The 14 Most Unusual Sports for Kids

Baseball and basketball may not be your child's thing, but one of these very unusual sports for kids just might! To find a sport your child loves, sometimes you have to think outside the box (or court, or field). These 14 choices aren't as ubiquitous as soccer or swimming, but they have a lot of quirky appeal. And they offer just as much opportunity for fitness and fun as more traditional sports do. Maybe one holds the key to your child's motivation to play sports.



Kids playing quidditch

Richard Ellis / Getty Images News

Any Harry Potter fan will recognize this game that, in the books and movies, requires players to compete on flying broomsticks. In 2005, some college students figured out how to adapt the game for earthbound Muggles. Now hundreds of colleges and high schools have their own Quidditch teams. There are even Kidditch teams for young players.



girl shooting bow and and arrows
Cheryl Clegg / Getty Images

Thanks to some popular moviesBrave and the Hunger Games series—archery is enjoying a resurgence. It may be thousands of years old, but it's still cool. After all, you get to use a weapon. Your child can easily try archery by visiting a range; lessons usually include equipment rental.


Disc Golf

frisbee in a disc golf target with fall trees in the background
DonNichols / Getty Images

Swap the little white ball and the clubs for Frisbees, and the manicured greens for shady parks, and you get disc golf. Players aim to get their disc into the "hole," often an elevated metal basket, in the least number of throws. Many public parks have disc golf courses, and it's free to play. Just bring your own discs.


Circus Arts

A group of children juggling with rings
Chris Becker Photo / Getty Images

You probably don't want your child to run off and join the circus. But with a circus arts class or camp, she can try out tricks and skills used under the big top: trapeze, tightwire, acrobatics, stilt walking, juggling, trampoline tricks, unicycling, and more.



Young Fencers Bouting
leezsnow / Getty Images

If your child has quick reflexes and likes swordplay, they might be interested in this ancient, aristocratic sport. Intro classes are surprisingly inexpensive (equipment is often included in the fee) and kids can start as early as age 6.



Teens playing futsal
Bongarts/Getty Images / Getty Images

In this form of soccer, teams of five face off on a small, hard-surfaced, often indoor court (such as a handball court). They use a smaller, less bouncy ball than a traditional soccer ball. It's a fast-paced, creative game, and no physical contact between players is allowed.


Dog Sports

Dog going through agility course
Bill Greenblatt / Getty Images

Play a sport and play with your pup at the same time. Dog agility is just one of several kinds of dog sports that kids and their pets can share, for a healthy dose of physical activity and together time.



Young boy playing rugby
Johnnie Pakington / Getty Images

After a break of almost 100 years, rugby returned to the Summer Olympic Games in 2016—a sign of its growing worldwide popularity. It's still fairly rare among kids in the U.S.A., but no-contact youth leagues are changing that.


Table Tennis

Boy having fun playing table tennis
South_agency / Getty Images

Just don't call it Ping-pong. When you're serious about this sport, it's "table tennis" all the way. And when played competitively, it demands some serious fitness, flexibility, and agility. Tournaments are inexpensive, too, so give table tennis a try.


Field Hockey

Girls playing field hockey on a sunny day
SolStock / Getty Images

Many moms may have played this sport in high school, so what's surprising is that today, boys are taking it up, on boys-only and co-ed teams. Men's field hockey is common outside the U.S., and growing in popularity inside it.


Synchronized Swimming

Girls practicing a synchronized swimming routine
supersizer / Getty Images

It's not just the Olympics and Esther Williams movies. Real kids participate in synchronized swimming, and it's a challenging, athletic discipline. It could be the perfect match for a child who likes gymnastics or dance and swimming.


Synchronized Skating

Team of synchronized skaters on the ice
XIN LI / Getty Images

Take those synchro swimmers, freeze their pool, and have them figure skate on top of it: That's synchronized skating, in which teams of up to 20 skaters perform intricate routines and patterns to music. This form of synchro is a great way for figure skaters to experience team competition.


Water Polo

Girls playing water polo
Zero Creatives / Getty Images

Sure, swimming and diving are popular, so why not water polo? In this watery mash-up of soccer and volleyball, players get to work as a team and get a serious workout too: they must tread water for the whole match, never touching the bottom or sides of the pool.



Girls surfing
Ben Welsh / Getty Images

This sport is unusual due to its geographic limitations. You need waves in order to surf! If you do live close enough to the ocean, your child just might develop an interest in this Sport of Kings.

5 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. Nelson JT, Jones RE, Runstrom M, Hardy J. Disc Golf, a Growing Sport: Description and Epidemiology of Injuries. Orthop J Sports Med. 2015;3(6):2325967115589076. doi:10.1177/2325967115589076

  2. Naser N, Ali A, Macadam P. Physical and physiological demands of futsal. J Exerc Sci Fit. 2017;15(2):76-80. doi:10.1016/j.jesf.2017.09.001

  3. Wohlfarth R, Mutschler B, Beetz A, Kreuser F, Korsten-Reck U. Dogs motivate obese children for physical activity: key elements of a motivational theory of animal-assisted interventions. Front Psychol. 2013;4:796. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00796

  4. Kondrič M, Zagatto AM, Sekulić D. The Physiological Demands of Table Tennis: A Review. J Sports Sci Med. 2013;12(3):362-370.

  5. Viana E, Bentley DJ, Logan-Sprenger HM. A Physiological Overview of the Demands, Characteristics, and Adaptations of Highly Trained Artistic Swimmers: a Literature Review. Sports Med Open. 2019;5(1):16. doi:10.1186/s40798-019-0190-3

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.