school has one, jump roping is great exercise and tons of fun. Some local teams have competed nationally, and they are truly amazing. Check out some of the impressive feats of one local team, the Kings Firecrackers.
Need more ideas? Here are a few more, as well as where to look for more information.
- Bowling: Check local lanes for youth leagues. Some schools have teams as well.
- Water Polo: Visit Moose Water Polo for information.
- Golf: Most golf courses offer lessons for juniors, but if you aren’t sure how to get started, check out First Tee, for those in both Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.
- Skiing: Perfect North Racing Program
- Synchronized Swimming: Cincinnati YMCA Synchrogators
Do your children participate in a sport that is “off the beaten path” and not on our list? Share in the comments!