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Hey there, young athletes and parents!

Ready to jump into the world of kids’ sports?

Discover our amazing kids’ sports list, sorted by popularity, and find the perfect fit for your little ones.

From aspiring Olympians to playful beginners, there’s an exciting and engaging sport for every child out there!

Kids Sports List

  1. Soccer
  2. Basketball
  3. Swimming
  4. Baseball
  5. Gymnastics
  6. Tennis
  7. Football (American)
  8. Track and Field
  9. Volleyball
  10. Martial Arts

#1 Soccer

Soccer

Soccer, also known as football, has its origins in ancient civilizations, with evidence of the sport played in China, Greece, and Mesoamerica. Modern soccer, however, began in England in the 19th century.

Today, soccer is immensely popular worldwide, with FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) governing the sport.

The FIFA World Cup, held every four years, is the most well-known tournament. Soccer has been an Olympic sport since 1900 (for men) and 1996 (for women).

#2 Basketball

Basketball

Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. It has since become a global sensation, particularly popular in the USA, Europe, and Asia.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) oversees the sport, with the NBA (National Basketball Association) being the most famous league.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup is held every four years, and Basketball has been an Olympic sport since 1936 (for men) and 1976 (for women).

#3 Swimming

Swimming

Swimming has a long history, with early evidence of it dating back to the Stone Age in 7,000 BCE. It is popular worldwide, with competitive swimming events held globally.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) governs the sport. Swimming made its Olympic debut in 1896, with the inclusion of four races.

Now, the Summer Olympics feature numerous swimming events, and the World Swimming Championships are held every two years.

#4 Baseball

Baseball

Baseball’s origins are uncertain, but the modern version of the sport emerged in the USA in the 19th century. It is primarily popular in the USA, Japan, and Latin America.

The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) oversees the sport, and the World Baseball Classic occurs every four years. Baseball was an Olympic sport from 1992 to 2008 and returned in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

#5 Gymnastics

Gymnastics

Gymnastics has its roots in ancient Greece, where it was an essential part of military training. Modern gymnastics emerged in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The sport is now popular worldwide, with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) governing it. Gymnastics has been part of the Olympic program since the inaugural modern Olympics in 1896, and the FIG World Championships occur annually or biennially, depending on the discipline.

#6 Tennis

Tennis

Tennis is believed to have originated in 12th-century France, evolving into the modern sport played today during the 19th century. Tennis is hugely popular globally, and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) governs the sport.

The four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open – are the most prestigious events. Tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1896, with a few interruptions in the early 20th century.

#7 Football (American)

Football

American football has its origins in the 19th century, evolving from early versions of rugby and soccer. It is incredibly popular in the USA, with the National Football League (NFL) being the most well-known organization.

The Super Bowl, held annually, is the largest event in American football. American football is not currently an Olympic sport, but the IFAF (International Federation of American Football) organizes the IFAF World Championship every four years.

#8 Track and Field

Track and Field

Track and field has ancient origins, with evidence of events such as running, jumping, and throwing dating back to ancient Greece. It is a globally popular sport, with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) governing track and field.

The sport has been part of the Olympic program since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. The IAAF World Championships are held every two years.

#9 Volleyball

Volleyball

Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. The sport quickly gained popularity and is now played worldwide.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) oversees volleyball, which has been an Olympic sport since 1964. The FIVB Volleyball World Championships occur every four years.

#10 Martial Arts

Martial Arts

Martial arts is an umbrella term for various types of combat systems that originated in countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. Popular martial arts include judo, taekwondo, karate, and kung fu.

Judo, governed by the International Judo Federation (IJF), has been an Olympic sport since 1964.

Taekwondo, managed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WT), joined the Olympic program in 2000. Karate made its Olympic debut in the 2021 Tokyo Games, governed by the World Karate Federation (WKF).

More Kids Sports

  1. Hockey: Field hockey originated in England in the 19th century, while ice hockey traces its roots to Canada in the late 19th century. Both sports are popular globally, with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) governing them, respectively. Field hockey has been an Olympic sport since 1908, while ice hockey joined the Winter Olympics in 1924.
  2. Dance: Dance is an ancient art form with various styles emerging from different cultures worldwide. Dance as a competitive sport gained popularity in the 20th century, including styles such as ballroom and hip-hop. DanceSport, governed by the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), encompasses competitive dance styles. DanceSport is not currently an Olympic sport but is recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
  3. Skateboarding: Skateboarding originated in California in the 1950s and quickly spread worldwide. The International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) oversees competitive skateboarding, which made its Olympic debut in the 2021 Tokyo Games.
  4. Softball: Softball emerged in the USA in the late 19th century as a modified version of baseball. It is popular in North America and Asia, with the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) governing the sport. Softball was an Olympic sport from 1996 to 2008 and returned in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
  5. Rugby: Rugby originated in England in the early 19th century. Rugby Union and Rugby Sevens are popular worldwide, with World Rugby governing the sport. Rugby Union was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1924, and Rugby Sevens made its debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
  6. Golf: Golf traces its origins to 15th-century Scotland. The sport gained global popularity, with the International Golf Federation (IGF) overseeing it. Major tournaments include The Masters, US Open, British Open, and PGA Championship. Golf returned to the Olympic program in 2016 after a 112-year absence.
  7. Cycling: Cycling has its roots in early 19th-century Europe and has evolved into various disciplines, including road, track, mountain biking, and BMX. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) governs the sport. Cycling has been an Olympic sport since the inaugural modern Games in 1896, with multiple events added over the years.
  8. Ice Skating: Ice skating has ancient origins, dating back over 4,000 years. Figure skating is a popular discipline, governed by the International Skating Union (ISU) alongside speed skating and short track. Figure skating joined the Olympic program in 1908, speed skating in 1924, and short track in 1992.
  9. Cheerleading: Cheerleading began in the USA in the late 19th century and has become popular worldwide. The International Cheer Union (ICU) governs competitive cheerleading, which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee but is not currently an Olympic sport.
  10. Badminton: Badminton has its roots in ancient India, with the modern version of the sport emerging in England in the late 19th century. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) governs the sport, overseeing major tournaments such as the BWF World Championships. Badminton has been an Olympic sport since 1992.
  11. Lacrosse: Lacrosse originated among Indigenous peoples in North America in the 17th century. It has gained popularity in the USA and Canada, with the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) governing the sport. Lacrosse is not currently an Olympic sport but has been included in the World Games.
  12. Wrestling: Wrestling has ancient origins, dating back to ancient Greece and other early civilizations. It is popular worldwide, with United World Wrestling (UWW) overseeing the sport. Wrestling has been part of the Olympic program since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
  13. Table Tennis: Table tennis, or ping pong, originated in England in the late 19th century. The sport has become popular globally, with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) governing it. Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988.
  14. Archery: Archery is an ancient practice with evidence dating back thousands of years. Modern competitive archery is popular worldwide, with the International Archery Federation (World Archery) governing the sport. Archery has been part of the Olympic program intermittently since 1900, with a continuous presence since 1972.
  15. Fencing: Fencing has its origins in the ancient world but emerged as a modern sport in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. The International Fencing Federation (FIE) governs the sport, which has been part of the Olympic program since the inaugural modern Games in 1896.
  16. Skiing: Skiing originated in prehistoric times in Scandinavia, evolving into various disciplines such as alpine, cross-country, ski jumping, and freestyle. The Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) oversees skiing, which is popular worldwide. Skiing events have been part of the Winter Olympics since their inception in 1924.
  17. Snowboarding: Snowboarding emerged in the 1960s in the USA as an alternative to skiing. The sport has gained global popularity, with the International Ski Federation (FIS) governing it. Snowboarding made its Olympic debut at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.
  18. Horseback Riding: Horse riding, or equestrianism, can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Competitive equestrian sports include dressage, show jumping, and eventing. The Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) governs the sport, which has been part of the Olympic program since 1912.
  19. Figure Skating: Figure skating has its roots in 19th-century Europe and is popular worldwide. The International Skating Union (ISU) governs the sport. Figure skating has been part of the Olympic program since 1908.
  20. Synchronized Swimming: Synchronized swimming, also called artistic swimming, originated in the early 20th century in Canada and the USA. It is a combination of swimming, dance, and gymnastics. The sport is governed by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) and has been an Olympic sport since 1984.
  21. Water Polo: Water polo was developed in England and Scotland in the late 19th century and is popular worldwide. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) governs the sport, which has been part of the Olympic program since 1900 (for men) and 2000 (for women).
  22. Rowing: Rowing is an ancient sport that can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It gained modern popularity in Europe and is popular worldwide. The International Rowing Federation (FISA) governs the sport, which has been part of the Olympic program since the 1900 Paris Games.
  23. Sailing: Sailing is an ancient sport that involves navigating a boat using the power of wind. It is popular in coastal areas and large lakes, with various types of boats and competitions. The World Sailing governing body oversees the sport, which has been part of the Olympic program since the 1900 Paris Games.
  24. Trampolining: Trampolining emerged as a sport in the 1930s in the USA and gained worldwide popularity. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) governs the sport, which has been part of the Olympic program since 2000.
  25. Diving: Diving can be traced back to ancient times but developed as a modern sport in Europe in the late 19th century. It is governed by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) and has been an Olympic sport since 1904.
  26. Cross Country: Cross country running is a long-distance running sport that dates back to the early 19th century in England. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) governs the sport. Cross country was part of the Olympic program from 1912 to 1924 and is still contested at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
  27. Handball: Handball has its origins in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is popular worldwide, with the International Handball Federation (IHF) governing the sport. Handball has been an Olympic sport since 1936 (for men) and 1976 (for women).
  28. Netball: Netball evolved from early forms of basketball in England in the late 19th century. It is popular in Commonwealth countries, especially in regions such as Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. The International Netball Federation (INF) governs the sport, which is not currently part of the Olympic program.
  29. Kickball: Kickball, also known as soccer baseball, has its roots in the early 20th century in the USA. It is popular in North America as a recreational sport, particularly for kids. Kickball is not a professional sport and is not part of the Olympic program.
  30. Dodgeball: Dodgeball traces its origins to games played in Africa over 200 years ago, later evolving into its modern form in the USA. It is enjoyed worldwide in recreational and competitive leagues. The World Dodgeball Association (WDA) governs the sport, which is not currently part of the Olympic program.
  31. Squash: Squash was developed at the Harrow School in England in the early 19th century. It is popular worldwide, with the World Squash Federation (WSF) governing the sport. Squash is not part of the Olympic program, but the WSF organizes the World Squash Championships.
  32. Rhythmic Gymnastics: Rhythmic gymnastics originated in Europe during the early 20th century, combining dance, gymnastics, and apparatus manipulation. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) governs the sport, which has been part of the Olympic program since 1984.
  33. Rock Climbing: Rock climbing emerged as a sport in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe and the USA. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) oversees the sport. Sport climbing made its Olympic debut at the 2021 Tokyo Games.
  34. Judo: Judo, a modern martial art, originated in Japan in the 19th century. It focuses on using an opponent’s force against them. The International Judo Federation (IJF) governs the sport, which has been an Olympic sport since 1964.
  35. Taekwondo: Taekwondo, a Korean martial art, traces its roots back over 2,000 years. The modern form of the sport emerged in the mid-20th century. The World Taekwondo Federation (WT) governs the sport, which has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
  36. Karate: Karate originated in the Ryukyu Islands, now part of Japan, over 500 years ago. The World Karate Federation (WKF) governs the sport, and karate made its Olympic debut in the 2021 Tokyo Games.
  37. Kung Fu: Kung Fu, also known as Wushu, is a collective term for various Chinese martial arts that have ancient roots. The International Wushu Federation (IWUF) governs the sport, which is not currently part of the Olympic program, but the IWUF organizes the World Wushu Championships.
  38. Boxing: Boxing is an ancient sport that dates back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) and various professional boxing organizations govern the sport. Boxing has been part of the Olympic program since the 1904 St. Louis Games.
  39. BMX Racing: BMX racing, a bicycle racing sport, originated in the USA in the 1970s. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) governs the sport, which became an Olympic sport in 2008.
  40. Roller Skating: Roller skating originated in the 18th century in the Netherlands. It gained popularity in the United States in the 20th century and is now enjoyed by children around the world. The sport is governed by the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) and has major competitions such as the World Roller Games. Although not an Olympic sport, it has become popular in the Youth Olympics.
  41. Ultimate Frisbee: Ultimate Frisbee, also known simply as Ultimate, was created in the late 1960s in the United States. It has gained global popularity and is particularly enjoyed by children and young adults. The sport is governed by the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF), with tournaments such as the World Ultimate Championships. It is not currently part of the Olympic Games, but it has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
  42. Speed Skating: Speed skating has roots that date back to Scandinavia in the Middle Ages and is now popular in countries like the Netherlands, South Korea, and Canada. This Olympic sport is enjoyed by children around the world and is governed by the International Skating Union (ISU). Top events include the World Speed Skating Championships and the Winter Olympic Games.
  43. Canoeing: Canoeing dates back to indigenous communities worldwide but has become a competitive sport over the past century. It is enjoyed by kids globally, particularly in the summer months. The International Canoe Federation (ICF) governs the sport, with major events including the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships and the Olympic Games. Canoeing has been an Olympic sport since 1936.
  44. Kayaking: A sister sport to canoeing, kayaking has roots in the Arctic regions and has now spread worldwide as a competitive and recreational activity for children and adults alike. The International Canoe Federation (ICF) also governs this sport. It is part of the Olympic Games, with competitions such as the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.
  45. Hiking: Hiking, while not traditionally a competitive sport, is an outdoor activity enjoyed by children globally. It offers a range of health and wellness benefits, promoting physical fitness and an appreciation of nature. While there’s no international governing body or competitions, several organizations promote hiking and related outdoor activities worldwide.
  46. Orienteering: Orienteering is a navigational sport with origins in 19th-century Sweden. It combines running with navigation and is enjoyed by children worldwide. The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) governs the sport, with major events like the World Orienteering Championships. Although not an Olympic sport, orienteering is included in the World Games.
  47. Gymnastic Trampoline: Gymnastic Trampoline began as a training tool for acrobats and astronauts in the 1930s but soon developed into a sport of its own. Popular with kids around the world, it requires strong acrobatic skills and body control. The sport is governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), with major competitions including the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships and the Olympic Games. Trampoline became an Olympic sport in 2000.

FAQ

What are the most popular kids’ sports?

The most popular kids’ sports include soccer, basketball, swimming, baseball, gymnastics, tennis, football, track and field, volleyball, and martial arts.

How many different kids’ sports are there?

Our kids’ sports list includes over 57 unique sports for children to participate in and enjoy.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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