Activities for Teens Who Aren't Interested in Sports

Alternatives to sports for teens

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If your teen isn’t interested in sports—or is unable to play for one reason or another—it’s important to keep them involved in some type of after-school activity. Teens have a lot of free time outside of school and after-school activities keep them physically, mentally, and socially active.

Consider these alternatives for teens who don't want to be involved in traditional sports.

A Part-Time Job

A part-time job provides teens with a multitude of benefits. In addition to the money your teen will earn, a job teaches a variety of life skills. A working teen also
will have an opportunity to gain more responsibility and to prepare for life after high school.

A Creative Hobby

Today's teens don't participate in hobbies as much as earlier generations did. But a teen who finds an interesting hobby won’t ever be bored and their interests often carry into adulthood. Encourage your teen to explore a variety of interests. A creative hobby could include activities like sewing, building robots, and woodworking.

Alternative Sports

If your teen isn’t interested in traditional sports, explore alternative ways for them to exercise. Biking, dancing, martial arts, horseback riding, and skateboarding are just a few activities that may interest a teen who isn’t interested in an organized team sport. If your teen isn't interested in joining an official activity that involves exercise, encourage them to go for a walk each day.

Arts

There are lots of after-school opportunities for artistic teens. Consider signing your teen up for acting classes or music lessons. If your teen is interested in painting, drawing, or sculpting, look for classes that could enhance your child’s skills. A teen who enjoys writing may be able to enter poetry contests or take community writing classes.

Clubs

Encourage your teen to look into after-school clubs. Most schools offer anything from chess clubs to foreign language clubs. If there aren't any school clubs that interest your teen, explore community organizations. Consider a variety of civic organizations—like Scouting and 4-H—and religious activities—like youth group—that may be of interest to your teen.

Starting a Business

Many successful entrepreneurs started their first business during their teen years. There are lots of part-time businesses teens can start with little or no start-up costs. Whether your teen wants to mow lawns or walk dogs, a small business can be a great opportunity for a budding entrepreneur.

Volunteering

There are always lots of volunteer opportunities for teens. And many of them don’t require a long-term regular commitment. Reading to children at a library, walking dogs at the shelter, or growing vegetables to donate to a soup kitchen are just a few ways many teens are choosing to make a difference.

Get Your Teen Involved

Create a rule that your teen needs to be involved in at least one activity. If they are not going to play sports, encourage them to find something else to keep them busy when they are not in school. Active teens are less likely to get into trouble and they can use their time to gain skills that will help them in the future, as well as to give back to their communities.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Zick CD. The shifting balance of adolescent time use. Youth Soc. 2009;41(4):569-596. doi:10.1177/0044118x09338506

  2. Anderson AL. Adolescent time use, companionship, and the relationship with development. In: Handbook of Life Course Criminology. Springer; 2012:111-127. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5113-6_7

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.