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My son has tried a lot of sports and activities, and he rarely likes them. We are trying to find something new for him now, but we're running low on ideas. He has tried soccer, baseball, gymnastics, karate, and swimming. His level of interest in these activities has varied, but he has been frequently unhappy with each of them. For the moment, he is still doing gymnastics and karate, but he often gets very angry about having to participate in activities that he often finds boring.

There are aspects of these sports that he certainly does enjoy. In fact, his favorite physical activity is falling down. This sounds unusual, but it is not a new or transient aspect of his personality. He learned to walk so he could get a moving start and throw himself on the ground. When he was one year old, he would get around that way--stand up, take a couple steps, then a big belly flop onto the carpet; and repeat. He still likes falling-related things. In gymnastics, he loves vaults; at the gym's recent show for parents, he had by far the biggest vaults of anyone in his age group, but his other skills were much more marginal. So we've kept him in things that have aspects he enjoys, but we would like to find something more uniformly enjoyable for him.

He would probably prefer to spend every afternoon playing LEGO video games, but we generally restrict that to a few hours on the weekends. He also likes to read, but he definitely needs some physical activity. He should have the exercise to stay healthy, and it's clear that physical activity is helpful for his mood and self discipline. On the other hand, some days he can be quite grouchy about participating in activities that he doesn't care for.

So what would be a good sport or physical activity for a child who likes falling down so much?

  • 10
    Well, bungee jumping comes to mind, but I wouldn't enroll my kids in that... – Acire May 31 '15 at 12:34
  • I wonder if you've participated in any of these activities with your child? When my son sees me enjoying or showing enthusiasm for something, he tends to want to do it more. He's only 19 months old though. – Dom May 31 '15 at 14:42
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    I also liked falling down in childhood, and I enjoyed a lot being a soccer goalkeeper! – user16525 Jun 1 '15 at 6:52
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    miniature stunt man! – SaturnsEye Jun 1 '15 at 10:13
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    Keep in mind that every sport has (boring) rote elements to it; training physique and enduration as well as mastering movements/techniques (repeat 10000 times...) will do that. He'll have to learn that if he wants ot pursue any sport. You know you've found your sport if you don't mind the boring parts because the others offset sufficiently; there's never no boring. – Raphael Jun 1 '15 at 10:43

11 Answers 11

38

How about trampolining? It's very similar to gymnastics so he can probably use many of the skills he's picked up there. It involves lots of bouncing up and falling back down again as well as moves which involve falling on the front or back.

Also a good variation on swimming that might appeal more to his love of falling down is diving. He can do this from pretty high which could be quite exciting for him.

Climbing or abseiling might be another good choice.

When I was a child my parents noticed an early interest in being upside down. When I was old enough I started gymnastics. Later on I did trampolining. I have always been more into individual sports than team and/or ball games so he sounds similar to me in that aspect. His enjoyment of falling down is not so far from my enjoyment of going upside down so I hope he'll enjoy these similar activities.

Apart from sports, something he might enjoy on the weekends which will get him out of the house away from the video games is going to fairgrounds and theme parks. It's a bit expensive to do regularly but as an occasional treat I expect he will love this.

  • 2
    I'd second this - all my kids love trampolining, especially the two who train heavily in gymnastics, parkour and athletics. It's a great sport with different levels of teaching: focusing on power moves, complexity, neatness, style etc – Rory Alsop May 31 '15 at 13:45
  • @Rory Alsop: Inspired by your comment, I googled for local parkour classes. It turns out the only parkour classes in the area are taught online. Somehow, that didn't seem like a great idea. ;) – Buzz May 31 '15 at 15:49
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    Taught online? How on earth can that work - at the class here there are coaches, assistants, people holding crash mats etc all providing feedback – Rory Alsop May 31 '15 at 16:19
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    No, it didn't make a lick of sense. I just shared it because it was so absurd. – Buzz Jun 1 '15 at 0:17
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    Ehm... climbing/falling down doesn't seem a good match ;) – algiogia Jun 1 '15 at 9:39
31

I would recommend without hesitation Judo.

Not only would he fall often, he would learn to fall properly.

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    I have considered judo, actually. I'm a brown belt myself. However, they do wrestling activities at his karate school, and he hates them. Given the importance of mat work in judo, I don't think he would care for the sport. – Buzz May 31 '15 at 16:17
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    Aikido schools generally also have sophisticated ukemi but many of them do less mat work at the start. You'd want one with experience training children. – dmckee May 31 '15 at 21:02
  • @Buzz Maybe he's too young for that, but you may consider doing only judo's kata. It's basically just displaying the techniques without the wrestling part. He could be a very good uke if he likes falling. There are championships of kata, however I think they require a bit more than 7 years old... probably more like 14/15+ (see, e.g. this video or this one) – Bakuriu Jun 1 '15 at 5:56
  • If you can find a dojo who teaches this, he could also go for similar disciplines like silat, pekiti-tersia, and jui jitsu. – Valkyrie Jun 1 '15 at 13:32
  • My children did children's judo classes, and they did a lot of falling practice, and practiced some simple throws. They also did fun group activities. But you have to be lucky to find such a class. – aparente001 Jun 5 '15 at 6:56
18

Diving is all about falling with style. If he finds the activities you listed boring, I suspect that he will enjoy the adrenaline rush from the height.

13

It may have a poor cultural connection where ever you are, but no one has yet suggested: skateboarding.

Not scootering or some other watered down variation, but the unforgiving plank with wheels.

It's creative, very difficult and takes an exceptionally phenomenal amount of physical fitness[1] as well as technicality, balance and precision.

Moreover all it takes a bit of concrete and the board, That's it -- no classes, gyms, special circumstances or schedule. Here in Australia we have great public skate parks all over the place. Though often people just find and/or make their own obstacles, it inspires some wonderful teamwork and creativity.

If the individual has the mettle to avoid the famous negative aspects of the sport's culture -- the self-discipline and determination of those who participate in this sport is mind blowing. And did I mention is fun, personal and creative (in the same spirit as dancing) and profoundly compelling once you get to a certain level. From Tony Hawk to Rodney Mullins there's so many creative directions the sport can be taken.

Also it's safer than you think it is -- you learn the techniques to land safely very very quickly (part of the fun is how unforgiving it is), and sure kid'll lose some skin, but in your case sounds like he's likely to anyway.

Get him a half-decent board and show him some videos, put him in the courtyard or driveway and see what he thinks.

I took up vert skating in my 20s and while I'm too old now (and am on to the mellower boardsports instead) I still periodically long for the sense of freedom and gut-clenching sheer intensity and technicality of skating ramps.

https://vimeo.com/66637362


[1] eg pro-skater Danny Way periodically ranks really well in the world's hardest iron man competitions for fun, without training at all, just with his normal skating level of fitness.

I'll leave this link here too: http://www.celebritynetworth.com/list/top-50-skateboarders/


  • 3
    The related sport of Snowboarding might also suit, if you have access to a suitable location. With skiing, if you don't fall down, you're doing it right. But for Snowboarding, if you don't fall down, you are doing it wrong! – Bill Michell Jun 1 '15 at 10:27
  • I love snowboarding and kiting (read: mellower board sports), but as a kid these are expensive and require lots of organisation, I guess unless you're actually in a town that supports a resort. Even here in oz with our magnificent beaches a kid can't just "go kiting". That's the joy of skating and why it's a long time kids sport: unlike so many others mentioned here it's low upfront and zero ongoing cost and any time, any where -- the kid is in control/empowered. I'd actually add surfing but you've got to live close to the beach and that's a real privilege. – Williams Jun 1 '15 at 12:32
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    Yeah. That's why mine wasn't an answer in its own right. – Bill Michell Jun 1 '15 at 12:46
11

Have you considered Capoeira? It's a cross between dance and martial arts that involves quite a bit of playful acrobatics and falling. Here are a couple samples from YouTube, which give a flavor of the sport: Adult Performance and Children's Competition.

Your son is blessed to have a dad who looks for an activity in which he can express who he is!

  • That's another interesting idea. I know they have adult capoeira at a few places around here. I'll have to look into classes for kids. – Buzz Jun 1 '15 at 20:37
  • Welcome to Parenting! Thanks for a well-written answer :) – Acire Jun 2 '15 at 11:26
7

He could try American football. While being tackled certainly isn't quite the same as falling down, it is rather similar. Alternatively, he could play defense so he gets to fall down and at the same time knock somebody else down. While I can understand being worried about youth American football, it all comes down to ensuring he has the correct coach. As long as you meet the coach before signing him up and ensure that the coach is not too intense, he should be relatively safe playing American football and get to fall down a lot!

  • 1
    The OP states "the american south" as his location; if that means "the south american continent" instead of "one of the southern states of the USA", finding an opportunity to do american football might be quite difficult. – Guntram Blohm supports Monica May 31 '15 at 18:22
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    @GuntramBlohm: rugby could be an option then – WoJ May 31 '15 at 18:49
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    I do not live in South America.:) – Buzz Jun 1 '15 at 0:16
  • @Buzz: if you can find rugby in your area though, then it might be worth a go since it does involve a lot of falling down: youtube.com/watch?v=XRpzejrMlEo More tackles per minute than American football, but less falling down off the ball ;-) That said, full-contact rugby probably isn't really a thing at age 7. I wasn't forced to endure it at school until 11. There's touch rugby, which is like touch/flag football. – Steve Jessop Jun 1 '15 at 11:52
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    Given that American Football leads to brain injury on a fairly regular basis, it would not be responsible to enrol a child in it. – Theodore Norvell Jun 1 '15 at 13:02
6

Another option could be Parkour (aka free running)

Here is a Video

Parkour practitioners aim to get from A to B in the most efficient way possible. This is done using only the human body and the surroundings for propulsion, with a focus on maintaining as much momentum as possible while still remaining safe.

There is a group that practices down at my local park 2-3 nights a week (There will probably be one near you too)

They teach how to run and jump and land properly, and it is free. When he has some practice you wont need to chauffeur him, as he will just Parkour his way there!

It will also mean he will be socializing with people who are not part of his normal (school) peer group. Which will be good for him socially.

5

Bungee-jumping comes to mind. There exist bungee-jumping activities for children.

Note that a family friend took his 8-year-old real bungee jumping in Thailand recently, so you may be able to do that with him soon. One year goes by pretty fast (for adults, anyway), if you want to try on his next birthday. The sport is considered perfectly safe.

For another idea, here is a video of a 7-year-old skydiving tandem with his father.

5

Ultimate frisbee its the best sport for this. I was like him and i found this sport amazing. Plus its based on fair play, mixed, good spirit and really impressive. Here some video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FKbaFNA07I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byy0iWakkI0

  • 1
    That actually looks... amazing! :) And welcome to the site, Teknethos! – Dariusz Jun 1 '15 at 9:51
3

What about Kung-Fu or Taekwondo? These are very dynamic sports where you jump and fall a lot.

EDIT: removed Taekwondo which I extrapolated from Kung-Fu

  • 2
    If you're going to pick any martial art that involves falling, the obvious one would be judo, and that has already been proposed as an answer. – 200_success May 31 '15 at 20:29
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    It is not an obvious choice. I do not know how much of Kung-Fu you have done, I can assure you that in 14 years I have fallen my fair share. The difference with judo is that the jumps and falls are usually decided by you. – WoJ May 31 '15 at 20:41
  • I do have experience in taekwondo, and can confidently say that there's no falling involved except when you lose your balance. There are jump-kicks, but you're supposed to land on your feet. – 200_success May 31 '15 at 22:14
  • @200_success: in Kung-Fu you have both (landing on feet and falling down, also part of a longer motion). I have extrapolated this to Taekwondo, will correct that in my answer – WoJ Jun 1 '15 at 6:21
2

Bouncy castle. They're expensive but they're clean, fun, safe, the whole family can use it, and it's a good form of exercise (until you get bored with it but that shouldn't be straight away).

  • It's also the only time an adult can legitimately pick up a kid and fling 'em at the wall, which is always fun. – TRiG Jun 3 '15 at 13:20

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