I enjoy watching and playing sports. So does my wife. Some of our favorites include tennis, cycling, track and field, basketball, and football. But we never wanted to force our love of sports on on children. Instead, we decided to expose our kids to a wide variety of sports and allow them to decide which ones, if any, that they liked.
If you love sports as much as I do and want to share your passion with your children, here are 10 fun ways to introduce your kids to your favorite sports.
10 Fun Ways to Introduce Your Kids to Sports 1 of 11
Click through to read all 10 fun ways to introduce your kids to sports.
Watch a game on television together 2 of 11
Every Sunday, my family and I spend most of the day watching football. It's the one time during the week when we can relax and enjoy a common activity together. If your kids don't have the stamina or attention span to watch a full game, don't force them to watch it. If you do, they may start to resent the game. Instead, record the game and watch it later when their interest is renewed.
Attend a game 3 of 11
Attending a professional sports game can be expensive. If you can afford to take your family, by all means, do so. If not, you can take your family to minor league games, college games, high school games, or even little league games at your local park. There is something special about the shared experience of watching a game with hundreds or thousands of other people. Your family will always remember these special outings.
Try to arrive early because you may get the opportunity to interact with the players during warm-ups and score an autograph.
Create a fantasy league 4 of 11
This year, I created a family fantasy football league for my family. The league has not only helped my kids to learn different aspects of the game, but it has also drawn us closer together. We had fun coming up with interesting team names (my son's team is The Legos) and selecting our favorite players in the draft. If football isn't your thing, you can still sign up for other fantasy sports leagues. Sites such as ESPN.com offer free basketball, soccer, baseball, and hockey leagues.
Image via ESPN
Collect sports paraphernalia 5 of 11
When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards. I shared my collection with my son when he was 5 years old. Since then, he's been an avid collector of sports paraphernalia. He's now 10 years old and has amassed several jerseys, caps, bobbleheads, and autographed balls. Collecting these items led to his wanting to be a baseball player.
Photo by via Flickr Creative Commons
Relive your glory days 6 of 11
If you were a high-school or college sports superstar, share your stories with your children. Tell them with enthusiasm and passion. Your tales will not only make your kids see you in a different light, but they may also motivate them to become sports stars themselves.
Play video games together 7 of 11
Video games are a great way to introduce your children to sports. I remember developing a love of football by playing my Mattell handheld football game. Since then games have become much more sophisticated. My kids and I like to play Madden and NBA2K13. Grab a controller and enjoy a few hours of sports video games with your kids.
Image via Amazon
Read books 8 of 11
My sons love to read books about sports. The action, adventure, and drama really draws them in. I like to read them biographies of some of my favorite athletes - Emmitt Smith, Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jackson, Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens. These stories not only introduce my kids to different sports, but they also teach them the importance of hard work, determination, and persistence.
Magazines such as Sports Illustrated Kids are also good to read together.
Image via Amazon
Play together 9 of 11
Playing with your kids is the best way to introduce them to sports. It can be as simple as playing catch in the back yard or as complex as organizing a neighborhood kickball league. The most important thing is spending precious moments with your kids. Even if they never develop a love for sports, they will treasure these memories.
Watch Sports Movies 10 of 11
My family loves to watch Blind Side. This movie stoked my daughter's interest in football and turned my son into a Baltimore Ravens fan. There are many great sports related movies that you and your kids will enjoy. I watched The Bad News Bears and Brian's Song when I was a kid and they remain two of my favorite movies.
Photo via Amazon
Enroll your kids in non-competetive sports leagues 11 of 11
If you want your kids to develop a love of sports, I recommend your enrolling them in a non-competitive sports league. These leagues don't keep score and emphasize the teamwork, sportsmanship, and having fun. This low-pressure environment helps kids to develop their skills and confidence. You'll earn extra points if you coach your kids' teams.