Archery for children
A safety-assured version of a sport that’s been popular for centuries! Archery requires hand-to-eye coordination and mental concentration. This highly inclusive sport also offers participants the challenge of reaching individual improvement goals. Suitable for indoor and outdoor fun and exercise.
A diverse range of track and field disciplines, including running, jumping and throwing, that can be adapted to different ages and abilities. This can be competitive in the form of individual and team Cross Country events, or focused on Personal Best times and distances.
The most popular racket sport in England, according to its governing body, Badminton is competitive fun and excellent exercise. It’s an easy sport to deliver in sports halls, requiring only basic, readily available equipment. It’s universal in appeal and inclusive too.
Using a rectangular court, hoops and a suitable ball, this is a team sport from the USA, now increasingly popular in the UK across many ages. Clear rules maintain non-contact, as five players per team compete to dribble, throw and shoot through the hoop.
This hugely popular US sport now has universal UK appeal too. Rules are often adapted for age and ability, but generally, teams use strategy and running to hit balls and score runs around a diamond-shaped area. Fielding and pitching skills are needed too.
An excellent game for differently-abled participants, boccia (pronounced as ‘bot-cha’) is a precision ball throwing sport that’s included in the Paralympics. Players use mental focus and hand-to-eye coordination to try to get balls close to a target ball.
Suitable for indoor and outdoor play, bowls in various forms appeals to diverse age and ability levels. The traditional version requires little equipment, just a marked out area, where participants can roll bowling balls as close as possible to a jack (small ball).
One of the oldest and most popular sports in the UK, cricket requires a marked out pitch, and special bats, balls and stumps. It’s a team sport, involving hand-to-eye coordination and physical activity to complete runs, or catch/collect balls as fielders.
A wonderfully creative and inclusive sport, dance can be adapted to any space or group of participants. Of the many genres, street dance is particularly popular among young people, and requires energy, balance and flexibility, but not necessarily rhythm!
This team ball sport has become as popular in playgrounds as it has in sports halls. It works on a simple elimination system, and encourages running, ducking and accurate ball throwing techniques, as well as discipline and respect, to avoid over-enthusiastic participation.
Fencing is centuries old but never goes out of fashion. It’s a strategic combat sport that requires special safety equipment and observance of clear rules. The three versions employ a foil, sabre or epée, and points are scored according to set manoeuvres.
The world’s most popular sport is football (soccer in some countries). It can be adapted to various abilities and ages, including differently-abled players, as an outdoor or indoor physical activity between teams of 5, 7 or 11.
Though similar to five-aside football, futsal uses a smaller, harder ball and requires energy and agility to score in a restricted playing space. It has its own competitions and leagues, though it’s also viewed as a starting point to learn football skills.
This sport for players with visual impairments involves teams of three throwing or rolling a ball containing bells to get it into a goal area. Opponents try to block the ball, but this sport does not involve ball kicking or contact between players.
Covering a wide range of balance, flexibility, strength and movement skills, gymnastics has been highly popular for team competitions and individual endeavours for many generations. Equipment of various kinds is used, including mats, beams, vaults and trapezoids.
Handball involves strategy and quick thinking, with two teams of seven players competing to score goals. The ball passes by throwing hand to hand, and there are rules governing how far feet can travel and how long you can hold the ball.
The rules of hockey are similar to football, though the ball travels using a hockey stick, not feet. Suitable for indoor and outdoor pitches, teams are usually 11-aside. Good teamwork and mental agility are as important as physical fitness.
New Age Kurling
This sport is similar to bowls and also popular with all ages and abilities. It requires no ice, just level ground or sports hall flooring. New age kurling stones and targets, ramps and pushers are used to score points.
There are lacrosse adaptations according to age and playing area, but generally, it’s a strategic, team sport requiring safety equipment and a special stick and ball. Dexterity, good teamwork and energy are needed to catch, carry, throw and defend.
To introduce beginners to a wide range of new sports, multi-skill festivals provide a variety of tester sessions to demonstrate basic skills and playing rules in a fun, interactive way. They can gauge interest in activities, and break down reticence.
This popular school, community and competitive sport involves two teams of seven, each with their own role and movement range. The ball is passed and scored in the net, using good teamwork and anticipation, as well as throwing skills and balance.
A challenging but fun outdoor sport, orienteering requires physical activity, but also good problem-solving skills and teamwork. Participants in small groups are issued with instructions, maps, compasses and a route to follow, to navigate at their own pace.
Played as either singles or doubles, polybat is an excellent sport for players with disabilities. It requires a table tennis table with no net but sides created. The ball is then played at table level, using polybats.
Team sizes vary and there are indoor adaptations, but rounders is generally played outdoors on a square pitch with four bases. It’s been played in schools and communities for hundreds of years and requires hitting, fielding, throwing and running skills.
This is a version of baseball used to introduce young children to the sport, as it uses a larger (softer) ball and a smaller running area than a traditional baseball diamond. Throwing is underarm too. It’s also popular as an indoor sport.
Table tennis is an indoor racket sport that requires little space, just a special netted table, bats and balls. Played as singles or doubles, its popularity is partially due to its reliance on hand-to-eye coordination and strategy, and limited physical movement.
Tag & Touch Rugby
The popular sport of rugby isn’t suitable for all ages or spaces. These two variations still require exercise and teamwork, but limit physical contact. Touch rugby and a variation involving removing tags from an opponent mean no tackling.
A fast-paced indoor handball game involving a small trampoline-like frame, tchoukball was developed for minimal contact exercise and challenge. Teams score at either end of the pitch but must bounce on the frame and then onto a set area.
Played as singles or doubles, on grass or specially surfaced tennis courts, this globally popular racket ball sport attracts many participants and large audiences. It uses distinct scoring systems and requires good hand-to-eye coordination, stamina and agility.
Adapting golf to involve young children – and limited playing areas – led to a sport that requires lightweight clubs and a rubber ball. Tri-golf players hit the ball at colourful targets, inside or outdoors, on walls and on the ground.
In volleyball, teams of six players hand-hit a special ball across a high net, requiring jumping, teamwork and strategic placement to outwit opponents. This can be done indoors or outside and can be adapted for disabled players.